Favourite 5: Films to Help You Learn Russian

Film is one of the most fantastic mediums to learn a language. It can be rewarding to notice your linguistic abilities grow against a backdrop of cultural insight and cinematic brilliance.

However, it can be hard to find suitable films. There has to be a balance between native ease – without excessive slang, and new topics posed clearly. To help you out, here at Klassiki, we have composed our top five films to help you learn Russian. You can find them all in our Library.

I Walk Around Moscow (1964), Georgiy Daneliya

I Walk Around Moscow is a perfect film for any Russian language learner. The dialogue is witty but straightforward and elegant. It is a film orientated on the on-screen action, meaning anything you don’t understand becomes apparent through the character’s behaviour. Beyond all this, it is a work that will certainly show you the magic of Moscow, one of the world’s most exciting and open cities.

Mother Got Married (1969), Vitaly Melnikov

An exquisite, intimate family drama shot in the glorious blues and yellows of St. Petersburg. Zina and her son Borka, played wonderfully by Soviet star Nikolai Burlyaev, face conflict with each other for the first time. Previously, the pair were a duo, but the advent of Zina’s courtship and marriage causes distress to Borka. The language ranges from domestic to colloquial but remains easily understandable. A perfect candidate for an immersion trial!

There is Such a Lad (1964), Vasily Shukshin

Vasily Shukshin’s simplistic dialogue and no-nonsense patter is a wonderful place to learn the quirks of the Russian language. Featuring a host of provincial expressions, as the plot follows exuberant truck driver Pasha and his journey across the world’s largest nation in terms of landmass, it’s a linguistic education of a different kind!

Autumn Marathon (1979), Georgiy Daneliya 

Are you ready to watch one of the funniest, but least sexy affairs, of the 20th century? The plot follows Andrei, a linguistics professor in then Leningrad, as he juggles wife and mistress while annoying absolutely everyone. The language is straightforward, easy to comprehend, but diverse, as it moves from emotional breakdowns to simple domestic disputes. Plus, any Russian language learner will revel in Bill’s character, the Danish professor who himself has only basic proficiency in Russian as he blunders, obliviously and wide-eyed through Andrei’s conflicts.

Woodpeckers Don’t Get Headaches (1975), Dinara Asanova

Dinara Asanova’s wonderful film focuses on the life of a young boy, Mukhin, nicknamed Mukha or ‘fly’. Teenagers are the central characters in the film; therefore, the language and topics aren’t too complex. And it is one of the most beautiful, tender on-screen depictions of first love out there. Unmissable in and of itself, it will no doubt aid your Russian language journey.

Nikita Mikhalkov as Kolya and Galina Polskikh as Alyona, in Georgi Daneliya's I Walk Around Moscow (1964)