Ivan the Terrible

Film, Action and adventure

Time Out says

Probably the most enjoyable of all Eisenstein's films, his last work, a projected trilogy of which only two parts were completed. The historical subject - Tsar Ivan's struggle to consolidate the Russian empire, freeing it from Eastern domination and (in Part II) the self-serving interests of the Boyars - is sufficiently removed from the crucial problem (for Eisenstein) of reconciling film theory and political practice for it to work as comic melodrama. Often criticised for its lack of historical truth, the film still holds up as a camp essay in authoritarian paranoia. Cherkassov's contorted performance as Ivan, absurdly stylised though it is, beautifully expresses the conscience of the state torn between absolutism and factionalism, while managing a miraculous integration with a superbly operatic visual style.

By: RM


Release details

100 mins

Cast and crew

Sergei Eisenstein
Nikolai Cherkasov
Serafima Birman
Ludmila Tselikovskaya
Mikhail Nazvanov
Pavel Kadochnikov
Mikhail Zharov
Mikhail Kuznetsov
Vsevolod I Pudovkin
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