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The Best Soviet Montage Movies Of All Time

“What are the best Soviet Montage Movies?” We looked at 76 of the top Soviet Montage films, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 26 films, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Soviet Montage” movie lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 50 movies, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Happy Scrolling!



Top 26 Best Soviet Montage Movies Ever Made



26 .) A Simple Case directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mikhail Doller

A Simple Case

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

As a response to criticism for the allegedly excessive “mass appeal” of his earlier epic STORM OVER ASIA (1928), Vsevolod Pudovkin unleashed his flair for experimentation in what was supposed to be the director’s first sound feature. Everything went wrong: technical problems forced him to complete the film as a silent; viewers were baffled by the lack of a recognizable plot; then, the ideological climate of the Soviet Union changed. He was now being blamed for catering to bourgeois taste! Time has come to set the record straight. Here’s lyrical cinema at its best, deliberately operatic and yet intimate as it matches the characters’ inner life with the solemn rhythms of nature, and depicted through breathtaking black-and-white photography. A sensation at last year’s Pordenone fest, Pudovkin’s long-forgotten swan song to the art of montage is resurrected by Gabriel Thibaudeau’s emotionally charged live music performance. –PCU (USSR, 1930, 75m) ×



25 .) Alone directed by Grigori Kozintsev, Leonid Trauberg

Alone

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

A young teacher is sent to a remote province, separating her from her lover, and sets about the difficult task of building a school there. With a score by Shostokovich. Filmed as a silent, rereleased with sound.



24 .) Enthusiasm (1931) directed by Dziga Vertov

Enthusiasm (1931)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Rate Your Music

A lyrical documentary on the lives of Coal miners in the Donbass who are struggling to meet their production quotas under the Five Year Plan.



23 .) In Spring (1929) directed by Mikhail Kaufman

In Spring (1929)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Rate Your Music

It pictures the struggle of people against the cold and harsh winter.



22 .) Kino Eye (1924) directed by Dziga Vertov

Kino Eye (1924)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd

This documentary promoting the joys of life in a Soviet village centers around the activities of the Young Pioneers. These children are constantly busy, pasting propaganda posters on walls, distributing hand bills, exhorting all to “buy from the cooperative” as opposed to the Public Sector, promoting temperance, and helping poor widows. Experimental portions of the film, projected in reverse, feature the un-slaughtering of a bull and the un-baking of bread.



21 .) Lace directed by Sergei Yutkevich

Lace

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

Since director Sergei Yutkevich was a longtime lover of American slapstick, his first films were imbued with a playfulness and cheeriness not typical of Russian cinema. And Kruzheva is a good example of that as he illustrates the friendly rivalries between the youths on village in both a very rough and clowning way.



20 .) Pasifik 231 (1931) directed by Mikhail Tsekhanovskiy

Pasifik 231 (1931)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Rate Your Music

Pacific 231 is an orchestral work by Arthur Honegger, written in 1923. Honegger was widely known as a train enthusiast, and once notably said: “I have always loved locomotives passionately.



19 .) The Club of the Big Deed directed by Leonid Trauberg, Grigori Kozintsev

The Club of the Big Deed

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

The film tells about the Decembrists’ revolt in the south of Russia. Right before the Decembrist Revolt 1825 a chevalier of fortune decides that it’s time for a game. But on whom to make a bet? He asks the cards. But he’s not the only one who makes the choice.



18 .) The Devil’s Wheel directed by Grigori Kozintsev, Leonid Trauberg

The Devil's Wheel

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

Typically of the heady days of early Soviet cinema, this is constructed according to the fast, sharp editing principles advocated by Eisenstein, complete with symbolic inserts; but in terms of subject matter, it’s much less explicitly political than most movies emerging from Russia in the ’20s. Chronicling a young sailor’s descent into a murky, treacherous underworld of pimps and thieves, after having encountered a Louise Brooks lookalike at a fairground and missed his departing boat, it’s a lively moral fable that delights in vivid visual effects and quirky characterisations. If the plot occasionally reveals gaping holes, and the tacked-on ending urging the clearance of the Leningrad slums seems to be rather gratuitous, there’s enough going on to keep one attentive and amused. ×



17 .) The Eleventh Year (1928) directed by Dziga Vertov

The Eleventh Year (1928)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Rate Your Music

The film is dedicated to the achievements of the Ukrainian SSR for the eleventh anniversary of the October Revolution.



16 .) The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (1924) directed by Lev Kuleshov

The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks (1924)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • Letterboxd

An example of ironic Soviet propagandistic film from the silent era, this film chronicles the adventures of an American, “Mr. West,” and his faithful bodyguard and servant Jeddie, as they visit the land of the horrible, evil Bolsheviks. Through various mishaps, Mr. West discovers that the Soviets are actually quite remarkable people, and, by the end of the film, his opinion of them has changed to one of glowing admiration! Written by Mark Toscano



15 .) The General Line directed by Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov

The General Line

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

Also known as The Old and the New (Staroye i Novoye), The General Line illustrates Lenin’s stated imperative that the nation move from agrarian to industrial culture in an epic ode to farm-collectivization progress.



14 .) The House on Trubnaya directed by Boris Barnet

The House on Trubnaya

Lists It Appears On:

  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

Life is short and full of oppression, but that doesn’t mean Parasha can’t find love and laughter when she leaves her country home to take a job as a maid in the overcrowded, overworked, and underpaid world in the big city.



13 .) Arsenal (1929) directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Arsenal (1929)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

Set in the bleak aftermath and devastation of the World War I, a recently demobbed soldier, Timosh, returns to his hometown Kiev, after having survived a train wreck. His arrival coincides with a national celebration of Ukrainian freedom, but the festivities are not to last as a disenchanted.



12 .) Deserter (1933) directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin

Deserter (1933)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

A wise and forgiving communist leader decides to send a young worker, Karl Renn, as an international delegate to the Soviet Union after the worker had deserted a picket-line and had expressed doubts about the methods of class struggle in in his own country.



11 .) Earth (1930) directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Earth (1930)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.



10 .) Mother (1926) directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin

Mother (1926)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

A story about a family torn apart by a worker’s strike. At first, the mother wants to protect her family from the troublemakers, but eventually she realizes that her son is right and the workers should strike.



9 .) My Grandmother (1929) directed by Kote Mikaberidze

My Grandmother (1929)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

The protagonist, a lazy pen-pusher, gets the sack for his bureaucratic idleness, and learns that the way back into the job market depends on getting a letter of recommendation from a “grandmother”



8 .) The End of St. Petersburg (1927) directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin

The End of St. Petersburg (1927)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

The End of St. Petersburg (Russian: Конец Санкт-Петербурга, translit. Konets Sankt-Peterburga) is a 1927 silent film directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin and produced by Mezhrabpom. Commissioned to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, The End of St Petersburg was to be Pudovkin’s most famous film and secured his place as one of the foremost Soviet montage film directors. The film forms part of Pudovkin’s ‘revolutionary trilogy’, alongside Mother (1926) and Storm Over Asia (1928). ×



7 .) The New Babylon (1929) directed by Grigoriy Kozintsev

The New Babylon (1929)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

In the early days of the industrial revolution, a young shop worker falls in love with a soldier before he goes off to war.



6 .) Zvenigora (1928) directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko

Zvenigora (1928)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

Zvenigora stars Nikolai Nademsky (Earth), as the grandfather of Timoshka (Semyon Svashenko), whom he alerts to secret treasure buried in the mountains and the boy spends the rest of his life trying to find. The film wonderfully blends both lyricism and politics and uses its central construct to build a montage praising Ukrainian industrialisation, attacking the European bourgeoisie, celebrating the beauty of the Ukrainian steppe and re-telling ancient folklore. Zvenigora is a most remarkable avant-garde film, which has a unique style in its approach and disregards the more traditional storytelling devices. “As the lights went on, we felt that we had just witnessed a memorable event in the development of the cinema” S.M. Eisenstein ×



5 .) Storm Over Asia (1928) directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin

Storm Over Asia (1928)

Lists It Appears On:

  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

In 1918 a young and simple Mongol herdsman and trapper is cheated out of a valuable fox fur by a European capitalist fur trader. Ostracized from the trading post, he escapes to the hills after brawling with the trader who cheated him. In 1920 he becomes a Soviet partisan, and helps the partisans fight for the Soviets against the occupying British army. However he is captured by the British when they try to requisition cattle from the herdsmen at the same time as the commandant meets with a reincarnated Grand Lama. After the trapper is shot, the army discovers an amulet that suggests he is a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. They find him still alive, so the army restores his health and plans to use him as the head of a puppet regime. The trapper is thus thrust into prominence as he is placed in charge of the puppet government. By the end, however, the “puppet” turns against his masters in an outburst of fury. ×



4 .) Man with a Movie Camera (1929) directed by Dziga Vertov

Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Classic Art Films
  • IMDB 2
  • Learn About Film
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

A cameraman wanders around Moscow, Kharkov, Kiev and Odessa with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention.



3 .) October (Ten Days that Shook the World) (1927) directed by Grigoriy Aleksandrov

October (Ten Days that Shook the World) (1927)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Empire Online
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • Learn About Film
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

October is Sergei M. Eisenstein’s docu-drama about the 1917 October Revolution in Russia. Made ten years after the events and edited in Eisenstein’s ‘Soviet Montage’ style, it re-enacts in celebratory terms several key scenes from the revolution.



2 .) Strike (1925) directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein

Strike (1925)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Classic Art Films
  • Empire Online
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • Learn About Film
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

The film depicts a strike in 1903 by the workers of a factory in pre-revolutionary Russia, and their subsequent suppression. The film is most famous for a sequence near the end in which the violent putting down of the strike is cross-cut with footage of cattle being slaughtered, although there are several other points in the movie where animals are used as metaphors for the conditions of various individuals. Another theme in the film is collectivism in opposition to individualism which was viewed as a convention of western film. ×



1 .) Battleship Potemkin (1925) directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein

Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Lists It Appears On:

  • Classic Art Films
  • Empire Online
  • IMDB
  • IMDB 2
  • Learn About Film
  • Letterboxd
  • Rate Your Music

A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resultant public demonstration, showing support, which brought on a police massacre. The film had an incredible impact on the development of cinema and is a masterful example of montage editing.



 


The 50 Additional Best Soviet Montage Films



 

# Movies Directors Lists
27 A Feat in the Ice  
Rate Your Music
28 A Sixth of the World  
Rate Your Music
29 Alexander Nevsky (1938) Sergei M. Eisenstein IMDB 2
30 Blue Express   Letterboxd
31 Bread  
Rate Your Music
32 By the Law  
Rate Your Music
33 Cain and Artem  
Rate Your Music
34 Cine-Eye  
Rate Your Music
35 Cities and Years  
Rate Your Music
36 Counterplan  
Rate Your Music
37 Dom na Trubnoy (1928) Boris Barnet IMDB 2
38 Dziga Vertov and ‘Man with a Movie Camera’  
Learn About Film
39 Eh, Little Apple!  
Rate Your Music
40 Evil Spirit  
Rate Your Music
41 Forward, Soviet!  
Rate Your Music
42 Fragment of an Empire  
Rate Your Music
43 Glumov’s Diary  
Rate Your Music
44 Golden Mountains  
Rate Your Music
45 Goluboy ekspress  
Rate Your Music
46 Gopak (1931) Mikhail Tsekhanovskiy IMDB 2
47 Happiness (1935) Aleksandr Medvedkin IMDB 2
48 How it started  
Learn About Film
49 In the Fire Born  
Rate Your Music
50 Khaspush  
Rate Your Music
51 Kino-nedelya (1918) Dziga Vertov IMDB 2
52 Kino-pravda no. 1 (1922) Dziga Vertov IMDB 2
53 Koyaanisqatsi  
Learn About Film
54 Krasnye dyavolyata (1923) Ivane Perestiani IMDB
55 Kruzheva (1928) Sergei Yutkevich IMDB 2
56 Luch smerti (1925) Lev Kuleshov IMDB
57 Misery and Fortune of Women  
Rate Your Music
58 Miss Mend  
Rate Your Music
59 Moscow (1927) Mikhail Kaufman IMDB 2
60 Moscow in October  
Rate Your Music
61 My Son  
Rate Your Music
62 Odessa Steps  
Learn About Film
63 Old and New (1929) Grigoriy Aleksandrov IMDB 2
64 Po zakonu (1926) Lev Kuleshov IMDB 2
65 Post (1929) Mikhail Tsekhanovskiy IMDB 2
66 Proekt inzhenera Prayta (1918) Lev Kuleshov IMDB 2
67 Salt for Svanetia (1930) Mikhail Kalatozov IMDB 2
68 Shagay, sovet! (1926) Dziga Vertov IMDB 2
69 The Death Ray  
Rate Your Music
70 The Diplomatic Pouch  
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71 The House in the Snowdrift  
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72 The Man With The Movie Camera (1929)  
Empire Online
73 The Overcoat  
Rate Your Music
74 The Sixth Part of the World (1926) Dziga Vertov IMDB 2
75 Turksib  
Rate Your Music
76 Twenty-six Commissars  
Rate Your Music

 


 


7 Best Soviet Montage Film Sources/Lists



Source Article
Classic Art Films Soviet Montage | Lev Kuleshov
Empire Online Movie movements that defined cinema: Soviet Montage, Feature …
IMDB Soviet Montage
IMDB 2 Soviet montage
Learn About Film Soviet montage: how the Russian Revolution changed film
Letterboxd Soviet Montage Movement, a list of films by Disgustipated
Rate Your Music Soviet Montage films – Rate Your Music

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