8 best movies about Russia’s dethroned royal family: The Romanovs

Ingrid Bergman in 'Anastasia', 1956.

Ingrid Bergman in 'Anastasia', 1956.

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Many mysteries still hang over the life of the last Romanovs, including their relationship with the ‘Mad Monk’ Rasputin and the circumstances of their murder. It’s therefore no surprise that filmmakers from Russia, Hollywood, and Europe continue to take inspiration from their story.

1. Anastasia (1956)

Featuring Ingrid Bergman and Yul Brynner, the movie tells the story of Anna Koreff, who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Nicholas II, who by some miracle apparently survived the massacre of the Russian royal family in 1918. Still, not everybody in Paris’ Russian emigre circles believe in her.

2. Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

This British movie follows the life of the Russian royal family, especially relations between Nicholas II and his wife Tsarina Alexandra, from the beginning of the 20th century until their execution. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two: Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.     

3. Agony (1974)

The film is about one of the most mysterious figures in Russian history. Grigori Rasputin, a Siberian peasant who proclaimed himself a holy man and became hugely influential in the Romanov royal family. Such power, however, caused suspicion and fueled hatred among the nobility, eventually costing Rasputin his life.

4. The Assassin of the Tsar (1991)

In the 1990s, Dr. Smirnov started giving therapy to Timofeyev (played by Malcolm McDowell) who claimed to be one of the executioners of the Russian royal family. At first it appears he’s just a psycho, but soon Smirnov realizes the case is not so simple, and there might be some truth in Timofeyev’s words.  

5. Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1996)

It’s 1883 and young peasant Grigori Rasputin is living in a Siberian village. He has just discovered that he has unusual abilities, apparently those of a prophet and healer. Later he becomes one of the most powerful people in the Russian Empire. Rasputin features Alan Rickman and Ian McKellen.   

6. The Romanovs: An Imperial Family (2000)

After abdicating in March 1917, Nicholas II lost his privileged position and became “Colonel Romanov.” He first lived with his family under house arrest in the Siberian city of Tobolsk, and later in Yekaterinburg. The Romanovs tried to get used to their new social status but had no idea of the terrible destiny that awaited them. This movie tells their story.

7. Rasputin (2011)

This Russian-French drama is one of the latest movies dedicated to the “Holy Old Man” or “Mad Monk” Grigori Rasputin, portrayed by Gerard Depardieu. The actor claims Vladimir Putin was given a script of the movie and that he subsequently made there several edits.

8. Matilda (2017)

One of the most scandalous Russian movies in recent years, Matilda tells the story of the romantic relations between the heir to the Russian throne Nikolay Romanov (who became Nicholas II) and Matilda Kshesinskaya, an Imperial Theater ballerina.

Сonservative Orthodox believers, headed by Natalia Poklonskaya, a former Crimean prosecutor and current State Duma deputy, campaigned to have the film banned on the grounds that it insults the Orthodox Church and mocks the image of Nicholas II, who was canonized in 2000.

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