10 iconic female characters in Soviet cinema (PHOTOS)

Yuri Chulyukin/Mosfilm, 1961
These heroines are not only remembered and loved by audiences in the USSR, they are still known and quoted today!

1. Ellochka Shchukina, ‘The Twelve Chairs’, 1971

This lady is only interested in high fashion and jewelry. She lives off her husband and her vocabulary, it seems, only consists of roughly 30 words. However, bright interjections like "Ho-ho!" express all the shades of her thoughts and feelings. The heroine of the cult novel by Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov, played by actress Natalia Vorobyeva in Leonid Gaidai’s big screen adaptation, became especially famous.

2. Lyudmila Prokofievna, ‘Office Romance’, 1977

A serious woman, played by actress Alisa Freindlich, is the director of a large Soviet statistics agency. She doesn't use makeup, dresses in austere, unattractive suits and her gait comes across very manly. Her employees are afraid of her and can't even imagine that this "old, grumpy woman" is actually only 36 years old. But, even this type of woman can change overnight when she meets her true love.

3. Alisa Selezneva, ‘Guest from the Future’, 1985

The girl with blue eyes and a ringing voice, played by actress Natalya Guseva in the 1980s, conquered the whole country. The "unearthly" Alisa from the fantastic novels of Kir Bulychev is the daughter of a space zoologist. She has already been to other planets and to the future, but now, she studies at a Soviet school and wears a pioneer tie.

4. Lyalya, ‘The Foundling’, 1939

The famous role of legendary actress Faina Ranevskaya is remembered most of all by the phrase: "Mulya, don’t make me nervous", which the heroine utters to her husband. Ranevskaya then heard it the rest of her life when out in public. There is a legend that even the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev uttered it while awarding the actress with an order.

5. Tosya, ‘The Girls’, 1962

A young communist girl from an orphanage (played by actress Nadezhda Rumyantseva) arrives at a large Soviet construction site and, at once, is forced to become an adult. She learns to communicate with dorm neighbors and, of course, with men. She is afraid of everything, but also remains true to herself. And having seen the complicated love relationships of others, she says the iconic phrase that she would never marry, because being single is calmer and you can eat whatever you want!

6. Nina, ‘Kidnapping, Caucasian Style’, 1976

The heroine is presented as "a student, a Komsomol girl, an athlete, finally, just a beauty" in Gaidai's eccentric comedy. Played by actress Natalia Varley, Nina from is a prime example of a Soviet women. She goes alone on the most difficult hiking trips and alone can resist the bandits who kidnap her, according to an old Caucasian tradition, in order to marry her off.

7. Milady, ‘D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers’, 1978

Alexander Dumas's adventure novel is loved in Russia so much that it is almost considered as its own. And the Soviet adaptation has become truly a cult adaptation. Milady, played by actress Margarita Terekhova, is a femme fatale and the main villain of Soviet cinema. And her naked shoulder with a lily struck the imagination of all Soviet men.

8. Varvara Pliushch (Soviet apartment building superintendent), ‘The Diamond Arm’, 1969

The satirical image of a principled Soviet woman, a bastion of order and manners, who is brought to absurdity. She literally sticks her nose in other people's personal affairs and watches everyone around her. Actress Nonna Mordyukova's brilliant portrayal is best remembered for the phrase: "Our people don't take taxis to the bakery!"

9. Vera, ‘Little Vera’, 1988

The role in this movie brought real fame to young actress Natalia Negoda, even a little scandalous. After all, it was the first Soviet movie with erotic scenes. And the figure of the promiscuous Vera inadvertently became one of the symbols of perestroika.

10. Tanya Zaitseva, ‘Intergirl’, 1989

Tanya (played by actress Elena Yakovleva) is a nurse by day and a currency prostitute who preys on foreigners by night. One of the most popular movies from the perestroika era depicted new realities and struck the audience with new values, rules and conditions. A "good" girl making a living like this, being, at the same time, very cynical and not ashamed of it.

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