Synopsis: Josef Stalin rises from his rejection as being physically unfit in the Czar's army during world War I to undisputed head of the huge Soviet empire of the 1950s. After the success of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 he vies with arch-rival Leon Trotsky for power under the acknowledged leader, Vladimir Lenin. After Lenin's stroke, the merciless Georgian's ruthless methods soon eliminates all rivals and his cruel paranoia and overt sadism help him maintain power by eliminating every possible rival including many former comrades.
Director(s): Ivan Passer
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Won 3 Golden Globes. Another 8 wins & 13 nominations.
172 min

bSiberia, 1917/b

My father had been an exile to Siberia

for life.

But history was changing his sentence.

Russia was in its third year of a

bloody war against Germany.

The Tsar had lost so many men that he

needed even his enemies to fight for him.

But my father wasn't good enough.

Josef Visarionovich Djugashvili,

age 38,

born in Gori in the province

of Georgia.

Exiled to Siberia

for revolutionary activities.

Nevertheless, subject to conscription

into the imperial army.

Conscript has the following


Left arm

two inches shorter than right arm.

Possibly a congenital defect.

Second and third toes of left foot:

webbed and joined.

The mark of the devil.


My father robbed banks to raise money

for the outlawed Bolshevik Party.

His favorite alias was Koba.

He hunted during the day and at night

he played cards with cut-throats

and thieves.

Our people were starving.

They blamed the Tsar.

And he was forced to abdicate.

The new government freed all

political prisoners.

And exiled revolutionaries like

my father were granted amnesty.

The rich and the nobility fled.

Koba was going home.

So was Lenin,

the leader of the Bolshevik party

- my father's idol.

bHBO Pictures


bA Mark Carliner


bA film by

Ivan Passer/b

bRobert Duvall/b

There's Lenin, Koba, Lenin!



Koba! Koba!

bJulia Ormond/b


Most of the old friends were there -

like Sergei and Olga Alliluyev.


- Oh, such a long time.

And... Nadya.

Little Nadya!

Hey! Why aren't you there with them?

I'll see him tomorrow.

Nadya was to become my mother.

Olga, what the... she's a woman!

Not yet... Not Yet!

Comrades! Soldiers, Workers, Sailors!

I thank you

for the overthrowing the Tsar.

But the Great War still continues.

Did you overthrow the Tsar

to continue his bloody war?


Did you overthrow the Tsar so

the peasants would remain landless?


Did you overthrow the Tsar so

the workers and their families

would continue to starve?


The people demand peace!


The people demand bread.


The people demand land.


Towards the unfinished revolution!

The proletarian revolution!

It took the Bolshevik six more months

to finish the revolution

and set up the communist government.

No-one was allowed to own anything.

The Tsar and his family were executed.

And a new war broke out.

Civil war.

bCasting by

Joyce Nettles/b

bMusic by

Stanislas Syrewicz/b

bEdited by

Peter Davies/b

Koba's favorite song.

Let's play that.

You remember?

I've remembered everything

you've told me about him.

And I remember how he saved my life

when I was drowning in the Black Sea.

You were not drowning,

you were playing in the water...

he waded in picked you up

and he brought you back to us.

I was chocking water and he swam

to save me.

You were three years old!

- I remember!

bLine producer

Don West/b

"Black Swallow. "

- Nadya's record.

She's how old now?

- Seventeen. That dedicated.

She could discuss theory with Lenin.

- That I like to hear.

bWritten by

Paul Monash/b

So Koba...

- No... Stalin.


- My new name.


- Steel.

But for you old friend,

and friends and comrades like you

I'm always Koba.

To Stalin!

- No. To Lenin!

bDirected by

Ivan Passer/b

Nadya became one of

Lenin's secretaries.

A year later she joined Stalin

who was sent to the southern front.

Just leave you take it to the

secretariat - was that your own idea?

What did you say? What?

With that civil war I said maybe

I could be more useful.

Useful... ?

Useful... ?!

Braided deep to Stalin.

For watching him,

reporting on him?

No, helping him.

So, that is - Stalin needs help;

Stalin needs help

from a nineteen-year-girl?

To assist you, to take notes.

- Who for?

Who taught you to watch Stalin?


Was it Trotsky? Or Lenin?

Nadya thought

Stalin was going to change Russia.

She was right.

Do you have a notebook? Not yet

- take this. And the pencil here.


- Yes.


In this compartment Stalin told me

he would do anything and everything

to stabilize the southern front.

He would take measures -

stern measures.

But... they said that you were only

to collect grain...

not get involved

in military activities.

Stalin does not obey orders

unless he agrees with them.

You always become the leader.

- Not always, not.


Always my father says.

You want things your way

and you get them.

What else does he say?

You're a hero.

You organized daring robberies,

escapes from prisons.

You are a giant among pigmies.

I am a small humble man,

the son of a cobbler

and an illiterate washer woman.

The rose bud opens,

blue bows all around...

The larch flew higher,

the nightingale sings so fine...

Look at you - an army commander!

Look at you,

commissar of nationalities.

Chosen by Lenin himself.

Klim Voroshilov,

this is Nadya Alliluyeva,

Sergei's daughter.

You have your mother's eyes.

A Bolshevik aristocrat, ha?!

Filipov. Kavelenko. Tsarist officers.

- Yes.

Do you trust them?

Trotsky does, do you?

- Trotsky is a war commissar,

and he's the commander

of the Red Army.

You disagree with Trotsky or not?

Not exactly!


Then you agree to the need

for vigilance?

Yes, absolutely! Resolute vigilance!

Here's a list of unreliable officers.

I want them to be summoned here


Trotsky should be informed.

- Trotsky does not understand!

We do.

All the officers on your list

are here,

as you requested, Koba!

Why? What's the reason?

Because I fought for you, bastards!

This barge was not sunk, Klim.

Be very careful.

They'll all be lost.

Be very, very careful.

"24 former Tsarist officers

suspected of treason

have drowned...

Unfortunate accident.

Replacing them with reliable elements. "

No, that's murder!

Murder, murder...

He says - an accident.

The officers were being held

on a barge, and the barge sank.

And who put them on the barge?

Irreplaceable professional officers...

And who killed them?


I demand his immediate recall!

Stalin is a trusted comrade.

Replace him, or I resign.

With Trotsky or Stalin.

Trotsky or Stalin?

You don't understand -

it must be Trotsky AND Stalin.

We need you BOTH!

Trotsky never forgave my father.

They avoided each other. Even when

living in the Kremlin apartments

with the rest of the party leaders.

bThe Kremlin

April 1919/b

It was there

my parents celebrated their wedding.

Look! You're still so young!

You were younger than me

when you ran away with papa.

So I was but you should've seen

your papa:

He was so handsome!

An idealistic young revolutionary.

Exactly like Koba.

No, Koba's not like your papa.

You think he's too old?

He's a Georgian. I know Georgian men.

But you?!

I know:
you don't approve.

But I want to be with him.

Feel happy for me.

For us.

Nadya, Nadya. Nadenka.

Koba is... here looking for you.

She isn't that far away!

Joy, eternal joy!

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Paul Monash

Paul Monash (June 14, 1917 – January 14, 2003) was an American television and film producer and screenwriter. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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