Russian Movies for Learning the Language

Can I learn Russian by watching movies? We are positive that you can!

You can considerably improve your language skills by reading the subtitles while listening and understanding the spoken Russian at the same time.

Let’s explore why learning Russian by watching movies is advisable and which ones are the best for learning the language!

Learning Russian by Watching Movies

Learning a language by watching movies is beneficial in a number of ways:

  • It’s a fun way to learn. Think about it: you can learn while enjoying a favorite pastime.
  • Learning Russian by watching movies is cheap yet effective. It costs literally nothing to increase your vocabulary to fluency.
  • An average movie is long enough to immerse you in Russian. A key part of learning a foreign language is practicing it with native speakers, and a Russian movie is a great way to listen to native speakers without even leaving your room.
  • Equally important, you can learn theme-related vocabulary by watching movies – based on the theme of the movie. Russian cinema offers highly diverse content – there’s something for everyone. All you need to do is pick one, according to your preferences.
  • Watching a movie offers an opportunity for flexible learning. You decide whether you watch a film in one go or pause it to write down what you hear. What’s more, you can always go back to a scene you may want to rewatch.

The Best Russian Movies to Learn From

In this section, you will find the best and most popular Russian movies to learn from. We will offer recommendations for both beginner and intermediate/advanced learners, based on genre preference. Bookmark the page to keep it for later!

Russian Mafia Movies


“Ширли-мырли” / What a Mess! (1995)

Learning Russian by watching movies

Adventure comedy

What it’s about

What a Mess! is an adventure comedy movie. An unusually large diamond found in Siberia is stolen by Vasiliy Krolikov, a thief who is pursued by both police detective Piskunov and mafia boss Kozyulski. The events are complicated by the fact that Krolikov is one of identical quadruplet brothers, who appear in the story one at a time. You can see the trailer for the movie here.


“Брат” / Brother (1997)

Learn Russian through movies

Neo-noir crime drama

“Брат-2” / Brother 2 (2000)

Best Russian movies for language learning

Neo-noir crime drama

What it’s about

The main character, an ex-soldier with a personal honor code, enters the family crime business in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The movie is packed with Russian slang, so we recommend it to intermediate/advanced learners.

Take a look at the trailers for Brother and Brother 2.

Russian Sci-Fi Movies


“Защитники” /Guardians (2017)

Learn Russian with superhero movies

Superhero film

What it’s about

During the Cold War, an organization called “Patriot” created a super-hero squad that had to hide their identities for years. When hard times come, they must reveal themselves.

Watch the movie trailer here.


“Солярис” / Solaris (1972)

The best way to learn Russian

Sci-fi drama

What it’s about

This 1972 film is especially good for learning space-related vocabulary and is based on the 1961 sci-fi novel of the same name.

The movie follows the emotional turmoil of the crew members aboard a space station. The director of the film, Andrei Tarkovsky, is considered one of the most influential filmmakers of all time.

Check out the movie trailer here.

Russian Horror Movies


“Гоголь. Начало” / Gogol. The Beginning (2017)

Learn Russian through horror movies

What it’s about

In 1829, Nikolay Gogol, a young Third Section clerk, is desperate because his own books seem mediocre. In addition, he is suffering from brutal epileptic seizures.

Investigator Yakov Guro accidentally witnesses one and realizes that Gogol’s visions are keys to solving actual crimes. Gogol and Guro thus take on an extremely weird case that brings them to the small and mysterious village of Dikanka.

For a sneak peek of the movie, watch the trailer here.


“Вий” / Viy (1967)

Russian movies for intermediate Russian learners

What it’s about

A young priest is ordered to preside over the wake of a dead witch in a small, old, remote wooden church. This entails spending three nights completely alone with the corpse.

This movie is an absolute Russian horror classic! Brace yourself for chills and watch the horror trailer here.

Russian Spy Movies


“Бриллиантовая рука” / The Diamond Arm (1969)

Learn Russian through comedy

Crime comedy

What it’s about

The life of an ordinary Soviet citizen is turned upside down when he accidentally intervenes in the huge operation of an international crime group that trades illegally obtained jewelry.

Discover this spy movie trailer right here.


“Утомлённые солнцем” / Burnt by the Sun (1994)

Learn Russian with drama movies

Drama, war

What it’s about

In 1936 in the Soviet Union, the shadow of Stalin’s horrors falls on a famous revolutionary hero. He is accused of being a foreign spy. Everyone knows it’s nonsense, but his life is already in a downward spiral.

This movie won the Grand Prix at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and several other honors.

The movie trailer is available for viewing here.

Russian Romantic Movies


“Купе номер 6” / Compartment No. 6 (2021)

These are the best movies to learn Russian


What it’s about

A Finnish student traveling by train from Moscow to Murmansk to study the Kanozero Petroglyphs forms an unlikely friendship with a gruff Russian miner.

If drama is your thing, then take a look at the trailer here.


“Москва слезам не верит” /Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1979)

Learn Russian with movies

Comedy, drama, romance

What it’s about

The movie tells the life stories of three girlfriends, their dreams and disillusions, different careers and paths. And the love of their lives.

Have a look at the trailer here.

Russian Comedies


“Иван Васильевич меняет профессию” / Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future (1979)

Learn Russian through comedy

What it’s about

An ordinary Soviet building manager living in the 20th century looks exactly like the Tsar of All Rus’, Ivan IV the Terrible – except for the fact that he would never have known this, until his neighbor managed to create a time machine that worked.

For a laughter-filled break, see the comedy film’s trailer here.


“Служебный роман” / Office Romance (1977)

Learn Russian through romantic movies

What it’s about

The life of the entire statistical bureau becomes crazy when an ordinary worker, a shy man, falls in love with the boss, who just happens to be the exact opposite.

Click here to see the movie trailer.

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