One of Tarkovsky's great Soviet films - Solaris. Available for streaming with subs

Watch Russian cinema online with English subtitles – Free Russia films

Here is our overview of the free Russian films online that you can watch with English subtitles. Russian cinema is famous for great war films, action films and romantic drama films. Fortunately, several of these modern classics are available online with English or Russian subtitles. We have selected only the full films that are legal and for free. Besides old Soviet films online, We will also list the new Russian films on Netflix.   

Stream Russian online movies in the US legally

For those living in the US there are quite a few options available. professionally free English subtitled Russian movies can be found online via Hulu and Snagfilms. I have selected the best.

9th Company online – (2005)

Watch Ninth Company
Definitely one of Russia’s  best war movies in English. This is professionally English subtitled on Hulu, but there is also an English spoken version on Youtube. It is a modern war classic about a platoon of Russian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. A historic action film that  depicts the real dark side of  the bloody war back in the 1980’s. For Russian films related to war you should check out best Foreign war films online article.

The Edge online (2010)

Watch The Edge

A rather good Russian art house movie that feels like a crazy Hollywood film. It is an adventurous action flick taking place just after the Second World War in Siberia.

OrangeLove online (2007)

Watch OrangeLove

A beautiful romantic drama about two lovers who meet each other by chance, and get drawn in to a romance which is both passionate and destructive.

Attack on Leningrad online

Another decent history film about when the German Nazi’s invaded Leningrad in 1941.

War film - Attack on Leningrad (2009)

Watch Leningrad on Snagfilms with English subtitles

Collection of legal free Russian films online on Youtube in the public domain

The very best first option is Youtube. A medium that does not stop surprising us. Here you can find a variety of the best Russian films online with English subtitles. In this overview we have only selected the full Russian films.  We have only placed the ones with English subs, but there is also much works of Russian cinema with Chinese and Arabic subtitles to be streamed online. They have all been released into the public domain.

Russian film 'The Island' online with subs

To start off: free Russian silent films by Sergej Eisenstein

There are several amazing Russian silent films. The most famous directors are Kuleshov, Pudovkin and Dziga Vertov. But I mainly want to focus on Sergej Eisenstein. Russia’s most famous filmmaker and the master of soviet montage films. Here you can find several of his Russian silent films online with English intertitles.

Strike (1925)

Strike! -Sergei Eisenstein (English Complete)

Strike or Stachka was the break-through film for Eisenstein. In a typical soviet style we follow a collective group, the factory workers, going on strike.

October online (1928)

October: Ten Days That Shook the World – Sergei M. Eisenstein

A historical film, better said a propaganda film (agitprop), re-enacting the fall of the pre-soviet Russian Monarchy in 1917.

Essential: Battle Ship Potemkin online (1925)

Battleship Potemkin (1925) – Full Movie; English

If you are not a huge fan of silent films, and only want to get an impression of what it is all about, make sure to watch this one. It is still Eisenstein’s most famous film. Especially the Odessa Steps scene is legendary. Essential viewing for film students. It can be streamed here completely in English.

Andrei Tarkovsky films online

If there is one Russian filmmaker who has left his mark on Russian cinema, and world cinema for that matter, then that is Andrei Tarkovsky. After Sergei Eisenstein probably the most famous filmmaker Russia has ever produced. Fortunately a lot of his sixties, seventies and eighties movies are available on Youtube. I have selected best Tarkovsky films with English subtitles that are uploaded as complete films. According to Openculture.com these Russian films are part of the public domain.

Ivan’s Childhood online (1962)

Иваново детство / Ivan's Childhood

An incredible film about a 12-year old Russian boy who works as a spy on the eastern front.

Zerkalo – The Mirror online (1975)

The Mirror is a 1975 biographical film about an old man looking back on his past, along while telling the history of the Soviet Union.

My personal Tarkovsky favorite: Watch Solaris online (1968)

Solaris 1968 w/ Eng subs

Here you have a chance to watch Solaris with English subtitles online. Make sure you take it. If there is one Tarkovsky film that is essential viewing, it is Solaris. It can even be regarded as a Russian sci-fi film.

Through paid websites: Latest Russian films with subs on Netflix

Of course, if you wish to watch these films in very high quality then you are better served to try paid websites. Netflix is a great option. They are always with English subtitles. Especially for the most recent Russian films, like from 2012, 2013 and 2014, it is the best place to be. Here are some recommendations of recent Russian films on Netflix.

  • Elena (2011)
  • Faust (2011)
  • The Return (2003)
  • How I ended this summer (2010)
  • The Other Bank

Let us know which other ones you would recommend to watch on Netflix.

Can’t get enough of European cinema or would like to watch Russian television?

Check out our European films online by country or watch Russian tv series in our European tv series by country!

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