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)
Definitely one of Russia’s best war movies in English. This is profesionally 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)
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)
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.
Collection of legal free Russian films online on Youtube
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.
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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.
More recent Russian cinema on Youtube. But as we cannot verify copyright protection we have removed the links.
The Island – Ostrov online with English subtitles (2006)
This Russian religious film about an Eastern Orthodox orthodox Monk is considered to be the best Russian film of 2006. It did quite well at the box office and won many prizes. Very high quality video and great subs.
Fortress of War online with English subs
Another popular Russian war film. This 2010 war film is about the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941. It goes by the Russian title Brestskaya krepost. Here the full film.
Everybody dies but me (2008) online
Vse umrut aya Ostanus (English title: Everyboyd dies but me) is a popular recent Russian drama film about two young girls experiencing their first prom. It is Russian spoken, but comes with English subtitles.
Brat – Brother (1996)
A 1996 Russian crime film that meant the breakthrough for Aleksei Balabanov. It won the highest prize at the Russian national film festival. In 2000 he released a sequel. That one can also be watched online with English subtitles.
Prisoner of Caucasus online (1996)
Yet another great Russian war film directed and written by legendary Russian filmmaker Sergey Bodrov. It tells the tale of two Russian prisoners of war, and is nominated for an Oscar.
We’ll live till Monday (1968)
We were very surprised to find this underground and underrated top Russian romantic drama film online with English subtitles for free. It is about a Russian history teacher at a highschool who falls on difficult times.
Viy online (1967)
Watch the very first, ever created in the Soviet-Union, Russian horror film online. Viy is an adaptation of the book by Russia’s literature giant Nikolai Gogol. He based the book on tales of Ukrainian folklore. Unfortunately the film is not a complete full one, but all the parts are available on Youtube.
Russian arthouse: Cranes are Flying online (1957)
An incredibly meaningful film and quite a sensation in the fifties. It is one of the few works of Russian cinema that was awarded the Palme D’or at Cannes. A very good war romance drama.
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.
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