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

Watch Russian cinema online with English subtitles – Free Russia films

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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.   

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.

Russian film 'The Island' online with subs

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.

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.

Russian arthouse: Cranes are Flying online (1957)

Летят журавли / Cranes are Flying

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.

More recent Russian cinema

9th Company online – English spoken (2005)

Definitely one of Russia’s  best war movies in English. This one on Youtube is the English spoken version. 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 Island – Ostrov online with English subtitles (2006)

The Island-(Ostrov).English Subtitles.

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

The Island-(Ostrov).English Subtitles.

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

Everybody dies but me / Vse umrut a ya ostanus: English subtitles full movie

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)

Brat (Brother) 1997 with English subtitles

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)

Prisoner of Caucasus (with english subtitles)

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'll Live Till Monday (Доживём до понедельника) English subtitles

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)

Viy (1967)with English subtitles Pt.1

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.

To conclude: 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.

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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