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The Death of Stalin (2017)

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Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.

Director:

Armando Iannucci
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Popularity
1,382 ( 13)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 18 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olga Kurylenko ... Maria Veniaminovna Yudina
Tom Brooke ... Sergei
Paddy Considine ... Andreyev
Justin Edwards ... Spartak Sokolov - Conductor 1
Adrian McLoughlin ... Josef Stalin
Simon Russell Beale ... Lavrenti Beria
Jeffrey Tambor ... Georgy Malenkov
Steve Buscemi ... Nikita Khrushchev
Michael Palin ... Vyacheslav Molotov
Paul Ready ... NKVD Officer Delov
Yulya Muhrygina Yulya Muhrygina ... Woman in Layers of Clothes
Andrey Korzhenevskiy Andrey Korzhenevskiy ... Man in Layers of Clothes
Roger Ashton-Griffiths ... Musician 1 (as Roger Ashton Griffiths)
Jeremy Limb Jeremy Limb ... Musician 2
Andy Gathergood ... Citizen Bundled into Car
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Storyline

In early-1953 Moscow, under the Great Terror's heavy cloak of state paranoia, the ever-watchful Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin, collapses unexpectedly of a brain hemorrhage. Inevitably, when his body is discovered the following morning, a frenetic surge of raw panic spreads like a virus among the senior members of the Council of Ministers as they scramble to maintain order, weed out the competition, and, ultimately, take power. But in the middle of a gut-wrenching roller-coaster of incessant plotting, tireless machinations, and frail allegiances, absolutely no one is safe; not even the feared chief of the secret police, Lavrenti Beria. In the end, who will prevail after the death of Stalin? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy of terrors. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

rated R for language throughout, violence and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France | Belgium | Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 March 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Death of Stalin See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$184,805, 11 March 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,041,828, 26 July 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jason Issacs and Steve Buscemi previously starred together in Armageddon (1998) See more »

Goofs

Khrushchev's wife Ninais mentioned in the end credits as "Nina Khrushchev". However in Russia female names with "ev" at the end are named "eva" so it should have been said "Nina Khrushcheva". See more »

Quotes

Kaganovich: Out of my way you fannies!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Black-and-white photographs of the main characters appear over the end credits, but various figures are airbrushed out, have their faces defaced, or have other people superimposed over them, as per Soviet photos of Trotsky and purge victims. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Evening Urgant: Ëlka (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude Op. 28, No. 4
Written by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

Ultimately more chilling than comedic
2 November 2017 | by rogerdarlingtonSee all my reviews

This is not the film I was expecting. Knowing that it was both written and directed by the British Armando Iannucci who gave us the outrageous delights of "In The Loop", "The Thick of It" and Veep", I thought that I was going to encounter a full-blown, satirical comedy (and the trailer had confirmed this impression), but instead - while there are certainly plenty of laughs from a sharp script - this is an altogether darker work, full of foreboding, terror and casual slaughter, than I was anticipating. It is not just the tone that is off-kilter; the brilliant cast makes no attempt to effect a Russian accent but offers everything from a Yorkshire accent to an unashamedly American one.

Several of the characters (the dictator himself played by Adrian McLoughlin) and his eventual successor Khruschev (Steve Buscemi) are known to everyone, but others - like war hero Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) and spy chief Beria (Simon Russell Beale) - will be less-known and still others - such as Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) and Molotov (Michael Palin) - will be unfamiliar to many viewers, so you need to be something of an enthusiast for Soviet history to pick up on all the allusions. And real historians will rightly challenge some of the detail because there are some major errors (although these might rather be deliberate distortions to enhance the plot). Iannucci has moved from contemporary Whitehall and Washington to take us to Moscow in 1953 but, if we were expecting "Carry On Up The Kremlin", we have something much more gut-wrenching and all the more effective.

A few weeks before the release of this film, I was in Georgia and visited Gori, the town near where Stalin was born. The year after Khruschev denounced Stalin, a museum was opened in the town to venerate Stalin's leadership and essentially (and astonishingly) the messaging remains unchanged to this day. Oh, how I wish they could show this chilling movie at that museum.


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