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A Selection of the Best Film and TV Adaptations of Russian Novels

Russian adaptations of Russia's great novels are a great way to get a genuinely Russian take on the Russian classics.

This article from our archives was first published on RI in June 2015
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This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Russian literature is one of humanity’s great cultural treasures.

However it is not always translated well into Western languages. Westerners tend to import their ideas into Russian novels, Westernising them in a way that seriously distorts them.

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A great way of getting a Russian take on Russian literature is to watch Russian movie or TV adaptations of Russian novels. They are consistently excellent and often exceptional and they can be easily obtained in DVD format from Amazon. Some of these adaptations can also be watched free on the Internet, including on Youtube.

Here is a brief and very incomplete selection:

  • And Quiet Flows The Don (1957)
  • The Lady With The Little Dog (1960)
  • War and Peace (1967)
  • Anna Karenina (1967)
  • Uncle Vanya (1970)
  • Crime and Punishment (1970)
  • Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano (1977)
  • Oblomov (1979)
  • Heart of a Dog (1988)
  • The Idiot (2003)
  • The Master and Margarita (2005)
  • The Brothers Karamazov (2009)

There is also a very interesting television adaptation of Doctor Zhivago (2006) that makes an interesting contrast to the famous 1965 David Lean film.

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