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Which of the actors were the first to play the roles of Soviet leaders and general secretaries in the cinema?
Which of the actors were the first to play the roles of Soviet leaders and general secretaries in the cinema?

In Soviet cinema, it was possible to earn VIP status by playing not only the main role in the film. The main thing is for the film to be successful at the box office. And, given the strict censorship and not too many premieres per year, even the actors of short cameo roles had a chance to become popular and recognizable. And if for many theater and film artists the most important role in life was the Shakespearean King Lear or Hamlet, for some the most important roles (or at least the most memorable spectator) were the images of Soviet leaders and general secretaries.

The first Ilyich in Soviet cinema was from ordinary workers

For the first anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution - its 10th anniversary in 1927, directors Sergei Eisenstein and Grigory Alexandrov were involved in filming the feature film "October". A lot of debate took place around the question: who should play the role of Lenin in the picture. The widow of the leader of the Bolsheviks N.K. Krupskaya and his younger sister Maria Ilyinichna opposed the idea of ​​entrusting the role of the leader of the proletariat to a professional actor.

The first "cinematic" Lenin

Having listened to the wishes of relatives, the directors focused on finding a common person who would look like Ilyich. And such a person was soon found. At the same time, near Novorossiysk, the film "Behind White's Lines" was being filmed. Its director, Boris Tchaikovsky, noticed a man strikingly similar to Lenin among the crowd. The name of the "actor from the people" was Vasily Nikandrov.

Vasily Nikandrov as Lenin in October

Tchaikovsky immediately sent a telegram to Leningrad. And soon Nikandrov was approved for the role of Lenin in the epic film by Eisenstein and Aleksandrov about the October revolution. After the triumphant October Revolution, the non-professional actor played Lenin in 2 more films (“Moscow in October” and “Great Way”) and one theatrical performance (“1917”). Died "the first cinematic Lenin" Vasily Nikandrov in Rostov in 1944.

The silent role of the leader of nations

Unlike V.I.Lenin, whose roles in the cinema began to be played after his death, another leader, I.V. Stalin, could repeatedly observe on the movie screen how the actors portray him during his lifetime. Naturally, in all cases, Joseph Vissarionovich was one of those who approved the cast of patriotic films. As for the first "cinematic" Stalin on domestic screens, the actor of the Kirov Theater Semyon Lvovich Goldshtab in the 1937 film "Lenin in October" directed by Mikhail Romm became him.

Semyon Goldshtab as Stalin

It is noteworthy that the first Joseph Stalin in the cinema was rather an episodic character: after all, for all the time he did not say a word in the frame. Although the directors and directors worked so hard that watching this movie, anyone understood: the role of Stalin in the October Revolution is only slightly less than that of its direct leader V.I.Lenin. Later, Joseph Vissarionovich during his lifetime, in addition to Semyon Goldshtab, was played by only 2 actors - Mikhail Gelovani or Alexei Dikiy.

An interesting fact is that Stalin first appeared in cinema not in the USSR, but in American Hollywood. In 1934, 3 years before the Goldshtab's debut in the role of Stalin in the film Lenin in October, the leader of the Soviet peoples was played by Joseph Mario (the film British Agent).

The first Khrushchev in the cinema

The fighter with the cult of personality Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev never saw himself on the movie screen. In the era when he was the secretary general, films of this topic were not filmed. And it is unlikely that Khrushchev would have approved such a feature film. It so happened that Nikita Sergeevich got on domestic film and television screens only after the collapse of the USSR. The first “full-length” film Khrushchev was the character played by Rolan Bykov in the 1993 film “Gray Wolves” directed by Igor Gostev.

Rolan Bykov as Nikita Khrushchev

But the most memorable "Nikita Sergeevich" was the actor Alexander Potapov. It was he who played Khrushchev in the 2009 Russian feature film Miracle and the TV series Zhukov (2012).

The first cinematic "dear Leonid Ilyich"

Unlike his predecessor as General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev had a chance to see himself on the movie screen. In 1975, director Yuri Ozerov shot the film "Soldiers of Freedom", in which the role of Brezhnev went to the actor Yevgeny Matveev. First of all, because of its similarity with the secretary general. The next time Matveev played Brezhnev in 1991 in the film "Clan".

Shot from the movie "Soldiers of Freedom"

As for modern Russian cinema, here the role of “dear Leonid Ilyich”, without exaggeration, was talented by several Russian actors at once. In the film about the displacement of Khrushchev from the post of general secretary of director Igor Gostev "Gray Wolves" (1993), Brezhnev was played by Alexander Belyavsky. In the 2005 television series "Brezhnev", the image of Leonid Ilyich was embodied at once by 2 actors: the young Brezhnev was played by Artur Vakha, and the role of the already elderly general secretary went to Sergei Shakurov.

In 1995, American director Oliver Stone directed the feature film Nixon, starring Anthony Hopkins. In the historical tape, there was a place for the Soviet General Secretary L.I.Brezhnev, whose role was played by the actor Boris Mikhailovich Sichkin.

Brezhnev was played not only in Soviet and Russian cinema

You can have different attitudes towards this or that leader or general secretary, as well as their role in the history of the USSR and Russia. However, for the actors who played these historical figures in the cinema, these roles have certainly become one of the most memorable in their acting career.

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