Happy New Year, all! Here are the top nine Russian and Soviet Christmas and New Year’s movies. Starting with The Irony of Fate, which millions of Russians rewatch every New Year’s Eve, this list stretches down to other classics like Carnival Night and Gentlemen of Fortune and should help you find something fun to celebrate the holiday season. Plus, all these festive movies are available to watch on Russian Film Hub. Enjoy!
The Irony of Fate is an iconic Soviet New Year’s classic, whose wild plot is well known around the world. Every year, Zhenya Lukashin and his friends go to the bathhouse to have a good steam and celebrate New Year’s Eve. This year, however, after one too many toasts, the group gets so drunk that they mistakenly send Zhenya on a flight to Leningrad…
Zhenya drunkenly sleeps through the flight, and once he lands promptly takes a taxi to his home address. In an amusing commentary on the cookie-cutter high-rise buildings of the Soviet Union, the Leningrad building Zhenya goes to is exactly the same as his own in Moscow, all the way down to the door lock. When the apartment’s tenant, Nadya, comes home to find a passed out Zhenya, things get complicated and hostile. But soon enough a romance blossoms that you’ll find yourself cheering for.
Evenings on a Farm Near Didanka, also known as The Night Before Christmas, is the best film adaptation there is of the Gogol story of the same name. This whimsical, family-friendly film tells the story of a snowy Ukrainian village visited by a demon. The local blacksmith, Vakula, manages to overcome him and make him help him attain a pair of royal slippers to woo the girl of his dreams.
Father Frost is a classic Russian Christmas film, full of many interweaving traditional fairy tale stories and tropes. A kind young girl, Nastya, is sent to freeze to death in the forest by her evil stepmother. Meanwhile, a proud young boy, Ivan, has fallen for Nastya. However, he is punished for his narcissism when the forest sorcerer turns his head into that of a bear’s. Nevertheless, Father Frost himself intervenes to help this young, burgeoning love find a way.
Carnival Night is another fun New Year’s film by Eldar Ryazanov, the director of The Irony of Fate. A team of young employees of a club is preparing to celebrate the New Year. Unfortunately, though, the bureaucrat director, Ogurtsov, tries to control them and spoil their fun. However, the enterprising youths find a way to trick their grouchy supervisor and organize a raucous New Year’s ball.
Yolki is a popular, seven-film Russian franchise that celebrates the magic of the New Year and the interrelatedness of us all. In the first Yolki, a young girl in an orphanage is being mocked because she believes her father is the president. However, miracles can happen on New Year’s Eve, and thanks to the theory of six degrees of separation, a cast of characters from all walks of life, coming from 11 cities across Russia will make her wish come true.
This gorgeous fairy tale tells the amazing journey of a brave little girl, Gerda, who tries to find her friend, Kai, who has been kidnapped by the Snow Queen. Along the way, Gerda overcomes a series of obstacles and adversities before she can meet the powerful sorceress. There are two famous Snow Queen films that each have their own remarkable beauty: the live action 1967 version and the 1957 animated film.
Gentlemen of Fortune is truly one of the most hilarious Russian comedies there is. After the golden helmet of Alexander the Great is excavated by Soviet archeologists in a dig in in Central Asia, the artefact gets stolen by a gang of no-good criminals. Soon enough, two of them are apprehended, but their leader still looms large, out of the grasp of the authorities. The police then hatch a risky plan – they impersonate the gang’s leader by sending his doppelganger (a kindly kindergarten teacher) into prison to extract information from the accomplices. Naturally, things don’t go exactly to plan and this playful case of mistaken identity leads to countless laughs and complicated moments.
Dima Gorin’s Career is a touching comedy that explores the path to Soviet happiness. Dima is a young man working at a savings bank in Moscow. One day, after he gives too much money to a construction worker from Siberia, he must travel there to sort his mistake out. Once he gets to the remote taiga, however, he discovers a simpler, more traditional world. He falls in love with this place as well as the lovely young Galya whom he meets there.
Last Year’s Snow Was Falling is an enchanting, surreal animation that explores what it means to love. A foolish man keeps on disappointing his wife by repeatedly failing to collect a Christmas tree from the forest. While the man fails to please his wife, the wife proves herself incapable of forgiveness. Amid this melancholic swirl of a relationship that seems both bumbling and cruel, Last Year’s Snow Was Falling puts forward the idea that love does not have to be perfect.