The history of Mosfilm

Although the studio was founded in the early 1920s, its official birthday is January 30, 1924. That was the day when the studio released its debut movie, On the Wings Skyward, about heroic Soviet pilots and aircraft designers during the Russian Civil War.

Over the years, Mosfilm has become Russia's largest film studio, occupying more than 34 ha on Sparrow Hills in Moscow. Its collection comprises over 1,500 movies, including Sergei Bondarchuk’s War and Peace (1965-1967) and Vladimir Menshov’s Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980) – both of which were recognized globally with the Oscars – as well as many other masterpieces by celebrated Russian directors.

Top 5 movies of all time

  • Operation Y and Shurik's Other Adventures (1965) by Leonid Gaidai. The movie features three comical vignettes with the same main character, namely Aleksandr Timofeyev aka Shurik;

  • Gentlemen of Fortune (1971) by Aleksandr Sery. A mix of crime, comedy, and drama about an innocent kindergarten teacher who is asked to disguise himself as a criminal to assist the police;

  • Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession (1973) by Leonid Gaidai. A humorous sci-fi flick based on a Mikhail Bulgakov play that will throw you for a loop; Shurik (returning from Operation Y) accidentally brings home Ivan the Terrible using his time machine;

  • They Fought for Their Country (1975) by Sergei Bondarchuk. An adaptation of the Mikhail Sholokhov novel about the feats of ordinary soldiers during World War II;

  • Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (1980) by Vladimir Menshov. A romantic drama about three young women who leave their hometowns to study in Moscow – and how their lives turn out afterward. 

All five films, ranked highest by the users of the Russian aggregator Kinopoisk, as well as many more, are available on the studio's YouTube channel (in high quality and with English subtitles) – or any other Russian streaming platform of your choice. 

Mosfilm today

Mosfilm is the genuine powerhouse of Russian filmmaking; its filming complex atop Sparrow Hills includes 17 pavilions, outdoor sets, a museum, and even a hotel. A particular point of pride for the studio are its workers: there are streets, squares, and monuments devoted to prominent directors, as well as a special monument in honor of studio staff who died in World War II. Among the studio's most recent releases are Karen Shakhnazarov’s Anna Karenina: Vronsky's Story (2017) and Khitrovka. The Sign of Four (2023), Anton Bormatov’s Vladivostok (2021), and others.

Find more related stories and movie night inspiration in our movie features and check out our concise guide to Moscow to learn more about the Russian capital.