The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming
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When a sightseeing Soviet commander runs his submarine aground off the New England coast, the crew's attempts to find a boat to dislodge them almost start WWIII! Alan Arkin leads an all-star castincluding Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Brian Keith and Jonathan Wintersin this riotous, uproarious [and] side-splitting (Cue) comedy! Russian Lt. Rozanov (Arkin) and his crew hit the beaches of Massachusetts unaware of the panic they're about to start. Despite the Russians harmless intentions, the folks in town think a full-scale Soviet invasion has been launched! What's worse, theirpolice chief (Keith) has left his hysterical assistant (Winters) in charge and the one man who knows the truth (Reiner) is only stirring up more chaos!
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming looks overly cute now, but really, it was pretty hip for 1966. The cold war was in full deep-freeze when this well-meaning comedy tried to thaw things out a little: a Soviet submarine beaches on the New England coast, sending the locals into a paranoid frenzy. The chief pleasure of the film is Alan Arkin as the sub captain; this was Arkin's first major film role, and he had already mastered his exasperated, slow-burning frown (to say nothing of mastering his Russian dialogue). Arkin snagged an Oscar® nomination, with the movie receiving nominations for best picture, adapted screenplay, and editing--nods that reflect the film's smashing success at the box office. Somewhat dated now, the movie still has its place in the roster of raucous, American small-town comedies; seen in childhood, it will linger nicely as a depiction of foolish grown-ups. --Robert Horton
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Top customer reviews
I think the consensus at the time was that it was overrated and short on real comedy. But we found it to be refreshing in a way, and laughed quite a bit at the situations portrayed. I fear that some, maybe even much, of the humor would be lost on today's viewers. I'm not sure that very many persons fifty or older would even know what a switchboard operator did. However, if the general nature of the situation is understood and allowed, that a submarine from an unfriendly nation has run aground in our coastal waters, then the humor in scenes like the one where the Russians, as a group, are walking almost robotically down a street in town saying, "Ee-mer-jen-see! Ee-mer-jen-see! Ev-ree-body to get from strit!" might be truly enjoyed by some. It's a fun kind of movie that permits a glimpse of sorts back into another time and, in a way, can remind us that some of the things that concern us, given the right circumstances, can be pretty funny.
Part comedy, part satire, part political commentary. To some, the movie starts a little slow but accelerates rapidly. Typical of movies made in this time period no sides are really taken. On the island, the left wingers, and right-wingers all act equally goofy, and so do the Russians.
There's a confrontational scene near the end of the movie that graphically summarizes the Cold War situation.
I hadn't seen this movie sense originally seeing it in the theater when it came out. It is interesting to observe how some things have changed in our relationship with Russia but other things have not. I can remember in 1964 how vital it was to prove America's superiority in outer space. Today, America pays Russia about $65 million for a seat to get to the international space station.
Anyway, this is not a heavy-handed movie but lots of good fun and very enjoyable to watch. The directors comments are available at the end of the movie and are extremely interesting. In fact, in watching this movie you suspect you are watching something important. The directors comments demonstrate that is so.
Jonathan Winters is terrific. Not as good as he was in, "Mad Mad World". Look for the scene where he gives instructions to his family members prior to leaving his house to engage the Russians. Note his interaction with the baby, hilarious !
The Blu-ray disc comes in a good sturdy case, not like the cheap ones that you have to replace.
Highly recommend this movie.
About a decade ago, my wife and I hosted a Russian high school student. (We remain in close Skype contact). He enjoyed the movie immensely, and reported that in the film, the Russian language was spoken fluently. I have since learned that Alan Arkin is fluent in Russian, as is Theo Bikel.
Releasing this movie fifty years ago was a bold decision. I wonder if it would be possible to make another like it today. The talking media heads, especially at MSNBC, should be "condemned" to sit and see "The Russians are Coming," even though I suspect that it would have little effect. Perhaps it is up us "ordinary folks," like the Gloucester Islanders, to set them straight.
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And it does it without any curse words or nudity!!Read more