Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming!

The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming!

4.6 11
Director: Norman Jewison, Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin

Cast: Norman Jewison, Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin


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Just because The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming was vastly overrated by contemporary critics does not make it any less amusing. The story gets under way when a Soviet submarine accidently gets lodged in a sandbar on the coast of a New England town. In his feature film debut, Alan Arkin plays the sub's second-in-command, who is ordered by commander


Just because The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming was vastly overrated by contemporary critics does not make it any less amusing. The story gets under way when a Soviet submarine accidently gets lodged in a sandbar on the coast of a New England town. In his feature film debut, Alan Arkin plays the sub's second-in-command, who is ordered by commander Theodore Bikel to free up the sub and skeedaddle before an international incident erupts. Hoping to secure a power boat to tug the sub out to sea, Arkin and his men call upon vacationing TV writer Carl Reiner, passing themselves off as Norwegians. When this ruse fails, Arkin is reluctantly compelled to force Reiner at gunpoint to fetch his motorboat, while gentle-natured Russian sailor John Philip Law is left behind to guard Reiner's wife Eva Marie Saint and pretty neighbor girl Andrea Dromm (yes, love blooms). The plot thickens when the locals, notably bullnecked sheriff Brian Keith and superpatriot Paul Ford, spread the word that the Russians have "invaded" their little community. Several slapstick complications later, the Russians and the locals face each other down in the center of the village, weapons at the ready. Fortunately, World War 3 is averted when the Russians and the villagers band together to rescue young Johnny Whittaker from falling to his doom. Enormously popular upon its first release, The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming still works on a slick sitcom level. The film was based on a novel by Nathaniel Benchley, the son of humorist Robert Benchley and the father of Jaws author Peter Benchley.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Gleefully thumbing its nose at Cold War paranoiacs, this daffy 1966 comedy lampooned the then-pervasive idea that a Soviet attempt to invade the United States was a genuine possibility. It concerns the accidental grounding on the Massachusetts coast of a Russian submarine commanded by curious sightseer Theodore Bikel, who sends junior officer Alan Arkin ashore for assistance. His arrival throws the small seaside community into a tizzy, and sheriff Brian Keith struggles to maintain order while locals Paul Ford and Jonathan Winters overreact to Arkin’s presence. Carl Reiner and Eva Marie Saint attempt to restore a little sanity to the situation. The Soviet Union’s demise and the subsequent thaw in relations between America and Russia have taken the sting out of this amiable farce, but the script, direction (by Moonstruck’s Norman Jewison) and performances continue to hold up. The culture-clash humor still tickles the funny bone, and the cast -- dominated by some of the entertainment world’s most formidable comedic talents -- is absolutely superb. The Russians Are Coming! might be a relic from another era, but it has a timeless appeal that makes it well worth owning. Jewison hosts a “making-of” featurette for the DVD edition.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Hailed as a masterpiece upon its release, The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming! has lost a lot of its punch over the decades, but is still a funny and entertaining film. Part of it is inevitable; Russians was very much a product of its time, and with the end of the Cold War, much of its humor has become dated. But the movie also suffers a bit from the same comedic elephantiasis that affected its screenwriter's earlier It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: the cast is a bit too large, the film is a bit too long, and the plotting is a bit too needlessly complicated. In addition, the humor of the film is too often mild and gentle when it seems to be striving for bigger laughs. Russians' cast, however, could not be beat. Alan Arkin gives a sterling performance, one of the sweetest and most appealing comedic portraits of the decade. His timing is impeccable, and his humanity is crucial to the film's success. Carl Reiner's playwright, the other sane voice in the town, is also wonderfully realized, and he makes the sequence in which he is tied to Tessie O'Shea one of the film's highlights. Although Eva Marie Saint is rather wasted, Brian Keith, Theodore Bikel, and Jonathan Winters all shine. If Russians is not a masterpiece, it's still an excellent opportunity to experience some very fine comedic acting.

Product Details

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Original Release:
Kl Studio Classics
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Special Features

Making-of featurette: hosted by producer/director Norman Jewison; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Carl Reiner Walt Whittaker
Eva Marie Saint Elspeth Whittaker
Alan Arkin Lt. Rozanov
Brian Keith Link Mattocks
Jonathan Winters Norman Jonas
Theodore Bikel Russian Captain
Paul Ford Fendall Hawkins
Tessie O'Shea Alice Foss
John Phillip Law Alexei Kolchin
Andrea Dromm Alison Palmer
Ben Blue Luther Grilk
Sheldon Golomb Pete Whittaker
Cindy Putnam Annie Whittaker
Guy Raymond Lester Tilly
Cliff Norton Charlie Hinkson
Philip Coolidge Mr. Porter
Don Keefer Irving Christiansen
Parker Fennelly Mr. Everett
Doro Merande Muriel Everett
Vaughn Taylor Mr. Bell
Johnny Whitaker Jerry Maxwell
Nikita Knatz Gromolsky
Milos Milos Lysenko
Gino Gottarelli Kregitkin
Peter Brocco Rev. Hawthorne
Richard Schaal Oscar Maxwell
Sheldon Collins Pete Whittaker
Michael J. Pollard Airplane Mechanic (uncredited)

Technical Credits
Norman Jewison Director,Producer
Del Armstrong Makeup
Hal Ashby Editor
Nathaniel Benchley Screenwriter
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Robert F. Boyle Art Director
Daniel W. Hays Special Effects
Peggy Lee Songwriter
Johnny Mandel Score Composer
Walter Mirisch Producer
William Rose Screenwriter
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
J. Terry Williams Editor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming!
1. Chapter I
2. Chapter II
3. Chapter III
4. Chapter IV
5. Chapter V
6. Chapter VI
7. Chapter VII
8. Chapter VIII


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The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming! 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
sadie_leona More than 1 year ago
Have you got a few extra hours? No? Then make some time. Watch this movie! Inexplicably hilarious. Takes a bit to get going, but it gets there!
Happy_Gardner More than 1 year ago
For those of us that remember drills at school of ducking under desks in case of attack by those bad Russian Communists, this movie hits the spot. Not intellectual, but fun to watch with the family. For what it's worth, even the Russian spoken in the movie is really quite good linguistically (including some swear words:^) And there's nothing like a happy ending. Alan Arkin, Brian Keith and Jonathan Winters are great in this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is one of the best movies i have seen. The humor is second to none, and the quirky small town could be anywhere and anytime in recent history. Everyone will remind you of someone you know. A must see!
DrGuam More than 1 year ago
My family lived next door to a movie theater for several years and this was one gem of that era that I have never forgotten. A few times in the intervening decades I've had the chance to see this and tried to never miss it. Now that I have a copy I can laugh again and again at will. If you can find my 'Aunt Olga' (a Russian speaking family friend) she will happily sit with you and translate the Russian if see doesn't break down laughing hysterically! The townspeople dealing with their own private invasion, Brian Keith trying to keep a lid on the chaos you know is coming, and Jonathan Winters, well being himself all are just incredibly effective humour. Watch with friends and be prepared to watch it again! A cold war classic that for all the right reasons ranks alongside Dr. Strangelove!! A must have for film buffs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
we grew up with this film, we introduced it to our children at a young age and now they request it for birthday & Christmas gifts. Great acting by all. Jonathan Winters and Ford are too funny.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm only 20 years old, and maybe a little unusual in my appreciation for history, but I have always adored this movie, even when I was younger than 10. Not only is it one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, but it's so incredibly human and touching. The actors, whether they actually learned Russian or spoke lines phonetically, speak amazingly well, far surpassing many attempts at foreign language in other movies. Not only is the movie enjoyable, it is so believable, and quite an astounding statement to be made during the Cold War. It was based on a book called ''The Off Landers,'' next on my reading list if I can find a copy. If only modern movies could be half as good as this wonderful film, I would stop wishing I was born into the wrong era.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly one of the funniest movies ever made. You can't help but laugh at a film that makes so much fun of the human condition. Of course, this is much funnier to someone like myself that remembers the cold war; it makes the situation of a Russion submarine stuck on a sandbar of a New England island just that much more hilarious. Carl Riener, Paul Ford, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters, and of course, Alan Arkin are all in top form. When you look up the word ''comedy'' in my dictionary, there's the poster to this film.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the funniest movies ever made.
Guest More than 1 year ago
no subtitles for when the men who are talking russian want happen that part was to be subtitle,, in overall it is a funny movie but disappointing that when the men talked russian you had no Idea want was said and I think that part would have been good to.
pjk9999 More than 1 year ago
A great cast and plot that moves well, and takes you for a great ride. It is hard to find a real villian in this film, though there are one or two. A bit dated, but a comedy that the whole family can watch. A real blast for the babybommers who lived through these times. Hard to believe it was made during the cold war. Just a fun one day romp on a small island getaway. Not a deep movie, just a fun one to watch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I lived through the cold war and this movie captures its insanity and silliness with no apologies and none necessary. I loved it then and I love it now.