Alexander Nevsky (movie)

Alexander Nevsky ( Russian :  Александр Невский ) is a Soviet epic film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and Dmitry Vassiliev and released in 1938 . The original music was composed by Sergei Prokofiev .


The film follows a flagship event in the history of Russia in the xiii th century: the opposition of Prince Alexander Nevsky to the invasion of Teutonic knights , including the Battle of Lake Peipsi which ended their eastern expansion.

Technical sheet

  • Title: Alexander Nevski
  • English title: Alexander Nevsky
  • Original title: Александр Невский
  • Director: Sergei Eisenstein and Dmitry Vassiliev
  • Scenario: Sergei Eisenstein and Piotr Pavlenko
  • Photography: Édouard Tissé
  • Sets: Iossif Chpinel
  • Music: Sergei Prokofiev
  • Editing: E. Tobak
  • Country of origin: Soviet Union
  • Original language: Russian
  • Genre: historical film
  • Duration: 112 minutes
  • Release dates:
    • USSR :(first in Moscow ), (national release)
    • United States :
    • France :


This section is empty, insufficiently detailed or incomplete. Your help is welcome! How to do ?
  • Nikolay Cherkasov : Alexander Nevsky
  • Nikolai Okhlopkov : Vasily Bouslai
  • Andrei Abrikosov : Gavrilo Olexitch
  • Dimitri Orlov : Ignat, the master gunsmith


Control of the Stalinist authorities 1 , Alexander Nevsky was originally conceived as an epic film propaganda against the expansionist Nazi : the Teutonic Knights and the Sword , the Russian territory invaders and clearly evoke a threat.

Two months before the release of the film, the Munich agreements have delayed a war. Thus the movie should always be done at two levels: the xiii th century marries a contemporary context. By this page of history, the USSRsays that it is ready to defend itself against an invader whatever but already designated.

Alexander Nevsky harangues the people to face a double threat: Mongols and Tatars in the east, Teutons and Livonians in the west. The Mongol is presented as cunning, and the Teuton as a ruthless soldier. Alexander decides in the urgency to attack the man of war, the deceit will wait. Patriotic bravery mingles with stereotypes scattered on both sides: the coward, the generous, the brave, the sacrificed.

The close-ups of Édouard Woche’s faces , characteristic of Eisenstein’s films, accentuate bravery or treachery. The plastic treatment of images (scene of the Teutonic knight engulfed in the waters, soldiers of the two armies disappearing in the two armies treated as two indistinct masses) made a date; a director like Guillermo Del Toro pays frequent homage to Eisenstein 1 .

Eisenstein sets up the audiovisual counterpoint here: Prokofiev’s music gives rise to contrasts, sometimes comical, sometimes dramatic, with images.

Stalin’s favorite actor and member of his party, Nikolay Tcherkassov was imposed on Eisenstein for this film as well as the next, Ivan the Terrible 2 . The director was closely watched during the shooting of film 1 and the actors are members of the Party [ref. necessary] . In addition, typing was prohibited [ref. necessary] as well as the intellectual montage. The tour de force of this film is symbolized by the final sequence of the battle on the ice: despite the censorship, the director has managed to revolutionize his own cinema [ref. necessary] . After the signing of the German-Soviet pactThe film, useless to the Soviet authorities, was removed from the room 1 . But with the outbreak of Operation Barbarossa thethe film reappeared to galvanize the patriotic drive against the Germanic attack.


The score of the film, signed Sergei Prokofiev , exists in the form of a concert cantata also titled Alexander Nevsky . There is also a version of the score transcribed for orchestra of harmonyby the Canadian composer Yves Lapierre and created by the Harmony of the Municipal School of Music of Castelsarrasin [ref. necessary] .

Cultural influence

Many scenes from the film were used by filmmaker Ralph Bakshi in his rotoscopic films , notably in The Wizards of War or his animated version of The Lord of the Rings .

Scenes of the film appear in the clip of “Stupeflip vite !!!” of the Stupeflip group .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ a , b , c and d Jean-Francois Rauger , “Alexander Nevsky”, Le Monde -Television , August 23-24, p. 6
  2. ↑ La Belle Youth (translated from the Polish by Anna Posner), Ed. Black on White , 2012, p.109 ( ISBN  978-2-88250-267-4 )

Leave a comment