Film: Assassin of the Tsar


The Assassin of the Tsar is a 1991 Soviet drama film, starring the English actor Malcolm McDowell and the Soviet/Russian actor Oleg Yankovsky (1944-2009). It was entered into the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. There are two versions. One is filmed in English which later was dubbed over the Russian actors, and one in Russian. 

Timofyev (Malcolm McDowell) is a patient in an asylum who claims to be the man who assassinated Tsar Alexander II in 1881, and his grandson Tsar Nicholas II in 1918. Doctor Smirnov (Oleg Yankovsky) decides to apply a peculiar therapeutic method on him, but things go in an unexpected way.

A good portion of the film depicts the last days of the Russian Imperial Family in Ekaterinburg, largely narrated by Timofyev’s voice-over from the perspective of Yakov Yurovsky, the chief guard and ultimately executioner of the family. In the scenes, Yurovsky is impersonated by Timofyev (McDowell) and Tsar Nicholas II by Dr. Smirnov (Yankovsky). Other members of the family function merely as background, with few or no lines.

PHOTOS: Soviet/Russian actor Oleg Yankovsky as Tsar Nicholas II; the Imperial family in Crimea; and Malcolm McDowell as Yakov Yurovsky

The cast includes:

  • Oleg Yankovsky — Dr.Smirnov / Tsar Nicholas II
  • Malcolm McDowell — Timofyev / Yakov Yurovsky
  • Armen Dzhigarkhanyan — Alexander Yegorovich, Smirnov’s superior
  • Olga Antonova — Empress Alexandra
  • Dariya Majorova — Olga Nikolaevna
  • Evgeniya Kryukova — Tatiana Nikolaevna
  • Alyona Teremizova — Maria Nikolaevna
  • Olga Borisova — Anastasia Nikolaevna
  • Aleksei Logunov — Alexei Nikolaevich
  • Yury Belyayev — Alexander II of Russia
  • Anastasiya Nemolyaeva — nurse
  • Anzhelika Ptashuk — Marina, Smirnov’s mate

Of particular interest in this film are the recreation of the facade and the interiors of the Ipatiev House, where the Imperial family where all murdered on the night of 16/17 July 1918, by a Bolshevik firing squad. 

PHOTOS: The facade and interiors of the Ipatiev House were recreated for this film

Click HERE to watch the English version of The Assassin of the Tsar in it’s entirety – 1 hour, 40 mins.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 30 August 2018