You like your tea served from a proper samovar.
You enjoy your blinis with a high-end caviar.
You prefer your sauna experience with a shot of vodka and a good birch branch thrashing. (Bruises? Who minds those?)
And when you want things to be all Russian, all the time, you’ll need your Russian films with Russian subtitles, of course.
It’s no big secret that you can learn Russian with subtitles.
There’s a good chance you’ve already done it or at least strongly considered doing it. Maybe you’ve watched Russian-language videos with English-language subtitles to help you along.
However, if you want to take your learning to the next level, it’s time to upgrade to some Russian-on-Russian subtitling action.
Thankfully, Russian students aren’t lacking for online Russian movie options, and plenty of these options have Russian subtitles.
So if you’re ready for a Russian learning experience unlike any other, check out these five great sources for Russian movies with Russian subtitles.
Why Watch Russian Movies with Russian Subtitles?
One great reason to watch Russian movies with Russian subtitles is that they offer a more immersive Russian experience. After all, there’s no English to get in the way of all the Russian learning goodness, allowing you to focus more fully on the Russian language.
Plus, watching Russian movies with Russian subtitles can help you better make out individual words. Listening to native speakers can be challenging, particularly since words can seem to run together, making it difficult to tell where each word starts and stops. Subtitles can help you quickly distinguish between words and help train your ear to hear these cutoffs.
Watching Russian movies with Russian subtitles is also a great learning method to combine with FluentU, where it’s easy to find a ton of great Russian learning material with reliable Russian subtitles (there are English subtitles, too, but you can easily switch any subtitles on or off).
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Finally, watching Russian movies with Russian subtitles can give you both reading and listening practice. Feel like reading? You can focus on just the subtitles. Prefer a little listening practice? Ignore the subtitles if you want. But why settle for working on just one skill when you can practice both simultaneously?
R & R! 5 Ways to Enjoy Russian Movies with Russian Subtitles
Founded in 2006, Star Media produces and distributes movies, TV shows and more. And lucky for Russian students, they also maintain an active, popular YouTube channel.
In addition to a nice selection of their productions, Star Media has a playlist specifically dedicated to subtitled movies: “Фильмы с Русскими Субтитрами” (“Movies with Russian Subtitles”) offers over 160 videos. Okay, the name of the playlist may be misleading—some TV shows definitely sneaked on there. However, there are also enough full-length movies to satisfy any Russian student.
For instance, you might enjoy “Любовь на Два Полюса” (“Love Between Two Poles”), a 2011 TV movie, in which a woman must choose between two love interests, her husband, who works for the prosecutor’s office, and a criminal who her husband is investigating. This sort of captivating plot might be just what you need to propel you towards fluency!
To get subtitles with Star Media, all you have to do is make sure the “CC” button is highlighted and the Russian subtitles are selected. And don’t worry—these subtitles are so much better than the auto-generated variety.
Киноконцерн “Мосфильм” (Mosfilm Studio) is the YouTube channel of one of the largest film studios in Russia. Founded in 1920, it’s also one of the oldest film studios in Russia, so it should come as no surprise that they have a lot of movies in their catalog.
Plus, Киноконцерн “Мосфильм” has created a convenient playlist for subtitle aficionados: “Фильмы с субтитрами” (“Films with subtitles”). This playlist has a mixture of English and Russian subtitled movies, so be sure to pay attention to the film title when selecting what you want to watch. Many of the options are a little older, so if you like vintage films, this is the perfect channel for you.
Check out “Москва слезам не верит” (“Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”), a 1980 film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It follows small-town women who live together in a workers’ dormitory in Moscow, and is a good way to learn about Soviet-era culture while enjoying a great movie.
Let’s face facts—there aren’t a ton of places to find Russian movies that are subtitled in Russian. Your main option is YouTube. Luckily, though, there’s one other great option: ivi.
Ivi is an online streaming service that users can subscribe to to access movies and other great video content, like TV and cartoons. It even works on an array of devices, including smart TVs and iOS devices.
While not all of ivi’s options are subtitled, there are a handful of good options. For instance, Russian film fans can dive in with recent releases, like “Гоголь. Вий” (“Gogol. Viy”), a 2018 fantasy-horror film that’s a sequel to “Гоголь. Начало” (“Gogol. The Beginning”), based loosely on works of famed dramatist Nikolai Gogol. You’re bound to get a fantastical vocabulary lesson, and with the tie to Gogol, the movie is pretty irresistible.
This free website provides movie transcripts for a variety of great Russian movies. While it’s not quite subtitling, you can use vvord.ru much in the same way. Just have the transcripts handy as you’re watching the movie. This way, you can refer to them as needed, but you won’t find yourself looking at them if you want to focus on the spoken words alone.
For example, let’s say you want to check out “Летят журавли” (“The Cranes are Flying”), the 1957 film about World War II. You can purchase the DVD on Amazon. To read along, just pair it with the free Russian text from vvord.ru.
User-created YouTube playlists
One of the biggest treasure troves of Russian movies with Russian subtitles is the user-created playlists on YouTube. Find the right search terms, and you’ll probably never run out of content. Using English-language search terms, like “Russian movies with Russian subtitles,” will yield a handful of results. Using Russian-language search terms, though, is your ticket to a seemingly endless array of options.
One such useful term is “русские фильмы с русскими субтитрами” (Russian movies with Russian subtitles). Still can’t get enough options? Try searching “русские фильмы с субтитрами” (Russian movies with subtitles). While you’ll have to weed out some Russian movies with English subtitles and some movies in other languages with Russian subtitles, you’ll also find many options that are actually in Russian with Russian subtitles.
For instance, “Фильм субтитры” (“Movie subtitles”) is a playlist of 33 different videos, most of which have Russian audio and subtitles. But keep your eyes and ears open—some of the videos on this playlist (and other similar playlists) actually have audio in languages other than Russian.
So if you want to surround yourself in the Russian language like it’s a fur coat on a Siberian night, look no further than these five great sources for Russian movies with Russian subtitles.