Battleship Potemkin

Revolution is the only lawful, equal, effectual war. It was in Russia that this war was declared and begun.

Drama History
75 min     7.641     1925     Soviet Union


A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resultant public demonstration, showing support, which brought on a police massacre. The film had an incredible impact on the development of cinema and is a masterful example of montage editing.


CinemaSerf wrote:
I'm not going to attempt to find loads of cinematic superlatives about this. It's just a great film that depicts the epitome of cruelty, indifference and kindred spirit at sea in spades. The crew of this powerful warship are treated little better than prisoners in a gulag. When the ship's doctor insists that their daily meat ration (which could "jump into the water by itself") is safe to eat, a few of them decide to take a stance. Their officer humiliates them, and when they refuse to back down he corners them on deck and orders them shot. This proves the flashpoint for his crewmen who proceed to seize the ship and sail to Odessa where they turn the guns on the army headquarters in the city and the conflagration grows. Will others join them, or will the status quo be returned and their ship destroyed...? Historians have already told us the answers to most of the factual questions, so it's not really about what happens - it is the magnificently poignant and suspenseful fashion in which Eisenstein paces the film. Clearly he has an agenda, his depictions are not exactly even handed - particularly the soldiers in the town dealing with the civilian population, but that doesn't overwhelm the overall sentiment of the sailors rebelling for just reasons, for decent treatment and for a degree of respect that was certainly lacking from their officers. The production itself is superb, the camerawork has an intensity that makes you feel as if you are actually on the boat at times. I'm sure there are more analytical reviews of this film to be had - but I think it is just a wonderful example of a man at the top of his game making an exciting film that delivers entertainment and a bit of thought-provocation in equal measure, at the same time.