Stalker (1979)




Critic Consensus: Stalker is a complex, oblique parable that draws unforgettable images and philosophical musings from its sci-fi/thriller setting.

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Movie Info

Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker, an allegorical science fiction film like his earlier Solaris, was adapted from the novel Picnic by the Roadside by brothers Boris Strugatsky and Arkady Strugatsky. The film follows three men -- the Scientist (Nikolai Grinko), the Writer (Anatoliy Solonitsyn), and the Stalker (Alexander Kaidanovsky) -- as they travel through a mysterious and forbidden territory in the Russian wilderness called the "Zone." In the Zone, nothing is what it seems. Objects change places, the landscape shifts and rearranges itself. It seems as if an unknown intelligence is actively thwarting any attempt to penetrate its borders. In the Zone, there is said to be a bunker, and in the bunker: a magical room which has the power to make wishes come true. The Stalker is the hired guide for the journey who has, through repeated visits to the Zone, become accustomed to its complex traps, pitfalls, and subtle distortions. Only by following his lead (which often involves taking the longest, most frustrating route) can the Writer and the Scientist make it alive to the bunker and the room. As the men travel farther into the Zone, they realize it may take something more than just determination to succeed: it may actually take faith. Increasingly unsure of their deepest desires, they confront the room wondering if they can, in the end, take responsibility for the fulfillment of their own wishes. ~ Anthony Reed, Rovi
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy
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Nikolai Grinko
as Scientist
Alisa Freindlikh
as Stalker's Wife
Faime Jurno
as Sobesednitsa Pisatelya
E. Kostin
as Lyuger
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News & Interviews for Stalker

Critic Reviews for Stalker

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

Tarkovsky realizes the allegorical tale with an overwhelming density of visual detail ...

Full Review… | December 15, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

Not an easy film, but almost certainly a great one.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Tarkovsky conjures images like you've never seen before; and as a journey to the heart of darkness, it's a good deal more persuasive than Coppola's.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Stalker, a somber futuristic fantasy from the Soviet Union, attempts to build an apocalyptic vision out of the most impoverished materials imaginable.

January 15, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

The pursuit of happiness takes on a meandering, philosophical and richly visual form in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker.

Full Review… | October 29, 2015
Times (UK)

With this film, Tarkovsky re-entrusts to the medium a responsibility which in the West is upheld, if at all, only by documentaries (and by a rare maverick work like Pasolini's Salò): that of testifying, of showing.

Full Review… | August 1, 2015
Sight and Sound

Audience Reviews for Stalker


It may be a tough sit-through to some as it is not as emotionally engaging as Tarkovsky's magnificent Solaris, but it is hard not to be mesmerized by this stunning metaphysical and philosophical allegory about human desire and the search for happiness.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker is a brilliant film that I would rank among his very finest works. This is my third film I've seen of his, and aside from the previous two, Andrei Roublev and Solaris, Solaris being my most favorite of his films; I would say that this is my second favorite. Brilliantly crafted, Tarkovsky always brought a subtle, yet engaging touch in the way he made his movies, and that's what I love most about his work. With the other pictures that I've seen, he would tell simple, yet grand stories, evoki9ng a sense of storytelling that was reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick in a way. In fact, I would describe him as the Russian Kubrick. Stalker is a great movie that seems a bit bleak, but is very captivating, as it is shot beautiful black and white, which adds a melancholic surrealistic atmosphere to the tone of movie. Clearly, Tarkovsky tried to capture a certain vibe, and you feel it here. If you love foreign cinema that are breathtaking in scope, films that make you think, and has a simple, yet very good premise, this is a film not to miss. After Solaris, is Tarkovsky's second greatest work, and it's a film that resonates with the human consciousness. This is a superb movie, a flawless piece of cinema, and one of the finest movies that I had the pleasure to watch. Watching more and more of Andrei Tarkovsky's body of work, you begin to realize how great he was at telling superb stories with brilliant performances and incredible direction. His films are works of art, and with Stalker, this is a journey that is worth taking as we travel with the two characters as they travel in search of what they're looking for. This is simply put, filmmaking at its very best, and if you love exceptionally well crafted cinema, then you ought to watch this phenomenal film. The film is long, but it never feels boring because there is just so much in the film that you never realize how long it is. The film is a journey, one that makes you think, and it's a masterwork from a director who has constantly crafted truly superb pictures. Andrei Tarkovsky is one of the rare filmmakers whose filmography is flawless because he hasn't made one bad movie.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Dazed, shaken and poignantly moved. Mesmerizing, not by the magnetic scenery itself, but by own thought.

Adriel Lim
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

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