Battleship Potemkin


Battleship Potemkin

Critics Consensus

A technical masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin is Soviet cinema at its finest, and its montage editing techniques remain influential to this day.



Total Count: 45


Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,867
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Movie Info

After the success of Strike (1924), Sergei Eisenstein was commissioned by the Soviet government to make a film commemorating the uprising of 1905. Eisenstein's scenario, boiled down from what was to have been a multipart epic of the occasion, focussed on the crew of the battleship Potemkin. Fed up with the extreme cruelties of their officers and their maggot-ridden meat rations, the sailors stage a violent mutiny. This, in turn, sparks an abortive citizens' revolt against the Czarist regime. The film's centerpiece is staged on the Odessa Steps, where in 1905 the Czar's Cossacks methodically shot down rioters and innocent bystanders alike. To Eisenstein, this single bloody incident was the crucible of the successful 1917 Bolshevik revolution, and the result was the "Odessa Steps sequence," which is often considered the most famous sequence ever filmed; it is certainly one of the most imitated, perhaps most overtly by Brian De Palma in The Untouchables (1987). This triumph of Eisenstein's "rhythmic editing" technique occurs in the middle of film, not as the climax, as more current film structure might do it. All the actors in the film were amateurs, selected by Eisenstein because of their "rightness" as types for their roles. Pictorial quality varies from print to print, but even in a duped-down version, Battleship Potemkin is must-see cinema. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Alexander Antonov
as Vakulinchuk
Vladimir Barsky
as Cmdr. Golikov
Mikhail Gomorov
as Matushenko
Ivan Bobrov
as Humiliated Soldier
as Boatswain
as Woman on Steps
as Officer
Alexander Lyoshin
as Petty Officer
M. Brodsky
as Intellectual
Beatrice Vitoldi
as Mother With Baby Carriage
Andrei Fait
as Officer on Piano
Konstantin Feldman
as Student Feldman
as Old Man
as Legless Veteran
Yulia Eisenstein
as Lady Bringing Forth Fruit to Mutineers
as Aba's Mother
N. Paultautseva
as School Teacher
as Intellectual
N. Poltautseva
as School Teacher
as Student
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Critic Reviews for Battleship Potemkin

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (15)

Audience Reviews for Battleship Potemkin

  • Dec 01, 2016
    A lot of people note that director Sergei Eisenstein was ahead of his time with his 'film montage' technique, used so effectively in the massacre scene on the steps of Odessa, but it should also be noted that he captures brilliant images throughout this movie. It's certainly worth watching as a result, and is probably a must for students of film. However, what undoubtedly stirred emotions in 1925 - possibly sympathy for the communist movement, or fear of inciting revolutionary thoughts given the mutiny that takes place on the Potemkin, or squeamishness at the moments of violence (all of which contributed to the film being banned in many countries, including the Soviet Union!) - is less impactful ninety years later. It also suffers for being a propaganda film, with less nuance in its characters and plot.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2012
    Battleship Potemkin had without a doubt the greatest cinematography of its time, and for decades to come. The Odessa steps scene was so beautiful and artistic it truly felt like a piece of art. I hope to explore more Eisenstien in the future. This is a Soviet and a world classic, with limited propaganda. Short and always to the point. Magnificent film
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 10, 2012
    Now I see where Brian De Palma got his idea for The Untouchables. This was a masterpiece. It was beautifully directed, produced, and written. The Odessa Steps sequence is with out a doubt the best scene in film history. It was so dramatic and entertaining. It was emotional that engaging. I also couldn't believe how much propaganda they had back then. I had a bit of trouble with keeping up. The scenes came so fast and it was silent so it is a very difficult film to keep up with. But if your patient then the experience can be rewarding. The editing is also really good considering that this was made during the 20's. Back when they used film reels they had to actually cut the film and paste them to get the scenes they want. Considering that there is so many cut scenes imagine all the work they had to do. And I'm here struggling writing this review. This film is for those that are into good old classic cinema.
    Eduardo T Super Reviewer
  • Jan 04, 2012
    From a theatrical history point of view, the Battleship Potemkin is required viewing as it pushes the bar of what a silent film can deliver. However, from an entertainment point of view, Potemkin is creaky and suffers from a depreciation in quality of the film. Soviet propaganda experts will no doubt enjoy this film.
    John B Super Reviewer

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