Burnt by the Sun (1994)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Stalinist Russia, circa 1930, is recreated in this Russian-French film that focuses on a small, elite gathering of family and friends who appreciate the idealism of Stalin's visions because they do not have to experience its darker side of gulags and purges. The story focuses upon a single day in Soviet revolutionary hero Serguei Kotov's life. Kotov lives an idyllic country life with his lovely wife Maroussia, and their feisty daughter Nadia. He is highly respected by the locals. On this day, the Kotovs are visited by the roguishly handsome Dimitri, who was a former lover of Maroussia. Dimitri is on a dark mission that may have profound effects on Kotov's peaceful, happy, and idealistic existence. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Nikita Mikhalkov
as Kotov, Sergei Kotov
Oleg Menshikov
as Dimitri
André Oumansky
as Philippe
Alla A. Kazanskaya
as Lidiia Stepanovna
Nina Arkhipova
as Elena Mikhailovna
Inna Ulyanova
as Olga Nikolaevna
Vladimir Riabov
as NKVD Officer
Yevgeny Mironov
as Lieutenant
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Critic Reviews for Burnt by the Sun

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

Though my foreign Oscar pick would still have been Eat Drink Man Woman, Sun is such a personal close second that I can go with the academy novelty of novelties.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

Burnt by the Sun was not the best of the nominated foreign films (Before the Rain deserved to win), and is not even very original.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

There's a touch of Chekhovian poetic realism in Mikhalkov's mesmerizingly beautiful chronicle of love, family, and the intrusion of politics, which won the 1994 best foreign-language Oscar.

Full Review… | January 11, 2009

Brilliant allegory about retired Russian officer who discovers he can't escape Stalin's purges.

March 20, 2004
Denton Record-Chronicle

A brilliant, Chekhovian meditation on trust, love, and the intrusive horrors that period of time brought to otherwise normal families.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Austin Chronicle

Overbearing and, unsurprisingly, mostly forgotten.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999

Audience Reviews for Burnt by the Sun

Fantastic film of betrayal set during the rise of Stalin. You just know that betrayal in Stalinist Russia isn't going to go very well.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A real mixed bag, this film reveals the capricious nature of the Stalin era in the Soviet Union without romanticizing it, but is, like many Russian novels, terribly over-populated. The first half hour to forty-five minutes, we are introduced to the large clan that lives in the dacha of retired hero of the revolution, Col. Kotov (Nikita Mikhalkov, who also directed) and some few guests. Some of the characters serve important roles later on in the film, but most serve as background to the main story. Initially, this viewer was quite confused trying to figure out who all these people were and how they were related. However, the rest of the film quite clearly set us up for the chilling, violent conclusion. The scenery was bucolic, and there was a liberal dose of humor to go with the inevitable tragedy. If one can make it through the whirlwind of character introductions, there is a reward for patience.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer


Burnt by Sun was a movie that left me wondering why it was honored the Academy Award winner for best foreign film in that year. Maybe It was worthy for the cinematography but the story itself was so boring that I found it nearly impossible to finish watching. It was more 2 hours long and almost nothing happened and the characters were so stupid to me. It was a story about the life a man under the regime of Stalin. Even describing it was boring!

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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