- Rated: Unrated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 59 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: February 24, 2004
- Originally Released: 1925
- Label: Delta
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Premiere - 12/01/2003
"...A tour de force of fast-paced montage, unmatched in the silent era..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2010
"POTEMKIN is still frantic, robust, tantalising political film-making..."
Los Angeles Times - 03/18/2011
"[A] dazzling piece of virtuoso filmmaking....Packed with movement, incident and beauty, this is no fusty museum piece but a thrilling jolt of pure cinematic adrenaline."
Total Film - 06/01/2011
5 stars out of 5 -- "Eisenstein's masterpiece is still guaranteed to get the pulse racing."
Description by OLDIES.com:
The Battleship Potemkin
, one of the most famous and influential films in the history of cinema and containing one of the best known sequences ever filmed, is a screen gem that shines with technical brilliance and dynamic energy. Acclaimed director Sergei Eisenstein shook the world when he released this celebration of the 1905 uprising against tsarism in Russia. The film begins with sailors on the battleship Potemkin refusing to eat maggot-ridden food and ends with a glimpse of the possibility of change. What ensues is a stunning catalog of events that detail the brutality of the tsarist regime, most notably the now famous massacre on the Odessa Steps, referred to so many times in other films (The Untouchables, Brazil, Bananas, The Birds
), that it has become a permanent part of the cinematic consciousness.
Stylistically, The Battleship Potemkin serves as a revolutionary film, not only in its subject matter, but also in its unique use of montage. As a pioneer who championed a new purpose for cinema, Eisenstein proposed a "kino first" approach to filmmaking, on in which the film attacks the viewer's senses with symbolic metaphors, rhythmic editing, and highly-charged melodrama. His cinema also demanded an active audience who must participate in the creation of meaning by gathering together the broken pieces of montage, and assembling them into a new reality. With his manipulative techniques, Eisenstein helped develop the film language that we know and recognize today. Just take a look at the shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho, the killing spree in Coppola's The Godfather, or the opening of Don't Look Now, and try not to deny its influence and its steadfast power.
Sergei Eisenstein's film of the famed Odessa revolt has been one of the landmarks of cinema since its release. Commissioned by the government to commemorate the failed uprising of 1905, it's without stars or even actors in the usual sense, exemplifying the collectivism it celebrates. The Battleship Potemkin has just returned from the war with Japan, its crew near mutiny because of brutal treatment and bad rations. When they're served maggot-infested meat one morning, the sailors finally rebel. One of the sailors, Vakulinchuk (Aleksandr Antonov), dissuades the officers from firing upon the mutineers, and they join the rest of the crew in revolt. Hearing of the mutiny, the people of Odessa send supplies to express their solidarity with the crew and gather en masse to mourn a slain sailor. The czar's troops arrive to dispel the crowd. In perhaps the most famous sequence in film history, the director rhymically intercuts shots of the troops marching machinelike down the Odessa steps with shots of innocent citizens being killed and wounded, in a brilliant embodiment of the director's theories of montage. Aside from CITIZEN KANE, perhaps the most perfectly constructed film ever made, the film's vision of tyranny and rebellion remain as powerful today as it was in 1925.
This film classic about the 1905 Russian Revolution dramatizes the mutiny of the sailors of the Battleship Potemkin and the subsequent massacre of the innocent civilians who sympathized with them. The silent film features a musical soundtrack by Edmund Meisel. Eisenstein's innovative editing techniques in this masterpiece have influenced directors from mainstream Hollywood to the avant-garde.
Essential Cinema |
High Seas |
Silent Cinema |
Silent Films |
- In 1948 and 1958, an international critics poll selected POTEMKIN as the best film ever made.
- Although innocent citizens were killed in Odessa, the massacre depicted there never occurred.
- The film has been banned in many places throughout the world because of its content.
- The film is a distillation of what was originally intended as a multipart epic.
- The film was made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Odessa uprising.
- Sergei Eisenstein is one of the most prestigious film directors and theorists in cinema history. He advocated the use of montage, in which editing communicates the meaning and emotion of a scene. The Odessa Steps sequence contains more than 1,300 shots to show an action that realistically would have taken only a few minutes; here it draws out the horror of the attack.
- The Odessa Steps sequence has been paid homage to dozens of times over the years, in everything from Brian De Palma's THE UNTOUCHABLES to Woody Allen's BANANAS to THE NAKED GUN films.