The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin

The one-liners fly as fast as political fortunes fall in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire from Armando Iannucci (Veep, In the Loop).

Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader. Among the contenders are the dweeby Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), the wily Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), and the sadistic secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale). But as they bumble, brawl, and backstab their way to the top, just who is running the government?

Running Time
107 minutes
Release to DVD: T.B.A.

The Critics Comment

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New Orleans Times-Picayune/Mike Scott
I keep finding myself wanting to compare it to 1964's "Dr. Strangelove," Stanley Kubrick's Cold War comic masterpiece -- which, as any movie buff will tell you, is exceptionally high praise. In this case, it's also warranted.

Boston Globe/Ty Burr
Buscemi is magnificent, but all the players rise to the occasion; you may especially cherish Rupert Friend (“Homeland”) as Stalin’s demented alcoholic son Vasily and Olga Kurylenko (“Quantum of Solace”) as pianist Maria Yudina, the film’s elegant and only note of genuine conscience.

Consequence of Sound/Blake Goble
The script feels like a great writers-room comedy, where only the leanest and meanest bits stay, and the most startling and intriguing ideas persist. It functions comedically and historically — the jokes have something to say about power.

New York Times/Manohla Dargis
The Death of Stalin is by turns entertaining and unsettling, with laughs that morph into gasps and uneasy gasps that erupt into queasy, choking laughs.

Los Angeles Times/Kenneth Turan
Iannucci's take-no-prisoners directorial style is perfect for this blackest of farces.

Globe and Mail/Kate Taylor
There is one thing that power can’t stand, and that is to be mocked: The social importance of this topical romp should not be underestimated.


British Independent Film Awards Winner: Best Supporting Actor (Simon Russell Beale), Best Casting. Best Makeup, Best Production design; nominated for 9 others

Empire Awards U.K. Winner: Best Comedy

Evening Standard British Awards Winner: Best Supporting Actor (Simon Russell Beale)

Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival Winner: Jury Prize

Torino Film Festival Winner: Fipresci Prize

Related Links

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Official Web Site