The 8 Best Russian Movies and TV Shows on Netflix

Russian movies on Netflix
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What are the best and most popular Russian films in 2020 and 2021?

Should you watch movies from Russia at all? Free word of advice, YES, you should definitely watch Russian movies.

What are the best new Russian films and shows available for streaming on Netflix in 2021? 

Maybe you are a history buff and want to know more about Russian history? Watching Netflix Russian movies is the best way to do it!

I’ve compiled a list of the best movies and tv shows from Russia that you can watch right now on Netflix. 

1. The Method (2015 – )

This Russian crime drama tv series centers around a character named Rodion Meglin. Rodion is a special detective that works for the Russian police department. 

His job is to hunt down the worst of the worst, the most criminally insane people, that somehow managed to slip away from the Russian police and justice system.

This lone wolf character is coupled with a young Esenia Steklova, who essentially becomes his trainee, learning “the ropes” from Rodion. 

Now, if that is not enough, Esenia is also experiencing her own personal drama, following the mysterious death of her mother. 

The first season of this psychological thriller is available for streaming on Netflix. 

The Method is widely considered as one of the best Russian shows of the modern era. 

With an incredible cast of actors such as Konstantin Khabenskiy (who plays Rodion), and Paulina Andreeva (who stars as his partner Esenia Steklova), this amazing series is 100% binge-worthy (meaning that you should watch it right now, no excuses!)

If you don’t mind watching tv shows with subtitles this is a must see! It’s 2020, the best year to change your mind about subtitles (if it was 2019 I would’ve given you a pass). 

IMDB score: 7.4/10

2. Better Than Us (2018 – 2019)

On August 16, 2019, this Russian tv series started streaming on Netflix. Show was directed by Andrey Junkovsky and written by Alexander Kessel.

Paulina Andreeva (mentioned on this list as the star of the show Method) stars in this show as a super-advanced android named Arisa. 

Arisa is specially designed not to abide by the 3 laws of robotics (created by Isac Asimov). That, coupled with the fact that she committed a murder (a dude tried to rape her, so it’s kind of justified) makes her a target of big corporations, detectives, and even terrorists.

She’s dealing with all of that, while at the same time learning what it’s like to be a human. 

If you like sci-fi movies (or tv shows) mixed with ordinary life dramas you have found yourself in the right place! 

I understand that for some people Russian language (or any other foreign language) can be a turn-off when choosing what shows to watch, but trust me if you get past that you will not be disappointed!

The show is available to watch with English subtitles and is currently one of the most popular Russian shows on Netflix. 

IMDB rating sits strongly at 7.4 (at the time of writing this article) with over 200 user-written reviews.

IMDB score: 7.4/10 

3. Silver Spoon (2014 – )

This crime drama that made its debut on Russian television in 2014 was the first Russian show to be purchased by Netflix. 

It was produced by Sreda, a famous Russian production company. 

Igor Sokolovsky played by a talented Pavel Priluchnyy (you can’t pronounce any of those names, can you?) is a son of extremely rich Russian oligarchs. 

Life is easy for Igor, and most of his time is spent in nightclubs, partying, and drinking. Well, one of those times he manages to get himself into a fight with a couple of police officers. 

No, he doesn’t go to jail (his dad is a Russian oligarch, remember?), but is instead sent to work at the same police station where the officers that he fought with came from. 

Character development is probably the best trait of this show. 

Igor’s transformation from a spoiled, rich, entitled a-hole into an actual human being is the staple of this amazing tv series and one of the reasons Silver Spoon is a must-watch.

The Korean adaptation will find its way on your tv screens in 2020. 

IMDB rating is 7.8, making it a placeholder in the list of highest rated Russian tv shows.

IMDB score: 7.8/10 

4. To the Lake (2019)

To the lake or Epidemic (the name this tv series is known in Russia) was released in 2019 and acquired and made available for streaming on Netflix in 2020. 

This Russian drama follows a group of people dealing with a deadly virus that completely changed the way the world works (a bit on the nose perhaps, but still an amazing watch). 

The series is based on the 2011 novel from a Russian writer Yana Vagner. People are fighting for food and petrol, the city of Moscow is under quarantine, gangs of lawless criminals roam the streets.

Sergei leads a group of survivors trying desperately to make it in this unforgiving world. This group includes his lover, his lover’s autistic son, his ex-wife, his own son, his father… 

This series is a family drama set against the backdrop of a world on fire. Filled with meaning and with the brilliant use of characters, this is a great series to watch.

With only 8 episodes, it is a great and binge-worthy series to watch while we are stuck in our own family bubbles under quarantine. 

Often (if you’ve been under quarantine) you’ll find yourself deeply connected with the drama and the characters of this amazing Russian language series.

To The Lake, set a new standard for tv shows and movies, not just in Russia, but all over the world.

IMDB score: 7.3/10

5. Black Lightning (2009)

Made way back in 2009 (when 2020, and all it came with it was a distant thought) this film sits atop the throne of Russian movies that are extremely fun to watch. 

A superhero movie about a flying car is sometimes all you need in life, and a Netflix subscription if you want to watch it. 

Dima gets a 66’Volga (a car made in the Soviet era) from his father. 

It turns out that the car was part of the secret Soviet Union project, that revolved around making flying cars (positively brilliant!) with special nanotechnology (the Soviet Union had nanotechnology, come on!). 

That’s the backdrop for this film, which at its core is about love, family, growing up, and finding your place in this crazy world.

I wouldn’t consider this Russian movie to be amongst the best ones, but if you are into watching something fun this is a great film for you. 

2020, has been tough on all of us (unless your name is Jeff Bezos) so I think we all deserve a little rest from the craziness of today’s world. I personally managed to find that rest while watching this Russian film.

You can watch it on Netflix  with or without English subtitles ( it all depends on your knowledge of the Russian language), 

This is not one of those films with a high IMDB score (5.4 for Black Lightning), but still, it’s a great way to spend some free time.

IMDB score: 5.7/10

6. Savva: Heart of the warrior (2015)

Savva: Heart of the warrior or A Warrior’s Tale is an animated movie directed by Maxim Fadeev. This is probably one of the best Russian movies on Netflix to watch with your family and kids during the 2020 lockdowns. 

Savva is learning to become a warrior and is trying to protect his village from evil hyenas. The film is about growing up, fighting for what’s right and slavery(!?). 

Animation is pretty decent considering that this movie cost around 30 million dollars to make.

A good thing to know, before you start watching this Russian film, is to not to expect it to be like a PIXAR or a Disney movie. 

Some of the characters are completely insane (to say the least) and you will find yourself grabbing your head at thinking who the hell made this movie? Well, Russians made, that’s who.

IMDB score: 4.4/10 

7. S’parta (2018 – )

S’parta follows the story of a detective trying to solve a mysterious murder of a Russian high school teacher. 

This is a drama that centers around a virtual reality game that is not your average, run of the mill virtual reality game. This Russian series explores the deep themes of humanity, fascism, and technology and how all of that mixed together can have an impact on the human psyche.

This series adds a new spin on the way and reason we use technology. The series is available on Netflix, and you can probably find it on other online streaming platforms. 

IMDB rating is a solid 6.3 (at the time of writing this article).

IMDB score: 6.3/10 

8. Locust (2014)

The Locust is the first Russian erotic thriller and the only erotic movie on this list. Directed by Egor Baranov it came out in theaters all over Russia in 2015.

It was later split up into a mini-series and added to the Netflix library.

The story is about a young couple and their love. He is a small-town boy and she is a big-city girl. What can go wrong, you might ask? The answer is a lot, and if you want to find out the specifics you should consider watching it.

IMDb score is 5.6, but it has nude scenes, so, (you know, boobies and such), it elevates the score significantly in my mind. 

English subtitles are available and they are mostly word-by-word.

IMDB score: 5.6/10 

Foreign Films Are a Good Way to Learn a New Language

If you want to do something constructive in 2020 (aside from wearing a mask, and social distancing) you could try and learn a new language. If that language is Russian you should definitely watch, (you’ve guessed it), Russian movies.  

Watching movies is great if you want to improve your vocabulary. Is there anything better than learning about the Russian language and culture while you watch a movie online (maybe coitus with two sisters?, Idk, jk)?

The Bottom Line

2020 has been a rough year. You should go online and get yourself a Netflix account (the first month is free), and you should most definitely use that subscription to watch movies and shows from Russia (as often as you can).

You’ll improve your Russian vocabulary, learn new names that you can’t pronounce, and have lots of fun while doing it.

So, go enjoy your family and friends, and watch some movies on Netflix (2019 ended, and so will 2020).

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