Sergei Bondarchuk

Sergei Bondarchuk

Bondarchuk and Orson Welles at the November 1969 premiere of Battle of Neretva in Sarajevo.
Born Sergei Fyodorovich Bondarchuk
(1920-09-25)25 September 1920
Belozerka, Kherson Governorate, Ukrainian SSR
Died 20 October 1994(1994-10-20) (aged 74)
Moscow, Russia
Years active 19481992
Spouse(s) Inna Makarova (1949–1956)
Irina Skobtseva (1959–1994)
Children Natalya Bondarchuk (b. 1950)
Yelena Bondarchuk (1962–2009)
Fyodor Bondarchuk (b. 1964)

Sergei Fedorovich Bondarchuk (Russian pronunciation: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej ˈfʲɵdərəvʲɪtɕ bəndɐrˈtɕuk]; Russian: Серге́й Фё́дорович Бондарчу́к; Ukrainian: Сергі́й Фе́дорович Бондарчу́к, Serhiy Fedorovych Bondarchuk; 25 September 1920  20 October 1994) was a Soviet film director, screenwriter and actor.


Born in Belozerka, in the Kherson Governorate of the Ukrainian SSR, Sergei Bondarchuk spent his childhood in the cities of Yeysk and Taganrog, graduating from the Taganrog School Number 4 in 1938. His first performance as an actor was onstage of the Taganrog Theatre in 1937. He continued studies in the Rostov-on-Don theater school (1938–1942). After his studies, he was conscripted into the Red Army against Nazi Germany and was discharged in 1946.

At the age of 32, he became the youngest Soviet actor ever to receive the top dignity of People's Artist of the USSR. In 1955, he starred with future wife Irina Skobtseva in Othello and after four years, they married. He was previously married to Inna Makarova, mother to his elder daughter, Natalya Bondarchuk. In 1959 he made his directorial debut with Destiny of a Man, based on the Mikhail Sholokhov short story of the same name.

Bondarchuk's western fame lies with his epic production of Tolstoy's War and Peace, which on original release totaled more than seven hours of cinema, took six years to complete and won Bondarchuk, who both directed and acted the role of Pierre Bezukhov, the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1968.[1] The year after his victory, in 1969, he starred as Ivan Martik with Yul Brynner and Orson Welles in the Yugoslav epic Battle of Neretva, directed by Veljko Bulajic.

His first English language film was 1970's Waterloo, produced by Dino De Laurentiis. In Europe the critics called it remarkable for the epic battle scenes and details in capturing the Napoleonic Era. However, it failed at the box office. To prevent running into hurdles with the Soviet government, he joined the Communist Party in 1970. A year later, he was appointed President of the Union of Cinematographers, while he continued his directing career, steering toward political films, directing Boris Godunov before being dismissed from the semi-government post in 1986.

In 1973 he was the President of the Jury at the 8th Moscow International Film Festival.[2]

In 1975 he directed They Fought for Their Country, which was entered into the 1975 Cannes Film Festival.[3] In 1982 came Red Bells, based on John Reed's Ten Days that Shook the World (which serves as the film's alternative title).[4] His 1986 film, Boris Godunov, was also screened at Cannes.[5]

Bondarchuk's last feature film, and his second in English was an epic TV version of Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don, starring Rupert Everett. It was filmed in 1992–93 but premiered on Channel One only in November 2006,[6] as there were disputes concerning the Italian studio that was co-producing over unfavourable clauses in his contract, which left the tapes locked in a bank vault, even after his death aged 74 of a heart attack.

In 1995 he was posthumously awarded with an Honorable Diploma for contribution to cinema at the 19th Moscow International Film Festival.[7]

Bondarchuk is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow. His daughter Natalya Bondarchuk is remembered as a star of Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris, while his son Fyodor Bondarchuk (who starred with him in Boris Godunov) is a popular Russian film actor and director best known for his box-office champion The 9th Company (2005). In June 2007, his ex-wife Inna Makarova unveiled a bronze statue of Sergei Bondarchuk in his native Yeysk.

Selected filmography

Year Title Medium Role Notes
1948 The Young Guard Film Valko
1948 Michurin Film Uralets
1950 Dream of a Cossack Film Sergei Tutarinov
1951 Taras Shevchenko Film Taras Shevchenko
1953 Attack from the Sea Film Tikhon Prokopiev
1953 Admiral Ushakov Film Tikhon Prokopiev
1954 This cannot be forgotten Film writer Harmash
1955 Not ended story Film Yuri Sergeiyevich Yershov
1955 Othello Film Othello
1955 Skipping girl Film docotr Dymov
1956 Ivan Franko Film Ivan Franko
1958 Soldiers went Film Matvei Krylov
1959 Destiny of a Man Film Andrei Sokolov Grand Prix at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival[8]
1960 Seryozha Film Korostelyov
1960 Era notte a Roma Film soldier Nazukov
1966–67 War and Peace Film Pierre Bezukhov Grand Prix at the 4th Moscow International Film Festival[9]
1969 Battle of Neretva Film Martin
1969 Golden Gates Film background voice
1970 Uncle Vanya Film Mikhail Astrov
1970 Waterloo Film
1973 Silence of Doctor Evans Film Martin Evans
1974 Take Aim Film Igor Kurchatov
1974 Such tall mountains Film Ivan Stepanov
1975 They Fought for Their Country Film Zvyagintsev
1977 Poshekhon Oldie Film background voice
1977 The Steppe Film Yemelian
1978 Velvet season Film Mister Bradbury
1978 Father Sergiy Film Father Sergiy
1979 Take off Film background voice
1979 Occupation – cinema-actor Film cameo
1980 The Gadfly Film Cardinal Montanelli
1986 Boris Godunov Film Boris Godunov
1988 Incident in airport Film Major-General Tokarenko
1990 Battle of three kings Film Selim
1992 Storm over Rus Film boyar Morozov
2000 Sergei Bondarchuk Documentary self
Film director
Year Title Role Notes
1959 Destiny of a Man Andrei Sokolov
1966–67 War and Peace Pierre Bezukhov
1970 Waterloo
1975 They Fought for Their Country Zvyagintsev
1977 The Steppe Yemelian
1982 Red Bells
1983 Red Bells II
1986 Boris Godunov Boris Godunov
1993/2006 Quiet Flows the Don

Honours and awards


  1. "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  2. "8th Moscow International Film Festival (1973)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-25.
  3. "Festival de Cannes: They Fought for Their Country". Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  4. "New York Times". 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  5. "Festival de Cannes: Boris Godunov". Retrieved 2009-07-10.
  6. "Europe | Russia recovers Soviet-era epic". BBC News. 2006-11-07. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  7. "19th Moscow International Film Festival (1995)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  8. "1st Moscow International Film Festival (1959)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-11-03.
  9. "4th Moscow International Film Festival (1965)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
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