Dark Is the Night (Soviet song)

Dark is the Night (Тёмная ночь, lit. Dark Night) is a famous Russian song associated with the Great Patriotic War. It was originally performed by Mark Bernes in the 1943 war film Two Soldiers.

The song was composed by Nikita Bogoslovsky (1913-2004), lyrics by Vladimir Agatov specially for the film Two Soldiers. But Leonid Utyosov, without knowledge and without permission of authors and film unit, recorded the song thus became the first to do it.[1] But it was exactly Bernes's performance that made it so popular. In the film, Bernes is a soldier who recalls his wife and baby at night while singing the song.[2]

The official experts were keen to accuse Bogoslovsky of propagating "Philistine" sentimental tunes.[3] Though ostracized by the authorities, the song became a symbol of the war years for millions of Soviet people.[3]

Dark Is the Night has been described as "a gentle lyrical song imbued with a feeling of homesickness and expressing devotion to one's beloved" which helped "reveal the personal side of army life, indiscernable in the roar of warfare".[3] It contrasted sharply with the prevalent type of war song, which was either a field marching song or a civil patriotic one.[3]

English interlinear translation of lyricsEdit

Dark night, only bullets are whistling in the steppe,
Only the wind is wailing through the telephone wires, stars are faintly flickering ...
In the dark night, my love, I know you are not sleeping,
And, near a child's crib, you secretly wipe away a tear.

How I love the depths of your gentle eyes,
How I want to press my lips to them!
This dark night separates us, my love,
And the dark, troubled steppe has come to lie between us.

I have faith in you, in you, my sweetheart.
That faith has shielded me from bullets in this dark night ...
I am glad, I am calm in deadly battle:
I know you will meet me with love, no matter what happens.

Death is not terrible, we've met with it more than once in the steppe ...
And now here it looms over me once again,
You await my return, sitting sleepless near a cradle,
And so I know that nothing will happen to me!

Translated versionEdit

Other performancesEdit

Apart from Bernes and Utyosov, the song was performed by Ivan Kozlovsky, Muslim Magomayev,[4] Lyudmila Gurchenko, Jason Kouchak,[5] Noize MC,[6] Zemfira,[7] Ivan Rebroff,[8] Georg Malmsten[9] and Basta aka Naggano[10] among many others.

And in translated versions it was popularised by Wiera Gran[11] and Farhad Mehrad[12] among many others.


The song which originated from film - soundtrack of 1943 Two Soldiers film was later popularised in other films.

In 1958 it has been used as a trademark tune of the World War II period in such films as Andrzej Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds.

In 2005, the song became a main motif and title of the Israeli film "Dark Night" by Leonid Prudovsky. The film gathered numerous prizes including special mention, best short film at 62nd Venice International Film Festival (2005) and Silver Warsaw Phoenix in short film category at 4th Jewish Motifs International Film Festival (2007) in Warsaw, Poland.

In 2006, the song was used as the main theme in the Swedish horror film Frostbite, foreshadowing the coming of vampires in a northern Swedish town.


  1. ^ http://www.9maya.ru/2009/07/02/temnaya-noch-istoriya-sozdaniya-pesni.html
  2. ^ Bernes performing the song in Two Soldiers on YouTube
  3. ^ a b c d Tatiana Egorova. Soviet Film Music. Routledge, 1997. ISBN 9783718659111. Page 79.
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ Video on YouTube
  6. ^ Video on YouTube
  7. ^ Video on YouTube
  8. ^ Video on YouTube
  9. ^ Video on YouTube
  10. ^ Video on YouTube
  11. ^ Lilioara Oprea (2018-02-11), Wiera Gran -- Ciemna Noc (Russian Tango), retrieved 2019-05-20
  12. ^ Video on YouTube