Sergei Bondarchuk

Sergei Fedorovich Bondarchuk ГСТ HaCCP (Russian: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej ˈfʲɵdərəvʲɪtɕ bəndɐrˈtɕuk]; Russian: Серге́й Фё́дорович Бондарчу́к; Ukrainian: Сергі́й Фе́дорович Бондарчу́к, Serhiy Fedorovych Bondarchuk; 25 September 1920 – 20 October 1994) was a Soviet and Russian actor, film director, and screenwriter who was one of the leading figures of Russian cinema of the 1950s, 1960s and 70s. He is known for his sweeping period dramas including the internationally acclaimed 4-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and the Napoleonic War epic Waterloo.

Sergei Bondarchuk
Sergei Bondarchuk, Sarajevo, 29. november 1969. Movie premier Battle of Neretva by Stevan Kragujevic.JPG
Bondarchuk at the November 1969 premiere of Battle of Neretva in Sarajevo.
Sergei Fyodorovich Bondarchuk

(1920-09-25)25 September 1920
Died20 October 1994(1994-10-20) (aged 74)
Resting placeNovodevichy Cemetery, Moscow
Years active19481992
Notable work
War and Peace (1965-67)
Spouse(s)Inna Makarova (1949–1956)
Irina Skobtseva (1959–1994)
ChildrenNatalya Bondarchuk (b. 1950)
Yelena Bondarchuk (1962–2009)
Fyodor Bondarchuk (b. 1967)

Bondarchuk's work won him numerous international accolades. His epic production of Tolstoy's War and Peace won Bondarchuk, who both directed and acted in the leading role of Pierre Bezukhov, the Golden Globe Award for "Best Foreign Language Film" (1968), and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1968.[1] He was made both a Hero of Socialist Labour and a People's Artist of the USSR.

Early lifeEdit

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 during the WWII against Nazi Germany. He was decorated for his courage in battles and was discharged with honors in 1946.

Film careerEdit

In 1948, Bondarchuk made his film debut in The Young Guard directed by Sergei Gerasimov. In 1952, he was awarded the State Prize for the leading role in the film Taras Shevchenko 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 1956, he starred with his future wife Irina Skobtseva in Othello. In 1959, he made his directorial debut with Destiny of a Man, based on the Mikhail Sholokhov short story of the same name.

Bondarchuk earned international fame 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 Martin 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 that year.[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. After his death, the film remained locked for several years until it was recovered and released in 2006.

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

Personal lifeEdit

He first married Inna Makarova, mother to his oldest daughter, Natalya Bondarchuk (born 1950). Natalya is remembered for her role in Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 film Solaris.

He met his second wife Irina Skobtseva when both were appearing in Othello, and they married in 1959. They had two children, actress Elena Bondarchuk (1962–2009) and a son Fyodor (born 1967), (who starred with him in Boris Godunov), a popular Russian film actor and director best known for his box-office hit The 9th Company (2005).


Bondarchuk died on 20 October 1994, aged 74, from a heart attack. He is buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery, Moscow. In June 2007, his ex-wife Inna Makarova unveiled a bronze statue of Bondarchuk in his native Yeysk.

Honours and awardsEdit


Year Title Medium Role Notes
1948 The Young Guard Film Comrade Valko
1948 Povest o nastoyashchem cheloveke Film Gvozdev Uncredited
1949 Michurin Film Uralets Uncredited
1949 Put slavy Sekretar gorkoma Uncredited
1951 Dream of a Cossack Film Sergei Tutarinov
1951 Taras Shevchenko Film Taras Shevchenko
1953 Admiral Ushakov Film Tikhon Alekseevich Prokofiev
1953 Attack from the Sea Film
1954 This cannot be forgotten Film writer Harmash
1955 Skipping girl Film Dr. Osip Stepanovich Dymov
1955 Not ended story Film Yuri Sergeiyevich Yershov
1956 Othello Film Othello
1956 Ivan Franko Film Ivan Franko
1957 Dvoe iz odnogo kvartala Film
1958 Soldiers went Film Matvei Krylov
1959 Fate of a Man Film Andrei Sokolov Grand Prix at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival[8]
1960 Era notte a Roma Film Fyodor Aleksandrovic Nazukov
1960 Splendid Days Film Korostelyov
1965–1967 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 Dr. Mikhail Lvovich Astrov
1970 Waterloo Film
1973 Silence of Doctor Evans Film Martin Evans
1974 Such tall mountains Film Ivan Stepanov
1975 They Fought for Their Country Film Ivan Zvyagintsev
1975 Take Aim Film Igor Kurchatov
1976 Vrhovi Zelengore Film Profesor
1977 Poshekhon Oldie Film background Voice
1978 The Steppe Film Emelyan
1978 Velvet season Film Mister Bradbury
1979 Father Sergius Film Father Sergius
1979 Occupation – cinema-actor Film cameo
1979 Take off Film Narrator background Voice
1980 The Gadfly Film Cardinal Montanelli TV movie
1985 Bambi's Childhood Film Narrator
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
1993 Mushketyory 20 let spustya Film
2000 Sergei Bondarchuk Documentary Himself
Year Title Role Notes
1959 Fate of a Man Andrei Sokolov
1966–1967 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 [it]


  1. ^ a b "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  2. ^ "8th Moscow International Film Festival (1973)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. 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. Archived from the original on 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  8. ^ "1st Moscow International Film Festival (1959)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-11-03.
  9. ^ "4th Moscow International Film Festival (1965)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-12-03.

External linksEdit