The Assassination of Trotsky

The Assassination of Trotsky is a 1972 British historical drama film, directed by Joseph Losey with a screenplay by Nicholas Mosley. It stars Richard Burton as Leon Trotsky, as well as Romy Schneider and Alain Delon.

The Assassination of Trotsky
The Assassination of Trotsky (film poster).jpg
Film poster
Directed byJoseph Losey
Produced byNorman Priggen
Josef Shaftel (executive producer)
Written byNicholas Mosley
StarringRichard Burton
Alain Delon
Romy Schneider
Valentina Cortese
Jean Desailly
Music byEgisto Macchi
CinematographyPasqualino De Santis
Edited byReginald Beck
Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica
Compagnia Internazionale Alessandra Cinematografica
Distributed byCinerama Releasing Corporation
Release date
20 April 1972
Running time
103 minutes
United Kingdom
Budget$2.5 million
Box office561,109 admissions (France)[1]


Exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929, Leon Trotsky travels from Turkey to France to Norway, before arriving in Mexico in January 1937. The film begins in Mexico City in 1940, during a May Day celebration. Trotsky has not escaped the attention of the Soviet dictator of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin, who sends out an assassin named Frank Jacson. The killer decides to infiltrate Trotsky's house by befriending one of the young communists in Trotsky's circle.



In 1965, Josef Shaftel optioned the novel The Great Prince Died by Bernard Wolfe. The film was a co-production between the French Valoria Company and Dino De Laurentiis. It was originally to be shot in England,[2] but was eventually filmed in Rome. The movie used Isaac Don Levine's book The Mind of an Assassin as a source.[3]

According to author Melvin Bragg, the director Joseph Losey was so drunk and tired that he relied on long monologues by Burton to carry the film, in some cases even forgetting what was in the script. Burton himself wrote that he, or the continuity girl, would have to remind Losey of things that would have caused continuity gaffes.[4]


The Assassination of Trotsky was included as one of the choices in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time.[5]


  1. ^ Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. ^ A. H. WEILER (27 June 1971). "Joseph Losey Looks at Trotsky: Joseph Losey". New York Times. p. D17.
  3. ^ From staff reports and news dispatches. (3 September 1971). "Is It Worth a Trip to See?: Personalities". The Washington Post. p. B3.
  4. ^ Bragg, Melvin (1988). Richard Burton: A Life. Little, Brown and Company. pp. 358, 379. ISBN 0-316-10595-3.
  5. ^ Medved, Harry; Dreyfuss, Randy (1978). The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way). Popular Library. p. 31. ISBN 0-445-04139-0.

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