True Friends (film)

True Friends (Russian: Верные друзья) is a 1954 dramatic comedy film directed by Mikhail Kalatozov.

True Friends
True Friends (film).jpg
French film poster
Directed byMikhail Kalatozov
Produced byViktor Tsirgiladze
Written byAlexander Galich, Konstantin Isaev
StarringVasili Merkuryev
Boris Chirkov
Aleksandr Borisov
Alexey Gribov
Music byTikhon Khrennikov
CinematographyMark Magidson
Edited byMaria Timofeyeva
Release date
20 April 1954
Running time
102 minutes
CountrySoviet Union
External image
1954 poster of True Friends.


Alexander, Boris and Vasily are three old friends, who now rarely see each other as they are busy with their professional life. They embark on long-planned voyage on a raft down the Volga river, which turns into a series of comical accidents but also strengthens their friendship.



True Friends was made in the aftermath of the death of Joseph Stalin, when political control over Soviet cinema relaxed considerably. Josephin Woll wrote that "his death liberated director Kalatozov... True Friends was his first Thaw project."[1] Its script was submitted for approval in 1952, but it was only authorized for filming after Stalin's passing away.[2]


With 30.9 million tickets sold, True Friends was the seventh highest-grossing Soviet film of 1954.[3] Together with Salt of the Earth, it was Ex aequo awarded the Crystal Globe in the 1954 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.[4]

The New York Times critic wrote that the film "makes for a surprisingly relaxed and sometimes infectious adventure."[5] Mira and Antonin Liehm commented that "it is almost incredible how fresh and new this film seemed, with its tame satirical theme."[2] John Wakeman regarded it as a "subtle and often very funny satire".[6] David C. Gillespie opined that it is "an important, largely successful attempt... in addressing the legacy of Stalinism and its effects on the psyche and behaviour of people."[7] Josephine Woll concluded that True Friends "broke little new ground", reflecting the slow start of the Thaw in 1954, but that it satisfied the audience's "hunger" for films that, "banal plot and schematic characters notwithstanding, portrayed their life with some veracity."[1]


  1. ^ a b Josephine Woll. The Cranes Are Flying: The Film Companion . ISBN 978-1-86064-504-4. Page 23.
  2. ^ a b Miera Liehm, Antonin J. Liehm . The Most Important Art: Soviet and Eastern European Film After 1945. ISBN 0-520-04128-3. Page 71.
  3. ^ True Friends on
  4. ^ 8th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
  5. ^ A.W. Vernye Druzya (1954) The Screen in Review; ' True Friends,' Russian Film, Is at Stanley. New York Times, 15 November 1954.
  6. ^ John Wakeman. World Film Directors: 1890-1945. ISBN 978-0-8242-0757-1. Page 514.
  7. ^ David C. Gillespie. Russian Cinema. ISBN 978-0-582-43790-6. Page 45.

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