Russian Spy TV Shows

Russian spy series are different from those filmed in any other country. If we have a look at the history of Russian TV spy films, we will see several distinctive periods. 

First of all, the main difference is in the terms. In the Soviet Union, a spy was called razvedchik, or an intelligence man. While in Western Culture, it was a spy, and this word used to have a negative connotation. It was a way to distinguish Soviet spies from those from the Western countries and the USA.

After World War 2, the first Soviet spy movies appeared. In them, Russian spies were depicted as national heroes. At those times, people were too traumatized by war. They didn`t want to see more dramatism in films. Thus, the Russian Spy TV show of that time is rather simplified. Russian spies are shown as people who can handle the most complex situations effortlessly. They are rather depicted as epic heroes, magicians, those who can handle everything.

Thus, they possess all the character features that a real hero shall have. They are not like James Bond. Their aim is to serve the state and the idea. They don`t want money or fame, their only mission is to fight on an “invisible front” for their native country. And of course, they are always right whatever they do because their mission is paramount.

New Russian spy TV show and movies also frequently show us those times. However, the highlight has shifted significantly. 

Now, the Russian series concentrates on the emotional side, not only on patriotic values. These movies allow us to reconsider the values and see real people behind the commonly accepted images. These movies finally reveal the behind of spy life. 

But most importantly, new movies about Russia and Russian spies show us one more side: how spies were recruited and trained and how all these procedures influenced people. While Soviet spy movies showed heroism, modern movies about Russian spies show the tragedies behind every spy story.

Now, it is time to check the best Russian movies about spies. Here, we will concentrate on masterpieces created during the last five years. 

The Red Queen (2015)

The Red Queen (2015)

source film ua

The Red Queen shows a completely different realm of the Soviet spy world. Regina, the main character, is a normal girl growing up in a usual Soviet family. However, her mother is arrested, and the girl decides to change her life forever. She goes to Moscow, and her new life starts. 

He is lucky enough to meet people on her way who help her to become a face of Soviet fashion abroad. During a fashion show in Paris, she is noticed. 

Since then, a completely new life starts. Regina is famous, loved, respected. She seems to be invulnerable as the wife of Lev Barski, a famous painter. 

However, KGB accuses Barski of keeping foreign currency, a crime that was equal to treason. Regina is forced to work for KGB - to date a British diplomat and report on his activities. With it, the decline of the Russian Sofi Lauren starts. 

After a series of personal tragedies, she decides to commit suicide, and the death of the love of her young years pushes her to this final decision.

This is one of the most expressive Russian spy family TV show versions. It shows how relentless the system was. People`s lives were nothing but small mechanisms in a giant machine, and the talent of a specific person didn`t provide any security. 

Regina`s prototype was a real person. We don`t know whether she was indeed a KGB agent. That`s why the movie has awakened different emotions. Some people believe that the Red Queen is nothing more but disrespect to a famous model of the USSR. However, one thing is sure: the movie shows all the depths of the tragedy of a person. Nobody can feel safe even at the top of fame. 

The Americans (2013 - 2018)

the americans 2013-2018 reiview RTVC

Not only Russian cinematography has been busy filming spy movies. The Americans, the best TV show about Russian spy family in the USA, has been awarded many prizes and has been recognized as the deepest Russian and US spy TV show of all time. 

This is a story about a family. Philipp and Elizabeth have kids, jobs, and they live a normal life of a normal American family. At least, it looks like this. However, even their kids don`t know that their parents are secret agents of the KGB. 

With time, the pressure grows, especially when the couple gets to know that their neighbor is an FSB agent. 

This movie makes us question such things as love and patriotism. How is it to love somebody who lies for a living? Can such love be real? What kind of a family can be built based on values that are rather questionable?

Here, people are again shown as parts of a big mechanism. A part can be broken or reshaped if it is believed to be good for the functioning of the entire machine. What if this part has feelings and emotions? Well, it doesn`t matter. 

In any case, this story described in the TV show Russian spy family cannot have a happy end. Even after years which these people have spent with each other, after Philipp has resigned and finally lives a normal life, Elizabeth is still driven by her “mission”. In the last scene, Philipp is looking at Elizabeth walking through the door. He is smiling, full of hope, but she is returning just a polite smile without any meaning.

Their connection is broken. Their marriage is dead. There is no place for people`s feelings in a great war for the country. However, isn`t the price too high? These questions remain open. We are the ones who have to provide the replies to them. 

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Bridge of Spies 2015 review RTVC

source film ru

This American Russian spy TV show is based on real events. During the Cold War, William Fischer, known as Rudolf Abel, was one of the most successful spies in the Soviet Union. He was arrested in the USA and sentenced to 32 years of prison in the USA. He was rejecting his connection with the USSR and with the intelligence services of the country. This was the first case though when the Soviet Union decided to exchange him for an American spy. The exchange was organized on the Glienicke bridge. Now, the bridge is known as the Bridge of spies.

Red Sparrow (2018)

Red Sparrow (2018) review RTVC

Dominika Egorova, a former ballerina, is forced to become a spy. She is trained to use every inch of her body to get power over men. The woman complains that she was sent to “whore school”, and she is right. However, what one could expect if, from her birth, she was told that her body belongs to the state?

The more tragic this story is because we also see the formed life of Dominika as a prima ballerina of one of the most prestigious ballet theatres. She is at the top of her career, but still, many more amazing moments are to come. 

But during a performance, her partner causes her to break the leg. We aren`t sure whether it is done on a purpose. However, he doesn`t look fine before the performance. He is worried about something, and this something is about to happen. Is it possible that his jump was an accident? Anyway, it doesn`t matter for Dominika anymore, her career as a ballerina is over. A new “career”, the one of a spy, starts.

This movie is supposed to be about the strength of this young woman, about her power to survive everything and to rise with every fall. However, there are so many falls that it all looks more like a story of exploitation rather than the story about an ability to live doesn`t matter what. This movie shows the behind of every spy woman. They have to betray themselves, to stop feeling and living. This is a tragedy, and we see it clearly in Red Sparrow. 

The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015)

The Man From U.N.C.L.E (2015) RTVC

source esquire com

This is one more spy movie about the Cold War. However, the plot is unusual. Two spies, one from the CIA (Napoleon Solo), and the other one - from KGB (Illya Kuriakin) have to join their efforts to prevent a disaster. A rich Nazi-sympathizing couple, Alexander and his wife Victoria Vinciguerra are going to develop their own atomic weapon. After that, they are going to provide it to Nazi elements. Thus, Solo and Kuriakin have to stop the villains.

To do so, they have to find a German scientist who is going to work on the project of Vinciguerra. And their only lead is the daughter of the famous scientist, Gabi who appears to be a spy herself. However, they all act unitedly to defeat the common enemy. In this regard, this TV show Russian spy son CIA and KGB shows that even enemies can unite if they face a common danger.

This is a mix of chasing, fighting, adventures. The agents trick and are trick, but finally, they manage to find the weapon and destroy it. Thus, the world is saved, and the trio goes on another mission. Surprisingly, nobody remembers that it is the time of the Cold War and the guys represent the opposing parties.