The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming

  • 1966
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy

This hysterically funny parody of Cold War tensions sees a Russian submarine get stuck in a sandbar off the coast of New England after its commander, Bikel, ventures too close to shore in order to get a good look at America. Bikel dispatches his second-in-command, Arkin, and a small crew to find a power boat to tow the sub off the sandbar before they are...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Rating:

This hysterically funny parody of Cold War tensions sees a Russian submarine get stuck in a sandbar off the coast of New England after its commander, Bikel, ventures too close to shore in order to get a good look at America. Bikel dispatches his second-in-command, Arkin, and a small crew

to find a power boat to tow the sub off the sandbar before they are discovered and cause an international incident. Arkin and his men descend upon the summer home of Reiner, a Manhattan television writer who can't wait to get off the damp island and back to the city. When Arkin fails to convince

Reiner and his family that he and his men are Norwegian sailors (they are all dressed in black), he pulls a pistol and marches Reiner off in search of a motorboat, leaving young Russian Law in charge of Reiner's wife, Saint, his children, Golomb and Putnam, and the 18-year-old neighbor girl,

Dromm. After the Russians--with Reiner in tow--steal postmistress Merande's sedan, the rumor mill on the little island begins spinning and soon the whole town is up in arms. Ford, the local patriotic zealot, dons his American Legion hat and grabs a saber in an effort to mobilize the town's civil

defense forces. The sheriff, Keith, and his bumbling assistant Winters have their hands full just trying to keep Ford from throwing the entire town into a panic. Ford tosses the town drunk, Blue, onto a horse and tells him to warn the countryside, "The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are

Coming!" Unfortunately the inebriated "Paul Revere" has trouble steering the horse and spends much of the film just trying to stay on the bucking animal. Meanwhile, Reiner and Arkin, who have come to respect each other, find a speedboat and pull the sub off the reef. The Russian landing crew

dashes for the sub, but Arkin realizes that he has forgotten about Law and goes back to retrieve the young sailor. Law and Dromm have fallen in love, of course, and Arkin has a hard time persuading Law to return to the submarine. While waiting for Arkin and Law to return, commander Bikel watches

from the conning tower as the whole town gathers around him. Keith, ever calm and efficient, issues the Russian sub a parking ticket. Eventually, Bikel tires of this silliness and threatens to blow up the town unless his men are returned posthaste. The tension between the Russians and the

Americans is suddenly broken when a young boy who was sitting on the steep roof of a house watching the proceedings slips and falls. The boy's pants catch on the gutter and he hangs precariously over the edge. The Russians and Americans immediately forget their rivalry and unite in an effort to

save the child. Bikel sends his sailors to help form a human pyramid which reaches the child and carries him to safety. Meanwhile, the drunken Blue has finally managed to get his horse headed in the right direction and has gone to warn the armed forces. The heroic action brings together the rival

peoples and the New Englanders take to the sea in their small boats and escort the Russian submarine out of the area so that the American jet planes will not bomb it.

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING pokes fun at nearly everything from small-town life to xenophobia. Though the film is more than two hours long, the pace is always quick, thanks to the fine editing done by Williams and future director Ashby (THE LAST DETAIL, COMING HOME). Arkin, in

a film debut that earned him an Oscar nomination, is great as the alternately polite and menacing Soviet sailor trying to get his men back to safety. Reiner, Keith, Bikel, Ford, Saint, O'Shea, Winters, and child actor Golomb are consistently funny throughout. Though set on the East Coast, the film

was shot in Mendocino County in Northern California, an area which greatly resembles New England. The film was a surprise hit at the box office and one of the most fondly remembered comedies of the 1960s. Nominated by the Academy for Best Picture (won by A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS), Best Screenplay,

and Best Film Editing.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This hysterically funny parody of Cold War tensions sees a Russian submarine get stuck in a sandbar off the coast of New England after its commander, Bikel, ventures too close to shore in order to get a good look at America. Bikel dispatches his second-in-… (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »