The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966)    0 Stars

“It’s A Plot!… to make the world die laughing!!”

The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966)
The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966)


Director: Norman Jewison

Cast: Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin

Synopsis: When a Soviet sub accidentally runs aground off New England, nearby villagers mistakenly believe they are being invaded.








The Soviet Union accidentally invades America in this over-long laboured comedy when a Soviet sub runs aground on a remote US island because its curious captain wanted to see the States. A group of men, led by Alan Arkin (Stand Up Guys, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone), are despatched to find a motor boat, but it’s not long before hysteria rises as the islanders mistakenly believe themselves to be under invasion.

This movie is similar to It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in that it has a lot of people standing around shouting at each other, and like that previous film, it’s nowhere near as funny as it would like to be. The situations and the way they are resolved are entirely predictable, and the meagre laughs the film does manage to raise are too far apart. Probably the cleverest part of the film is the way its structure follows that of an authentic invasion. The means of communication (Muriel the post mistress, and Alice the telephonist) are first taken over; rumour and misinformation quickly follow, aided by a lack of organisation and subsequent public panic.

Carl Reiner (Ocean’s Twelve), chiefly remembered now for the series of films he made as a director with Steve Martin plays the family everyman who believes his family is under threat from the Soviets. He’s OK, but instantly forgettable and outshone by the luminescent Eva Marie Saint (On the Waterfront, North by Northwest). Brian Keith (5 Against the House, Young Guns) delivers his familiar surly seen-it-all type, and the cast is filled out with the likes of Paul Ford (The House on 92nd Street), Theodore Bikel (Sands of the Kalahari) and Jonathan Winters, all of whom ham it up outrageously.

(Reviewed 12th March 2012)

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