Seventeen Moments of Spring (TV Mini-Series 1973– ) Poster

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vldv2226 May 2007
What make this movie unique, is how Germans are shown. They are villains, but unlike in many modern movies these villains are not ugly, stupid or emotionless. They have personalities, they are clever, cunning and often charming. Just like one would assume many Nazis were in real life.

There is no much shooting or killing in this film. No special effects. What it has is a great story (loosely based on actual events, I think), great acting, dialogues, and cinematography. Although there are 12 episodes of the film, you will wish there have been more.

Great film. I should watch it again...
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Absolutely perfect! A must see.
stanislav6720 February 2001
This movie is one of the top 10 movies for any Russian. Even if you are a foreigner, if you have subtitles or other mean of understanding the plot - you will be stick to your chair for all 11 (is it 11 or 13?) episodes.

The book of Semenov was great and the movie is even better. Great actors, who knew what the war is and how to show it. Amazingly intense plot, without any special effect, all rooted in the chess game between a Russian spy and German (nazi) opponents. Stylish black and white. In 1973 it was common, now it just looks good, as a true documentary.

What else? Music is perfectly suited to the moment and the whole movie is not seeking to draw a line between "good" and "bad" guys but, instead, trying to draw you into the tense atmosphere of the last 3 months preceding the end of WW2.

If you ask a few Russians in the street of Moscow or any other city what number 17 means to him, I bet $100 that over 90% will say "17 Moments of Spring" which stands for "Semnadtsat mgnovenij vesny".
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Bond, Step Aside: Stierlitz is in town
Yuri-810 January 2003
One of the little-recognized deficiencies of spy movies is that 'action'--chases, shootings, explosions, etc.--is dominant content. Of course, the trend caters to modern audiences that are addicted to sound and special effects. However, action-driven spy movies (e.g., James Bond) suffer from 3 major defects: 1)They are not believable 2)They contain little or no acting performances to speak of 3)As such, they are easily forgettable. This is not the case with "17 moments of spring" (hereafter SMOS)

The 12 episodes of the series have been specifically shot in Black and White, in fairly simple studio sets, with no special visual effects. What makes SMOS the favorite of audiences, is a gamut of absolutely incredible acting. Each role, even a minor one, casts an "all-star" Soviet actor, and they deliver deep psychological performances. Tikhonov is an obvious star as Stierlitz, but consider Leonid Bronevoy as Mueller, the friendly, always suspicious and incredibly cruel inside Gestapo chief. Or Oleg Tabakov, as cheerful Schellenberg of the German intelligence. Or Plyatt as very vulnerable and very human Pastor Schlag who nevertheless embodies the power of the Church.

So essentially SMOS is not a spy movie, but a tight psychological drama. But we must not forget the subject, and it is an important one, based on a major real life event: in early 1945, trying to finish off the Nazi Germany, the Russians found out that SS-gruppenfuehrer Karl Wolff (essentially a representative of the odious Himmler) attempted to negotiate a separate piece with the Americans in Italy. The talks were top-secret (OSS star Allen Dulles was the US negotiator) and essentially meant a betrayal of Russia by its anti-Nazi allies. SMOS is about how the Russians discovered the secret and forced the end to negotiations.

In short, this is one of the greatest all-time spy thrillers. Just as "Rosemary's Baby" is arguably the best horror movie because of its acting and directing, so does SMOS shine through the mediocrity we are fed today. I wish it were shown to the wide Western audiences, so that they can see for themselves!
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Greatest psychological film on war
sunlion21 November 2004
This series are far greater than anything that has been filmed about war ever. It shows closely characters of German Nazi top during the last weeks of the war, when they understand that the war is lost. A Russian spy is working among them speeding up the war's end.

The pace of the film is slow and thorough, the movie is meant for people with ability to analyze, reflect. Characters of the people involved are depicted are so lively that the film fuses with the documentary pieces. Acting is extremely raw and natural, it actually in't acting, it's living. Tihonov in a role of Stirlitz portrays a real spy - brilliantly talented, sharp, calm, cold, patient - everything that areal spy has to be. At the same time he is not a greedy adventurous coat-turner, he works for his country, his people, his family. And the last - this film works as a litmus test on people. If you don't understand it you simply haven't matured for it. The film itself is flawless.
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South6216 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Reading comments I am glad to see that 90 percent of them are speaking about this serial in superlatives. Nothing better could be done in Brezhnev Era but in this context I am not underlining that fact like an obstacle. Russian creativity was always able to overrun political circumstances. I am posting this comment to point out one of the most touching and best acted scenes in entire motion-picture history. Character acted by Tikhonov is Soviet spy enduring 17 years in Nazi-surroundings. Bosses from Moscow Centre know in what kind of psychological pressure he was and want to help him in in some way. NKVD arranges meeting between Stierlitz and his real Soviet wife. They met in one restaurant somewhere in Third Reich. They did not see each other for years but due to security reasons and keeping Stierlitz's under cover job, man and woman must not talk, must not show that they even know each other. They are permitted just to look each other for couple of minutes. Tikhonov made acting bravura: extremely high emotional suffering suppressed by duty. He did not show he knows the lady. Nobody in German restaurant noticed nothing but TV audience understood his pain.
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This is a jewel of spy cinema
Godfathe31 August 1999
I watched this movie many years ago with Spanish subtitles. I still remember the remarkable acting,intriguing action, and excellent scenography that transports the viewer to Germany during the nazi's years. The plot is very interesting beside of having some historical touches.In a now gone URSS's book compiling secret correspondence between Stalin and other head of states, the former Soviet dictator mentioned Maxim, a soviet spy "planted" in the high ranks of nazy's Germany during the war years. Seventeen Moments of Spring is an excellent movie that I personally would like to enjoy again if it were available with English subtitles in video stores in our country.
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The history is talking to us
AnsM2918 June 2002
I've seen this movie a lot of times and year after year I have a strong desire to watch it again. The story never ends. I got addicted to it as millions of Russians did. The war still means a lot to me. The movie spins the brain in the right direction. The best war series ever seen. Nothing to compare with the modern blockbusters. Totally different athmospere and completely different result. Simply the best.
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Opinion from Russia
lowway23 October 2002
One of the best films of Soviet Union. It is not about intrigues and spy games, though the plot is really gripping. Last months of WW II. Shtirliz - Soviet resident is under suspection of Gestapo. Being in the heart of Hitler's sistem, he struggled with hazi regime long years. The Third Reich bosses Himmler, Shellenberg, Wolf understand that their game is over, they try to save their own skin and seek for separate peace with USA and Great Britain. This treaty could be big calamity for Soviet people, and USSR secret service breakes ignouble plans of nazi. The famouse Soviet actor Vyacheslav Tikhonov (Prince Andej in "War and peace" by Bondarchuk) have excellent incarnated the interesting and very complicated character of Shtirliz. All other roles were played by the best actors of Soviet screen.

Some parts of film were shot in GDR. For the first time after WW II in Soviet cinema appeared the German soldier character, who was kind and humane person. Gestapo guard Helmut saved Russian secret service woman Katya with her child, but himself perished. This role was brillant played by GDR actor Otto Mellies.

"Seventeen moments of spring" is about people, who were cut off their home, country, families in order to fighting with nazi criminals.
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All-time classic spy movie
Maksik2 September 1998
In the history of Soviet movie there are only two examples of transformation of screen heroes in folk story ('anecdote') heroes. The first was famous "Chapayev" (1934) and the heroes were Chapayev and Petka. The second is "Semnadtsat mgnoveniy vesny" and the heroes are Stirlitz and Muller. Despite of thousands of anecdotes, "Semnadtsat mgnoveniy.." is a very nostalgic, humane, sincere movie and it delivers to us moments of truth. I like it very much.
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A TV series about the Soviet agent Stirlitz
esteban174718 September 2001
If anyone would like to see a good TV Series he/she must see "17 moments of the Spring", where Viacheslav Tikhonov played wonderfully the role of the Soviet agent Stirlitz. In fact, this agent never existed, but he was like a compilation of those soviet agents (Kuznetsov, Sorge and others) who died fighting nazi occupation in the territories of former USSR. Leonid Bronevoi also played in excellent way the role of nazi officer Heinrich Mueller. The story of the series was like the one of cat vs mouse. Mueller always suspected of Tikhonov, but could prove nothing.

The soundtrack of the series is also melodic and easy to listen.
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Worth however many moments it takes to watch
hte-trasme13 February 2014
Well, I thought this was a fantastic production - very engrossing, with excellent performances, artistic direction, and intelligent scripts. It's a great example of how a television mini-series, as a format, can bring a novelistic type of depth of story and character to the screen. And it's easy to see why it's still so iconic in Russia.

By any technical definition, this particular series is propaganda -- it was ordered specifically by the Soviet government in order to interest more young people in the spy service. Any maybe it did. But "Seventeen Moments of Spring" acts in a way that's completely opposite to the propaganda usually works. Instead of simplifying issues and making them into easy black-and-white decisions, this series complicates them -- dwelling on the difficulty of the heroes' decisions, and taking care to imbue the Geramans with more humanity rather than less.

It's notable and, I think, key to the series' success that the centerpiece of each episode consists of one or two long, tense, subtle dialogue-heavy scenes. The contrast of the action-oriented expectations from the subject of spies and war with the tense character drama that we see is excellent.

The integration of real footage from the war and cameos from other major players are really well-apportioned, and give the character scenes that we're watching more importance to us for our having been reminded of their contextual importance.

The music is about perfect as well, helping to set the tone. In all, it's a spy drama who main modes are subtle, thoughtful melancholy in the foreground, with the element of constant danger tinging it from the background. In that, it's tone is unexpected and very successful. More than worth watching, even for those who don't normally go in for war or spy films.
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The Best By All Means
denis8884 June 2008
Soviet films about WWII may be tedious, long or pathetic, but not this one, which is done by the great filmmaker Tatiana Lioznova and since she is a woman the movie has that deep, thoughtful, sweetly painful feeling of heroism, tragedy and bravery. Sure, some things are exaggerated and of course there could never be such an ideal spy as Stirlitz, played here by awesome Vyacheslav Tikhonov. What is very important here is to show what crafty and smart enemy as Nazi were we managed to win over at a cost of 30,000,000 lives. The film is about people who stay human in the fire of war, and about humans who become beasts and cruel monsters. This is the fine example of a great war movie without propaganda or sickly patriotism.
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a very good spy story
mizb27 September 2006
Made in black-white as most TV receivers in Soviet block in the 1970's were black and white.

The story covers last weeks of existence of Hitler's Reich and some attempts of SS generals to conclude a separate armistice with USA and UK. The SS colonel Stirlitz is a Russian spy trying to prevent it. Some front combat scenes are shown as intermezzos. Although the war was finished more than 60 years ago, we still do not know all its details and secrets. Maybe, some German leaders tried to break the coalition between Anglo-Saxon powers and Russia. But the range of Soviet infiltration of central entities of 3rd Reich (like RSHA, General Staff or NSDAP Chancellory) has not been fully explained so far.

Anyway, this is a very interesting film to watch.
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Final song....
levelclearer30 January 2011
Joke about 17 moments of spring ? OK...

Beer garden in Germany... There is a queue on the bar stand: Mueller, Shellenberg, Iceman... Shtirlitz runs into the bar, and instead of lining up behind Iceman, he stands before Mueller and gets his beer from under his nose.

Mueller: What's up Shtirlitz ? There's a line there. Shtirlits: Soviet Union Heroes (a State award and title in the Soviet Union) are served out of turn !!! (a rule existed in Soviet Union, a privilege to the people honored with high State awards)


Shtirlitz wakes up after a good beer party with a hangover and tries to remember who he actually is ? An obergruppenfuehrer SS Shtirlitz or Russian spy Isaev ? The door opens and a doctor comes in: "Good time you had yesterday, comrade Tikhonov (the actual family name of the actor)".
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A fine series
nickdewhurst19 August 2012
'Seventeen Moments of Spring' is a 1973 Soviet twelve-part television mini-series, based on the novel of the same title by Yulian Semyonov.

The series was immensely popular in the Soviet Union, and during its first showing, city streets would empty. It attracted greater audiences than hockey matches and crime rates dropped significantly during the broadcasts. Leonid Brezhnev was a devoted fan. The character of Stirlitz became the Soviet James Bond.

In early 1945, while Adolf Hitler (Fritz Diez) is determined to continue the war, Walter Schellenberg (Oleg Tabakov), his head of foreign intelligence, has convinced Heinrich Himmler (Nikolai Propkovich) to conduct secret negotiations with the Americans, aimed at forging a separate peace between Germany and the Western Allies, which would allow the Germans to concentrate all their forces on the Eastern Front. Maksim Isaev (Vyacheslav Tikhonov), a Soviet spy who has infiltrated the Nazi Party in Germany under the name Stirlitz, is tasked with disrupting the negotiations between the German general Karl Wolff (Vasily Lanovoy) and the American diplomat Allen Dulles (Vyacheslav Shalevich) taking place in Switzerland. He is ordered by Moscow to ascertain whether the Americans and the Germans have a secret channel of communication, and if so - to obstruct it.

He recruits two aides - Professor Pleischner (Yevgeniy Yevstigneyev), a former member of the German Resistance, and Pastor Schlag, (Rostislav Plyatt) a clergyman who disapproves of the regime.

Stirlitz succeeds in leaking the details of the negotiations both to Hitler and to Stalin (Andro Kobaladze). The Soviets, now possessing evidence, demand an end to those contacts and President Roosevelt obliges them. Himmler narrowly convinces Hitler it was all merely an attempt to sow distrust between the Allies.
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Psychologically Complex Battle of Wits
cmp4x2 December 2018
10/10 Hands down the best miniseries I have ever seen. Clocking in at over 12 hours, this Soviet production demands commitment, but it is well worth it. Reputed to be the most popular Soviet series ever: Streets would be empty when it was broadcast and estimated 80,000,000 people would be watching. A surprising indication of its popularity: crime rates would drop because people wanted to see the show instead.

Follows the career of a Soviet spy who had infiltrated the Nazi regime at a high level in the waning days of World War II (partially based on a true story). In a way, not much happens, but this is what is so important: The series is intelligent and patient and follows the moods and tensions of a spy being in such a dangerous position fighting the Nazis from within their own hierarchy by pretending to be one of them. Much of the film is a slow and searching exploration of the battle of wits it took for the agent to maintain his position among the turmoils and suspicious of a rapidly decaying Nazi regime just as the war is about to end. The agent must show an outward loyalty to his Nazi superiors while all the time maintaining the secret spy agenda of overthrowing them, and there are many scenes that explore the psychological strength maintaining this position requires. The Germans are clearly villains, but they are not shown as caricatures.

There is so much intelligence in the way this is presented that it's remarkable. I cannot imagine many Americans even today who would have the patience to give up their easily touted slogans about patriotism to sit through a long and complex exposition like this series. Americans prefer "Hogan's Heroes" versions of WWII. Evidently it worked with a mass audience in the Soviet Union, however - perhaps a testament to a more patient and thinking population than one that is sated by soundbites and quick satisfactions.

The film includes a large amount of Soviet war-time newsreel footage to make the battle scenes and views of Berlin. Partly this footage was included by the censors to make it seem like the war was "not won just by a few spies," but it has the unintended effect of giving a very different view of the war than what we usually see through the American footage of the same period. The Soviet front was one of the greatest carnages in human history, and it is often forgotten that 20,000,000 Soviets died in the war. The very brutal footage gives a look at the devastation and disaster of WWII that is often obscured in more 'patriotic' American footage that focuses a lot on victories and chummy soldiers goofing around.

It is said that the main character of this film is so beloved by Russians that when they were looking for someone to overthrow Yeltsin, they wanted a man who resembled the character in this series because they knew the public would love anyone resembling that character. The person they found was Putin (himself an ex-German KGB agent), and a large part of Putin's popularity evidently derives from the resemblances he shares with the character in this film. The film was in fact produced under Andropov to improve the image of the KGB within the USSR.

It is enlightening to compare this series with the jingoistic and drum-thumping patriotic equivalents that the US was making at the same time. Whereas the US resorted to the crassest lowest-common-denominator propaganda about how the 'great generation' saved us from 'evil,' the Soviet series is far more complex and nuanced. In the end you get a sense that there were problems on many sides, and that the job of the secret agent is never easy, and never ending. What you are left with is a sense that a better world is not going to be 'won' simply by some fight but that it is an ongoing struggle that will repeat many times.
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The New Remastered Version was Released
birgey16 November 2017
I deeply impressed by this TV Series which I think is the greatest production so that I personally make a image restoration for this. You could click this link to get the playlist: list=PLYOE4TJycDxqrgFEPuKY4YSwgSJwZD2ha

Voice and subtitles are both Russian. Also there two other Chinese version in my Youtube account, welcome to subscribe.
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Probably the best Soviet war series
iljavenissov4 February 2019
Probably the best Soviet war series, it was the first to show the Germans as ordinary people leaving ordinary lives. Before that we had Nazis only as animals, killing and destroying. This time the result is very intelligent and shows a lot of empathy even when dealing with the enemy. True classic, that never grows old and can be viewed over and over again.
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It takes one to know one
Lissitsky30 March 2018
This has three virtues: 1 the archive footage 2 the skillful implementation of the era and its environs (courtesy of 1!) 3 an illustration of self serving apparatchiks in any regime - regardless. Mueller has to be the paradigm, who shows what was wrong with 'soviet Russia'. Because of this one has to wonder if this series shows that there were still people aware of this. Bodhisattavas perhaps?
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