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A Soviet comedy movie released in 1973, and still immensely popular in The New Russia -- like most Leonid Gaidai movies from that era. Based on a 1935 play by Mikhail Bulgakov, with a setting update -- moving the "present day" action from the 1930s to the 1970s -- but generally staying faithful to the original, with most of the funny lines taken directly from the play. One of the most promiment changes in the film was the merge of the Timofeyev character with the protagonist of two of Gaidai's previous films to form the so-called "Shurik trilogy".

Engineer Alexander Sergeyevich "Shurik" Timofeyev (named Koka, from Nikolay, in the play) invents a time machine, which he uses to open a rift to the 1500s Moscow, straight into the palace of Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible. In the chaos that ensues, the time machine is damaged (in the play, it stays intact but its key is lost, forcing Timofeyev to seek a keymaker for a replacement), leaving the Tsar stranded in the present day while his namesake and look-alike, Soviet bureaucrat Ivan Vasilievich Bunsha, is stuck in the past with Gentleman Thief George Miloslavsky. The two are forced to dress as the Tsar and a noble, until their ruse is eventually exposed and they are rescued into the present just in time when Timofeyev fixes the time machine.

Meanwhile, back in the 20th century, Ivan IV hides in Timofeyev's apartment until he encounters the inventor's wife Zinaida, an actress who had left Timofeyev for her director Yakin, and later Bunsha's wife, who mistakes him for her husband. She and Timofeyev's neighbor Shpak (previously robbed by Miloslavsky) call the police and ambulance, resulting in the two Ivans and Miloslavsky being taken away -- although the Tsar escapes and returns to his time with Timofeyev's help.

In the end, it is revealed that the it was All Just a Dream. Zinaida returns to Timofeyev, saying that she didn't even have a director named Yakin, and while the time machine didn't work in reality, the two reconcile. In the play, it further turns out that Shpak was robbed in reality, not just in the dream.


Provides examples of:

  • Acting for Two: Yuri Yakovlev as Bunsha and Ivan the Terrible.
  • All Just a Dream
  • Adaptation Displacement: The movie is much more well-known than the play, even though the opening credits actually state in big letters what it was based on.
  • Adorkable: Shurik
  • Black Comedy: Ivan IV finds creative punishments/executions really funny. Modern characters think he is just cruel.

 Ivan IV: You are the one who made this machine?

Shurik: Yes, I did.

Ivan IV: I also had someone like that - made wings.

Shurik: (interested) Well-well-well.

Ivan IV: Well what? I had him put on a barrel of gunpowder - let him fly!

Shurik: (chokes) Why so harsh!?

  • Celebrity Paradox: Yakin initially thinks Ivan IV is an actor, and in the film, makes guesses at his identity -- naming three real Soviet actors of that time, but not the one who actually played him.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: The only place where Shurik can get triodes.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The "real life" segments in the beginning and end, as opposed to Shurik's extended dream scene that takes most of the film, which is in color.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: See the entry under Black Comedy.
  • Did Not Do the Research: the Tsar gives his date of birth as "1533 since the birth of Christ", while a more historically accurate answer would be "7038 since the creation of the world". Russia only adopted the BC/AD calendar in Peter the Great's time.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: although not too surpising for the Dark Ages, but boiling the interpretor alive for being drunk on duty is rather harsh.
    • And Ivan IV was born in 1530, not in 1533. Actually, in 1533 he became the Grand Prince of Moscow.
  • Emergency Impersonation: The two Ivans Vasilieviches.
  • Eternal Russian: Bunsha and Miloslavsky have no problems communicating with 16th-century Russians, save for a few archaic words thrown in for no good reason. They also have no problem writing in Old Russian, which used a somewhat different Cyrillic script, the Old Church Slavonic, and a different system of spelling. By the same token, most people understand Ivan IV in the 20th century. Even his use of Gratiutous Old Russian is just treated as a quirk.
    • Some people just assume he's a method actor preparing to play Ivan IV.
    • The tsar also quickly learns criminal slang, despite not being exposed to it, unless he heard "busted by the cops" ("в милицию замели") somewhere else.
  • Eureka Moment: The original play has one, when Bunsha's rant causes Timofeyev to realize that he was operating the time machine with its mechanism locked, and he subsequently fixes it.
  • Fish Out of Temporal Water: Ivan IV, Bunsha and Miloslavsky.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Shurik and Zinaida.
  • Gratuitous Old Russian: Ivan IV tends to switch between modern and 16th-century Russian. When he finds out the truth, Yakin tries to use archaic Russian words (which most modern Russian would never understand) but gives up quickly.
  • In the Past Everyone Will Be Famous: The time machine connects Timofeyev's apartment to the Tsar's throne room.
    • Although it's justified - Shurik was inspired to travel to Ivan IV's throne room after seeing a film about him on television.
    • Also, Miloslavsky claims to be Prince Miloslavsky in the past, not realizing that there really was a Prince Miloslavsky, except he was recently executed by the order of Ivan IV.
  • A Little Something We Call "Rock and Roll": Miloslavsky singing a popular 70s Russian song during a feast with the minstrels playing along. Naturally, everyone gets on the floor and starts dancing.
    • Nobody thinks it strange when he pulls out a pack of Marlboro while singing.
  • Identical Stranger: Bunsha and Ivan IV.
    • Somewhat explained on the play, as Bunsha is mentioned to be the son of a prince (although he denies it with a passion)
  • Jerkass: Yakin.
  • Lovable Rogue: Miloslavsky.
  • Name's the Same: Technically, Shurik is not the same person as Shurik from Operation "Y" and Kidnapping Caucassian Style.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues
  • Royal We: Averted, for the most part. However, when the tsar is being interrogated by the cops and asked for his last name, he replies "We are Rurikids" (i.e. of the Rurik dynasty).
  • San Dimas Time and Meanwhile in the Future: The present day events take place "simultaneously" with the old Moscow.
  • Setting Update: The play takes place in the 1930s, the movie is set in the 1970s.
  • Spiritual Successor: to Operation "Y" and Kidnapping Caucassian Style
  • Technicolor Science: The liquids in the time machine.
  • Zeerust: The lamp-and-transistor-driven time-machine.
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