The Cold Summer of 1953

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The Cold Summer of 1953
The Cold Summer of 1953.png
Original film poster
Directed byAleksandr Proshkin
Written byEdgar Dubrovsky
StarringValeriy Priyomykhov
Anatoli Papanov
Viktor Stepanov
Nina Usatova
CinematographyBoris Brozhovsky
Music byVladimir Martynov
Release date
Running time
97 minutes
CountrySoviet Union

The Cold Summer of 1953[1] (Russian: Холодное лето пятьдесят третьего…, romanizedKholodnoe leto pyatdesyat tretego[2]) is a 1988 Soviet crime film directed by Aleksandr Proshkin. It was the last film of the Soviet actor Anatoly Papanov.


Summer 1953. After Stalin's death, one of his closest colleagues, First Deputy Premier and head of the MVD Lavrenty Beria, announces an amnesty for non-political prisoners and for political prisoners sentenced to not more than 5 years. As a result, many dangerous criminals are freed from labor camps. They organise gangs and begin to rob, kill and rape.

In a small village in the north of Russia live two exiles: former military intelligence captain Sergei Basargin (nicknamed "Luzga") and former engineer Nikolai Pavlovich Starobogatov ("Kopalych"). Both have been unjustly imprisoned and then exiled by Stalin's regime.

The village is attacked by a gang of criminals. The bandits kill the only policeman and take the entire population hostage.

The deaf-mute cook Lydia sends her young daughter Shura away to the forest. A young bandit, mad with lust, overtakes Shura and tries to rape her, but Luzga appears and kills him with a shiv. Now armed with his pistol, Luzga ventures further into the forest, where an old bandit Mikhalych is seen having a conversation with Kopalych about the recent downfall of Beria. Mikhalych notices approaching Luzga and shoots at him over Kopalych's shoulder. Lightly wounded Luzga falls down, faking dead, then suddenly shoots and kills Mikhalych. Later he picks off one more bandit.

The rest of the gang, armed with machine guns, mount an all-out attack. Luzga orders Kopalych to create a diversion and implores him to take proper cover. However, Kopalych stands upright to make the diversion more convincing, and is shot dead. Luzga guns down the bandits.

In the evening, as the villagers are collecting the bodies of dead bandits, one body is missing. One of the bandits was only wounded, hid in the bushes, and then killed Shura. Luzga runs after the bandit in the dark and kills him with bare hands.

Some time later, Luzga is seen walking the streets of Moscow. He visits the relatives of Kopalych (who were forced to renounce him after his arrest) and recounts the story to them.



  1. ^ "Дело Румянцева (1955) – КиноПоиск". Retrieved Dec 2, 2020 – via
  2. ^ "Холодное лето пятьдесят третьего... (1987)".

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