Bondarchuk, Sergei

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bondarchuk, Sergei Fedorovich


Born Sept. 25, 1920, in the village of Belozerka, Odessa Oblast. Soviet Russian actor and director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1952).

Bondarchuk studied at the theatrical high school in Rostov-on-Don. After being discharged from the Soviet Army in 1946, he was accepted as a third-year student by the acting department of the VGIK (All-Union State Institute of Cinematography; S. A. Gerasimov’s workshop), from which he graduated in 1948. Bondarchuk’s first role in motion pictures was that of Val’ko in the film The Young Guards (1948, based on A. A. Fadeev’s novel). In many respects, this role determined the actor’s subsequent creative work. Bondarchuk has been especially associated with characterizations of strong, courageous, self-sacrificing people with vivid, dramatic fates. As an actor and later as a director, he has always instilled in his heroes a spiritual beauty and moral strength in tragic experiences.

Bondarchuk’s best roles include Taras Shevchenko in the film of the same name (1951, Prize of the Seventh International Film Festival at Karlovy Vary, 1952), Tikhon Prokof ev (Admiral Ushakov and The Ships Are Storming the Bastions, both produced in 1953), Doctor Dymov (The Grasshopper, based on A. P. Chekhov’s story, 1955), and the Russian partisan Fedor in the Italian film It Was Night in Rome (1960). In 1956 he portrayed the romantic character of Othello in the film of the same name, based on Shakespeare’s play. In 1959, Bondarchuk became a director; he directed the film A Man’s Fate, based on the novella of the same name by M. A. Sholokhov and played the role of Andrei Sokolov in it. This film won the Grand Gold Prize at the First International Film Festival in Moscow. Bondarchuk was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1960 for making the film A Man’s Fate. In 1967 he finished production of the monumental, four-part film War and Peace based on L. N. Tolstoy’s novel. In this motion picture Bondarchuk acted the role of Pierre Bezukhov. The first and second parts of the film were awarded the Grand Prize of the Fourth International Film Festival in Moscow. Parts 1–4 won a prize from the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscar) in 1969; the film received other prizes.

Among Bondarchuk’s other roles are Sergei Tutarinov (Cavalier of the Golden Star, 1951), Garmash (This Cannot be Forgotten, 1954), Ershov (Unfinished Story, 1955), Ivan Franko in the film of the same name (1956), and Korostelev (Serezha, 1960, based on V. F. Panova’s work). In 1970 he directed the film Waterloo (a joint Soviet-Italian production). Bondarchuk won the State Prize of the USSR in 1952. He has also been awarded the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and medals.


“Rezhisser iakter v rabote nadobrazom.” Iskusstvokino, 1952, no. 8.


Shalunovskii, V. Sergei Bondarchuk. [Moscow, 1959.]
Khaniutin, Iu. M. Sergei Bondarchuk. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.