Ilia Kopalin

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kopalin, Il’ia Petrovich


Born July 20 (Aug. 2), 1900, in the village of Pavlovskaia, now in Istra Raion, Moscow Oblast. Soviet documentary film director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1968). Member of the CPSU since 1940.

Kopalin began his work under the direction of D. Vertov in 1925. He produced Along Lenin’s Path (1929–37) and Lenin (1938, with I. F. Setkina). His film Defeat of the German Armies Near Moscow (1942, with L. V. Varlamov) received wide recognition both within the USSR and abroad. Films dealing with international events made up an important part of his oeuvre, particularly Abyssinia (1936), On the Events in Spain (1936–37), Liberated Czechoslovakia (1946), The Warsaw Meetings (1955), and Melodies of the Festival (1955).

Kopalin’s major works include The Unforgettable Years (1957); The City of Great Fate (1961), dedicated to Moscow; Maiden Voyage to the Stars (1961, with D. A. Bogolepov and G. M. Kosenko), about the pilot and cosmonaut Iu. A. Gagarin; Undying Pages (1965), on the struggle for Soviet power; and the full-length, wide-angle film My Country (1967), on the 50 years of the Soviet state.

In 1950, Kopalin began teaching at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (from 1964 as a professor). He received the State Prize of the USSR (1941, 1942, 1946, 1948, 1949, 1951) and was awarded two Orders of Lenin and various medals.


Rasskaz o tvorcheskom puti. [Moscow, 1966].


“Master dokumentaPnogo zhanra.” Iskusstvo kino, 1956, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.