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Stanislav Rostotsky
(Станислав Ростоцкий)

Stanislav Rostotsky
Stanislav Rostotsky
Born Stanislav Iosifovich Rostotsky
(1922-04-21)21 April 1922
Rybinsk, Russian SFSR
Died 10 August 2001(2001-08-10) (aged 79)
Vyborg, Russia
Place of burial Vagankovo Cemetery, Moscow
Notable work(s)
  • The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972)
  • White Bim Black Ear (1977)
Title People's Artist of the USSR (1974)
Spouse(s) Nina Menshikova
  • USSR State Prize (1970,1975)
  • Lenin Prize (1980)

Stanislav Iosifovich Rostotsky (Russian: Станисла́в Ио́сифович Росто́цкий; 21 April 1922, in Rybinsk – 10 August 2001, in Vyborg) was a Soviet film director and screenwriter, the recipient of the two USSR State Prizes and a Lenin Prize. He was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1974.

Early years

Stanislav Rostotsky was born in Rybinsk on April 21, 1922 into a Russian-Polish family. His grandfather Boleslaw Rostotsky served as a General in the Imperial Russian Army and a prosecutor on Emperor's personal order.[1][2] His father Iosif Boleslawovich Rostotsky (1890—1965) was an acclaimed doctor, docent, author of 200 monographs, as well as a secretary of the Scientific Medical Council at the People's Commissariat for Health. His mother Lidia Karlovna Rostotskaya (1882—1964) was a milliner turned a housewife.[3][4][5] He had a brother Boleslaw Norbert Iosifovich Rostotsky (born 1912), a famous theater historian during the Soviet days.[1][6]

At the age of five Stanilsav watched Battleship Potemkin and became obsessed with cinema. In 1936 he met Sergei Eisenstein and took part in his unfinished Bezhin Meadow movie as an actor. Eisenstein became his teacher and good friend later on. He convinced Stanislav that only a well-read and educated person may become a film director. This influenced his decision to enter the Institute of Philosophy and Literature in 1940, with an intention to enter VGIK.[7][8]

In 1942 he was enrolled in the Red Army. He left for the front line in a year. As a private he served in the 6th cavalry corps and traveled from Vyazma through Smolensk to Rivne, taking part in battles. In 1944 Rostotsky was seriously injured during the fight near Dubno when he was driven over by a Nazi tank. He survived only due to a trench where his body was partly buried. According to Rostotsky, one of his legs was ruined, as well as his rib cage and his hand. "In addition, a shell fragment hurt me in the head... Good thing the mates took my gun away — otherwise I would've probably shot myself. Because I spent 22 hours lying in that swamp, losing my consciousness, so I had time to think".[8]

He was saved by one of the passing soldiers and then — by a front nurse Anna Chugunova who carried him to the hospital. Rostotsky later dedicated his film The Dawns Here Are Quiet to her.[9] As a result of gangrene he lost one of his legs (a below-knee amputation). He wore a prosthesis, yet never mentioned it and led an active life. Many people working with him didn't even realise he was disabled. He rejected to use a walking stick despite hard pains, especially during later years.[10]

He was awarded the 1st class Order of the Patriotic War and the Order of the Red Star.


On September, 1944 at the age of 22 Stanislav joined VGIK to become a film director. His teacher was Grigori Kozintsev. He studied for seven years, simultaneously working as Kozintsev's assistant at the Lenfilm studio. In 1952 Rostotsky directed his graduation movie Ways-Roads. During the audition he met his future wife, an actress Nina Menshikova. Rostotsky received good recommendations and was sent to work at the Gorky Film Studio where he spent the next 35 years.[3]

Between 1955 and 1989 Rostotsky directed and co-directed 12 motion pictures, one short film and one documentary Profession: Film Actor (1979) dedicated to his close friend Vyacheslav Tikhonov who started in five of his movies in the leading roles. Unlike many other directors, he cast his wife only once, in a supporting role in the film We'll Live Till Monday (1968). Their son — Andrei Rostotsky, a professional actor and stuntman — was also given only one role in the historical war picture A Squadron of Flying Hussars (1980) co-directed by Stanislav under a pseudonym of Stepan Stepanov. War was a running theme in most of his movies, referred to either directly or indirectly. He was named a People's Artist of the USSR in 1974.

He also served as a teacher at VGIK and the President of the Jury at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival in 1975,[11] the 10th Moscow International Film Festival in 1977,[12] the 11th Moscow International Film Festival in 1979,[13] the 12th Moscow International Film Festival in 1981[14] and the 13th Moscow International Film Festival in 1983.[15] As a journalist he was a regular contributor to a number of film periodicals and biographical books, wrote about Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Kozintsev, Andrei Moskvin and Leonid Bykov.

A long-time member of the Filmmakers' Union, he lost his place at the board during the infamous V Congress of the Soviet Filmmakers in 1986, being accused of «nepotism» and «political conformism» along with Lev Kulidzhanov, Sergei Bondarchuk and other top directors. This led to a split, restructuring and further dramatic changes. Many critics and filmmakers consider it to be the start of decline of the Soviet cinema.[16][17] Rostotsky himself left the industry after finishing his final film From the Life of Fyodor Kuzkin in 1989. In his later interviews he told that he had nothing left to say and that he was horrified by the current state of cinema. According to him, young people needed positive emotions, but instead the latest Soviet and Russian films and art in general relied primarily on vulgarity and instincts.[18][19]

Late years

During the 1990s Rostotsky spent a lot of time at his house near the Gulf of Finland, fishing, as this was his favourite hobby. He turned to cinema only once — to act in the 1998 TV mini-series At Daggers Drawn, an adaptation of the classic novel of the same name (director Alexandr Orlov). He also took part in the Window on Europe film festival in Vyborg.

Rostotsky died on August 10, 2001 on his way to the festival. He felt a strong pain in the chest and managed to pull the car over. His wife called the ambulance, but the doctors were unable to save him.[7][20] Stanislav Rostotsky was buried in Moscow on the Vagankovo Cemetery.[21] In just a year his only son Andrei Rostotsky died tragically as he fell down a cliff while making preparations for his new movie.[22]


  • 1955 - Land and People (Russian: Земля и люди)
  • 1957 - It Happened in Penkovo (Дело было в Пенькове)
  • 1959 - May Stars (Майские звёзды)
  • 1962 - Four Winds of Heaven (На семи ветрах)
  • 1963 - Winter Impressions (Зимние этюды)
  • 1965-66 - A Hero of Our Time (Герой нашего времени)
  • 1968 - We'll Live Till Monday (Доживём до понедельника)
  • 1972 - The Dawns Here Are Quiet (А зори здесь тихие...)
  • 1974 - Under a Stone Sky (Под каменным небом)
  • 1977 - White Bim Black Ear (Белый Бим, чёрное ухо)
  • 1979 - Profession: Film Actor (Профессия — киноактёр)
  • 1980 - Squadron of Flying Hussars (Эскадрон гусар летучих)
  • 1984 - Trees Grow on the Stones Too (И на камнях растут деревья)
  • 1989 - From the Life of Fyodor Kuzkin (Из жизни Фёдора Кузькина)


His 1968 film We'll Live Till Monday won the Golden Prize at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival.[23]

Rostotsky's films The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972) and White Bim Black Ear (1977) were both nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,[24][25] with the latter also winning the Crystal Globe at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Interview with Nina Menshikova, May 2005 (in Russian) (archived)
  2. Three Losses article at Trud, January 25, 2007 (in Russian)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rostotsky Stanislav Iosifovich biography at the International United Biographical Center (in Russian)
  4. Rostotsky Iosif Boleslawovich bibliography at the Russian State Library
  5. State Archives of the Perm Krai (in Russian)
  6. Rostotsky Boleslaw Norbert Iosifovich article from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1969—1978 (in Russian)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Richard Chatten. Stanislav Rostotsky obituary at The Independent, 27 August 27, 2001
  8. 8.0 8.1 Islands. Stanislav Rostosky documentary by Russia-K, 2007 (in Russian)
  9. Stanislav Rostotsky's Quite Dawns documentary by Russia-K, 2016 (in Russian)
  10. Nina Menshikova. Mother's Heart documentary by Russia-1, 2005 (in Russian)
  11. "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  12. "10th Moscow International Film Festival (1977)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  13. "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2014-04-03. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  14. "12th Moscow International Film Festival (1981)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  15. "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-11-07. Retrieved 2013-01-28. 
  16. Natalya Bondarchuk, Sole Days Moscow: AST, 2010, 368 p. ISBN 978-5-17-062587-1
  17. Feodor Razzakov, Industry of Betrayal, or Cinema That Blew Up the USSR Moscow: Algorithm, 2013, 416 p. ISBN 978-5-4438-0307-4
  18. Stanislav Rostotsky. Meeting at the Ostankino Concert Studo live show, 1988 (in Russian)
  19. The Dawns Here Are Quiet... interview with Stanislav Rostotsky by Pavel Gladnev, 1996 (in Russian)
  20. Stanislav Rostotsky Died Behind the Wheel of His Favourite Car Komsomolskaya Pravda August 14, 2001 (in Russian)
  21. Stanislav Rostotsky's Tombs
  22. Actor dies in film stunt tragedy by CNN, May 6, 2002
  23. "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  24. "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-11-30. 
  25. "The 51st Academy Awards (1979) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 

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