The Red Snowball Tree - a Soviet drama film

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The Red Snowball Tree (Russian: Калина красная, romanized: Kalina krasnaya) is a 1974 Soviet drama film directed by Vasily Shukshin. It was the most successful film of that year. In total, the film sold an estimated 140 million tickets at the Soviet box office, making it the highest-grossing Soviet film of all time. German film director and screenwriter Rainer Werner Fassbinder included The Red Snowball Tree in the top ten of his favorite films.


Coming out of the penal colony, a thief-recidivist Yegor Prokudin (Vasili Shukshin) nick-named Grief decides to go to the village where the blue-eyed stranger Lyuba (Lidiya Fedoseyeva-Shukshina), with whom he corresponded by letters, lives. He needs to wait out and to look around. Lyuba appears to love him genuinely, despite his dark past and the strong misgivings of her own parents. Eventually life in the village destroys all of Yegor's plans, and he decides to break with the past forever. The villagers seem to get over their initial distrust to the former convict, and accept him as one of their own. Now he has friends, work and beloved woman. However, the criminals - former friends of Yegor - are not going to put up with his new way of life. One day three of them arrive in a car and try to persuade him to return to the old ways. When this fails, they shot him and leave. Pyotr (Aleksei Vanin), Lyuba's brother, gives them a chase and kills them, crushing their car with his dump-truck.


The name of the film refers to the snowball tree, otherwise known as the guelder-rose, a type of viburnum.


The director has long nurtured plans to shoot a picture about Stepan Razin, but the State Committee for Cinematography put forward a condition to Shukshin - before he begins to work on a historical drama he must first direct a picture about the present. Shukshin then decided to adapt the story Kalina Krasnaya which he published in the magazine Nash Sovremennik.

Filming took place in the city of Belozersk, Vologda Oblast, as well as in the surrounding villages - Sadovaya, Desyatovskaya and Krokhino. Local villagers took part in the episodic roles.

In November 1973, when the shooting was completed and Vasily Shukshin was busy with the editing, he suffered a severe attack of the peptic ulcer disease. The director was hospitalized but after staying in the hospital for a few days, he escaped from there and continued work on the film.


  • Vasili Shukshin as Yegor Prokudin, former burglar
  • Lidiya Fedoseyeva-Shukshina as Lyuba Baykalova, Yegor's bride
  • Ivan Ryzhov as Fedor Baykalov, Lyuba's father
  • Maria Skvortsova as Lyuba's mother
  • Aleksei Vanin as Pyotr Baykalov, Lyuba's brother
  • Maria Vinogradova as Zoya, Pyotr's wife
  • Euphemia Bystrova as Yegor's mother
  • Zhanna Prokhorenko as inquisitor
  • Lev Durov as Sergey Mikhailovich, ofitsiant
  • Alexander Gorbenko as Kolya, former Lyuba's husband
  • Nikolai Grabbe as chief of corrective labor colony
  • Nikolay Pogodin as diretor of sovkhoz
  • Georgi Burkov as Guboshlyop, criminal leader
  • Tatyana Gavrilova as Lusyen, criminal girlfriend
  • Artur Makarov as Buzya, criminal
  • Oleg Korchikov as Shurka, criminal
  • Natalya Gvozdikova as telegraph operator
  • Iya Arepina as Yegor's sister


  • Polish Film Critics Award Warsaw siren for best foreign film in 1973, shown in Poland
  • The main prize of the All-Union Film Festival in Baku (1974) "For an original, brilliant talent of the writer, director and actor"
  • Readers of the magazine Soviet Screen picked it as best film of the year, and Shukshin as best actor.
  • Shukshin posthumously received the Lenin Prize in 1976.

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    Name Born / Since / At Died Languages
    1Zhanna  ProkhorenkoZhanna Prokhorenko11.05.194001.08.2011de, en, fr, pl, ru, ua
    2Татьяна ГавриловаТатьяна Гаврилова05.05.193915.10.2000ru
    3Олег  КорчиковОлег Корчиков02.01.193912.07.2017ru, ua
    4Natalia KrachkovskayaNatalia Krachkovskaya24.11.193803.03.2016en, fr, pl, ru, ua
    5Alexandra  StrelchenkoAlexandra Strelchenko02.02.193702.08.2019en, ru
    6Георгий БурковГеоргий Бурков31.05.193319.07.1990ru
    7Lev DurovLev Durov23.12.193120.08.2015en, lv, pl, ru, ua
    8Артур МакаровАртур Макаров24.06.193103.10.1995ru, ua
    9Николай  ПогодинНиколай Погодин18.11.193015.12.2003ru
    10Василий ШукшинВасилий Шукшин25.07.192902.10.1974ru
    11Алексей ВанинАлексей Ванин09.01.192522.05.2012ru
    12Maria  VinogradovaMaria Vinogradova13.07.192202.07.1995en, pl, ru
    13Nikolaï GrabbeNikolaï Grabbe19.12.192012.06.1990fr, ru
    14Иван РыжовИван Рыжов25.01.191315.03.2004ru
    15Мария СкворцоваМария Скворцова04.04.191101.12.2000ru
    16Вера  МарецкаяВера Марецкая00.00.190600.00.1978ru
    17Николай  ПодгорныйНиколай Подгорный18.02.190311.01.1983ru
    18Jefīmija  BistrovaJefīmija Bistrova15.07.189309.01.1976lv, ru