Netflix Loves Russia's Beloved Sergei Bodrov, Jr.



Netflix Loves Russia's Beloved Sergei Bodrov, Jr.
Sergei Bodrov, Jr., on the transformer substation next to Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg. Amanda Shirnina

Sergei Bodrov, Jr. was one of the first Russian actors I knew about. Around 1999, my local Fenton, Michigan, Blockbuster had Burnt by the SunEast/West, and Brother on the shelves for a languishing Russophile teenager who had no access to the sounds of the Russian language. Thus, my first three Russian actors were Nikita Mikhailkov, Oleg Menshikov, and Sergei Bodrov, Jr. The latter, who died shortly after I began to be aware of him in 2002, is in the news again. The Brother (Brat) cult film franchise in which Bodrov, Jr. stars is now on Netflix.

After only one week on Netflix, Brat has entered the service's Top 10 list of most-watched films. Everyone wants to see 1990s Russian gangsters.

There were some concerns about how racist and racy phrases from 1990s gangster culture would be translated into English subtitles, including a major scandal about a short but important phrase and how Netflix translated it.

Bodrov, Jr. (he is "Jr." as his eponymous father is a famous film director), is generally respected throughout Russia as a class act. Certainly his tragic premature death on set at age 30 strengthened that legacy. His image has graced a transformer substation next to Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg since 2014, as seen in the photograph above.

You Might Also Like

A History of Oscar and Russian Films

A History of Oscar and Russian Films

The first Russian movie to win an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film was the documentary Rout of the German Troops near Moscow (1942). Since then, five Russian films have won this honor.
War Without Peace
  • February 01, 1997

War Without Peace

A review of Sergei Bodrov's film, "A Prisoner of the Caucasus," starring Oleg Menshikov.
The Valley of the Dead
  • March 01, 2021

The Valley of the Dead

A severe, remote valley in Ossetia inters the remains of one of Russia’s most revered film stars... and the mingled bones of countless ancients.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
Murder at the Dacha

Murder at the Dacha

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin has a problem. Several, actually. Not the least of them is the fact that a powerful Soviet boss has been murdered, and Matyushkin's surly commander has given him an unreasonably short time frame to close the case.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
The Spine of Russia

The Spine of Russia

This coffee table book is the photographic journal of an epic 6000-kilometer road trip. The book includes over 200 compelling images of Russians and Russian places met along the way, plus a dozen texts (in both English and Russian) on everything from business to education, from roads to fools.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts


Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955