Pirates of the 20th Century

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Pirates of the 20th Century
Pirates of XX century.jpg
Soviet film poster
Directed byBoris Durov
Written byBoris Durov
Stanislav Govorukhin
StarringNikolai Yeremenko Jr.
Pyotr Velyaminov
Talgat Nigmatulin
Music byYevgeni Gevorgyan
CinematographyAleksandr Rybin
Edited byG. Negelnitska
Distributed byGorky Film Studio
Release date
July 14, 1980
Running time
81 minutes
CountrySoviet Union

Pirates of the 20th Century (Russian: Пираты XX века, translit. Piraty XX veka) is a 1980 Soviet action/adventure film about modern piracy.[1] The film was directed by Boris Durov, the story was written by Boris Durov and Stanislav Govorukhin.[2]

The film was the leader of Soviet distribution in 1980 and had 87.6 million viewers.[3]


The existing dry cargo steamer «Нежин» (1954—1978) was built in 1954 and in the same shipyard in GDR that built the ship «Фатеж» which was used in filming under name «Нежин». The photos maden in period from November 1956 to January 1961.

The film begins with a convoy of military vehicles rolling into a seaport located somewhere in Middle East in the bank of Indian or Pacific Ocean and stopping near the pier where the Soviet cargo ship Nezhin (Russian: «Нежин») is anchored. An agent of a local pharmaceutical company meets the captain of the Soviet vessel and discusses the cargo, medical opium, which is in critical demand by the hospitals of the USSR. Soon after that the pharmaceutical company agent is seen inside a car, speaking to someone via walkie-talkie. Later the MV Nezhin, with the opium on board, leaves port for Vladivostok.[4][5]

Some distance into the voyage, a watchman cries "man overboard" and the captain orders the engines stopped to rescue the stranded swimmer. The boat from Nezhin picks up an Asian man who identifies himself as Salekh, the only surviving sailor from a foreign merchant ship. Salekh told the crew that his ship suddenly capsized during a heavy storm and his crewmates were fighting for places in rescue boats. Shortly after that the Soviet captain is informed of an unknown ship, drifting nearby. The ship, called the Mercury, is apparently abandoned, with no crew visible and no activity on deck. The captain of the Nezhin decides to send four men to explore the ship and offer assistance to possible survivors.

However, the abandoned ship turns out to be a trap for the Soviets. Occupied with the Mercury, none of the Russian crewmen pays any attention to Salekh, who takes an axe from the ship's firefighting kit, enters the radio room of the Nezhin, and attacks a radio operator, killing him. After Salekh destroys the ship's radio equipment, the Mercury starts her engines and approaches the Nezhin. At that moment, the Nezhin's crew see the bodies of the boarding party, floating in the water behind the Mercury. The Soviet captain realizes that his ship is under attack by pirates.

Their attempt to escape is foiled when the Mercury rams the ship and the pirates open fire with assault rifles and machine guns. The pirates board the Nezhin, brutally killing Russian crewmembers who fight them. Sergey, the chief-mate of the Nezhin, discovers the dead radio operator and decides to find Salekh. Chasing Salekh through the corridors of the ship, Sergey makes an attempt to stop him. Salekh shows impressive martial arts skills and quickly defeats the chief-mate. Soon after, the pirates lock the remaining Russians into crew compartments and begin to offload the opium to the Mercury. The pirate captain thanks Salekh for a successful mission and orders him to blow up the Nezhin together with her crew. The Soviets, left to die on a sinking ship, manage to escape and must fight the pirates for survival.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Birgit Beumers (2015). Directory of World Cinema: RUSSIA 2. Intellect Books. p. 89-91. ISBN 978-1-783-20010-8.
  2. ^ IMDb Piraty XX veka (1979)
  3. ^ Prokat2 Archived 2012-05-10 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Pirates of the 20th Century DVD Video Review
  5. ^ Russian Learning Scenario: Pirates of the 20th Century

External links[edit]