Grigori Rasputin in popular culture

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The life of Grigori Rasputin has been the subject of a variety of media since his death in 1916.

Films[edit]

Historical fiction[edit]

Grigori Rasputin appears as a character in the following films that aim to be historically accurate:

Science fiction and fantasy[edit]

  • In the 1997 animated film Anastasia, Rasputin is the primary antagonist, who became a sorcerer after selling his soul for his powers. Rasputin had brought himself to life after dying in the Neva River, in order to complete a curse he placed on the Romanovs by killing the last of the royal family, Anastasia. He is accompanied by a comical albino bat named Bartok. He ends up being killed by his own hellish minions. Rasputin is voiced by Christopher Lloyd, while Jim Cummings performs his singing voice.
  • Rasputin, played by Karel Roden, is the repeatedly resurrected villain of the 2004 film Hellboy, based on the comics series of the same name (see Comics, below). Years after his assassination in 1916, he is now a servant of the Ogdru Jahad, a Lovecraftian embodiment of chaos and evil, and incidentally, bald. He summons Hellboy to Earth during World War II, is killed, but later returns to try to free the Ogdru Jahad and end the world. He has been reincarnated through the years and when he is killed a demon emerges from his body. He did not appear in the sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
  • Rasputin played a major element in the 1999 anime film Case Closed: The Last Wizard of the Century.

Characters based on Rasputin[edit]

  • The 1980 Australian film Harlequin rehashes Rasputin's story in a contemporary setting; Robert Powell played the Rasputin character, a mysterious faith healer called Gregory Wolfe. The characters corresponding to Nicholas II and Alexandra Fyodorovna were called Nick and Sandra Rast ('Rast' being 'Tsar' backwards).
  • The evil Russian villain of the stop-motion animated series The New Adventures of Pinocchio was named after Rasputin and bears a similar appearance.

Television[edit]

  • In Season 3, Episode 12 ("Strings") of the Canadian vampire drama Forever Knight, Nick has a flashback which reveals his friendship with Emperor Nicholas II. Rasputin is shown to have significant influence over Empress Alexandra, because she believes he can cure her son Alexei. It is implied that Alexei is actually suffering from vampirism, and Rasputin himself is shown to be a newly turned vampire created by LaCroix. LaCroix turns him to enjoy the irony of a demonized holy man, (thus implying that Rasputin was actually a sage), and to control the Russian empire by controlling Rasputin (who is bound to him through the sire bond). However, Rasputin resists LaCroix's control so LaCroix has him shot and thrown into a river, even though it will not kill Rasputin, in order to ignite a "revolution". Rasputin comes back and tries to kill the emperor in order to gain control of Russia, but Nick stakes him, thus killing him permanently.
  • In 2001 on the daytime drama Passions, the witch Tabitha Lenox has a flashback to 1916 Imperial Russia where Rasputin is established as her love interest. Tabitha gives Rasputin advice of how to bring down the imperial family, and also gives him the idea to spare one certain member to which he agrees.
  • Rasputin was referred to in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row, implying that Rasputin was a demon with mind-controlling powers which resided on his eyes. A 5th-season episode of the show also has a scene where Buffy debates with a history professor over whether Rasputin had genuinely been killed. A fifth season episode of Angel featured a vampire named Nostroyev who claimed to have been Rasputin's lover.
  • One of the Punk Frogs in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon was named Rasputin the Mad Frog.
  • In Season 3, Episode 11 ("Pine Barrens") of The Sopranos, Paulie Walnuts compares a Russian mob figure to Rasputin after he evades them in the Pine Barrens, despite apparently being shot in the head.
  • Rasputin appears in an Animaniacs episode, "Nothing But The Tooth," (voiced by John Glover), suffering from a toothache and treated by the palace dentists, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. In one scene he is given anaesthesia—in the form of a mallet to the head wielded by a young girl. Dot comments on the obscurity of the joke and tells kids to ask their parents what it means. Rasputin loses his hypnotic talents when all his teeth get yanked out and he cannot properly enunciate.
  • In the cartoon The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, he appears with Attila the Hun and Abraham Lincoln to give Mandy advice after she summons spirits from Grim's skull. He is shown with a sword through his head, although no accounts of Rasputin's death involve a sword.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Meltdown", Rasputin is one of the rogue wax droids. The Abraham Lincoln wax droid mistakenly refers to him as "Rice-puddin'" due to his accent, describing Rasputin as "the most hated, reviled, and despised man of his era".
  • In Smallville Episode "Run", Lex purchases a manuscript that was said to be the only thing that was hanging in Rasputin's chamber while he was studying at the Grigori monastery. He believed it would lead him to unimaginable power. Legend has it that Rasputin would stare at it for days at a time hoping to penetrate its secrets. The border designs of the manuscript say, in kryptonian, "look deeper", and when Clark uses his X-Ray vision he sees that there is a map which leads to one of the three stones of power, which he later acquires and uses to assemble the Fortress of Solitude.
  • In an episode of M*A*S*H, Trapper mentions to Radar that "Rasputin" (Hawkeye) "swallowed a whole drug store," and didn't fall asleep (as Trapper was trying to sedate Hawkeye).
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Suicide", Jerry asks Elaine if naming a child "Rasputin" would have a negative effect on the child. At the end of the episode, George mentions that he helped a fortune teller deliver her child, and when Jerry asks what name was given to the baby, he replied, "You won't believe it...Rasputin."
  • In Metalocalypse, the Tribunal member Vatar Orlaag has a physical appearance that resembles Rasputin.
  • In the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, the antagonist's canine companion is called Rasputin.
  • In the BBC Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel The Wages of Sin, the Third Doctor and his companions Jo Grant and Liz Shaw meet Rasputin prior to his death and learn that he is actually a more pleasant individual than history records — the Doctor noting that all evidence of his villainy was written by his enemies who filled in certain blanks to suit themselves, such as their ignorance that the reason he was so close to the royal family was his secret treatment of the young prince — but the Doctor is nevertheless forced to allow Rasputin to die, despite having the chance to save him, in order to preserve history (Rasputin surviving the poisoning is explained as Jo Grant having switched the poisoned cakes for safe ones in the belief that the assassins were trying to poison others). In the TV episode "Let's Kill Hitler", one of the tessalector crew- who travel through time to punish those who did not suffer for their crimes when alive- says that in their previous assignment they copied Rasputin but got the skin tone green.
  • Warehouse 13 featured his prayer rope, used to conjure images of the dead. Apparently after being successfully assassinated the first time, his followers used it to make it seem like he had cheated death.
  • In The Crow: Stairway to Heaven episode "Never Say Die" Rasputin's spirit is summoned, leading to a conflict with the shows protagonist, Eric Draven.
  • An episode of Saturday Night Live had a sketch titled "The Death of Rasputin," in which he is portrayed by John Belushi.
  • In Season 3, Episode 9 ("Red Menace") of Grimm, Nick's journals talk about Rasputin and claim that he is a Koschei, a Wesen with the power to both heal and harm, depending on the situation. The episode features another Koschei, who's depicted as having glowing green eyes.
  • Grigory R. (Григорий Р.), Russian biographical 2013 TV film which chronicles the lives of Grigori Rasputin until his death. Rasputin was portrayed by Vladimir Mashkov.

Theater[edit]

  • Rasputin's End (1958) is an opera in three acts; (libretto by Stephen Spender, music by Nicolas Nabokov).
  • Rasputin was portrayed on stage in the play Rivers of Blood,[5] written by the American playwright Jay Jeff Jones. This was presented in a workshop production in New York City in 1982 and received a full production at The Eaton in London in 1983. It was directed by the Irish novelist and poet Dermot Healy and Rasputin was played by Gabriel Connaughton.
  • Comedian Richard Herring played Rasputin in his self-penned 1993 Edinburgh show Ra-Ra Rasputin which told the story of the Mad Monk, set to the music of Boney M, which also drew parallels between the British Royal Family and the doomed Romanovs. Richard appeared on Celebrity Mastermind on 27 December 2010, his specialist subject was Rasputin.
  • Beardo, a musical loosely based on the life of Rasputin, with book and lyrics by Jason Craig and music by Dave Malloy, was commissioned by the Berkeley, CA based Shotgun Players, to begin their 20th anniversary season in March 2011.[6]
  • Rasputin, an opera, was written by Jay Reise on his own libretto on request of New York City Opera and was devoted to Beverly Sills. The world premiere took place on 17 September 1988.
  • Rasputin is an opera by Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara, who wrote both the libretto and the music.
  • The 2014 rock opera Rasputin – Miracles Lie in the Eye of the Beholder was developed by Michael Rapp, and starred Ted Neeley.

Comics[edit]

  • Rasputin is a recurrent villain in early collections of the ongoing comic book series Hellboy, responsible (in cooperation with a Nazi occult/scientific program) for summoning Hellboy to Earth during World War II and later for "cracking the prison" of the universe's embodiment of evil and chaos, the Ogdru Jahad, to whose worship he has converted after his failed assassination in 1916. Rasputin is destroyed by Hellboy at the end of their first meeting, but his spirit survives to catalyze several subsequent plots due to his having given part of his soul to the Baba Yaga as a boy, in the folkloric manner of Koschei the Deathless. His spirit dwindles over successive encounters, ceding chief villain status in the series to the goddess Hecate, the witch Nimue, and eventually the Ogdru Jahad itself/themselves.
  • Fantagraphics also released a comic book in 2006, Hotwire Comix & Capers, which features a six-page story about Rasputin by cartoonist M. Wartella.
  • Rasputin makes a brief appearance as a vampire in the second volume of the French comic Requiem Chevalier Vampire.
  • a character called Rasputin (with little similar to the actual Rasputin except for some personality traits and his physical appearance) is also depicted in Hugo Pratt´s comic book series Corto Maltese as a sea-pirate during World War I.
  • An X-Men miniseries revealed the superhero Colossus to be a descendant of Rasputin, who had worked with future X-Men foe Mister Sinister during Rasputin's lifetime to develop a means of bringing Rasputin back to life in the body of his last living descendant. This plan was defeated when Colossus's brother Mikhail willingly exiled himself to another dimension where he could never return and would never die, meaning that, even if Colossus died without any children, Rasputin would simply be stuck in Mikhail's body in a barren universe.
  • A Dilbert comic strip, published August 13, 2000, features a Rasputin as a "Consultant", as a stand-alone joke. The character is likely heavily inspired by the real life Rasputin, including similar features and mystical powers. In the end of the comic, he was apparently killed by Wally due to the latter's "anti-charisma".
  • In a bonus story in the first book of Atomic Robo, the ghost of Rasputin is sent by Thomas Edison to kill the titular Atomic Robo.
  • In DC Comics' Firestorm, Mikhail Arkadin meets a psychic named Rasputin. He asks if the man is named after "the mad monk of legend"; the man responds "Perhaps. Or perhaps I am the mad monk of legend."
  • In Big Wolf On Campus, Merton Dingle has a pet snake which he named "Rasputin"
  • In Kid Eternity #15, Master Man (Quality Comics) summons up Rasputin from Stygia (Hell) to help engineer a jail break, which he does by hypnotizing a guard.
  • In Assassin's Creed: The Fall Rasputin's grave is exhumed by the assassin Nikolai Orelov to retrieve the shard from the Staff of Eden.
  • In 2014, Image Comics launched a new ongoing comic series titled Rasputin,[7] in which a fictionalized version of the titular character recounts his life from his birth to his murder. The series includes elements of fantasy, as Rasputin appears to wield various supernatural powers, mostly related to necromancy.

Manga and anime[edit]

  • Rasputin appears in Detective Conan: The Last Wizard of the Century as the ancestor of Seiran Hoshi a.k.a. "Scorpion" who shoots her victims in the right eye to avenge him.
  • Rasputin is a primary antagonist in the anime Master of Mosquiton. In the series, he is an immortal alien who has been on Earth since the dawn of humanity, and the name Rasputin is simply the latest of his many aliases.
  • Rasputin appears in the manga Steel Angel Kurumi as one of three mystics who helps set up a barrier for a Steel Fight.
  • Rasputin is a primary antagonist in the anime Raimuiro Senkitan.
  • Rasputin makes a small cameo in the Soul Eater manga and anime, where he briefly fights the living scythe Soul Eater and Soul's wielder and partner, Maka.
  • Rasputin is an antagonist in the Blood+ manga and anime, where he serves Diva as the second of her Chevaliers.
  • Rasputin is an antagonist in the manga Drifters, where he, together with the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, serves the Black King as an Ends.[8]
  • A descendant of Rasputin named Rasputon appears as the antagonist in the Lupin III television special episode "From Russia With Love".

Books[edit]

  • In the 1999 book Our Dumb Century produced by The Onion, one of the articles for the March 16, 1923 edition is "Russians Continuing to Kill Rasputin", in which Rasputin not only is poisoned, shot, stabbed, and drowned, but is also run over by a freight train, shot from a cannon, set on fire, and decapitated twice (among many other things), yet still refuses to die.
  • In the 2003 novel The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry, Rasputin is depicted as a mysterious and prophetic figure who predicts his own demise, as well as that of the Russian Empire, but then a return of the Romanovs to power. The first two of those prophecies are based on an actual letter that the historical Rasputin wrote.[9]
  • In Mikheil Javakhishvili's novel Kvachi, the eponymous character befriends Rasputin through a ruse. Kvachi exploits his connection to him to gain favor with the Tsar. After recognizing that the political tide is turning towards to Bolsheviks, however, Kvachi and his associates assassinate him in exactly the same way as is historically described.
  • The 2016 crypto-thriller The Apocalypse Fire by Dominic Selwood features cryptographs contained in personal notebooks belonging to Rasputin.

Music[edit]

Bands[edit]

  • Rasputin's Stash is the name of a 1970s funk band (with such hits as "Mr. Cool")
  • The cello rock band Rasputina, formed in 1992, derive their name from Rasputin; the lead singer Melora Creager was "into [him] at the time".[10]

Songs[edit]

  • "Rasputin" was a hit song by the disco band Boney M. The song loosely describes Rasputin and some of the events of his life, emphasizing and exaggerating his sexual liaisons. The song is featured on the Wii Just Dance 2 game. Bobby Farrell had dressed up as Rasputin in some band performances of the song (incidentally his death occurred on the anniversary of, and in the same city as, the death of Rasputin).
  • The American progressive metal band Mastodon released a concept album in 2009 entitled Crack the Skye. It features a track called 'The Czar' which is about Rasputin.
  • "Let Rasputin Do It" is a song on the Swedish rock band Fireside's 1998 album "Uomini d'Onore".
  • Rasputin is the subject of a song by Therion, "The Khlysti Evangelist" on their album Sirius B.
  • The Austin Lounge Lizards depicted Rasputin's encounters with the American medical system in their song "Rasputin's HMO"; this portrayed Rasputin as being unable to obtain medical treatment from his HMO despite having been poisoned, burned, exploded, shot, and thrown in a river.
  • The Brazilian/American Thrash Metal band Cavalera Conspiracy wrote a song entitled "Rasputin" on their second album Blunt Force Trauma.

Album covers[edit]

Lyrics[edit]

  • American folk rock band the Indigo Girls mention "a poster of Rasputin" in their single "Closer to Fine".
  • Bob Dylan's song "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (1965) mentions Rasputin in the lines, "Rasputin he's so dignified. He touched the back of her head an' he died."
  • The song "I Can't Decide" by Scissor Sisters contains lyrics referring to Rasputin's Murder. ("...I could throw you in a lake or feed you poisoned birthday cake...")
  • Rapper Hodgy Beats says "Rasputin, I'm half-mutant" in the MellowHype song "64"

Other[edit]

Computer and video games[edit]

Games named after Rasputin[edit]

  • Rasputin was a platform game released by Firebird for the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum[11] and Amstrad CPC in 1985. The player takes the role of a knight tasked with preventing The Spirit of Rasputin from destroying the universe by destroying the source of his power, the Jewel of Seven Stars.

Rasputin as a character[edit]

Characters based on Rasputin[edit]

  • The main character in the PS2/Xbox game Psychonauts is called Razputin (better known as 'Raz'). Due to his psychic abilities, he is presumably named after Rasputin. The backstory of the character Raz includes a fear of drowning (like Rasputin's siblings) and a life in the circus (like his daughter Maria).
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the character Yuri was most likely inspired by Rasputin; he is a mysterious man with special powers who has a hold on the Russian leader.
  • In the game Resident Evil 4, the village chief Bitorez Mendez bears a striking resemblance to Rasputin. Also, as Rasputin cared for the peasantry, Chief Mendez is the only possessor of a queen Plagas that shows any care for the ganados as revealed by a note encountered shortly before the boss battle with him. Mendez' voice actor, Jesse Corti, even voiced him in a similar manner to Rasputin from the Hellboy film. His bio in supplementary materials also reveal he was formerly a Christian priest before the Los Illuminados arrived,[12] just like how Rasputin was a monk.
  • In the game Destiny, Rasputin is an artificial intelligence built to defend Old Earth. A major non-player character, Rasputin plays a significant role in the game's somewhat mysterious story. The AI will occasionally speak to the player in Russian, quoting 19th century literature.[13]
  • A character named Rasputin can be found as a playable character in the World Heroes series of arcade fighting games by Alpha Denshi and SNK, being the leader of a pansexual love cult based in Russia.[14] He has the ability to create fire, ice, and lightning projectiles, and his super attack heavily implies him sexually assaulting his foe.[15]

Other[edit]

  • In White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness role-playing game metaverse, many factions of supernaturals claim Rasputin as one of their own, including one faction of mages (the Cult of Ecstasy), at least five factions of vampires (the Brujah, Malkavians, Nosferatu, Ventrue, and Followers of Set), and one faction of werewolves (the Shadow Lords). The second edition of Wraith: The Oblivion has a description of the 'Stamina' attribute referring to the stories of Rasputin's assassination. The in-game "truth" is still disputed, though Ethan Skemp (developer of Werewolf) has since mentioned that the multiple conflicting stories were meant as little more than an in-joke running through many of White Wolf's early books.[16]
  • In Team Fortress 2, there is an achievement for the Heavy class named after Rasputin, given for being shot, burned, bludgeoned and exploded in a single life. This is a reference to Rasputin's alleged survival of being poisoned, being shot several times, and being badly beaten before finally drowning.
  • In the Call of Duty: World at War Nazi Zombies mode, on the Downloaded map Shi No numa, Nikolai Belinski can be heard saying after killing a zombie "Who are you, fucking Rasputin? Stay dead this time!"
  • In Assassin's Creed II, a series of glyphs and codices describe Rasputin as a Templar agent who infiltrates the Czar's palace so he can steal a powerful artifact in the Czar's possession.

Other media[edit]

Icon of Grigori Rasputin

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ronald Bergan. "Obituary: Elem Klimov". the Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Times, Los Angeles (2016-01-14). "Alan Rickman". latimes.com. Retrieved 2017-05-20. 
  3. ^ "Le Figaro - Cinéma : Depardieu dans la peau de Raspoutine". Lefigaro.fr. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  4. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike. "Warner Bros Buys ‘Rasputin’ Pitch That Jason Hall Will Write For Leonardo DiCaprio". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Jay Jeff Jones - complete guide to the Playwright, Plays, Theatres, Agent". Doollee.com. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  6. ^ "beardo". Davemalloy.com. 2011-05-01. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  7. ^ "Rasputin". Image Comics. Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  8. ^ Hirano Kouta (w, a). "Hirano Kouta" Drifters v2,: 11/2 (October 13, 2011), Japan: Shōnen Gahosha, ISBN 978-4-7859-3714-0
  9. ^ Barry, Steve (2003). The Romanov Prophecy. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 978-0345504395. 
  10. ^ "Rasputina Biography". Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Rasputin". World of Spectrum. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
  12. ^ Resident Evil Archives II. BradyGames. p. 198. ISBN 978-0744013214
  13. ^ Hillier, Brenna (2014-09-22). "Ever wondered what Destiny’s Rasputin is saying?". VG247. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
  14. ^ "Rasputin (World Heroes)". Fightersgeneration.com. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
  15. ^ "RASPUTIN LIKES 2 TAKE IT SLOW". YouTube. 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2017-05-31. 
  16. ^ Darker Days Radio Darkling #19. "Rasputin in the World of Darkness". Darker Days Podcast. Retrieved 2012-02-26. 
  17. ^ [1] Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Pathfinder Adventure Path #71: Rasputin Must Die! (Reign of Winter 5 of 6) (PFRPG)". paizo.com. Retrieved 2017-05-31.