The Fall of the Romanoffs

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The Fall of the Romanoffs
Promotion in Moving Picture World, May 1918
Directed byHerbert Brenon
Written by
Produced byHerbert Brenon
Music byJames C. Bradford
Distributed byFirst National Pictures
Release date
Premiere (New York City) September 23, 1917; generally January 1918[1]
Running time
8 reels
(approximately 80 minutes)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

The Fall of the Romanoffs is a 1917 silent American historical drama film directed by Herbert Brenon. It was released only seven months after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in February 1917. This film is notable for starring Rasputin's rival, the monk Iliodor, as himself. Costars Nance O'Neil and Alfred Hickman were married from 1916 to Hickman's death in 1931. The film was shot in North Bergen, New Jersey, nearby Fort Lee, New Jersey, where many early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based at the beginning of the 20th century.[3][4][5]

This film is currently presumed to be lost.[6] The Library of Congress includes it among the National Film Preservation Board's updated 2019 list of "7,200 Lost U.S. Silent Feature Films" produced between 1912 and 1929.[7]


The film takes place during the final days of Rasputin's influence on the Imperial Family shortly before the Russian Revolution.


Alfred Hickman and Nance O'Neil as Nicholas and Alexandra


Defrocked monk Iliodor (Trufanov), who left Russia in 1914, played himself in the film, while Nance O'Neil was cast as the czarina due to her resemblance of Empress Alexandra.[2] Director Brenon edited the film during production, allowing it to premiere at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City on September 6, 1917, which was just days after filming ended.[2] To keep the film current with events in Russia, Brenon continued to edit and add footage through October 1918 to include scenes of the czar's execution and the death of the czarina.[2]


Like many American films of the time, The Fall of the Romanoffs was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors cut, in Reel 4, the two intertitles "Come, let us sin together so that we may pray together" and "Be comforted, my child" etc., two struggle scenes between Rasputin and Sonia, Rasputin carrying unconscious young woman into other room, Rasputin drawing Sonia towards him, Sonia coming out of room into which Rasputin carried her, closeups of Sonia at couch registering emotion and shame, near view of Sonia kneeling before Iliodor, Reel 5, the two intertitles "A fearful thought" and "Who is the woman?", Reel 6, the two intertitles "Anna weary of her inconstant paramour" etc. and "Bring her to my level", and all scenes of Rasputin in sleeping young woman's room except where he enters and scene showing young woman climbing out window.[8]


  1. ^ "The Fall of the Romanoffs (1918)", catalog, American Film Institute (AFI), Los Angeles, California. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Mallory, Mary (2013-11-13). "The Fall of the Romanoffs Documents Russian Revolution". Los Angeles: The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  3. ^ Koszarski, Richard (2004), Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing, ISBN 0-86196-653-8
  4. ^ "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  5. ^ Fort Lee Film Commission (2006), Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5
  6. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: The Fall of the Romanoffs at
  7. ^ "7,200 Lost U.S. Silent Feature Films (1912-29) National Film Preservation Board" (current as of October 23, 2019), "Fall Of The Romanoffs, The (1918), Herbert Brenon", p. 39, film number 1764. National Film Preservation Board, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  8. ^ "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. 6 (14). New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company: 29. March 30, 1918.

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