The Death of Stalin

Armando Iannucci

Hilarious comedy about intrigue in the Russian government after the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. No one wants to burn their fingers regarding the death of the communist leader and everyone wants to save their own skin. Fawlty Towers in Moscow with a star-studded cast, including Steve Buscemi and Michael Palin.

In the years before his death, Russian dictator Joseph Stalin had the feeling he could no longer trust anyone anymore. This prompted him to have an incredible number of people banished and murdered; he kept a close eye on his subjects. In this hilarious comedy full of stereotypes, filmmaker Armando Iannucci shows how Stalins paranoia lives on after his death. After the dictator is found unconscious one morning, the remaining top of the Communist Party responds as if paralysed. No one has the courage to call a doctor, which would have been very difficult, since Stalin had had all his doctors banished. Two days later, he is declared dead. In the ensuing power vacuum, everyone is trying to save their own skin. The intrigue and power games are in full swing, a hilarious fight for power begins.

The film – with leading roles for Michael Palin, Rupert Friend, Jeffrey Tambor and Steve Buscemi, amongst others – has won several awards, including two BAFTA Awards (British film and TV awards), and was recently banned in Russia.

The Death of Stalin is part of the Festival Favorites theme programme.


Armando Iannucci
Country of production
France, United Kingdom, Belgium
103 minutes
Spoken language
Production company
Quad Productions
Dutch distributor
September Film Distribution