To Kill a Dragon

Last updated
To Kill a Dragon
To Kill a Dragon.jpg
Directed by Mark Zakharov
Screenplay by
Based onDragon by Evgeny Schwartz
Cinematography Vladimir Nakhabtsev
Music by Gennady Gladkov
Release date
Running time
123 minutes
CountrySoviet Union / Germany

To Kill a Dragon (Russian : Убить дракона, romanized: Ubit drakona) is a 1988 Soviet-German parable fantasy film based on the play of Evgeny Schwartz Dragon (1942–1944), directed by Mark Zakharov (marking his final film until 2002). [1] [2] [3]


The film was a joint production of Soviet Union and West Germany film stadia Mosfilm (through Sovinfilm), Bavaria Film and ZDF.


A wandering knight Lancelot, a distant descendant on the maternal side of the famous Sir Lancelot, comes to a city which has been ruled by a fierce dragon for four hundred years. Most of the residents do not want to be rescued from the tyranny of the monstrous serpent, explaining its historical importance.

Lancelot, saving the Dragon's victim, an innocent girl, challenges the monster to a fight. In the underground city there are people who help the knight to find weapons and get ready for an unequal fight. Lancelot defeats the Dragon, but he gets wounded and goes into hiding. In the city the dragon's rule is replaced by chaos.

Gradually, the bygone story becomes the past, and the city is getting new decrees. After the fight with the Dragon, the city mayor who at his rule served as a puppet claims victory over the Dragon. Lancelot is forced to return to the city to explain to the residents that in itself the death of the Dragon only means that it is time for each kill a dragon in themselves and that he will make all residents to do so. However, as he does so, the inhabitants of the town come to see him as the next dragon and bow before their new master.

Lancelot goes away from the people. He sees children playing with the Dragon who has shapeshifted from a dark and cynical warlord to a good-natured bearded man. The Dragon offers not to continue battling with the children present but Lancelot refuses. The Dragon declares that the most interesting bit is about to begin. Lancelot, the Dragon and the children leave. [4]



In the film, shot in the genre of a philosophical fairy tale, the world of the Dragon appears, according to the director’s idea, as a parody of the USSR, and in the scenery, stylized as the Middle Ages, elements from Soviet everyday life can be traced. [5] There are allusions to Soviet leaders in the film, the children resemble pioneers, and the meetings of the city's rulers are held like party meetings. Representatives of the intelligentsia (primarily the archivist) demonstrate agreement with the ideas of the Dragon, referring viewers to the servile practices of Soviet intellectuals. [6] The ethical dilemmas of the archivist Charlemagne demonstrate what members of the Soviet intelligentsia experienced when they were forced to publicly agree with the dictates of the authorities. [5] The era of stagnation is defined as a natural legacy of mass violence, unsuccessful attempts at reform, demoralization, disappointment, fatigue, which were covered with lofty words. “To Kill the Dragon” generally carries a pessimistic mood, the main idea of which is to prove that there will be no miracle, and the prospects for the emergence of a free person after defeating the Dragon are shown as very vague. [5]


In 1990 the film won the Nika Award in two nominations:

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aging of Russia</span> Aging population of Russia

Since the beginning of the 1990s, social and demographic changes in the Russian Federation, stemming from under the Soviet Union, led the country towards an aging population, often described in media as a "demographic crisis".

The intelligentsia is a status class composed of the university-educated people of a society who engage in the complex mental labours by which they critique, shape, and lead in the politics, policies, and culture of their society; as such, the intelligentsia consists of scholars, academics, teachers, journalists, and literary writers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Battle of Praga</span> Battle during the Kościuszko Uprising

The Battle of Praga or the Second Battle of Warsaw of 1794, also known in Russian and German as the storming of Praga and in Polish as the defense of Praga, was a Russian assault on Praga, the easternmost community of Warsaw, during the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794. It was followed by a massacre of the civilian population of Praga.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yevgeny Leonov</span> Russian actor (1926–1994)

Yevgeny Pavlovich Leonov was a Soviet and Russian actor who played main parts in several of the most famous Soviet films, such as Gentlemen of Fortune, Mimino and Striped Trip. Called "one of Russia's best-loved actors", he also provided the voice for many Soviet cartoon characters, including Vinny Pukh (Winnie-the-Pooh).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus</span> 1918–1922 independent state in the North Caucasus

The Mountainous Republic of the Northern Caucasus (MRNC), also referred to as the United Republics of the North Caucasus, Mountain Republic, or the Republic of the Mountaineers, was a state that emerged during the Russian Civil War and operated from 1917 to 1922. It originated from the consolidation of various ethnic groups, including the Circassians, Chechens, Karachays, Ossetians, Balkars, Ingush, and Dagestanis, following the congress of North Caucasian peoples on 6 March.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aleksandr Abdulov</span> Soviet and Russian actor

Aleksandr Gavrilovich Abdulov was a Soviet and Russian film and stage actor, film director, screenwriter and television presenter. He was awarded People's Artist of the RSFSR in 1991.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Defense of the Adzhimushkay quarry</span> 1942 battle in Crimea during WW2

The Defense of the Adzhimushkay quarry took place during World War II, between May and October 1942, in the Adzhimushkay quarry named after the Adzhimushkay suburb of Kerch during Nazi Germany's occupation of Crimea.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Khaibakh massacre</span> Khaibakh massacre

The Khaibakh massacre was the mass murder of the Chechen civilian population of the aul (village) Khaibakh, in the mountainous part of Chechnya, by Soviet forces during the deportations of 1944 on 27 February 1944.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gennady Gladkov</span> Russian composer (1935–2023)

Gennady Igorevich Gladkov was a Soviet and Russian composer. He composed music for some of the most famous Soviet movies and cartoons, most notably The Bremen Town Musicians.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">White Terror (Russia)</span> Persecution by the White Army during the Russian Civil War

The White Terror in Russia refers to the organized violence and mass killings carried out by the White Army during the Russian Civil War (1917–23). It began after the Bolsheviks seized power in November 1917, and continued until the defeat of the White Army at the hands of the Red Army. The Red Terror started a year after the initial White Terror in early Septemebr 1918 in response to several, planned assassinations of Bolshevik leaders and the initial massacres of Red prisoners in Moscow and during the Finnish Civil War. According to some Russian historians, the White Terror was a series of premeditated actions directed by their leaders. although this is contested by most Russian historians who view it as spontaneous and disorganized. Estimates for those killed in the White Terror vary between 20,000 and 100,000 people.

The year 1939 was marked by many events that left an imprint on the history of Soviet and Russian fine arts.

Dmitry Vasilievich Belyaev was a Russian and Soviet painter, who lived and worked in Saint Petersburg, an Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, a member of the Leningrad Union of Soviet Artists, regarded as one of representatives of the Leningrad School of Painting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aleksandra Zakharova</span> Soviet and Russian actress

Aleksandra Markovna Zakharova is a Soviet and Russian actress, daughter of famous film director Mark Zakharov and actress Nina Lapshinova. Zakharova has been awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation in 1996 and 2002. She is a People's Artist of Russia. She was also awarded Order of Honour (2007) and Order For Merit to the Fatherland, 4th degree (2013).

<i>All-Union art exhibition</i> (Moscow, 1957)

The All-Union Art Exhibition Dedicated to the 40th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution was one of the largest art exhibitions in Soviet history. Exhibition took place in Manezh Exhibition Hall from November 5, 1957, to May 1958.

<i>Soviet Russia</i> (exhibition, 1965) Art exhibition

The Second National Art Exhibition "Soviet Russia" was one of the largest Soviet art exhibitions of the 1960s. The exhibition took place in Manezh Exhibition Hall.

<i>Soviet Russia</i> (Exhibition, 1967)

Third National Art Exhibition "Soviet Russia" became a main national art event of 1967, as well as one of the largest Soviet art exhibitions of the 1960s. The exhibition took place in Manezh Exhibition Hall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Panfilovskaya (Moscow Central Circle)</span> Station on the Moscow Central Circle

Panfilovskaya is a station on the Moscow Central Circle of the Moscow Metro. The station opened in November 2016 and was the 31st and final station to open on the line.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Narchat</span> 13th-century Moxel Queen

Narchat, Narchatka, Naricha was a Moksha Queen, ruler of Moxel mentioned in Russian sources as Murunza. She was daughter and successor of king Puresh and sister of Atämaz. She led the uprising against Mongols in 1242 and was slain in Battle of Sernya in 1242.

"Pachka sigaret" is a song by the Soviet post-punk band Kino from the album Star Called Sun released in 1988. One of Kino's most popular songs. It was written in 1988, when Viktor Tsoi was filmed in the Needle.


  1. Alexander Prokhorov, Elena Prokhorova (2016). Film and Television Genres of the Late Soviet Era. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 129. ISBN   978-1-5013-2409-3.
  2. Anna Lawton (2003). The Red Screen: Politics, Society, Art in Soviet Cinema. Routledge. p. 328. ISBN   978-1-134-89926-5.
  3. David C. Gillespie (2014). Russian Cinema. Routledge. ISBN   978-1-317-87412-6.
  4. Graeme Harper, Rob Stone (2007). The Unsilvered Screen: Surrealism on Film. Wallflower Press. pp. 55–56. ISBN   978-1-904764-86-1.
  5. 1 2 3 Суслов И. В. (2023), Антисоветская этика и эстетика фильма М. Захарова «Убить дракона» в дискуссиях на цифровых площадках, vol. 22, Logos et Praxis, pp. 35–43, doi:10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.1.5
  6. Ряпосов А.Ю. (2017), Фильм М. А. Захарова “Убить дракона” (1988): сюжет, композиция, жанр, Исторические, философские, политические и юридические науки, культурология и искусствоведение. Вопросы теории и практики, pp. 131–142