The Death of Stalin

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Could you do me a favor and nod as I'm speaking to you? People are looking to me for reassurance and I have no idea what's going on.

The Death of Stalin is a British 2017 black comedy film depicting the chaotic aftermath of Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, after thirty years of absolute power over the Soviet Union.

Directed by Armando Ianucci. Written by Ianucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin and Peter Fellows. Based on the graphic novel La Mort de Staline by Fabien Nury.
A Comedy of Terrors. taglines
What took you so long, you fucking walk here?
I'm in, I'm in. That fucker thinks he can take on the Red Army? I fucked Germany, I think I can take a flesh lump in a fucking waistcoat.
I'm the peacemaker and I'll fuck over anyone who gets in my way.
"All right, boys, meet your dates for tonight."
"I'll take the tall blonde."
Fuck off back to Georgia, dead boy!
  • [Handing out execution orders] Shoot her before him, but make sure he sees it... oh, and this one, kill him, take him to his church and dump him in the pulpit... The rest I leave up to you.
  • [To Molotov, out of earshot] Goodbye, old friend. Goodbye forever.
  • It smells like a Baku piss house in here.
  • I thank the Union for bringing me so many devoted wives who fuck like sewing machines.
  • [Standing over Stalin's unconscious body] Have a long sleep, old man. I'll take it from here.
  • It's lucky we both now live in the new Soviet Union or you and your wife and your family would be a pile of dust on the floor of a crematorium toilet.
  • Out of my way, you fannies!
  • [to Khruschev, jogging through the woods] How can you run and plot at the same time?
  • I've had nightmares that made more sense than this.
  • [seeing the Orthodox bishops at Stalin's funeral] I thought we'd banned those freaks.
  • Who's going to carry the can for this farago of shit?
  • We were talking about Stalingrad, how cold it was, and we would do anything, anything, to warm ourselves up. We would throw live grenades to each other. Pull the pin, throw it to the prisoners. They'd be jumping around like drunken whores.
  • When you go home, make sure your wife writes down everything you think you said tonight. Alright? This way, in the morning you know what you're dealing with. It's Krushchev's law.
  • [sobbing over Stalin's body] He's on the floor! He's on the fucking floor!
  • If he recovers, then we got a good doctor. If he doesn't recover, then we didn't. But, he won't know.
  • I'm the peacemaker and I’ll fuck over anyone who gets in my way.
  • [to Beria's burning corpse] I will bury you in history! You hear me, you fat fucker? You smell like rendered horse, you burning asshole...
  • Could you do me a favor and nod as I'm speaking to you? People are looking to me for reassurance and I have no idea what's going on.
  • I've always been loyal to Stalin, always. These arrests were authorized by Stalin...but Stalin was also loyal to the collective leadership, and that is true loyalty...however, he also had an iron will, undeviating, strong. Could we not do the same, and stick to what we believed in?...No. It is stronger still to forge our own beliefs within the beliefs of the collective leadership...which I have now...done.
  • [to his dog] Uncle Nicky's going to be dead if he doesn't get a move on, isn't he? Yes, he is!
  • Time for a cowboy movie. Who's in my posse?
  • What took you so long, you fucking walk here?
  • My father's going to die. I'm going to have you to look after me. I mean, I may as well just shoot myself like Mother.
  • I hate being sober. It's a terrible, terrible mood to be in.
  • [drunk] Foreigners, a vile crime has been perpetrated! Hairy monsters in coats have scooped out my father's brain and sent it to America! And these traitors, sucking the cocks and balls - sucking the cocks and balls - of Zionist... New York... New York Zionist queers in petticoats. Look at them. You see? Those brain thieves!
  • Right, what's a war hero got to do to get some lubrication around here?
  • Tell me something. Why has the Army been replaced by the NKVD all over Moscow? I mean, I'm smiling, but I am very fucking furious.
  • A modern soldier's greatest fear? It's not death, it's not starvation, it's chafing!


  • Andreyev: Don't worry, nobody's gonna get killed, I promise you. This is just a musical emergency!


Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: [in a note] Josef Vissarionovich Stalin, you have betrayed our nation and destroyed its people. I pray for your end and ask the Lord to forgive you. Tyrant.
[Stalin bursts out laughing, then feels his stroke coming on.]
Joseph Stalin: Fuck... fuck! [falls down as stroke paralyzes him]
[Outside the door, the two Red Army guards hear a thud.]
Soldier: Should we investigate...?
Sergeant: Should you shut the fuck up before you get us both killed(?)

NKVD Officer Kobulov: Some women will do anything to get their husbands released.
Lavrentiy Beria: Yep, and she did everything. I thank the Union for bringing me so many devoted wives who fuck like sewing machines.

Georgy Malenkov: He's irreplaceable. How can we possibly...? I - we - must think of the people. As Acting General Secretary I must step up. I must, I must take his place while he's... on the floor.
Lavrentiy Beria: You just said he's irreplaceable.
Georgy Malenkov: Irreplaceable... "take his place", as in assembling the Central Committee, of course.
Lavrentiy Beria: Good. I was testing you. Get used to that sort of challenge.

Nikita Khrushchev: Which doctor have you called?
Georgy Malenkov: Oh, well...
Lavrentiy Beria: The subject's currently under discussion.
Georgy Malenkov: As acting General Secretary, I think that, well, the Committee should decide.
Nikita Khrushchev: The Committee? But our actual General Secretary is lying in a puddle of indignity! I think he's saying, "get me a doctor now!"
Georgy Malenkov: No, I-I don't agree. I think we should wait until we're quorate.
Nikita Khrushchev: Quorate? The room is only 75% conscious!
Lavrentiy Beria: [Peers At Him] Are you wearing pyjamas?
Nikita Khrushchev: Yeah, so?
Lavrentiy Beria: ...Why?
Nikita Khrushchev: Because I act, Lavrentiy! Decisively and with great speed.
Lavrentiy Beria: [To Malenkov] I said you'd be tested, and now you're being tested by a shouting man in pyjamas. [To Khrushchev, Indicating Stalin] Have you got a nappy under those too? Too late for him. [He Chuckles]

[after Kaganovich, Mikoyan and Bulganin arrive]
Nikita Khrushchev: Comrades, now that we're quorate, I propose we call a doctor.
Lazar Kaganovich: All the best doctors are in the Gulag or dead.

[the Committee lift Stalin's unconscious body]
Nikolai Bulganin: He's heavier than I thought he'd be.
Lavrentiy Beria: Do you think Stalin's too heavy?
Nikolai Bulganin: No! It's a is heavy!
Anastas Mikoyan: Well, you'd know. You've looted enough of it, you saucy little pirate!

[watching the Air Force's hockey team at practice]
Vasily Stalin: When we play Hungary, are we allowed to use guns?
Ice Hockey Coach: Comrade General, these are the best I could find since the plane crash.
Vasily Stalin: What plane crash? There was never a plane crash. [to Tarasov] Was there a plane crash? [Tarasov shakes his head.] Soviet planes do not crash, and Stalin's son does not fuck up.

Lazar Kaganovich: Who organized the Wurlitzer?
Dr. Lukomsky: It's a respirator.
Lazar Kaganovich: Did you use it?
Dr. Lukomsky: No... it's American.
Khrushchev/Kaganovich: It's what?
2nd Doctor: [points to Lukomsky] It's from his hospital...
Dr. Lukomsky: [points to 2nd Doctor] It was his idea...
Nikita Khrushchev: All right, let's just pretend these last six sentences never happened.

[Vasily bursts into Stalin's impromptu autopsy]
Vasily Stalin: [points to the youngest doctor] How old are you?
Doctor: I'm... old.
Vasily Stalin: You're not old! [points to another] You're not even a person, you're a testicle! [to a third] You're made mostly of hair!

Svetlana Stalina: Vasily, remember what Papa said!
Vasily Stalin: Yes, but they have a machine, and they're filling his brain with American lies!
Svetlana Stalina: [whispering] "Wade gently through the river because there are snakes and crocodiles."

Nikita Khrushchev: It's okay, Vasily, everything's gonna be fine.
Svetlana Stalina: It's not exactly fine, is it? It's not fine.
Nikita Khrushchev: No... well, no, not exactly fine.
Svetlana Stalina: My father's lying there with his head open.
Nikita Khrushchev: Yes, your father's dead, your brother's shooting a gun, it's not fine, you're right.

Georgy Zhukov: Aslanov, you handsome devil! Stick you in a frock, I'd fucking ride you raw myself.
NKVD Officer Aslanov: [forcing a smile] I will take that as a compliment.
Georgy Zhukov: Yeah, don't.
Georgy Zhukov: [noticing Malenkov] Jesus Christ, did Coco Chanel take a shit on your head?
Georgy Malenkov: [visibly annoyed] No, he did not.

[at the funeral reception for foreign dignitaries, Vasily notices Zhukov approaching him at speed]
Vasily Stalin: Medic!
[Zhukov walks in and punches him in the stomach, doubling him over]
Georgy Zhukov: Not today! You're a fucking stain on that uniform! [He kicks Vasily in the stomach] Now fucking behave!

Vasily Stalin: I want to make a speech at my father's funeral.
Nikita Khrushchev: (sarcastically) And I want to fuck Grace Kelly.
Vasily Stalin: (uncomprehending) I simply don't care! I want to make a speech at my father's funeral.

Man at Funeral Reception: Comrades...
Georgy Zhukov: Fuck off, or I'll punch you into a sticky pulp.
Nikita Khrushchev: [politely] Thank you.
Georgy Zhukov: What the fuck were you thinking?
Nikita Khrushchev: I don't know, okay, but I did it. I really need your help.
Georgy Zhukov: To do what? There's bodies fucking piling up in the street, it's a bit late, isn't it?
Nikita Khrushchev: What if we blame this on someone...
Georgy Zhukov: Wait...
Nikita Khrushchev: Who's out of control?
Georgy Zhukov: Nicky, be very careful what you say next. Who?
Nikita Khrushchev: Beria.
Georgy Zhukov: I'm going to have to report this conversation. Threatening to do harm or obstruct any member of the Presidium in the process of... [grins] Look at your fucking face!
[He laughs and kisses Khruschev full on the lips.] Nikita Khrushchev, you've balls like Kremlin domes!
Nikita Khrushchev: Stop it, be serious! Are you in?
Georgy Zhukov: I'm in, I'm in. That fucker thinks he can take on the Red Army? I fucked Germany, I think I can take a flesh lump in a fucking waistcoat. Now, it's got to be tomorrow.
Nikita Khrushchev: Tomorrow?
Georgy Zhukov: Sorry, you busy washing your hair or what?
Nikita Khrushchev: Tomorrow's the funeral.
Georgy Zhukov: Yeah, the day that the entire fucking Army's in town with their guns.
Nikita Khrushchev: That's perfect!

[as Beria realizes he is being scapegoated for the massacre of civilians by the NKVD]
Lavrentiy Beria: It's time all of you realized who kept the daggers out of your backs. Show some fucking respect! I... I've got, I've got... [grabs files from an aide] I've got documents. I have documents on all of you! [to Kruschev] You, um, 30th of March, 1937. Zolotov trials. 42 dead, 173 exiled. Your signature!
Lazar Kaganovich: Beria, that's enough!
Lavrentiy Beria: Yeah, well, you signed off on the life of your own fucking brother!
Lazar Kaganovich: Oh, you think that was easy? You bastard!
Lavrentiy Beria: [to Mikoyan] Bagrov, Gorev! How did your conscience accommodate that? [to Bulganin] And Zykov! Zykov! Poor blameless, guileless Zykov! All of you! All of you! I have documents on all of you! I've seen what you've done. I know the truth. It's all written down. It's all written down on a very fucking long list!
[later, after Beria storms out]
Georgy Malenkov: All right, so we'll fix this in committee, right?
Nikita Khrushchev: He's using you, Georgy! He's using you, and then he's going to kill you! You saw those papers.
Georgy Malenkov: What are you talking about? Jesus, Nicky, he was pointing at you, he wasn't pointing at me.
Nikita Khrushchev: No, no, he said, [twirls his finger] "all of you."
Georgy Malenkov: No, no, I was over there, and he went, [twirls his finger] "all of you".
Nikita Khrushchev: Yeah, [twirls his finger] "all of you."
Georgy Malenkov: No, no, [twirls his finger] "all of you."
Lazar Kaganovich: No, he said, [twirls his finger] "all of you."
Georgy Malenkov: You know, [twirls his finger] all of you... [bends over and points] ...can kiss my Russian ass! All of you!

[The members of the Presidium are all standing around Stalin's coffin, talking in low tones.]
Nikita Khrushchev: Ask Beria if he invited the bishops.
Georgy Malenkov: Don't give me orders. [to Bulganin] Ask Beria if he invited the bishops.
Nikolai Bulganin: [to Beria] Did you invite the bishops?
Lavrentiy Beria: Yes.
Nikolai Bulganin: [to Malenkov] Yes.
Nikita Khrushchev: Well?
Georgy Malenkov: He said yes.
Nikita Khrushchev: I'm going to give everyone in Red Square a voucher permitting one kick each to his stupid face.
Lavrentiy Beria: [to Bulganin] Is he asking for some delicious hay?
Nikolai Bulganin: No, he said something quite complicated about a voucher system.

Nikita Khrushchev: This is your work, is it?
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: Why? Are there spelling mistakes?
Nikita Khrushchev: Do you have any idea what kind of man Beria is?
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: He's releasing people from prison.
Nikita Khrushchev: That was my idea. I was going to do that. I'm the reformer. Me. Don't you fucking laugh at me. I was going to release the bishops.
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: I thought you hated the Church.
Nikita Khrushchev: I do! Just tell me it's not true. Did you write this?
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: Stalin killed my family, my friends. Zinaida Reich, Kuperchinski.
Nikita Khrushchev: Kup... You knew Kuperchinski? I should have you shot just for saying his name.
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: Comrade Nikita Sergeyevich, you know me. I...
Nikita Khrushchev: Stop. No, I... I don't know you. You don't know me. You fucking taught my niece piano lessons. That's it. Don't you see what Beria's done now? He's tied me to you. We are tied together. Like a rock...that's sinking and...
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina: I know. But I'm confident of everlasting life.
Nikita Khrushchev: Who the fuck in their right mind would want everlasting life? The endless conversation.

Lavrentiy Beria: You know what I'm doing? I'm offering you and that bloated soak my protection.
Svetlana Stalina: We are not children!
[Tarasov emerges from Vasily's room, looking grim.]
Vasily Stalin: [from inside] You are a real listener, thank you...!
Svetlana Stalina: ...I am not a child.

Georgy Zhukov: [opens his overcoat to reveal two AK-47s] All right, boys, meet your dates for tonight.
Leonid Brezhnev: I'll take the tall blonde.

Georgy Zhukov: Want a job done properly, you call the Army. Take his belt off. It's hard to run away with your pants falling down.
Nikita Khrushchev: [to Malenkov] If you want to talk to General Zhukov, now's your opportunity.
Georgy Zhukov: Spit it out, Georgy. Staging a coup here.
Georgy Malenkov: ...He's got a knife by his ankle.
Lavrentiy Beria: You're a disgrace!
Lazar Kaganovich: Give his head a good kicking. Make you feel better.
Vyacheslav Molotov: All in good time.
Lavrentiy Beria: Oh, I'm gonna enjoy peeling the skin from your self-satisfied face.
Georgy Zhukov: [holds up the little knife] Not with that, you won't. Come on, then.
[Aslanov and three other NKVD officers walk in, clueless that a coup is being staged]
NKVD Officer Aslanov: S-sorry, comrades.
NKVD Officer Kobulov: Wrong room.
Lavrentiy Beria: Aslanov!
[The NKVD men hurriedly back out; Zhukov looks at a Red Army soldier holding an AK-47]
Georgy Zhukov: Go and kill them, will you?
Lavrentiy Beria: Kobulov!

[Beria is hauled away to a lavatory to hide him from potential rescue by the NKVD]
Anastas Mikoyan: I have been picturing this moment every day for the last three decades.
Lavrentiy Beria: [handcuffed to a pipe] Is this magisterial enough for you all? This charade? This is a lavatory!
Anastas Mikoyan: Well, you should feel at home then, shouldn't you, you little coil of shit?
Georgy Zhukov: [looking at Malenkov's portrait on the wall] Fuck me, Georgy's eyes really do follow you around the crapper. It's weird.
Lazar Kaganovich: Why'd they hang a picture of my grandmother in here? [laughs]
Nikolai Bulganin: Ho-how long until the Army gets here? We're in complete limbo now!
Nikita Khrushchev: Not long. We have to wait for the NKVD to leave the Kremlin.
Vyacheslav Molotov: [ducking into a bathroom stall] In that case, if nobody objects, I'm going to spend a kopeck. It's the excitement, I think...

Georgy Malenkov: [re: Beria] No. No! He deserves a fair trial, he's one of us!
Nikita Khrushchev: What about Tukhachevsky and Pyatakov? Did they get a trial? What about Sokolnikov, who begged him to look after his elderly mother? And what did this monster do? He strangled her in front of him! It's too late. The only choice we have is between his death or his revenge. And you will fucking sign this.
Georgy Malenkov: [reluctantly signs] I want it to go on record, this was not my first course of action.

[at Beria's supposed "trial"; Malenkov attempts from a prepared statement while others shout at Beria]
Lavrentiy Beria: This is a travesty! You are all witnesses- this is criminal! Criminal travesty! I demand my rights under Article Fort- [to Ivan Konev, who is banging a gavel] Would you stop banging?!
Nikita Krushchev: Marshal?
Ivan Konev: Comrade General Secretary! Get on with it!
Lavrentiy Beria: You're judging me-you're judging me! I judge all of you! All of you!
Nikita Krushchev: Fuck you!
[Beria keeps shouting hysterically; Malenkov gives up on reading the prepared statement, and Krushchev grabs it and starts to read it aloud]
Nikita Khrushchev: You are accused of using your position as Minister of the Interior to plot against the Soviet Union...
Zhukov's Chief of Staff: Traitor!
Nikita Khrushchev: ...with the goal of forwarding the interests of foreign powers.
Lavrentiy Beria: Foreign powers? From where, the fucking moon?!
Nikita Khrushchev: You are also accused of three hundred and forty-seven counts of rape, of sexual deviancy and bourgeois immorality...
Lazar Kaganovich: Pervert!
Lavrentiy Beria: Everyone in this room is responsible for someone's death!
Nikita Khrushchev: ...and acts of perversion with children as young as seven years old.
Nikolai Bulganin: Seven years old!
Vyacheslav Molotov: Rapist! Fucking rapist!
Lavrentiy Beria: You've got it wrong! I deny-
Nikita Khrushchev: Petra Nikova, aged 13. Nadia Ranova, aged 14. Magya Holovic, aged seven. Would you like to read the list yourself? [Beria doesn't respond] You are accused of treason and anti-Soviet behavior. The court finds you guilty and sentences you to be shot.
[Beria is hauled to his feet and dragged outside, kicking and struggling amidst general commotion]
Lavrentiy Beria: No! Please, don't shoot me! Don't hurt me! I'm sorry, I-
[An unidentified soldier takes out his sidearm and shoots Beria through the forehead. There is a shocked silence as Beria falls to the ground, dead]
Georgy Zhukov: Well, that's got it done. [pause] Come on, everyone have a look. Everybody happy? Proper dead?
Nikita Krushchev: Get 'im up.
Coup participant: [as Beria's corpse is hauled away] Fuck off back to Georgia, dead boy!

Svetlana Stalina: That's how you deal with a problem, isn't it?
Nikita Khrushchev: I'm sorry you had to be here.
Svetlana Stalina: I hope you didn't tell Beria that he was going to be safe from harm.
Nikita Khrushchev: You will be safe, okay? Vasily, too. If you listen to me.
Svetlana Stalina: Why wouldn't we be safe?
Nikita Khrushchev: What are you talking about? Just be quiet now.
Svetlana Stalina: I refuse to be quiet every time...
Nikita Khrushchev: Just shut up! Vasily stays here in Russia where we can take care of him. Read it.
Svetlana Stalina: Vienna? If I stayed, I could contain Vasily.
Nikita Khrushchev: No. No. No, you go to Vienna. He stays. We can't have a drunken madman spreading conspiracy theories all over the world.
Svetlana Stalina: He's not... He's not bad.
Nikita Khrushchev: Listen to me.
Svetlana Stalina: He's just ill.
Nikita Khrushchev: No. No. You understand what's going on? This is how people get killed, when their stories don't fit. Safe travels.
Svetlana Stalina: I never thought it would be you.
Nikita Khrushchev: Now we can turn the corner.
Lazar Kaganovich: Yeah. Put all the bloodshed behind us.
Nikita Khrushchev: I'm worried about Malenkov, though. Can we trust him?
Lazar Kaganovich: Can you ever trust a weak man?


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