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Old 01-06-2019, 11:54 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Cold War American films showing Soviets in a positive light

The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) is on TV right now. According to the Wikipedia article, 'It was one of the few American films of the time to portray the Russians in a positive light.'

What other Cold War-era films showed the Soviet Union in a positive light? I think Fail Safe doesn't show them in a negative light, but I don't see them as being depicted positively. (I may change my mind based on answers here.) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb shows them to be as corrupt and inept as the U.S., though they are the victims.

So... What are the 'few American films' Wikipedia is talking about?
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Old 01-06-2019, 12:24 PM
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How about Marooned, the Russian Cosmonaut tries to help rescue the stranded Americans.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:11 PM
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It's been a while since I've seen it, but I don't remember Gorky Park being particularly anti-Soviet, despite being set in Moscow. I'm not sure that the portrayal of the country was altogether positive, though. Maybe someone with a better memory can say more.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:15 PM
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Oh, and how about Reds? I think it takes an altogether positive view of the 1917 revolution that led to the founding of the USSR, even if it was critical of the policies later enacted by the Bolsheviks.
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Old 01-06-2019, 01:59 PM
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It's been a while since I've seen it, but I don't remember Gorky Park being particularly anti-Soviet, despite being set in Moscow. I'm not sure that the portrayal of the country was altogether positive, though.
It was "positive" in the sense of showing sympathetic Russians bearing up under the weight of their overbearing, corrupt government masters (similar to a later, non-Cold War era film, K-19: The Widowmaker).
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb shows them to be as corrupt and inept as the U.S., though they are the victims.
Given the end of the movie, one might say that eveyone was the victims.
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:02 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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I guess there’s Red Heat, the buddy-cop movie where Schwarzenegger is top billed as “Moscow’s toughest detective”: comes to America to bring a crook to justice, notes what he sees as Western shortcomings, gets the job done action-hero style — he’s maybe short on official police powers during his visit, limiting his gunplay options, but his muscles are supermannish — and leaves (a) with no sign that he’s tempted to defect; but (b) while initiating a souvenir exchange, as a show of friendship.

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Old 01-06-2019, 02:44 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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How about Marooned, the Russian Cosmonaut tries to help rescue the stranded Americans.
I'd forgotten about that one. Loved it when I was a kid.

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Oh, and how about Reds? I think it takes an altogether positive view of the 1917 revolution that led to the founding of the USSR, even if it was critical of the policies later enacted by the Bolsheviks.
Not really what I was shooting for, as it doesn't take place in a Cold War atmosphere (though it was made during the Cold War).

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I guess there’s Red Heat...
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Gorky Park...
I haven't seen those two.
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Old 01-06-2019, 02:59 PM
Royal Nonesutch Royal Nonesutch is offline
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There was an early 1980's movie where a bunch of pre-teen kids who liked to get together and play army (I am pretty sure that one of the child actors was Peter Billingsley from "A Christmas Story") ended up capturing a marooned Soviet sailor who washed ashore in America, at that time a vile, vindictive country blinded by a savage patriotic hatred for all things Russian. The sympathetic sailor was humanized as being little more than a child himself, and he showed the kids he was no different than they were, with Very Imporant Lessons in tolerance, peace and acceptance (with more than a little bit of the not-so-subtle decrying of good olde fashioned American bigotry & xenophobia thrown in for good measure) learned by all.

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Old 01-06-2019, 03:06 PM
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There was an early 1980's movie where a bunch of pre-teen kids who liked to get together and play army (I am pretty sure that one of the child actors was Peter Billingsley from "A Christmas Story") ended up capturing a marooned Soviet sailor who washed ashore in America, at that time a vile, vindictive country blinded by a savage patriotic hatred for all things Russian. The sympathetic sailor was humanized as being little more than a child himself, and he showed the kids he was no different than they were, with Very Imporant Lessons in tolerance, peace and acceptance (with more than a little bit of the not-so-subtle decrying of good olde fashioned American bigotry & xenophobia thrown in for good measure) learned by all.
Russkies.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:10 PM
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In the 1980s Columbia Pictures was working on a biopic of Samantha Smith, the child peace activist who wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov and subsequently accepted his invitation to visit the Soviet Union. The film never got made, though if it had it would be hard to imagine how it could have painted the Soviets as the villains.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:17 PM
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Russkies.
No, that's not true, I'm actually a native born & raised American, just currently living here in Poland.

Pravda!

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Old 01-06-2019, 03:26 PM
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[QUOTE=Johnny L.A.;21414875]The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) is on TV right now. According to the Wikipedia article, 'It was one of the few American films of the time to portray the Russians in a positive light.'/QUOTE]

A nice film. Which begs the question, did Russian citizens ever get to see it? And what did they think of it?

Dennis
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:28 PM
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Funeral in Berlin (1966) & Billion Dollar Brain (1967) - Oskar Homolka as "Colonel Stok" is not really a villain so much as as a playa' in international espionage. He actually helps Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) in the latter flick.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson as heroic Russian officer out to stop a rogue Soviet agent from triggering WWIII.

The Hunt for Red October (1990) - Heroic Soviet defectors on a sub.


Rocky IV (1985) - I root against Stallone on principle....


Prior to the Cold War, unusually sympathetic treatment of Russians occur in Mission to Moscow (1943) and Song of Russia (1944).


For comparisons, see: https://film.avclub.com/the-villain-...can-1798245725

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Old 01-06-2019, 03:29 PM
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Silk Stockings, the 1957 musical remake of Ninotchka, makes the Russians stuffy and puritanical but that's played for comedy. They aren't evil, they just need a taste of western decadence to be human.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) is on TV right now. According to the Wikipedia article, 'It was one of the few American films of the time to portray the Russians in a positive light.'
A nice film. Which begs the question, did Russian citizens ever get to see it? And what did they think of it?

Dennis
At least a few did:
Quote:
According to Norman Jewison, the film – released at the height of the Cold War – had considerable impact in both Washington and Moscow. It was one of the few American films of the time to portray the Russians in a positive light. Senator Ernest Gruening mentioned the film in a speech in Congress, and a copy of it was screened in the Kremlin. According to Jewison, when screened at the Soviet film writers' union, Sergei Bondarchuk was moved to tears.
I recall reading elsewhere that it did have at least a limited release in the USSR, and audiences loved the fact that the Russians were depicted as being every bit as incompetent as the imperialist lackeys.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:49 PM
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I came in to say Russkies, but I was too late.

I think that it's not only one of the few movies with a softer Cold War message but also, I think, possibly the last Cold War movie put out by Hollywood. WarGames was 3 years earlier, Rocky was 2 years earlier.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:49 PM
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[QUOTE=mixdenny;21415158]
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) is on TV right now. According to the Wikipedia article, 'It was one of the few American films of the time to portray the Russians in a positive light.'/QUOTE]

A nice film. Which begs the question, did Russian citizens ever get to see it? And what did they think of it?

Dennis
I saw it on DVD and there was a commentary in which it's mentioned that the film was shown to some Soviet embassy personnel. They were very agitated at the climax, and loudly approved of how it was resolved, firstly between the Russians and the townspeople, and then the "escort" at the end.
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:59 PM
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I came in to say Russkies, but I was too late.

I think that it's not only one of the few movies with a softer Cold War message but also, I think, possibly the last Cold War movie put out by Hollywood. WarGames was 3 years earlier, Rocky was 2 years earlier.
I haven't seen WarGames for 30 years, but were any Soviets shown at all in the entire movie?

I remember it made the U.S. military out to be incompetent fools and trigger-happy warmongers, but I can't remember any foreign forces depicted.

(I am now currently trying to remember if it was with Ally Sheedy or Elisabeth Shue, resisting the temptation to look it up)
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:09 PM
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[I]Prior to the Cold War, unusually sympathetic treatment of Russians occur in Mission to Moscow (1943) and Song of Russia (1944).
I've not seen the latter, but I can say without reservation that the former was pure American wartime propaganda. As was The North Star (1943) with a very young Anne Baxter.

In You Only Live Twice, Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts help James Bond defeat Blofeld's attempt to start a war between the US and USSR.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:13 PM
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Not a movie but a TV series: I remember an episode of Strange Report* ca. 1970 in which Soviets cooperated with Adam Strange in an investigation.

*I know, British and not American....
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:18 PM
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I haven't seen WarGames for 30 years, but were any Soviets shown at all in the entire movie?
I don't recall but (based on the Wikipedia overview) there are explicit mentions of the Soviet Union as the target/opponent in the strategical calculations that the computer is analyzing. They didn't create a fake "Rastafarian Commie Communal Union (RCCU)" for the movie, or anything, unlike (for example) the old Mission: Impossible TV series.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:33 PM
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I've not seen the latter, but I can say without reservation that the former was pure American wartime propaganda. As was The North Star (1943) with a very young Anne Baxter.
Propaganda, yes. Mission to Moscow was made at the behest of FDR after Russia became our ally against the Nazis. I saw it once and found it fascinating. As I have limited tolerance for Robert Taylor, I have not seen Song of Russia, either. Nor was I able to make it through Days of Glory (1944), made in a similar vein.

Apologies for going off-topic here, but I have seen Soak the Rich (1936). Apart from a hilarious 10-minute performance by gravel-voiced Lionel Stander as a Stalin-hating anarchist who kidnaps the heroine, it's virtually unwatchable, but it does feature a romantic lead who is a red.

http://theolfisheye.blogspot.com/201...rich-1936.html

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Old 01-06-2019, 04:36 PM
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Propaganda, yes. Mission to Moscow was made at the behest of FDR after Russia became our ally against the Nazis. I saw it once and found it fascinating.
Fascinating as an example of propaganda, yes. Laughable in any other respect, regardless of Roosevelt's involvement.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:39 PM
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Comrade X (1940) with Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr is a fun little romp too.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:25 PM
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Does Star Trek count? It's not set during the Cold War, but it was made during it, and they made Chekov one of the bridge crew.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:51 PM
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The OP mention Fail Safe, the few Soviets in the movie are not portrayed any more negatively than the Americans; mostly, everyone is portrayed as people caught in an unforgiving system.
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:57 PM
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My interpretation of the OP's post is he's referring to the Cold War era from the late 50's to the early 70's, especially given the movies mentioned. Opinions will differ, but IMHO, I see the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and the end of the Vietnam Conflict as the beginning of the end of classic Cold War era.

I don't know if this counts since it's East Germany, but The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz was made in 1968 with some of the Hogan's Heroes cast reprising their characters with different names.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:26 AM
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Not American-made but definitely very popular in America. The James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" features the Soviet version of MI6 shown in a highly sympathetic light and portrays both the British and Russian spies on equal footing, distrusting of each other but also highly competent and willing to work together. The ending has the Russians, Americans, and British working together to avert WW3. In addition, the later James Bond film "Octopussy" also shows the Soviets in a positive light, as when a rogue Soviet general attempts to start a war between the the two superpowers Russian secret service again help foil him along with James Bond and the Russians even award James Bond with a medal for his efforts in saving the Soviet Union from disaster.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:00 AM
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Not American-made but definitely very popular in America. The James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" features the Soviet version of MI6 shown in a highly sympathetic light and portrays both the British and Russian spies on equal footing, distrusting of each other but also highly competent and willing to work together. The ending has the Russians, Americans, and British working together to avert WW3. In addition, the later James Bond film "Octopussy" also shows the Soviets in a positive light, as when a rogue Soviet general attempts to start a war between the the two superpowers Russian secret service again help foil him along with James Bond and the Russians even award James Bond with a medal for his efforts in saving the Soviet Union from disaster.
Good examples, but I'd say the Bond films were Americanized long before Roger Moore's heyday. Salisbury and Broccoli may have been British, but they were funded by United Artists in New York and Los Angeles, and it showed.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:46 AM
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The G. I. Joe cartoons also sometimes showed American and Soviet special forces teaming up against COBRA terrorists. But I don't know if that made it into any of the movies.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:44 AM
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Rocky IV.
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The two boxers continue their battle over the next dozen rounds, with Rocky managing to continually hold his ground, despite Drago's valiant efforts. His resilience and persistence rallies the previously hostile Soviet crowd to his side, which unsettles Drago to the point that he picks Koloff up by the throat and throws him off the ring for berating his performance. In the final round, Rocky overcomes Drago with a knockout, to the shock of the Soviet politburo members watching the match.

Rocky gives a victory speech, acknowledging that the local crowd's disdain of him had turned to respect during the fight. He compares it to the animosity between the U.S. and the Soviets, and says that seeing him and Drago fight was "better than 20 million", alluding to a possible war between the U.S. and the Soviets. Rocky finally declares, "If I can change, and you can change, then everybody can change!" The Soviet general secretary stands up and reluctantly applauds Rocky, and his aides follow suit. Rocky ends his speech by wishing his son watching the match on TV a Merry Christmas, and raises his arms into the air in victory as the crowd applauds.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:04 PM
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Jet Pilot and The Iron Petticoat may count, if you liked Janet Leigh and Katherine Hepburn as Soviet fighter pilots. Both are really remakes of Ninotchka, but with airplanes, so they're good. Even though they both had horrible Russian accents.

Last edited by ElvisL1ves; 01-07-2019 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:39 PM
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In You Only Live Twice, Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts help James Bond defeat Blofeld's attempt to start a war between the US and USSR.
And there was another one with the crews of Soviet, American (?), and British submarines uniting.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:03 PM
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Ice Station Zebra? That's a stretch.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:05 PM
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Ice Station Zebra? That's a stretch.
No, not that - it was a Bond movie. The one with an underwater base, perhaps?
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:13 PM
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The Spy Who Loved Me.
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:22 PM
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The Fourth War came out in 1990 so it was the tail end of the Cold War but I recall that it was somewhat sympathetic to the Russian soldiers in the film. Essentially, an American colonel and his Soviet counterpart start a personal feud -- Roy Scheider is the American officer and he spends much of the movie sneaking across the border into Soviet territory to engage in acts of sabotage. Those two were the movie's antagonists while the other soldiers on both sides seemed reluctant to engage in hostilities.


https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099606...nm_flmg_act_45
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:10 PM
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No, not that - it was a Bond movie. The one with an underwater base, perhaps?
The Spy Who Loved Me.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:53 PM
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2010: Odyssey Two from 1984 assumed that the Cold War was still going on, but the Russians were shown very sympathetically.

One, Two, Three from 1961 (starring Jimmy Cagney) was a comedy, but the Russians were shown somewhat sympathetically. I haven't seen it since 1962, but the Wili summary seems to support my recollection.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:24 PM
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I remember it made the U.S. military out to be incompetent fools and trigger-happy warmongers, but I can't remember any foreign forces depicted.
If they were trigger-happy, they would have launched a counter-strike. I could argue that it was incompetent (but fortunate) of the general to not launch - although the single missile wasn't going to knock out second strike capability, so it wasn't an unreasonable risk for him to take.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:06 PM
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Not American-made but definitely very popular in America. The James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me" features the Soviet version of MI6 shown in a highly sympathetic light and portrays both the British and Russian spies on equal footing, distrusting of each other but also highly competent and willing to work together. The ending has the Russians, Americans, and British working together to avert WW3. In addition, the later James Bond film "Octopussy" also shows the Soviets in a positive light, as when a rogue Soviet general attempts to start a war between the the two superpowers Russian secret service again help foil him along with James Bond and the Russians even award James Bond with a medal for his efforts in saving the Soviet Union from disaster.
Also For Your Eyes Only, in which a Greek drug smuggler, a Cuban hit man, a Belgian hit man, and an East German biathelete are much worse than the Russians.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:03 PM
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Skywatcher:

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Also For Your Eyes Only, in which a Greek drug smuggler, a Cuban hit man, a Belgian hit man, and an East German biathelete are much worse than the Russians.
They're working for the Soviets, so I don't see how they're portrayed as worse than them.

On the other hand, both Octopussy and The Living Daylights have as the antagonists rogue Soviet officers (in concert with others) who do their dirty deeds behind the Kremlin's back because the Soviet government is too reasonable to do such evil things.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:09 PM
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I Spy on TV (mid-1960s) which teamed American secret agents with a Russian one versus an international syndicate of bad guys.
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Old 01-07-2019, 07:14 PM
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On the other hand, both Octopussy and The Living Daylights have as the antagonists rogue Soviet officers (in concert with others) who do their dirty deeds behind the Kremlin's back because the Soviet government is too reasonable to do such evil things.
Heck, in A VIEW TO A KILL the Soviets decide to award the Order of Lenin to 007, because they’re reasonable enough to grant that he’s earned it.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:07 PM
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I Spy on TV (mid-1960s) which teamed American secret agents with a Russian one versus an international syndicate of bad guys.
I think you're referring to The Man from UNCLE, unless Bill Cosby or Robert Culp was supposed to be Russian.

The Russian on UNCLE was played by David "Ducky" McCallum, who is Scottish IRL.

Has Marya on Hogan's Heroes been mentioned yet? Granted, she was a "White" Russian, meaning she was probably anti-Soviet (as opposed to simply being from Belarus), but she did oppose the Nazis.

Bob "Elroy Carpenter" Hastings played a downed Russian pilot in one episode of Hogan's Heroes. There was also Vladimir Minsk, played by Leonid Kinskey ("Sasha" in Casablanca), in the series' pilot.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:11 PM
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White Nights? Russian and American find common ground, and in the end the Soviets do the right thing and everyone is free.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:36 AM
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The President's Analyst, maybe? https://www.youtube.com/watch?annota...&v=3PHLmv4Zzu0
  #48  
Old 01-08-2019, 08:39 AM
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ftg ftg is offline
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Originally Posted by rowrrbazzle View Post
Good one.

The Phone Company is pure evil.
  #49  
Old 01-08-2019, 08:54 AM
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The Spy Who Loved Me.
Ah yes, Agent Triple-X.
  #50  
Old 01-10-2019, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
They're working for the Soviets, so I don't see how they're portrayed as worse than them.
Aside from Kriegler, they're all basically mercenaries. The Soviet they're working for, General Gogol, is the same reasonable man seen in The Spy Who Loved Me and will be seen in Octopussy
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