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    The White Crow (2018)

    2:12 | Trailer
    The story of Rudolf Nureyev's defection to the West.


    Ralph Fiennes


    David Hare (screenplay), Julie Kavanagh (Inspired by her book: "Rudolf Nureyev: The Life")
    1,998 ( 568)
    1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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    Cast overview, first billed only:
    Oleg Ivenko ... Rudolf Nureyev
    Ralph Fiennes ... Pushkin
    Louis Hofmann ... Teja Kremke
    Adèle Exarchopoulos ... Clara Saint
    Sergei Polunin ... Yuri Soloviev
    Olivier Rabourdin ... Alexinsky
    Rapha?l Personnaz ... Pierre Lacotte
    Chulpan Khamatova ... Xenia
    Zach Avery ... Michael Jones
    Mar Sodupe ... Helena Romero
    Calypso Valois Calypso Valois ... Claire Motte
    Aleksey Morozov Aleksey Morozov ... Strizhevsky
    Nebojsa Dugalic ... Konstantin Sergeyev
    Igor Filipovic Igor Filipovic ... Trofimkin
    Yves Heck ... Jagaud-Lachaume


    Director Ralph Fiennes captures the raw physicality and brilliance of Rudolf Nureyev, whose escape to the West stunned the world at the height of the Cold War. With his magnetic presence, Nureyev emerged as ballet's most famous star, a wild and beautiful dancer limited by the world of 1950s Leningrad. His flirtation with Western artists and ideas led him into a high-stakes game of cat and mouse with the KGB. Written by Anonymous B

    Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


    In 1961, A Dazzling Rudolf Nureyev Arrives in Paris and Makes a Choice That Changes His Life Forever


    Biography | Drama

    Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

    Rated R for some sexuality, graphic nudity, and language. | See all certifications »

    Parents Guide:

    View content advisory »



    UK | France | Serbia


    Russian | English | French

    Release Date:

    22 March 2019 (UK) See more »

    Also Known As:

    Rudolf Nureyev Project See more »

    Filming Locations:

    France See more »


    Box Office

    Opening Weekend USA:

    $78,782, 28 April 2019

    Gross USA:


    Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

    See more on IMDbPro »

    Company Credits

    Show more on IMDbPro »

    Technical Specs




    Aspect Ratio:

    1.85 : 1
    See full technical specs »

    Did You Know?


    Hayden Christensen, who trained extensively in ballet as a child, was first choice to star; however a persistent ankle injury prevented him from being able to perform to the standards demanded by Ralph Fiennes. See more »


    In a scene showing a close up of Nureyev's foot performing a tendu, the shoe he is wearing is a white split sole ballet slipper, a shoe that did not exist in the 1960s. Split sole ballet technique shoes have only been on the dance scene since the mid 1990s. See more »


    Rudolf Nureyev: I can live anywhere. Remember, I was born on a train. I feel I will never return to my country. But, I may never be happy in the US.
    See more »

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    User Reviews

    Dancing Through the Iron Curtain
    4 April 2019 | by elliot-75668See all my reviews

    Ralph Fiennes foray into direction started with a modernized adaption of a lesser known Shakespeare play, Coriolanus. In between this and his latest effort (White Crow) was a rather unextraordinary effort about Charles Dickens, but his latest effort is notable for Fiennes working in another language, albeit one he speaks fairly well. Still I can't think of many British directors that make films in a different language.

    White Crow is about legendary ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev (Oleg Ivenko) and his defection from the Soviet Union to the West whilst on a tour in Paris. Fiennes' film about the iconic ballet dancer was never going to be a film about the dancing, this is clear because of the time period the film focuses on. Due to the fact that the film focuses on the period of time where Rudolf defected from the USSR the film is about the different ideologies of communist USSR the capitalist West, their different ways of life and different levels of personal choice and freedom granted to its citizens.

    In the regard the film is an interesting watch as it compares the two worlds. The reaction of the tour group to Paris when they first arrived was one of wonder at this world of culture and freedom. Nureyev's reaction is central to the film as he makes the most of the chance to explore the city of Paris. He visits the celebrated art galleries, marveling at the masterpieces restricted by his regime. Emphasis is added to the French motto Liberté, égalité, Fraternité emblazed on the statue in the center of Place de la Republique to highlight what is nonexistent in his homeland.

    The tour group make the most of this chance to experience the freedom of the West. The freedom to shop, watch great theatre in the grandest of buildings and drink merrily into the night. But there's always the threat of the KBG and their bureaucrats attempting to stamp out any threat of westernization that may infect and topple the regime. There is always an uneasy feeling leering over Nureyev anytime he doesn't tow the party line, especially when he becomes more acquainted with his new western friends.

    As the film is more about the politics than the dancing I do feel the ballet was neglected. I knew nothing of the man before the film and I never convincingly sold as to why people considered him the greatest male dancer of his generation. Only experts can tell the difference between a good dancer and a great dancer and whilst the film highlighted Nureyev's ability to dominate the stage I still never fully understood what made him so great.

    The dancing is still important to the film, and the ballet scenes are beautifully filmed. Oleg Ivenko is a dancer himself so I am comfortable in the authenticity of these scenes, but I felt he was more at home when dancing or speaking in his native language then he was speaking English. His performance is good, but at times I felt he was slightly wooden when speaking in English (but the scene in the airport is an incredible sequence). Any with scene with his German boyfriend was painful to watch due to the blandness of their chemistry.

    It's an impressive effort from Fiennes who clearly took this project to heart looking deeply into the heart of the matter as to why Nureyev defected from his homeland.

    13 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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