This is one of the greatest Russian films ever made, but it's not particularly well known in this country, even in cinema circles. It's directed by Elem Kilmov, who directed the masterful Come and See. The film is excellent for many reasons. One, it gives a very well rounded portrait of the Russian monarchy at the time, and the complete chaos in the house of Nicholas II (and Russia during his reign). Second, the portrayal of Rasputin here is amazing (by Alexi Pentrenko), and extremely accurate. He was a very unkept man, but he had amazing charisma and he had carte blanche in the household of Nicholas II (which he abused regularly). There are some wicked surreal touches that really make this film extraordinary. As an added bonus, this is the widescreen, uncut version. When the film made it to the states, the film was cut by 35 minutes. Previous VHS versions were also pan and scan, which butchered Kilmov's widescreen compositions. The film had difficulty in the USSR as well, because the Soviet censors felt that Kilmov was too sympathetic towards Nicholas II. It was made in 1974, but wasn't officially released until 1985. This is a great Russian film, one of the best portrayals of Rasputin and the fall of Nicholas II.