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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie let down by a poor quality DVD
This was a surprise hit in the early 80's as no-one expected such a low budget movie, featuring unknown actors, to make any impact on the viewing public. However, against all odds, Letter to Brezhnev was a huge hit thanks to its heart-warming yet poignant story of an 'ordinary Kirby girl' who falls in love with a Russian sailor.
Pieter and Sergei are two sailors...
Published on 28 April 2005 by Ms. H. Sinton

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars make sure you read the description fully
I ordered this cassette thinking it was a DVD totally my mistake as had looked at several on- line for my wife's birthday from our son, It plays in the most part but has one or two little poor quality bits but as its over twenty six years old and a VHS cassette its not to bad.

my wife loves this movie and is happy it it but would love it on DVD so she could...
Published on 19 Nov 2011 by bazzando


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie let down by a poor quality DVD, 28 April 2005
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
This was a surprise hit in the early 80's as no-one expected such a low budget movie, featuring unknown actors, to make any impact on the viewing public. However, against all odds, Letter to Brezhnev was a huge hit thanks to its heart-warming yet poignant story of an 'ordinary Kirby girl' who falls in love with a Russian sailor.
Pieter and Sergei are two sailors whose ship has berthed in Liverpool overnight. They decide to visit a local club where they meet two local girls, Elaine and Teresa who are out for a good time. The chemistry between Elaine and Pieter is immediately evident and they decide to spend every moment together before Pieter has to rejoin his ship to Russia. Love blossoms and the young couple vow that somehow they will be together no matter what. Thereby lays the films title as Elaine is encouraged to write to the Russian premier (at that time Leonid Brezhnev) and ask him to allow her to be reunited with her love. There is plenty of light relief thanks to Margi Clarke's excellent portrayal of Teresa, an original 'good time' girl and her relationship with none-English speaking Sergei (Alfred Molina in an early role).
Sure the movie has its unbelievable moments....would the foreign office really go to such lengths to keep Elaine from travelling to Russia for example...but isn't escapism the point of movies? The major downside of this DVD is that no effort has been made to clean the picture or sound quality, it's pretty much as it was on VHS. There are no extras, not even subtitles for the hard of hearing which smacks of laziness on the part of the distributors. In other words, if you already have this film on video it really isn't worth getting the DVD however if you don't already own it then it is worth purchasing just for great movie that is Letter to Brezhnev.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight to the eighties, 14 Jun 2006
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
A goodish girl is on a night out, meets up with her good time female friend, ends up in a night club and meets then man of her dreams.

Unfortunately, he is a sailor on a 48 hour pass. But the problems don't stop there. He is also Russian.

Originally filmed when Brezhnev was Russia's premier, but released after he died, the 'iron curtain' hadn't yet been 'opened'.

Without going into detail of the writers, producers, directors and who was related to who, this film is a true fairytale of love can overcome any obstacle.

I have loved this film since I first saw it at the cinema way back in the eighties. Alex Pigg brushed off her Brookside role, a lot of us first met Margie Clarke and Alfred Molina, and welcomed back Peter Firth after his stint in the Double Deckers.

To me, this film was, and is, a true depiction of Liverpool, the 1980s and true love will out!

I'm still waiting for the sequel though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite film of all time, 16 Feb 2008
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
I don't know what it is about this film, but I never get sick of watching it.

I must have seen it over 100 times, and I always get something new out of it.

The superb music at the start of the film really sets the scene, and all the performances from each and every actor involved are life like and involving.

Having lived in Liverpool myself(before this was filmed) I obviously recognise quite a few locations that are used and I guess that's one of the reasons the film really rings a bell.

The warmth, humour and hope of scousers are all perfectly captured in this film, and I don't think it would be the same had it been made anywhere else.

Sadly, the Liverpool of today seems to be changing into another identikit city with the same old shops,chain restaurants etc, so this is a great way to remember a unique,individual city.

At the end of the day, I guess I'm just a hopeless old romantic, and it's the thought that love will conquer all, that makes me love this so much.

Finally,I'd still love to see a sequel as long as Alexandra Pigg and Margi Clark were involved!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Always happens to me this!, 18 Jan 2004
As a rule i'm not really a fan of Margi Clark, but she is convincing in this film, as i suspect she was playing herself. There are some heart warming moments in the film, and some funny scouse moments too. Two twenty something girls decide to make a quiet drink down the pub, into something more exciting. They leave the local and head into the city, to bag themselves some fellas to buy them drinks, the wage packet doesn't stretch to city centre bars and clubs. They get chased out of one club, after Margi's character (Teresa) steals a wallet full of money. They safely make it to another club, where they meet two Russian sailors. They spend the night with the Russians, Teresa with the rugged Sergei. Elaine is looking for love with Peter, but he leaves for Russia the next day. She dreams of being together with him, and in her desparation to get away from her dull life; she writes a letter to the Soviet leader Brezhnev. He replies to her letter, with permission to go over the Soviet Union and be reunited with Peter. Local MP's try to dissuade her, but she is determined and she leaves knowing she will probably never see Liverpool or family again.
Not a usual Saturday night scenario, even in a dockland city. Lots of comedy moments, some may only be appreciated by scousers. A nice bit of romantic fantasy, not a lot of that went on in Liverpool in the 1980's, Elaine being on the dole and completely sick of it. The only realism being will she have a better life in this communist country, will it matter if she has her true love? A lot can be taken from Elaine's spirit and determination, and may have spurred a few people on during that time of mass unemployment. Definitely worth a watch!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go knit youself an iron curtain!!, 15 Jun 2004
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
I was a spotty lovelorn teenager living in Liverpool when this film hit our screens and became such a success. It helped fuel my mad notions of endless romance . It gave me teenage angst that I would to find true love one day. Hey twenty years later I just think its a great movie. A love story admittedly but its a cracking film which has stood the rigors of twenty years . It does not feel dated and it still made me laugh . If you want to be entertained by a film then this one is for you. Its oodles of good scouse humor will cheer you up no end. Did i find true love? Well thats for me to know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories, 24 July 2009
By 
Mr. K. Mullen (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
A great big slice of 1980's nostalgia. A simple story with plenty of charm, wit and warmth. It's strange to look back at the shots of Liverpool as it was only 20 years ago when you see just how much has changed.

I've been after this film for years but every time I look on Amazon it was sold out. Delighted at the service and very, very quick delivery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm biased....it's my favourite ever film!, 9 Jan 2009
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
Forget Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine - this is the best film about Liverpool women in the 80s. It's my favourite all-time film. There is such a rawness to this film - you really feel as if this was exactly what it was like. It's key strength is that most of the actors have got 'proper' Scouse accents and was filmed entirely in Liverpool.

The writing is top-notch - the scenes at the night club and in Elaine's house are brilliant. But there's romance as well - everytime I go to Liverpool I always have to go on the Mersey ferry! The photograhy gets me everytime, especially when the Russian ship comes into port.

I used to be a massive fan of Brookside and it's great to see some of the actors in. Margi Clarke had a part in it a couple of years previous to the film (she played a friend of Lucy Collins).

Added to all that is a brilliant soundtrack featuring Bronski Beat's 'Hit That Perfect Beat'.

I can't recommend it enough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overtly propagandistic, but who cares?, 4 Nov 2007
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
More devotion than ambition seems to have gone into the making of this little film; that's quite visible. What sets it apart is that it works.

Don't expect too much nuance from "A Letter to Brezhnev". Everything seems to be expressed in stereotypes, and there are no winners; the Soviet Union is definitely the Evil Empire, but, on the other hand, so is England, especially Liverpool, under Thatcherism. There's nothing to choose between the repressiveness of one and the unemployment and poverty of the other; and, if there was an irritant here, it was the fact that the film was a bit messagey. For example, it would have been suitable for the Foreign Office interviewer to be a bit of a creep - but he was arguably too much of a creep, and one yearned for just a bit of subtlety.

The casting was good. If I had to pick out one member of the cast, it would be Alexandra Pigg as the dream-ridden Elaine, whose life seems to enfold the reverie of any not-very-exceptional working-class girl; Margi Clarke as her mate Teresa was exactly what you'd ask of Margi Clarke, Peter Firth as Elaine's Russian sailor traded a bit in sentimentality, and Alfred Molina as Teresa's was just that tiny bit too bearish. Supporting cast was wonderful.

A special note on the soundtrack. Yes, the accents certainly were authentic (I don't know Liverpool all that well, but the speech was certainly what you'd hear), and what might come across as the coarseness seemed absolutely fitting; it may seem an odd thing to say, but there are times when subtitles in standard English might have helped - notably the opening dialogue between Elaine and Tracey, where the unfamiliarity (at that point) of the Scouse speech conflicted with the traffic noise. At other times, you work your way into it, but I still had the feeling that some of the funniest lines (of which there were many) were opaque to me. The problem was much like that of Barney Platts-Mills' "Bronco Bullfrog" about a decade earlier - sound recording on the cheap and heavy accents, in that case East London - and the director did well to opt for sub-titles there. They might have worked here too.

The cinematography is pretty good for a low-budget feature, and the setting perfect (as you'd expect - Liverpool playing Liverpool); the battered city still has its beauties, most not missed, all of them recognizable (the Pier Head; Hope Street; the Royal Liver Building). I especially liked the vista of Birkenhead's skyline as Moscow; in fact, the ferry journey probably contained the best photography of all.

Concluding impression was favourable overall. If the script had been less preachy, and the rest of the leads up to Alexandra Pigg's standard, this might have been a little classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still very good, 9 Jun 2013
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
I loved this film when it first came out in 1985 and seeing it now it still has the same effect. It is wonderfully romantic and gives a very poetic sense of Liverpool, as well as of that era. It is not a complex film, having the clear outlines of a fairy tale, and is quite a lot about friendship as well as love. The central idea of the letter to Brezhnev is inspired, especially coming at that particular time. The two girls are excellent and there's enough edge in the characterisation to prevent any blandness from creeping in - Margi Clark in particular is quite sparky, while there is a neat reversal of character implied towards the end that is subtle and rings true. Alexandra Pigg is also uncannily good at suggesting the determination that comes to the fore later in the film even in the earlier stages. Having seen Alfred Molina in a number of roles since I had forgotten this Russian role, so his accent comes as a bit of a surprise, but he actually takes the part very well, as does Peter Firth, who manages to be both ordinary and romantically appealing. The first half of the film is particularly good, with the girls sailing close to the wind at times, but caught up in the whirlwind of romance in some inspired sequences in a disco - even in rapturous slo-mo on the dance floor to make the moment last - and later in a hotel. And in the former it is delightful to hear the Bronski Beat hit "Hit That Perfect Beat" which seems to conjure those heady disco days so vividly ... If it doesn't quite capture the breadth of My Beautiful Laundrette, released in the same year, it nevertheless exerts a strong pull and is one of those 80s films that will hopefully remain etched in our collective memory of that decade for as long as it remains a living memory, after which it will pass into the realm of a myth, perhaps, like Icarus ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute classic, 18 Dec 2011
By 
ReviewBlog51 (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Letter To Brezhnev [DVD][1985] (DVD)
'Letter To Brezhnev' is one of the all time great British movies, a superb script by Frank Clarke (who went onto pen more notable films such as 'The Fruit Machine' and 'Blonde Fist') and some impressive performances from a cast of relatively unknown actors at the time.

The film centers around two strong willed Liverpool women, Teresa (played by the irrepressible Margi Clarke, sister of Frank) and Elaine (Alexandra Pegg) who meet two Russian sailors, and hook up for a meaningless but exciting one night stand each. Whilst the loud, brass Teresa is looking for nothing more than just that, Elaine falls deeply love with her sailor and dreams of a better life away from 1980s Liverpool, where Thatcher and her government were hammering the working classes. Elaine dreams of love and romance but her world soon comes crashing down when her new found love is returned to Russia. Desperate, she writes a letter to the Soviet leader Brezhnev and he writes back.

'Letter To Brezhnev' is a beautiful film, funny, sad, gritty and moving at the same time. It isn't a 'soppy' love story but more of an accurate portrayal of how life was like for working class people in Liverpool during the 80s. It is another Film Four production, who have made the best low budget British Films of the last thirty years. 'Letter To Brezhnev' is certainly one of those films.
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