Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming [1966]

The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming looks overly cute now, but really, it was pretty hip for 1966. The cold war was in full deep-freeze when this well-meaning comedy tried to thaw things out a little: a Soviet submarine beaches on the New England coast, sending the locals into a paranoid frenzy. The chief pleasure of the film is Alan Arkin as the sub captain; this was Arkin's first major film role, and he had already mastered his exasperated, slow-burning frown (to say nothing of mastering his Russian dialogue). Arkin snagged an OscarĀ® nomination, with the movie receiving nominations for best picture, adapted screenplay, and editing--nods that reflect the film's smashing success at the box office. Somewhat dated now, the movie still has its place in the roster of raucous, American small-town comedies; seen in childhood, it will linger nicely as a depiction of foolish grown-ups. --Robert Horton

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