Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944) Script



A black cloud is forming A bloody dawn approaching The boyars have hatched a treacherous plot Against the Tsar's authority Which they are now unleashing


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,

the Archduke and Sovereign Ivan Vasilievich is crowned Tsar of Moscow,

anointed of God, Tsar of Moscow, absolute sovereign of all the Russians.

The Archduke of Moscow has no right to the title of Tsar.

Europe will never recognise him as Tsar.

If he is powerful enough... she will recognise him.

They say some of his own subjects are none too pleased about the coronation.

It is not surprising that certain... lordly personages are not delighted.

That is the Grand Duke's cousin, Vladimir Staritsky with his mother.

Ivan's coronation bars their road to the throne of Moscow.

But it also seems that Ivan is not without allies.

Not the Archduke's but the Tsar's.

For he is now Tsar.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

O Tsar, the Lord's anointed, accept from him this sceptre.

Accept it, my son.

Accept this orb from God.

Accept it, my son.

In the name of God... now and forever. Amen.

To the Tsar, the Lord's anointed,

Ivan Vasilievich, the sovereign of all the Russians, peace, health and salvation.

May the Lord save him and keep him.

Long life to the Tsar.

Long life to the Tsar!

Long life!

Today, for the first time, the Archduke of Moscow wears the crown of Tsar of all the Russians.

He thereby puts an end to the pernicious power of the boyars.

From now on, all the Russians will form a single State.

What? He dares attack the power of the boyars?

But to maintain Russia as a single State, we have to be strong.

That is why today I am founding a regular army - well equipped, militant, permanent.

And whoever does not fight in this army will contribute to its upkeep.

Pay to cut one's own throat.

Similarly, the holy monasteries, with all their wealth, will make their contribution.

For their funds pile up without any advantage to the Russian land.

We shall need a strong and undivided State if we are going to crush those who oppose the unity of the Russian land.

Only a State strong and unified within its frontiers can defend itself beyond them.

Our native land is no more than a trunk whose limbs have been hacked off.

The sources of our waterways and rivers, Volga, Dvina, Volkhov are ours, but the ports at their mouths are under foreign control.

Our ancestral lands have been torn from us.

That is why, this coronation day, we are going to set about retaking occupied Russian territory.

Two Romes have fallen.

Moscow is the third.

There will be no fourth, for I am absolute master of this third Rome, the Muscovite State.

The Pope will not sanction it.

The Emperor will not tolerate it.

Europe will not recognise it.

If he is powerful, everyone will bow down to him.

He must not be allowed to become powerful.

The marriage is fixed for St Simon's Day.

We will arrange a fine wedding for this dictator.

Why such privileges for Ivan?

Why is Prince Kurbsky his vassal?

Is not Kurbsky's nobility equal to that of Ivan the Muscovite?

Why is Ivan of Moscow master of Russia?

And not Prince Andrei Kurbsky of Yaroslav?

The oak trees, the oaks On their boughs, the turtle doves Sit nestling there Lullay, lullay, lullay

Kiss each other! Kiss!

Why are the bells of Moscow ringing so loudly?

The citizens have gone wild with joy.

Lullay, lullay, lullay

They are cooing to each other

Kiss each other.

Kiss each other! Kiss each other!

Kiss! Kiss!

Kiss each other.

Why are my best friends so sad today?

Tsar, the people have a saying that marriage is the end of friendship.

And what does Fyodor Kolychev say?

Tsar, you break with tradition.

I foresee trouble.

I do not dare go against my Tsar, but I cannot follow in his footsteps.

Let me take holy orders.

You prefer the heavenly king to the earthly one?

Very well, I shall not stand between you and him.

Go, and pray for us sinners.

I only ask one thing of you.

Do not abandon us if misfortune strikes.

If I need you, answer my call.

The people are shouting against the Glinskys and the Zakharins, burning and pillaging and marching on the palace, demanding to see the Tsar.

To the Tsar!

Moscow is in flames!

Let the people enter.

The Tsar.

The Tsar is bewitched!

By the Tsarina's family.

The Glinskys, the Zakharins have bewitched him.

Bewitched him.

Justice against the Tsarina's family.

Justice against the Glinskys and Zakharins.

They tear the hearts from the breasts of the people.

They sprinkle our houses with human blood.

The blood bursts into flames and burns the houses.

The houses burn.

Moscow is horribly bewitched.

The bells are crashing down from the steeples.

Witchcraft, you say? Bells falling without reason?

A head which believes in witchcraft is itself like a bell -


And can a head fall off... all by itself?

In order to fall, it has to be cut.

It is just the same with bells.

Those who, without the Tsar's orders, cut the ropes which support the bells, will have their own heads cut off - this time on the Tsar's orders.

The Tsar is pretty sharp.

There's no pulling the wool over his eyes.

We shall cut off heads ruthlessly to weed out the treason of the boyars to the very roots.

A Tsar can only rule if he holds the reins.

A State without reins is as uncontrollable as a horse without a bridle.

But he who ranges himself at the side of the Tsar will be rewarded. He will rejoice in the Tears bounty and the admiration of our soldiers.

Do not dare, Prince, even to dream.

I am dedicated to a high cause.

A loyal slave of the Tsar of Moscow.

Our lands are vast and rich... but disorder is everywhere.

But we ourselves will set our house in order without appealing to outside help.

We ourselves! Ourselves!

We will crush treachery.

We will crush it!

And we will help the workers, the shopkeepers, the craftsmen.

We will help them!

Three Tartar envoys from Kazan insist on seeing the Tsar.

From Kazan? Tell them to come in at once.

Kazan breaks off her friendship with Moscow.

Kazan terminates her alliance.

We declare war on Moscow.

Kazan... great.

Moscow... small.

Moscow has no chance.

Our great Khan sends this present.

Russian Tsar wants no shame. Russian Tsar ends his own life.

God is my witness that we did not want war.

But the time has passed when insolent foreigners can invade Muscovite territory with impunity.

And this dagger will strike down whoever raises his hand against Moscow.

We will finish with Kazan once and for all.

It is we who will go to Kazan.

To Kazan!

To Kazan!

Listen, Khan.

It is Kazan which is small... and Moscow which is great.

To Kazan!

You will command the first regiment.

To Kazan!

To Kazan!

Misery Misery, sorrow, The Tartar Steppes

The unclaimed coins at the end of the battle will indicate the number of our losses.

One, two, heave!

The tunnel can now be packed with gunpowder.

At last. After a month of waiting.

It's certainly time to start the attack.

Tunnels and powder - the Tsar's own invention.

You don't think my gunpowder will work?


Parades. That's all you understand.

Shout, "Surrender, Kazan!"

Oh! Kazan!

It is better that you die by our hands, than by those of the uncircumcised.

Such savagery is madness. It's stupid, revolting.

Even an untrained beast has got more restraint.

He has dared to raise his hand against the Tsar.

I wanted to protect you from the arrows.

If that was your reason... thank you.

The Baltic ambassador was right.

Compared to him... I'll never be more than a cur.

Some arrows arrive at just the right moment.

Even deadlier than arrows is the boyars' hatred.

Beware of boyars more than arrows.

Your name?

Alexei Basmanov, son of Daniel.

I shall not forget the name of one who hates the boyars.

Look, Fyodor. Look, my son.

The Tsar of all the Russians.

The Tsar.

To Kazan!

Support Kurbsky.

Now I am truly Tsar.

The whole world will acknowledge the Tsar of Moscow as the true ruler of all the Russians.

How is the Tsar of Moscow's health?

The Tsar is very ill.

The Tsar fell ill while on the journey back from Kazan.

So now even you acknowledge him as Tsar.

God is just.

This Muscovite prince wanted to set himself above all other princes. And now it's all over.

Well, Prince, always second best?

You loved Anastasia. Ivan took her from you.

You fought the battle of Kazan.

Yet it is Ivan who is the hero and who has all the glory, whilst you...

Ah. Prince, your conquest of Kazan has only added to your misfortune as well as to that of the boyars.

As for your head, it will not stay on your shoulders.

The Tsar will not forget the arrow at Kazan.

And if he should forget, there will always be someone to remind him.

The eye of the Tsar.


As long as Ivan lives, Kurbsky will only stagnate.

God is good.

They are bringing the Tsar the Holy Sacrament.

It is their custom, just before death.

Lord, have mercy on my soul.

Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

To whom will you swear an oath of allegiance?

To Dmitri, the heir apparent.

To Ivan's son.

And Anastasia.

It is the widow's still-warm bed which fills your thoughts.

You want to make her your mistress.

Swear allegiance to Vladimir.

Money doesn't buy men like you.

They have to be offered a kingdom.

With Vladimir on the throne, it is you who will act as regent.

He is worse than a child.

He is moronic.

You will be absolute master.

Swear allegiance to Vladimir.

The Tsar is calling.

The end is near.

I bid the world farewell.

Swear allegiance to my legitimate heir...


Swear loyalty to my son.

Swear allegiance to my son.

Only an undivided, legitimate throne will save Moscow from her enemies and internecine conflict, without which the Tartars will again violate our frontiers.

The Poles and the Livonians encroach.

I don't entreat you for me or my son,

but for the unity of the Motherland.




Kolychev the Wise. Daniel Bogdany.

You - give an example.

Kolychev the Unconquerable, Why don't you speak?



You will be cursed forever.

Traitors to the Russian Earth.

All of you will be cursed... cursed for all eternity.

Only Dmitri... his son... can save Russia.

Once you have rejected undivided authority, no matter how strong, courageous, intelligent you may be, your government will be directionless.

Your feuds and hatreds will deliver you up to the foreigner.

The boyars will never submit to the offspring of the Prince of Moscow.

Power must pass to a Tsar who will share it with the boyars and who will serve not some unknown Russian State, but the noble boyars.

Swear allegiance to the Tsar Vladimir.

Long live the Tsar of the boyars.

The road to the throne?

Or the road to marriage?

Which one?

Anastasia? Efrosinia?

Anastasia, if you will be mine, I will protect you from the boyars.

If you will be mine I will raise you to the throne.

If you will be mine, we will rule Russia together.

Without you, my life has no meaning.

Nor death either.

With you, the throne... or the scaffold it's all the same.

My Tsarina of Moscow.

Prince, one does not bury a man before he is dead.

You mean Ivan isn't dead?

God will be your judge.

Ivan is not dead.

If Ivan is not dead... Kurbsky can no longer live.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, I swear by the Holy Writ to serve faithfully the heir to the throne, the legitimate Tsar of Moscow,

Dmitri Ivanovich.

In evidence of which, I kiss the cross.

The Holy Sacrament has cured me.

You... have always been close to the Tsar.

I shall raise you higher still,

for at the hour of the supreme test

you alone remained faithful.

I shall invest you with a sacred mission.

We have consolidated the East, so you will lead the Russian forces to the West... to the Baltic.

Flying like an arrow?

Well, fly.

And to defend our southern borders against the Crimean Khan, I appoint Alexei Basmanov.

Who? Who is he?

The Tsar trusts no one.

He sends away the boyars who are closest to him.

He surrounds himself with nobodies.

Like these low-born Basmanovs and takes them into his confidence.

I know.

He strips us of our hereditary possessions and distributes them to absolutely anyone.

He persecutes the boyars.

Shchenyatov has been arrested.

Kurletov has been arrested.

I know.

I'm going to escape.

I dare not.

I'm frightened... I shall flee to Livonia.

Ivan Ivanovich, are you not ashamed?

The Archbishop has gone to see the Tsar.

He will get us pardoned.

The Tsar pardons no one.

He has stripped me, his confessor... of everything.

He's sending me from Moscow to Novgorod.

I must get away!

For God's sake, fly.

Let cowards run away.

Those who stay will fight.

Whilst the Tsar's best friend Kurbsky is away...

we must take him firmly in hand.

To start with, we must curb Ivan's power.

We must oppose his military campaigns,

refuse the money for the war in the Baltic provinces.

But above all else, we must separate Anastasia from Ivan.

It is I who will take charge of that.

I need the maritime towns, the Baltic towns, Riga... Revel.

I need Narva.

Once again the Rigans and the Hanseatics have intercepted the English ships.

Once again they deprive me of lead, of sulphur and my artillery of trained gunners.

I shall use force to stop these treacherous neighbours from throttling our commerce.

Not only the Germans are stumbling blocks to our ambitions, but also you boyars.

In opposing my campaigns in the Baltic you are worse than the Germans and the Livonians.

You are Russia's worst enemies.

You see, Nepeya, just why I have to bring about this alliance.

Take this present to the gracious Queen Elizabeth of England.

You will demonstrate to her with these pieces just how the English boats can go around the Baltic, to reach us by the White Sea

in the teeth of the Germans and Livonians.

And remind her that Tsar Ivan in Moscow is solely in charge of negotiations, that he orders and controls all commerce.

He accords privileges to whosoever pleases him and whosoever does not please him will never enter Moscow.

On the other hand, his friends will have the route to the East completely open.

Are you troubled, Tsar Ivan?

I am alone. There is no one I can trust.

Kurbsky is far away... fighting in the Baltic states.

Fyodor Kolychev is even further away, praying in the Solovyets monastery.

I have only you.

It's from Ryazan.

It's from Basmanov.

Again the boyars.

They have disobeyed my orders again.

They betray Russia.

They are preventing Basmanov and the people from defending Ryazan.

They are ready to surrender the city to the Khan of the Crimea.

Be firm.

I will be. So much the worse for the boyars.

I shall confiscate all their estates.

The only concessions I will make will be for services to the State.

But those who dishonour themselves on the battlefield will lose everything.

You go too far, Tsar Ivan.

Bad news.

The Russian troops at Revel have been beaten.

Kurbsky is beaten.


Could he have betrayed us?

God be my salvation for the waters are come in unto my soul.

I sink beneath the deep waters Where nothing can save me.

I am in the depths of the flood and its current bears me away.

I no longer have the strength to groan.

My tongue is dry, my eyes no longer see.

Prince Ivan Mikhailovich Shuisky has fled to Livonia.

Prince Ivan Vasilievich Sheremetyev was captured in flight.

Boyar Tugoi Luk-Suzdalsky has fled to Livonia.

Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs on my head.

Prince Mikhail Vorotynsky has fled.

Prince Ivan Ivanovich Turuntai-Pronsky has been recaptured, arrested and brought to Moscow.

Have I done wrong?

Is it God's punishment?

I have become a stranger unto my brethren and without significance to the sons of my own mother.

Am I right in my heavy struggle?

Great Sovereign, Kurbsky has fled to King Sigismund.

What? My friend, Kurbsky?

What have I done to him?

What more could he have wanted?

Or could it be... that he coveted my crown?

Taking advantage of the defeat in the Baltic states, the boyars are rousing the people against you.

Shame has eaten into my heart and I am full of weariness.

I have looked for mercy... but it has not been granted to me.

I have sought consolation but without finding it.

You lie.

The Tsar of Moscow has not yet been brought to heel.

You are few.

Send for my last and only remaining faithful friend, Fyodor Kolychev.

He is praying for us in the far-off Solovyets monastery.

Tsar, do not trust Boyar Kolychev.

Surround yourself with new men who have sprung from the people and who owe you everything.

With them, forge about you an iron ring, a circle of spears pointing towards the enemy.

Choose men who will renounce everything, who will deny father and mother to serve only the Tsar and the dictates of his will.

The first link of the iron ring will be my son.

To these noble ends I donate my only son.

With these men alone you will be able to retain power, break the boyars.

You are right, Alyoshka. I shall bind myself about with iron.

We will form a brotherhood of iron.

Outside the brotherhood we will trust no one.

I shall be an iron leader.

I shall leave Moscow and withdraw to the hamlet of Alexandrov.

You will take Moscow by assault.

You will return to Moscow as a conqueror.

No, it is not as a soldier I will return, not as a soldier but summoned by the entire populace.

Don't rely on the people.

Don't listen to beggars... don't trust vagabonds.

You are getting above yourself, cur.

You presume to instruct the Tsar.

By the people's summons... I shall gain limitless power.

It will be like a new coronation, enabling me relentlessly to consummate my great task.

What do you say?

You are right.

The call of the people will express God's will.

I shall accept the sword of vengeance from God's hand.

I shall accomplish great things.

Two Romes have fallen. Moscow is the third.

She will stand firm, for there will never be a fourth.

"These princes and boyars have amassed great wealth

"but not a thought do they spare for the Tsar or the state, "and they are even indifferent to religion since they refuse to defend themselves

"against our enemies - the Tartars, the Livonians, the Germans -

"and oppress the people.

"This is why the Tsar, Sovereign and Grand Duke

"is abandoning the State

"and Moscow, the capital.

"But the Tsar bears no malice against the citizens, "shopkeepers and Orthodox Christians of Moscow, "and in no way holds them responsible."

As for those good Christians who don't side with the boyar princes or the well-known families, and are of humble origin and ready to serve the Tsar faithfully, the Tsar summons them to join his bodyguard and to swear allegiance to him at the hamlet of Alexandrov.

Are you waiting for a message from Moscow?

Have pity, O Lord...

The first English boats, laden with arms and munitions, have just entered the White Sea.

We have outwitted you, Germans and Livonians.

The day is coming when you will drop to your knees before the authority of Moscow.

Have mercy, O Lord...

O return, O return

O return

The father of us all

Get the horses saddled. We are going back to Moscow...

to work for the future of the Great Russian State.