In the fall of 1979, the film Pirates of the 20th Century, directed by Boris Durov, was released on the screens of Soviet cinemas. Soon, "the first Soviet action movie", as critics called him, broke all records of the national cinema.
Huge queues lined up at the ticket offices, schoolchildren ran away from lessons, students skipped lectures, workers, after a shift, rushed to the cinema. Already in the first year, the film was watched by 87 million 600 thousand people, ten years later the number of viewers reached 120 million. No other Soviet film has had such a success.
The plot of the seizure of a Soviet ship with a cargo of opium by pirates, with the subsequent release, corresponded to the ideology of that time, according to which our people had to come out victorious in any situation. At the same time, the film was shot in the tradition of Western action movies, with a lot of battle scenes.
Famous martial arts master Tadeush Kasyanov and Uzbek karate champion Talgat Nigmatulin were invited to take part in the filming. By the way, after watching the film, a huge number of teenagers rushed to the karate section.
The film was based on a real story. In the late 70s, screenwriter Stanislav Govorukhin read an article in a newspaper about a pirate attack on an Italian ship and decided to write a script for a film about the confrontation between Soviet sailors and sea robbers.
Filming took place in April - August 1979 in the Crimea. The actors were required to have good physical fitness, the ability to swim, dive, and master hand-to-hand combat techniques. Actor Nikolai Eremenko, who himself performed complex stunts, almost died. According to the script, he was supposed to jump from a cliff to the deck of the ship, but missed and fell into the sea, almost falling under the blade of the ship's propellers.
The first private screening of the film took place at the Central Committee of the Komsomol. The picture was immediately banned. The members of the film commission seemed too cruel. So the film "Pirates of the XX century" was "on the shelf".
And yet, the tape came out on the screens of cinemas. One of the employees of the State Film Agency brought the film with the film to Leonid Brezhnev's dacha. The General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee was delighted with the film and "Pirates" received the green light.
This is how the triumphant march of the film "Pirates of the 20th century" across the country began. Hand-held tickets cost 10-15 rubles, instead of 30 kopecks.
In 1980, the leading actor Nikolai Eremenko was named the best actor of the year.