The World Socialist Web Site and Mehring Books are pleased to announce that Tsar to Lenin, the documentary film of the 1917 Russian Revolution, is now available on the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. Subtitles are available in Afrikaans, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Tamil and Turkish.
Tsar to Lenin, first released in 1937, is an extraordinary cinematic account of the Russian Revolution—from the mass uprising that overthrew the centuries-old Tsarist regime in February 1917, to the Bolshevik insurrection led by Lenin and Trotsky eight months later that established the first socialist workers’ state, to the final victory in 1921 of the new Soviet regime over counterrevolutionary forces, supported by the imperialist countries Britain and the United States, after a three-year-long civil war.
WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North noted in his introduction to the centenary edition of the film, “Tsar to Lenin is one of the most important films made in the 20th century. Its subject is the Russian Revolution of 1917. The viewer never loses his sense of astonishment at being witness to events that altered the course of human history. Before the age of television, with its ubiquitous 24-hour instant coverage, there seemed something miraculous about history being captured and preserved on film.”
Based on archival footage assembled over more than a decade by the legendary director Herman Axelbank (1900-1979), Tsar to Lenin provides an unparalleled film record of a revolutionary movement, embracing millions, which “shook the world” and changed the course of history. The narration by Max Eastman (1883-1969), the pioneer American radical, conveys with emotion and humanity the drama and pathos of the revolution.
The broad accessibility of the film on Amazon’s streaming service comes as masses of people are entering onto the road of struggle. The genocide taking place in Gaza, supported by all the world’s imperialist governments, is contributing to a profound radicalization of the world’s working class and youth.
Additionally, the genocide in Gaza—coming after decades of unrelenting war, attacks on working class living standards and a pandemic that has now killed more than 20 million people—is making clear to wide sections of the world’s population the need for a fundamental reorganization of social and economic life.
In his History of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky wrote, “The most indubitable feature of a revolution is the direct interference of the masses in historical events.” This process has been reinitiated in the 21st century.
As North explained, “Seventy-five years after its premier, the importance of Tsar to Lenin remains undiminished. Indeed, the fresh wave of historical falsification provoked by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 lends to this film exceptional relevance. In a new period of global capitalist crisis – amidst economic breakdown, rampant social inequality and escalating militarism – Tsar to Lenin bears witness to a moment in history when socialist ideals inspired the greatest revolutionary movement in world history.”
We encourage readers to view Tsar to Lenin and share it with your friends, family and coworkers.