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Prince Vladimir ( , Knyaz Vladimir), or Prince Vladimir - Part One: The Choice (Кня́зь Влади́мир. Вы́бор), is a Russianmarker traditionally-animated feature film loosely based on the story of Prince Vladimir, a historically important figure who converted Kievan Rus' (a predecessor state of Belarusmarker, Russia and Ukrainemarker) to Christianity a thousand years ago. The film's production was blessed by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexius II in 1998, and in 2000 it was granted the status of a national film and given government support. This is the first film to focus on the story of Prince Vladimir.


The plot follows the events surrounding Vladimir from childhood and into adulthood.

In the beginning of the film, being under the influence of the high priest Krivzha, the Prince is a young, impulsive and cruel pagan. Fighting for supreme power, Vladimir wins a battle that kills his brother. Regretting what he has done, Vladimir does not suspect a conspiracy between the priest and the Pechenegs. Vladimir is concerned about gathering the Slavic tribes into one united state. Solving this major task, he faces obstacles, which Vladimir overcomes in the end, defeating Krivzha and winning the battle against Kurya, a Pecheneg chief.


  • Prince Vladimir - Grandson of the legendary princess Olga and son of great commander Svyatoslav.
  • Krivsha - A priest and wizard, pontificates on behalf of Perun, Prince Vladimir's prime martial god, but in fact just skillfully shelters himself behind this, only wishing absolute power. There is gossip that he did bad things while in the guise of a bear, but those who saw him in this guise have gone missing.
  • Alexei (Aleksha) - An inquisitive and clever boy. Having lost his parents, he has been fostered by his grandfather.
  • Kurya - A Pecheneg Prince. Used to be at enmity with Prince Svyatoslav, Vladimir's father. Since then, he has been a cruel and imperious leader of half-wild steppe tribe, planning and doing everything to invade Russian lands and harry Kiev.
  • Boyan - A kind and honorable old man. "The wood grandsire" - he is a part of the nature in which he lives. A fair pagan, talks with living trees and worship them. His staff is a home for bees, which tell him about all the news of the wood. Boyan is a personification of ancient Slavic wisdom, open-mindedness and patience.
  • Dobrynya - A waywode, Prince Vladimir's uncle and tutor. Harsh and straightforward. A warrior of tremendous power, sophisticated, whole-hearted in his devotion to the young Prince. Heads the Slavic troops.
  • Olaf the Red-haired - A centurion. Used to be a waywode of Norwegian sea-king Harald the Blue Teeth's troops. Disagreed about carving-up the spoils of war, left the sea-king and now swears to serve young Prince Vladimir. A brave and cruel warrior.
  • Hoten and Kostyanin - Brothers, Boyan's sons. Both are giants. Always together, and always searching for places where they can boast of their bravery.
  • Olga - Waywode Dobrynya's daughter. Grew up without a mother, a playful and lively girl.
  • Giyar - A son of Pecheneg Prince Kuri. A petty proudling, Alexei's everlasting rival.
  • Anastasius - An adviser of the Byzantine Emperor.
  • Byzantine Emperor - A wise politician, who sees in Russia not a rival or enemy but a possible ally, a defendant of orthodox Christians from eastern barbarians.
  • Anna - A Byzantine Czarevna and beauty. A sister of Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII. Clever and proud-hearted.
  • Yaropolk - Vladimir's elder brother and by the will of Heaven – an obstacle on his way to the power.


Production started in 1997 with research into the customs of the time period as well as character design. Originally, the story was to be told through a series of 30-minute shorts, but the idea was scrapped. The first proposal presentation of Prince Vladimir took place on April 17, 2000, at the Russian Cultural Fund. Soon after, work began in earnest, and about 120 animators were employed on the film. At the 2002 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Prince Vladimir was named one of the world's 12 most anticipated upcoming animated films. The first official presentation of the finished film took place on February 3, 2006, for the press.

A sequel, Prince Vladimir - The Feat (Князь Владимир. Подвиг) is scheduled for release in 2008.


Many in the public thought that the film was part of the light-hearted "3 bogatyrs" trilogy by Melnitsa Animation Studio (the second film in the trilogy, Dobrynya Nikitich and Zmey Gorynych, was due for release on March 16), and were surprised and dismayed at the film's serious tone. Critical reaction was relatively positive, but mixed. Critics praised the film's art and animation but criticized it for its inaccurate portrayal of the historical period and for perceived ideological pandering to its main sponsor, the Russian Orthodox Church.

It is the highest-grossing Russian animated film of all time, taking in $5.8 million dollars since its release, and is the third highest-grossing animated film within Russiamarker (behind Madagascar and Flushed Away). It cost $5 million to make, however (far more than Melnitsa's films, which are made for about $300,000 or a million), the film is thought to have either lost money or narrowly broken even.

Voice cast

Boyan, a character from the film
Actor Role(s)
Yuriy Berkun Kurya
Irina Bezrukova Anna
Sergei Bezrukov Prince Vladimir
Olga Churayeva Olga
Vladimir Gostyukhin Olaf the Red-Haired
Sasha Kostrichkin Alexei
Vasiliy Lanovoy The Byzantine Emperor
Dmitriy Nazarov Dorbinya
Aleksandr Pinegin Boyan
Kolya Rastorguev Prince Giyar
Rogvold Sukhoverko Krivzha
Olga Zhuravlyova Olga

See also


External links

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