Moscow on the Hudson is a 1984 film starring Robin Williams as a Soviet defector.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Vladimir Ivanoff (Williams) is a saxophone player with the Moscow circus. He has resigned himself to life in the pre-perestroika Soviet Union, with its many restrictions and everyday problems (such as long lineups for just about every basic necessity).
When the circus is sent on an American tour, one of Vladimir's friends confides to him that he intends to defect in New York, but loses his nerve under the watchful eye of KGB agent Boris. When everyone goes shopping in Bloomingdale's department store, however, Vladimir acts on impulse and hides (literally) under the skirt of shop clerk Lucia Lomardo (Alonso). Despite Soviet pressure, he remains adamant and is granted asylum.
He is befriended and taken in by African-American Bloomingdale's security guard Lionel Witherspoon. He also begins a relationship with Lucia. The streets are not paved with gold and he misses his family, particularly his grandfather, but in the end, he decides that it has all been worth it.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's a warm, believable story. While there are comic elements, Williams is more restrained than usual, and they don't overwhelm the drama.
Best scene in story:
The absurd shopping trip to Bloomingdale's is memorable. Everyone, even the KGB agent, rushes off to buy goods to resell back home for a substantial capitalist profit.
Opinion about the main character:
Vladimir is resilient and adaptable, embracing his new home.