The Russians Are Coming Cast

Title: The Russians Are Coming Cast: Unraveling the Iconic Ensemble and Their Impact


“The Russians Are Coming!” is a classic 1966 American comedy film directed by Norman Jewison. The movie revolves around the fictional story of a Soviet submarine that accidentally runs aground on a small New England island. This delightful comedy showcases a talented ensemble cast who brought their characters to life with exceptional performances. In this article, we will explore the cast of “The Russians Are Coming” and their significant contributions to the film.

The Cast:

1. Carl Reiner as Walt Whittaker: Carl Reiner, known for his comedic genius, portrays Walt Whittaker, the island’s resident who initially mistakes the Russians for an invasion. Reiner’s impeccable timing and wit make his character both hilarious and endearing.

2. Eva Marie Saint as Elspeth Whittaker: Eva Marie Saint shines as Walt’s supportive and level-headed wife, Elspeth. Her performance adds depth and warmth to the film, balancing the comedic chaos with heartfelt moments.

3. Alan Arkin as Lt. Yuri Rozanov: Alan Arkin delivers a remarkable performance as Lt. Yuri Rozanov, the Russian submarine’s second-in-command. Arkin’s ability to seamlessly switch between comedy and drama makes his character one of the most memorable in the film.

4. Brian Keith as Police Chief Mattocks: Brian Keith portrays the island’s police chief, Mattocks, who must navigate the chaos caused by the stranded Russians. Keith’s commanding presence and natural charm perfectly complement his role.

5. Jonathan Winters as Norman Jonas: Jonathan Winters provides uproarious moments as Norman Jonas, a local resident turned self-appointed Russian spy. His improvisational skills and physical comedy contribute to the film’s comedic brilliance.

6. Paul Ford as Fendall Hawkins: Paul Ford portrays Fendall Hawkins, the bumbling and eccentric town selectman. Ford’s comedic timing and exaggerated mannerisms add to the film’s hilarity.

7. Theodore Bikel as Alexei Kolchin: Theodore Bikel delivers a nuanced performance as Alexei Kolchin, the captain of the stranded Soviet submarine. His portrayal showcases the character’s humanity and provides a perfect counterbalance to the film’s satire.

8. Tessie O’Shea as Alice Foss: Tessie O’Shea brings her immense talent as a singer and actress to her role as Alice Foss, a boisterous British tourist. Her infectious energy and musical numbers add an extra layer of joy to the film.

9. John Phillip Law as Alexei Kolchin Jr.: John Phillip Law portrays Alexei Kolchin Jr., the captain’s young son. Law’s endearing and innocent portrayal adds a heartwarming dimension to the story.

10. Ben Blue as Luther Grilk: Ben Blue plays Luther Grilk, a fisherman with a penchant for storytelling. Blue’s comedic timing and physicality make his character a delightful addition to the ensemble.


1. Was “The Russians Are Coming” based on a true story?
– No, the film is a fictional comedy set during the Cold War era.

2. Did the cast receive any awards for their performances?
– Yes, Alan Arkin received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal of Lt. Yuri Rozanov.

3. How did the cast prepare for their roles?
– The cast underwent extensive rehearsals with director Norman Jewison to hone their comedic timing and develop their characters.

4. Were any of the cast members from a Russian background?
– No, the entire cast hailed from various backgrounds, but their performances were universally acclaimed.

5. Did the film face any controversies during its release?
– Despite the Cold War backdrop, the film was well-received, and any potential controversies were overshadowed by its comedic brilliance.

6. How did Carl Reiner contribute to the film apart from acting?
– Carl Reiner also co-wrote the script for “The Russians Are Coming,” showcasing his multifaceted talents.

7. Were there any notable improvisations during the filming?
– Jonathan Winters’ character, Norman Jonas, was largely improvised, showcasing Winters’ incredible improvisational skills.

8. What impact did “The Russians Are Coming” have on the film industry?
– The film’s success paved the way for more satirical comedies, highlighting the power of humor in political commentaries.

9. Did the cast members bond during the filming?
– Yes, many of the cast members formed lasting friendships during the filming process.

10. How did the film tackle the Cold War era in a comedic manner?
– “The Russians Are Coming” used humor to highlight the absurdity of Cold War tensions, offering a fresh perspective on a serious subject.

11. Were there any challenges faced during the production?
– The film faced logistical challenges due to shooting on location, but the cast and crew managed to overcome them.

12. Did the film receive critical acclaim upon its release?
– Yes, “The Russians Are Coming” was well-received by both critics and audiences, becoming a beloved comedy classic.

13. Is “The Russians Are Coming” suitable for all ages?
– The film is generally considered family-friendly, with its humor appealing to both younger and older audiences.


“The Russians Are Coming” boasts an exceptional ensemble cast whose performances brought this delightful comedy to life. Each member of the cast contributed to the film’s success, infusing their characters with humor, heart, and depth. Their memorable performances continue to captivate audiences, making “The Russians Are Coming” an enduring classic in the realm of comedy.

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