Nicholas and Alexandra

1971 biographical film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
(Redirected from Nicholas & Alexandra)

Nicholas and Alexandra is a 1971 British epic historical drama film about the rule and family life of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Imperial Russia, and the eventual rise of the Soviet Union.

Directed by Franklin Schaffner. Written by James Goldman, based on the 1967 book by Robert K. Massie.
The man who lost an empire because he could not say no to his wife
  • I didn't want to come on this tercentenary tour, Pyotr Arkadyevich. But, God help me, I do love it when they stand and wave.
  • He's a good man. They always kill the good men, the ones who help the most. They killed my grandfather. He freed the serfs, you know. He helped them, so they threw a bomb. Stolypin is a good man. I can't find a match. ... Damn them all. You help them, and they kill you for it. Give them dumas, and they give you bombs. I want them paid in kind. You understand me? I want something done.
  • Our diplomats will send some angry notes, a few generals will go on exercise, and everyone will be sensible again. All over Europe, the kings and queens are sleeping safely in their beds. And that's what we are going to do.
  • All my life, my whole life, I've done what you want. I gave Mother up. You hated her, so we don't see her anymore. I gave my friends up. Do you know I haven't a single friend? I've got my family. Four girls, one sick boy, and you. I ask before I eat, sleep, or change my clothes, "Is this what Sunny wants?" And it never is. There's always more. Sweet Jesus, how much do you want of me?
  • I've often thought I should like to be a country gentleman. I've always liked to watch things grow.
  • Mama's off to England in a month or so. She says the spring was late this year but very beautiful. Lord, but it's good to be alive! The world is like a field in summer, bursting with good things. One day, when all the wars are over, someone young will lead us to the harvest. As long as there are children, anything is possible.
  • I've had a son. For years, I've daydreamed how I'd feel. And all that time, I never dreamed ... I'm filled with ... I don't know. It isn't joy or anything like that. It's more. It's terribly important. And I don't know why you're smiling.
  • You never see unpleasant things, you drift away. I even wonder if you hear me half the time.
  • To marry Nicky, I had to change my faith. That was a great sin, don't you think? God thinks so. He won't hear me when I pray. I've sinned and He won't listen.
  • This is the beginning of the glory of your reign. Our friend told me so. It will be the greatest page in Russian history, the story of these weeks and days. And when you go, don't worry over what you've left behind. I'm here. Lean on me, use me. I'm not wise or strong, but God will show me what to do.
  • At times, I actually like it. Mending clothes and teaching classes and quiet afternoons. I doze and daydream, and I think about my life. I don't know what I did wrong. I'd feel better if I did.
  • There's this fantastic holy fellow just arrived. You must meet him. He's a live, authentic starets straight from the fields. Cures diseases by the laying on of hands. I've seen him do it. Saw this fellow wheeled in, legs like pretzels. Then the starets – Grigori Rasputin is his name – gave him a deep look, touched him, prayed a bit. And up the pretzel popped and skipped about the room. A bit grotesquely, I admit, but you could tell he was skipping.
  • I could have won this war in time if I were only fighting on one front. But I had two enemies at my back, your Sunny and her monk. Not long ago, he wrote to me. Could he come and bless the troops? I told him if he came, I'd hang him. Should have let him come. Hung the bastard when he got here.
  • I knew a woman in Pokrovskoe. That's my home, a little village in Siberia. And this woman, she was so afraid of strangers that she bought herself a pinewood box and lived in it. Then, one day, her husband nailed the lid on, dug a hole, and dropped her into it. "Ivan, don't!" she cried. "But I only want to make you happy," he said. "I know, but Heaven's full of strangers. Let me out."
  • I started late to be a starets. I was twenty when this vision came. We peasants get them all the time. The Virgin comes and tells them when to sell their sheep if they want to make a profit. She told me to become a pilgrim, so I started to walk. I waited for Her to tell me when to stop, but she didn't. I walked two thousand miles, and when I got to Greece, I couldn't walk any further, so I stopped. I spent two years in a monastery, and then I walked home again. Sometimes, people say to me, "What do I need to become a starets?" And I say, "Good feet."
  • I see blood when I shut my eyes. A lot of blood. I saw blood once before, when I was in Jerusalem. And then my father died. In Kazan, there is an ivory Christ whose wounds bleed. Someone told me there's a Madonna in Kharkov that sheds real tears. Matushka, I see things. I have power. I cure the sick. Holy men kneel to me and kiss my hands. I am a vessel of the Lord. I have spoken with God. It must be so. How else can I do these things? I save souls and bring peace. God leads me. He brought me here. He speaks through me. I am the voice of God. It is His will. I have been sent to do great things.
  • [admiring a big-busted woman] So, you would like to be an opera singer? Yes, you have the chest for it.
  • You tried to kill me. You all have. You silly fools. I thought I could trust you. Silly fools. You can't even kill properly. You're too small to destroy me. Look! ... Now get up, prince. Get up! Try. Let's see you try to kill me. ... I begged Batushka not to start this war. I know who dies. You don't die. The people die. The wise old men, the generals, the ministers, the ones who say, "Do this. Go there." No mud on their boots. No bullets in their bellies. Where's your rifle, Prince? Why aren't you at the front where the blood is? I'm not a German. I come from the Russian soil, and you fools will never destroy me. Thank God Russia has sons like me and isn't at the mercy of scum like you.
  • Of course, I agree you're free to say what you like, and you must agree I'm free to shoot you for saying it. Murder, arson, terror. I'll agree to anything that gives us power. Power! And we can't have power if we compromise. Even though it takes years, terror and power.
  • In the last ten years, I've spent three months in Russia. I'm out of fashion. No one's wearing me this year. I talk, and no one listens. I write, and no one reads.
  • The czar is here in Petersburg to bless the troops. He's staying at the Winter Palace. Thousands of us will march there on Sunday morning. I'll go to him on the balcony and read this. [holds up a paper] "Sire, we working men and inhabitants of St. Petersburg come to you, sire, to seek for truth, justice and protection. Only you can hear our prayers. And if you do not, we shall die here on this square, before your palace."
  • He didn't come. He never came. Nicholas, the murderer. The bloody, bloody murderer.
  • Not even London on a Sunday is as boring as a room full of Romanovs.
  • We're an 18th-century country in a 20th-century world. We need all our strength and money to look after Russia. Don't waste it on those little yellow Buddhists or pagans or whatever they are. It's a great mistake to get involved in all these strikes and wars. You only encourage them by taking them seriously.
  • I wish your father were alive ... He knew how to be a czar. He'd have burned Vienna down, stomped on the Germans, and shot the strikers. Anything to give Russia peace. And he'd certainly have known how to deal with Rasputin.
  • I'm old, sir. I've seen so many wars. They all seemed so important at the time. Now, I don't even remember what they were called. Millions of dead men. I don't know why. Nobody knows.
  • None of you will be here when this war ends. Everything we've fought for will be lost. Everything they've loved will be broken. The victors will be as cursed as the defeated. The world will grow old, and men will wander about lost in the ruins and go mad. Tradition, virtue, restraint, they'll all go. I'm not mourning for myself but for the people who will come after me. They will live without hope. And all they will have will be guilt, revenge, and terror. And the world will be full of fanatics and trivial fools.


Alexandra: Does he have to be Alexis? Can't we call him something else?
Nicholas: Alexis was a gentle czar. Perhaps the only one.
Alexandra: Not counting you.

Count Witte: Have I Your Majesty's permission to review the facts again? If Port Arthur falls...
Nicholas: No fact begins with "if."
Count Witte: Port Arthur has been under siege for six months. It has cost us 30,000 dead. If it ... A student stopped me in the street the other day. "Excuse me, sir, but why are we at war?" "Because, my boy, we want Korea, but the Japanese would insist on fighting us for it." "Thank you, sir, but what does Russia need Korea for?" "Because, my boy, we have no ice-free port on the Pacific." "I see. In that case, sir, it isn't good enough." He's right, sir. It's not good enough at all. Imagine, sire. Imagine that you are a factory worker. You're really poor. Your belly is never full. You freeze eight months of the year. Your children have no school, no doctor. Your country taxes you and sends your sons a continent away to die on a piece of land on the Pacific. Now, sir, Japan is a third-rate power. If she defeats us, if Port Arthur falls, we shall be disgraced in the eyes of the world, and here at home, we shall have an insurrection on our hands.
Nicholas: My people love me, Sergei Yulyevich.
Count Witte: They want a constitution and the right to vote for an elected duma. They're angry, and they're serious.
Nicholas: Are you advising me to give my rights away?
Count Witte: I'm advising you to stop a hopeless war.
Nicholas: Is it so hopeless, Nikolasha?
Grand Duke Nicholas: Well, Nicky, let me put it this way. [holds up a cigarette] Here's a bullet, a bullet made in St. Petersburg. I send it off to war. How does it get there? On a single spur of track 4,000 miles long. In the middle, no track at all. Oh, God help it; it spends three days packed on sleds. And every boot, shell or pound of tea we send. Get out now, Nicky, while there's time.
Nicholas: The Russia that my father gave me never lost a war. What shall I say to my son when the time comes? That I had no pride, that I was weak? I've always thought God meant me to rule. He put me here. He chose me. And whatever happens is His will. We shall fight on to victory.
Count Witte: There will be no victory. Only strikes and riots. You must give your people a little of what they want, sir. Not all. Just a taste.
Nicholas: The English have a parliament. Our British cousins gave their rights away. The Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns too. The Romanovs will not. What I was given, I will give my son.

English Journalist: Excuse me, Mr. Lenin. I'm from the Socialist Worker. Could you tell me what you think of the socialist movement in England?
Mme. Krupskaya: The English cut their meat wrong, their tea is terrible, and the weather was better in Siberia. At least you keep your policemen under control.

Petya: I want to kill somebody. They come here sometimes, the other factory workers, and they tell us that we should burn things down, make bombs. Well, I want to fight back once.
Gapon: All violence begets is violence. They'll beat you. There's a better way. We are going to see the czar.
Sonya: You know what they say, Father. "God is too high, and the czar's too far away."

Rasputin: All saints were sinners once. God loves sinners.
Alexandra: Then why is He killing my baby?
Rasputin: We had a man in Pokrovskoe. He didn't wash or work. He lied, stole, cheated, drank, chased all the women. He was a sinner. Why, out of all men, did the Virgin come to him?
Alexandra: Perhaps he lied. You said he was a liar.
Rasputin: No. She came. I saw her. I know all there is to know about sin. Pray with me, Matushka. God is here.

Nicholas: I want a good life for my people.
Count Witte: On your terms.
Nicholas: I know what will make them happy. They're children, and they need a czar. They need tradition, not this. They're the victims of agitators. A Duma would make them bewildered and discontented. And don't tell me about London and Berlin. God save us from the mess they're in.
Count Witte: I see. So, they talk, pray, march, plead, petition, and what do they get? Cossacks, prison, flogging, police spies! And now, after today, they will be shot! Is this God's will? Are these His methods? So, make war on your own people. How long do you think they're going to stand and let you shoot them? You ask me who's responsible! You ask!

Stolypin: I don't like the duma any more than you do, but I'd rather let them talk than have to deal with riots and strikes and marches. It would be better to give them more power than face that.
Nicholas: I am the czar. And I would never accept that.
Stolypin: [holding out a dossier] Police reports on Grigori Efimovitch Rasputin. Drunk half the time. Whores, generals' wives. Oh, he's generous with himself. I'll say that for him. That's his only Christian virtue. He'll sleep with anyone, and it's no secret. Everybody knows it. He came to see me, apparently with Her Majesty's blessing. He even tried to hypnotize me. Why is such a man admitted to the palace?
Nicholas: You know why.
Stolypin: Your people don't.
Nicholas: I'll tell them, shall I? "Citizens, your czarevitch could get a bloody nose and die from it."

Kokovtsov: [addressing the Duma after Nicholas orders its dissolution] This government deplores brutality and violence. But when dissent gets out of hand, when opposition ceases to be peaceful, law and order must and will be kept.
Kerensky: Not at this price. The Duma is not a street corner. There is no violence here, but even we are not free to speak.
Member of the Duma: Where is the czar?
Kokovtsov: The czar is at the hunting lodge in Poland.
Kerensky: I don't care if he's in Scotland shooting grouse. Find him and tell him he's bringing ruin on his head. Tell him, while there's still a czar left to tell!

Grand Duke Nicholas: A telegram from the Kaiser. Just what we wanted. Offering to mediate between us and Austria.
Nicholas: I knew I could count on Willy. You see? He signed it, "Your very sincere and devoted friend and cousin, Willy."
Count Witte: With due respect to your cousin, sire, the Kaiser is a deceitful megalomaniac. If he is offering to help, then it is time to pray.

Marie Fedorovna: I came to congratulate you, Nicky.
Nicholas: What for?
Marie Fedorovna: For finding, from all Russia's countless cretins, idiots and incompetents, the men least qualified to run your government.

Kerensky: [addressing the Duma following Rasputin's death] One madman has been murdered and you are celebrating. There is no food, no fuel. A third of our army is still unarmed, and they are surrendering in tens of thousands. Nothing is changed. The German czarita is still running the country. The czar must stop hiding with his soldiers and come back to Petersburg. Chaos is coming to Russia, and he should be here to deal with it!

Nicholas: Tell me, Dr. Federov, if my son, as the future czar, would remain behind to be educated in Russia while I and my family went abroad, how long would he be likely to live?
Dr. Federov: Deprived of your love and care and what I refer to as "customary surroundings," it's hard to say. It's a matter of luck and chance, Your Majesty. There are no real statistics. One would hope that he could live a normal span of life, but, well, twenty would be a good age.

The German Counsel: We are here in Zürich and, if I understand you, you want the German government, which is at war with Russia, to take you across Germany to Sweden because you can get to Russia from there.
Lenin: I'm offering to stop the war.
The German Counsel: Oh, I didn't know you had so much authority.
Lenin: If there was a Bolshevik government in Russia, we'd immediately make peace with Germany. Then how many German divisions could you transfer to the Western Front?
The German Counsel: And now you're asking me for classified information. Do you know my government has locked up more Bolsheviks than anyone else? How can you expect us to help you make a revolution? You have no sense of proportion.
Lenin: All I'm interested in is power in Russia, and it's lying there in the streets waiting to be picked up. Kerensky won't last. He's still fighting the war, and the people are desperate for peace. I shall offer them peace. Then you'll see the real revolution.
The German Counsel: I see your jokes are very subtle. A Marxist wants to use the Kaiser, and perhaps the Kaiser can use the Marxist.

Kerensky: Do you realize I'm all that stands between you and the block? No munitions. No supplies. I don't know where the army stands. The treasury is bankrupt. The students riot. Workers carry arms. The Socialists want this, the Mensheviks want that. The Radicals, the Centrists, the Kadets, the Bolsheviks. I can't arrest them even if I wanted to. We have rights and laws now. You had power and no laws. I have laws and no power.
Nicholas: I wish I could help you.
Kerensky: You had your chances. I wish I had mine.

Nicholas: You puzzle me. You'd be happy to see us dead, and yet you help us get away.
Yakovlev: I haven't your taste for murder, Bloody Nicholas. I've never had a chance to get used to it. How many men have you killed? Have you the least idea? God knows how many peasants died. Nobody counted children. You only know the number of soldiers because somebody counted them for you. Seven million. Six quarts a man times seven million. It's an ocean. Have you ever seen a battle? I'm wrong. You're not Bloody Nicholas. You're a man of no imagination.

Alexis: Why did you abdicate for me? Why? You didn't even ask.
Nicholas: I didn't want you to pay for my mistakes.
Alexis: Am I not paying for them now? Aren't all of us? I should have had a chance. The right to live my own life, make my own decisions. I could have tried to help Russia, help Mother and my sisters, and perhaps even you. I could have been a Romanov. A czar.
Nicholas: It all went wrong. I hardly know why or how.
Alexis: Instead, I just bleed. It's my fate. I bleed.


The Imperial Family
The Imperial Household
The Statesmen
The Revolutionaries
Other characters

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