The 5 Least Convincing Russian Accents In Movie History
Here’s hoping Kenneth Branagh’s Russian baddie in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit sounds better than these guys.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – Red Heat
The Austrian Oak’s infamously strong accent has barely softened at all in his 46 years in America, so it’s astounding that someone decided to give him a role playing a different nationality entirely. The producers presumably thought that either no one would notice the difference between Austrian and Russian, or that no one would give a shit – and they were probably right. Either way, Arnie’s attempt at Russian, weirdly enough, just sounds like your drunk friend doing a really terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation.
Richard Kiel – Force 10 From Navarone
The so-bad-it’s-kinda-good sequel to The Guns Of Navarone is a big old mess of a movie. Sure, it’s got Harrison Ford (more of him later!) and Carl Weathers fighting Nazis, while Barbara Bach (more of her later, too!) takes a very naked bath, but compared to the brilliance of the first movie (of which none of the original cast returned), it’s just terrible. The nadir might be Richard “Jaws from the Bond movies” Kiel’s Russian accent, which sounds less like someone raised on the Steppe and more like an angry pirate gargling cabbage soup.
John Malkovich – Rounders
Malkovich was probably somewhat hampered in this movie by the sheer tonnage of the scenery he was chewing, but for such a respected actor, it’s still odd that his Russian accent was so awful. You can see how this guy would be so good at cards, though – how in the hell are you supposed to keep a poker face when the man in front of you sounds like an eccentric German figure skater?
Harrison Ford – K-19 The Widowmaker
The audience giggled when Indiana Jones called out Irina Spalko for “sinking your teeth into those wubble-yous.”
But it wasn’t because they found the dialogue funny – no, it was because they remembered Harrison Ford’s woeful attempt to play a Russian submarine captain in K-19 Widowmaker. Outdoing even Sean Connery’s Russian-by-way-of-Edinburgh sub captain from The Hunt For Red October, Ford sounds more sleepy and bored than anything else. The audience, at least, could relate.
Barbara Bach – The Spy Who Loved Me
Going by the code name Agent XXX (because Roger Moore-era Bond movies were about as subtle as a bag of tits), the American actress barely even tried to sound Russian, which probably explains her conveniently distracting neckline in virtually every scene. That, and the sound editor’s decision to replace most of her dialogue with a steamy saxophone solo.