I believe it would be a fair statement to say that Russians always act as villains in movies and video games. Why is it that Hollywood and game developers always have the crazy Russian plotting nuclear warfare? A common action stereotype is having your gung-ho, lone wolf but charming American soldier who faces adversity in the form of big, scary Russians. They are portrayed as radical and crazy, while good old America always is seen as the ones fighting for freedom.

So why is it that we love having the Russians as our villains. Millions of us fought against Makarov in Call of Duty and we all enjoy the Bond movies where he fights the Russians. So I've done a little research to see why Russians are stereotypically considered the "best" villains for modern movies and video games.



Our History with Russia

One thing that makes having Russians as typical villains was our tension with them in the Cold War. We went through events like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War and it seemed that the war would have ended with nuclear warfare. Now I didn't live during this era in American History, but the fear in America was at a boiling point when it came to communism. While Russia is no longer communist having them portrayed as villains in 2012 feels real in a sense. They were our bitter enemies before, so it would seem "realistic" to have them act as our enemies again. Would it be as gripping if we were fighting New Zealanders? I don't think so. New Zealand hasn't been hostile towards us and most of us won't have a major reaction towards them. But with Russia, our parents lived in the fear, and some of our grandparents even fought against communism. The image of Russia does trigger those memories of them being our enemies 25 years ago.


The Russian Accent

The Russian accent is very thick and rather unpleasant to many ears. Would we rather see Bruce Willis fight the guy who consistently voice cracks or the big Russian with the thick, menacing accent. Now not all Russians have thick accents but Hollywood and Game Designers have made their accents seem more frightening and violent. We don't want to see our action stars fighting Jay Baruchel (from Tropic Thunder) or guys with lame, nerdy voices; we want to fight guys who look  and talk like Dolph Lundgren.Hearing there voices makes us realize in the films that they are the enemy. We don't hear the Russian accent and expecting the character to be a hero. We expect the guys with the harsh accents to be villains because they sound like bad guys. 



Their Stereotype

Every single race, denomination, gender, and orientation has a stereotype that always goes with it. Blonde girls are stereotypically considered dumb and Brits are stereotypically considered snobby. Russians though have an image of being big, drunk, crazy fighters who only know how to kill and terrorize. Russians are considered scientists or diplomats; we see them as fighters who kill, rape, and loot. They are considered radical and Hollywood and game companies always have them trying to blow up the world and/or kill innocent civilians. Their stereotype makes them seem to be the logical choice an enemy in a military shooter or action movie.



My thoughts on Russians being the bad guys

I personally don't find it a very big deal that we portray Russians as villains in our movies and games because there are far worse stereotypes we place on people. There really is nothing I can do in the matter, as I can't stop people from judging others for their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Judgment is part of the human condition, and even the best of us judge. With our consistent portrayal of Russians as enemies, it would also make sense to see Russia portraying Americans as villains in their films. Not that it does either of us justice to portray the other as villains, but it a little reassuring that we aren't the only country to profile other countries with our movies and video games

I also believe that with the tensions we have with the Middle East, that more and more movies and games will incorporate Middle Eastern enemies instead of Russian ones. This trend is already beginning and the image of terrorism is still very fresh in our minds, we will continue to see them as the enemies in films and games.

 So I guess along with aliens and zombies, we can add Russians to the list of core bad guys in American cinema and video games.

Please share your thoughts on Russia's portrayal in our movies and video games.