Andrei Tarkovsky – the director of seminal masterpieces such as Solaris and Stalker – is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time by many scholars and film fans. Known for his pioneering cinematic explorations which constructed unique visions of space, time and the human condition, Tarkovsky’s legacy and his impact on world cinema is unquantifiable.
Before Tarkovsky passed away in 1986, he only directed seven features during his lifetime which is why many consider Tarkovsky’s filmography to be as flawless as possible. Influenced by other pioneers such as Ingmar Bergman and Robert Bresson, the Soviet visionary’s films are discussed and dissected by audiences, students and critics to this day.
If you haven’t been introduced to Tarkovsky’s body of work yet and are looking for a good place to start, look no further. We have compiled a list of Tarkovsky’s masterpieces that are available online for free and can be accessed by everyone. A journey into Tarkovsky’s cinema is a voyage to an unsettlingly beautiful universe which follows its own logic.
Check out the films below.
Andrei Tarkovsky films available online free:
Ivan’s Childhood (1962)
One of the most accessible films made by the Soviet master, Ivan’s Childhood was Tarkovsky’s debut feature which laid the groundwork for some of his later artistic investigations. Contextualised within the horror of the Second World War, it tells the story of a 12-year-old spy who is caught up in the omnipresent violence.
Tarkovsky commented: “The terror and fear of war is not only the destruction and devastation of houses and lands, nor loss of many human lives, but war also robs children of their childhood. This is it. That is why I strived to express tragedy by describing the inner world of a young boy.”
Andrei Rublev (1966)
Tarkovsky’s vision of cinema was deeply informed by his own spiritual inclinations and Andrei Rublev might just be the most spiritual film he ever made. Partially based on the life of the titular painter, Andrei Rublev presents the audience with the conflicts of an artist who can no longer create in a completely destructive world.
“[Andrei Rublev] is shot in very long takes, to avoid any feeling of artificial, special rhythm, in order that the rhythm should be that of life itself,” the director revealed. “In fact, you can have any kind of editing: short, long, fast, slow. The length of a shot has nothing to do with being modern or not modern.”
An extremely personal gem by Tarkovsky, Mirror is a meditation on the fleeting machinations of memory and the philosophical paradoxes of the human condition. It takes us on a journey into another realm by following the flashbacks of a dying man.
Looking back on what he achieved with Mirror, Tarkovsky claimed that each individual fragment of the film beautifully contributed to the resultant experience. He declared: “That’s why Mirror is in a sense closest to my theoretical concept of cinema.”