One Of The ‘Greatest Films Of All Time’ Killed Its Director, His Wife And The Leading Man

Stalker movie.
Credit: Mosfilm

Stalker has been labelled one of the greatest films of all time, however, it does come with a very sinister story that has made viewers feel uneasy ever since.

The 1979 movie follows a guide – known as a stalker – as he escorts two men through a forbidden piece of land known as ‘the zone’, where nothing is as it seems.

Eventually, they find their way to the Room, which is said to contain one’s deepest desires.

The post-apocalyptic science fiction film has an overwhelmingly positive score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been labelled bleak, magical, and astoundingly beautiful by critics.

As well as being a reflection on religion and contemporary political anxieties, the film seems to predict the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, which led to the formation of an exclusion zone around Pripyat, Ukraine.

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Despite being regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, Stalker might be best known for its tragic story behind the scenes.

Sound recordist Vladimir Sharun has since spoken out and said that he believes that the unfortunate tragedies of Andrei Tarkovsky, his wife Larissa, and actor Anatoly Solonitsyn were linked to the toxic environment they were working in.

Shaurun spoke out and said: “We were shooting near Tallinn in the area around the small river Jägala with a half-functioning hydroelectric station.

“Up the river was a chemical plant and it poured out poisonous liquids downstream.

“There is even this shot in Stalker, snow falling in the summer and white foam floating down the river. In fact, it was some horrible poison.

Stalker has been labelled one of the greatest films of all time, however, it does come with a very sinister story that has made viewers feel uneasy ever since. Credit: Mosfilm

“Tarkovsky died from cancer of the right bronchial tube. And Tolya Solonitsyn too.

“That it was all connected to the location shooting for Stalker became clear to me when Larisa Tarkovskaya died from the same illness in Paris.”

Even after all these years, Stalker still stands as one of the most hauntingly beautiful Soviet films ever made.

It has since been viewed as a hugely important piece of Soviet cinema and is regularly included on lists of the greatest films of all time.

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Some even go as far as calling it a true cinematic masterpiece.

It makes you wonder, did Tarkovsky, who deeply believed in humanity’s purpose to create great art, realise the risks he was taking with his own life and the lives of his crew?

Maybe he chose to overlook the dangers, driven by the desire to immortalise his work.

It’s almost as though he was ready to trade his earthly existence for the chance to leave a lasting artistic legacy.

Watch the official trailer for Stalker in the video below…

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Written by Ryan Wilks

Ryan is a former content editor at IGV who specialises in celebrity and entertainment news. He has a degree in Magazine Journalism and Production from the University of Gloucestershire. He previously worked as a social media editor for Reach PLC’s national brands including Daily Star, Daily Express, OK! and The Mirror.