Parents' Guide to

Stalin's James Bond

By Davis Cook, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Documentary of spy's life features mature wartime themes.

TV Max Educational 2020
Stalin's James Bond Poster Image

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Throughout Stalin's James Bond, the narrator and various expert interview subjects tell the story of a Soviet WWII spy, Richard Sorge, with the use of black and white footage and a few reenactments using modern-day actors. Because Sorge's work and life lay at an extraordinarily complex nexus of places, governments, enemies, friends, and motivations, his story is epic in scope and brings in a great wealth of educational content that should stoke more curiosity in viewers as well as teaching them on the surface level about a person that they might not have known anything about before watching the documentary.

In terms of entertainment value, the documentary sometimes suffers from its incredibly detailed explanations of the subtleties of personal and geopolitical maneuvering, so it won't be gripping for many kids unless they're already interested in history or World War II. Stalin's James Bond is extremely carefully made, articulate, and comprehensive, however, and succeeds at accomplishing the educational goals it sets out for itself.

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