Battleship Potemkin
Scenario and script by Sergei Eisenstein

Original webpage:


= A huge wave breaks violently over the jetty, raising a sparkling fountain of spray, and

= flows turbulently over the stones on the shore.

= Wave after wave breaks over the jetty, ever more violently, and

= flows over the stones on the shore, ever more turbulently. The raging sea boils.


= Its stark, geometrical beauty distinguishing it, a powerful battleship lies in the anchorage.

= On the battleship, a sailor ascends a ladder. He is quickly approached by another.


= Matyushenko speaks urgently to Vakulinchuk:

[TITLE:] 'We, the sailors of the Potemkin, must support the workers, our brothers, and must stand in the front ranks of the revolution.'

= Vakulinchuk answers him in agitation and quickly descends the ladder.

= By night, the silhouette of the battleship stands out starkly and majestically in the anchorage.


= The lower deck: packed like sardines in a tin, the sleeping sailors lie in canvas hammocks.

= They sleep in uncomfortable positions and breathe noisily. One sleeping sailor,

= another,

= a third,

= a fourth,

= a fifth.

= A fat boatswain with a brutal face descends the ladder into the lower deck and looks with malice at

= the sleeping sailors.

= He threads his way through the canvas hammocks and

= mistrustfully surveys

= the sleeping sailors. He allows his gaze to rest

= on one of the sleeping men.

= Continuing to thread his way through the canvas hammocks,

= he shifts his gaze quickly from one sleeping sailor to another.


= Unexpectedly, he slips and almost falls.


= Furiously, the boatswain raises his arm and

= lashes the naked back of a young sailor with his pipechain.

= The young sailor awakens, looks uncomprehendingly at the boatswain

= and speaks out in surprise.

= The boatswain looks impudently at the young sailor and plays with the chain.

= The young sailor, stiff with rage and resentment, stares hotly

= at the departing boatswain,

= turns over with hatred,

= and throws his face violently against his pillow.

= The muscles of his naked back twitch.


= His neighbor lays a sympathetic hand on his shoulder and points out to him the figure of Vakulinchuk on one side.


= Amidst the canvas hammocks, naked to the waist, Vakulinchuk, holding a leaflet in his hand, speaks with passion and resolution to the sailors:

[TITLE:] 'Comrades, the time has come when we must speak out.'

= Vakulinchuk's whole body breathes hatred. The sailors awaken

= one by one.

= Vakulinchuk turns to the sailors with the appeal:

[TITLE:] 'What are we waiting for? All Russia has risen. Are we to be the last?'

= He continues his speech passionately.

= A sailor with a sickly face assents to everything he says,

= and a sailor with a big moustache impatiently interrupts him and demands the beginning, of action.

= Again, the sailor with the sickly face utters a few fighting words.

= Firmly and manfully, Vakulinchuk calls for battle. Again, the sailor with the big moustache demands the beginning of action.

= All the sailors listen with attention and fellow-feeling to the words of Vakulinchuk.


= A gloomy-looking officer, his hands in his pockets, walks along the deck. Suddenly he notices that

= a crowd of sailors have gathered around a carcass of meat.

= The crowd of sailors grows larger

= and larger.

= A senior officer with a proud, weakly aristocratic face steps out of a cabin, and,

= pompously, his hands clasped behind his back, begins to walk along the deck,

= but he soon stops and

= looks contemptuously

= at the sailors surging around the carcass of meat.

= The eyes of the senior officer fill with malice when he notices the figure of Vakulinchuk walking past the carcass of meat.

= The crowd of sailors excitedly inspect the carcass of meat.

= The senior officer moves away and

= soon reappears on the upper deck, above the heads of the sailors.

= The legs of the approaching senior officer draw near to the handrail.

= The senior officer looks at the sailors with such menace that

= they timidly press closer to one another. The legs of the officer turn away.

= The senior officer goes off, and the crowd of sailors surges with ever-increasing movement.

[TITLE:] 'We've had enough of eating rotten meat!'

= Again, the faces of the sailors turn with indignation to inspect the carcass of rotten meat.

= The indignation of the sailors grows.

[TITLE:] 'A dog wouldn't eat it!'

= Again and again, the faces of the sailors turn to inspect the carcass of rotten meat.

= The crowd of sailors around the carcass bubbles like a whirlpool.

= The senior officer returns -- with the ship's surgeon, a small short-sighted man, his courage comically mustered.

= With an authoritative expression, the surgeon examines and sniffs at the carcass of rotten meat,

= turning it over squeamishly.

= Vakulinchuk, standing in front of the sailors, indignantly points out the rotten meat to the surgeon.


= The surgeon heatedly rebuts Vakulinchuk,

= but Vakulinchuk says bitterly:

[TITLE:] 'It's so high it could walk overboard!'

= Vakulinchuk looks angrily at the surgeon.

= The surgeon slowly and importantly removes his pince-nez,

= folds its two eye-pieces together,

= raises them to his eye,

= and examines the meat through the folded eye-pieces of his pince-nez.

= The meat is visibly infested with maggots.

= However, the surgeon does not agree with Vakulinchuk that the meat is rotten,

= and agitatedly waves his pince-nez about.

[TITLE:] 'These are not maggots.'

= Through the folded eye-pieces of the surgeon's pince-nez, it is evident that the meat is swarming with large maggots.

= Vakulinchuk and the sailors look with fury at the heartless, typically Tsarist official, as loathsome himself as a maggot.

= The surgeon, having assumed an air of indifference, replaces his pince-nez and, rolling his eyes, says sharply and dryly to the sailors:

[TITLE:] 'They are the dead larvae of flies. They can be washed off with vinegar.'

= He speaks peremptorily, cutting the air with his forefinger.

= Then, carefully and fastidiously, he raises the end of the carcass and turns to the senior officer for support.

= He swings the end of the carcass.

= The senior officer, interesting himself in the meat, also raises the end of the carcass -- carefully and fastidiously.

= Vakulinchuk knocks the end of the carcass out of the surgeon's hand and says angrily to him:

[TITLE:] 'Russian prisoners-of-war in Japan eat better than us.'

= and, pointing at the rotten, maggoty meat, he shouts:

[TITLE:] 'We've had enough of eating rotten meat!'

= The surgeon walks away hurriedly,

= trying to pacify the sailors.

= The senior officer also tries to soothe the sailors, but he quickly

= joins the enraged surgeon.

= The surgeon, breaking into a violent frenzy, shouts:

[TITLE:] 'The meat is good. There's nothing more to be said.'

= Continuing to shout angrily, he stands very erect,

= his hands by the side of his uniform, but,

= suddenly, from fear, his head sinks deeply into his shoulders when he sees

= the sailors, Vakulinchuk at their head, moving quickly and boldly forwards.

= Helplessly, the surgeon jerks up his shoulders, and looks for assistance to the senior officer,

= who maintains a proud and majestic pose.

= Frightened, the surgeon

= scurries round the back of the senior officer. The senior officer, frozen in his proud and majestic pose, watches contemptuously

= as the sailors approach.

= The senior officer calmly and slowly turns his back on them,

= and moves further away with the surgeon.

= Confidently, the sailors follow them.

= The senior officer and the surgeon depart quickly,

= and the sailors drop back.

= The sailors continue to crowd around the carcass of meat.

= A malicious, fierce-faced officer appears and

= begins to shout at the sailors.


= Officer Gilyarovsky roughly disperses the crowd of sailors.

= Furiously, he swears at them and

= shouts.

= Then he goes up to the boatswain, who proceeds himself to drive the sailors away from the carcass of meat.

= A fat cook sniffs squeamishly at the carcass of rotten, maggoty meat and bears it off.

= In the ship's galley, he begins

= to hack at the carcass with an axe.

= Sailors indignantly approach and tell him that the meat is rotten, but he does not stop hacking at the carcass.

= More sailors approach and try to prevent him from hacking at the rotten meat.

= The axe hacks the carcass into pieces.

= The sailors try to tear the rotten meat from him, but he swears at them and

= continues his work.

= The axe hacks the carcass into pieces.


= On deck, the muzzle of a cannon is being cleaned.

= Seated on the muzzle, a sailor cleans it.

= A cleaning-rod is pushed down the muzzle of the cannon.

= Two sailors polish a copper capstan.

= Again, a cleaning-rod is pushed down the muzzle of the cannon.

= The sailor on the muzzle withdraws the cleaning-rod.

= Two sailors polish a copper capstan.

= Two sailors polish some copper engine-parts.

= A third pair of sailors clean a chain.

= Two sailors polish a copper capstan.

= One of the two sailors cleaning the chain stops work and begins to converse with his comrade.

= Borshch from the rotten meat bubbles in a cauldron. In the ship's mess a detachment of sailors begin

= to let down the tables which hang by ropes from the ceiling.

= One file of sailors leaves the ship's mess,

= and, then, another.

= Borshch from the rotten meat bubbles in a cauldron.

= The fat boatswain with the brutal face enters, playing with his pipe-chain,

= and walks between the empty tables which swing rhythmically on ropes from the ceiling, and,

= with an important air, he stops and gives his orders.

= Some sailors begin to arrange tureens on the tables.

= The tables with the tureens upon them swing rhythmically on ropes from the ceiling.

= Borshch from the rotten meat bubbles in a cauldron.

= Some sailors can be seen through a grating.

= A group of sailors sit by the edge of one side of the battleship.

= One of them, holding a dried fish in his hand, talks indignantly.

= Another cuts off a piece of black bread.

= The sailor with the fish is full of anger and hatred.


= The sailor with the fish fits the head of it beneath a ring on the deck and

= forcefully

= tears it off.

= Some sailors can be seen through a grating.

= A pile of salt on a rag and a hunk of black bread.

= One young sailor snaps off a piece of black bread and chews it for his dinner.

= Mugs are filled with fresh water from taps.

= Near the pile of salt on the rag and the hunk of black bread -- a mug of water.

= One young sailor chews, and drinks water from the mug.

= As soon as the young sailor finishes drinking, he sprinkles salt on the bread, and his neighbor takes the mug and drinks.

= Senior officer Gilyarovsky descends the ladder into the ship's mess.

= Several sailors stand to attention, but do not salute him.

= A young sailor salutes, and Gilyarovsky carelessly waves his hand.

= Frowning at Gilyarovsky, the young sailor lowers his hand.

= A wicked expression on his face, Gilyarovsky appears to consider something.

= The sailors do not meet his eyes and

= quickly go out, one

= after another.

= A smile of malicious triumph appears on Gilyarovsky's face. He turns sharply and

= moves rapidly between the tables.

= The tables with the tureens upon them swing rhythmically on ropes from the ceiling.

= Gilyarovsky stops by a cupboard, opens the door of it, and inclines his head.

= The tables with the tureens upon them swing rhythmically on ropes from the ceiling.

= Gilyarovsky shakes his head significantly.

= A table laid with empty tureens and with black bread upon it swings rhythmically on ropes from the ceiling.

= Indignant, Gilyarovsky

= quickly walks out of the ship's mess.


= Some sailors stand by the little window of the ship's store, buying food.

= In the window

= tins of food

= appear fleetingly

= in the hands of the sailors.

= One of the sailors sees Gilyarovsky approaching.

= Gilyarovsky looks wickedly

= at the sailors.

= His gaze fixes tensely upon them, but he turns quickly and departs.

= The sailors follow Gilyarovsky with their eyes. When he is no longer in sight, they continue

= to buy food.

= On the captain's bridge, the senior officer with the weakly aristocratic face looks through his binoculars. Gilyarovsky goes up to him and reports on the behavior of the sailors. Together, they descend the ladder,

= enter the ship's mess,

= and walk between the suspended tables,

= considering the situation which has developed.

= A table laid with empty tureens and with black bread upon it swings rhythmically on ropes from the ceiling.

= The two senior officers, conversing all the while,

= begin

= to ascend

= the ladder.

= The sailors talk uneasily among themselves.

= The senior officer enters the room next to the ship's galley and

= gives orders to the cook.

= The cook opens the door to the galley, and the cooking range in the galley becomes visible,

= and the saucepans,

= and the other cook at work.

= The senior officer completes his orders to the first cook.

= The second cook walks out of the galley, salutes and

= reports to the senior officer.

= The senior officer angrily upbraids the first cook.

= When the second cook has reported,

= the senior officer departs.

= A young sailor is washing some plates,

= and another, painstakingly, dries them.

= Dinner for the 'gentlemen officers' is being prepared.

= The washing and the drying of plates goes on.

= With a characteristic movement, the young sailor washing the plates wipes his nose with his hand.

= He continues to wash the plates,

= a second sailor -- to lay the table for dinner,

= the third -- painstakingly to dry the plates.

= The young sailor washing the plates continues to hand them to

= the other young sailor who, painstakingly, dries them.

= The young sailor washes an earthenware plate, on the rim of which is a circular inscription.

= He is whistling,

= but the inscription on the plate attracts his attention.

= He leans his head towards the plate and

= begins slowly to turn it in his hands.

= Moving his head from one side to the other,

= he reads the circular inscription:

[TITLE:] 'Give us this day '

= and he repeats these words aloud.

= Continuing to revolve the plate in his hands, he reads further from the inscription on its rim:

[TITLE:] ' our daily bread.'

= His face breaks into a scowl.

= He begins carefully to examine

= the inscription on the plate.

= Involuntarily repeating the words aloud, he looks with loathing at

= the inscription on the plate,

= and becomes thoughtful.

= Revolving the plate rapidly in his hands,

= he looks intently at it and

= bitterly pronounces the words of the inscription.

= He raises the plate high and,

= having swept his hands down

= and up,

= he hurls it

= violently

= down

= and smashes it to pieces against the table.

= The young sailor straightens up and sees that

= the covers on the table for the dinner of the 'gentlemen officers' have been upset.