Moscow on the Hudson, starring Robin Williams, was one of the first movies I watched in one of those VCR basement theaters. Robin portrayed a Russian musician who came to NYC from Moscow and (almost by accident) defected. It showed his life as newly minted Russian immigrant in the Big Apple. For all of us watching it in basement movie theaters, it was an eye-opening movie. In just two hours it sanitized decades of Soviet propaganda about the US.
Robin Williams was flawless – we could totally relate to his confusion over how the real America was so different from the one painted by the Soviet brainwashing machine. Most of us were confused. We expected Americans to be evil, greedy, hamburger-loving Russian haters. We found them to be … well, people. Not so different from us. This movie had an enormous impact on me and on millions of immigrants who were blessed with a chance to come to the US.
Here is a great clip from Moscow on the Hudson.