Sci-fi story by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky "It's hard to be a god": summary, main characters, film adaptations

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Sci-fi story by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky "It's hard to be a god": summary, main characters, film adaptations
Sci-fi story by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky "It's hard to be a god": summary, main characters, film adaptations

Video: Sci-fi story by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky "It's hard to be a god": summary, main characters, film adaptations

Video: Sci-fi story by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky "It's hard to be a god": summary, main characters, film adaptations
Video: «Hard to Be a God». Red Cynic's Movie Review 2023, November

The sci-fi story "It's Hard to Be a God" by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky was written in 1963. The following year, it was included in the author's collection "Distant Rainbow" and published as part of it.

In the article we will give a summary of "It's hard to be a god", list the main characters, talk about the film adaptations of the story.

General situation

The events described in the story unfold in the distant future. The action takes place in the fictional state of Arkanar, located on another planet. The inhabitants of the planet are representatives of the humanoid race, outwardly and physically similar to humans. The level of civilization of the Arkanar state approximately coincides with the late Middle Ages on Earth.

Brothers Strugatsky
Brothers Strugatsky

The development of local civilization is being secretly monitored by employees of the Earth's Institute of Experimentalstories. They are adapted to life on the planet and are embedded in various layers of Arkanar society. In essence, their possibilities are quite large, but they are limited by the tasks of observation only and the problem of "bloodless influence." The history of Arkanar should move as it moves, the task of earthlings is only to "smooth out sharp corners", to protect against those bumps that earthly humanity has already filled.


In the summary of "It's hard to be a god", it should be mentioned that during the time described in the book, terrible things begin to happen in the Arkanar kingdom - stormtroopers in gray grab and beat people to death, those who stand out in any way from the total mass. The motto works: "We do not need smart people, we need faithful ones." Anyone can fall at the hands of stupid and vicious soldiers, even just a literate person, not to mention educated citizens who think, doubt and are able to ask questions.

Alexander Filippenko (don Rebe)
Alexander Filippenko (don Rebe)

And all because a certain don Reba, who until recently was only an inconspicuous official from the ministry, became the Minister of Protection of the King. This person is power-hungry, vindictive and vengeful. Because of him, the court of the ruler was almost empty: many of the courtiers were captured and imprisoned, which is called the "Merry Tower". After the prisoners are forced to confess to numerous atrocities, they are executed in the town square. Some have been broken morally, and they quietly sit in the corners, scribbling poems to the glory of the king.

But someone succeededsave from certain death - a scout from Earth named Anton, who is in the royal guard and lives in Arkanar under the name of the noble Rumata of Estorsky, managed to help transport them outside the kingdom. So, for example, he saved, pulling out of the dungeon, three healers of the king, while spending thirty kilograms of gold.

Start of the story

In the "Drunken Lair", a hut located in the thicket of the forest, Rumata is talking to another observer who has been living in Arkanar for a long time. This is Alexander Vasilyevich, he is Don Condor, the keeper of the seals of the commercial republic of Soan. Anton shares his concern about the typical fascist practice that arose in the kingdom, when you can kill unwanted people with impunity. In addition, the young earthling is worried about the disappearance of Dr. Budakh, it is very possible that he also fell into the clutches of gray soldiers. Don Condor advises Rumate to wait without doing anything, because their task is just to watch.

Leonid Yarmolnik (Rumata)
Leonid Yarmolnik (Rumata)

Returning home, Rumata sees a frightened Kira - a girl whom he met in Arkanar and fell in love with. Kira is afraid to return home - her father works as a clerk in court, and her brother serves as a sergeant with stormtroopers. Both of them are embittered fascist henchmen. Rumata leaves the girl in her house disguised as a housekeeper.

This is the beginning of the story "It's hard to be a god" (summary).

Development of events

Using an audience with the king, Rumata informs him about the disappearance of Dr. Budakh. Don Reba undertakes to deliver the doctor on the sameday. And he does indeed bring in a man who, posing as Budaha, offers the king a drink that can cure his gout. The king drinks the remedy, having first ordered the healer to administer it.

According to the plot "It's hard to be a god", at night Rumata goes on another duty to the palace. But suddenly a noise rises - it turns out that a coup d'état has taken place, the king has been poisoned by a false healer, and Budakha himself is already imprisoned in the Merry Tower. There is a riot in the city, and a horde of stormtroopers tumbles into the room where Rumata is located. One of them throws a spear at Anton, but the earthling has a metal-plastic shirt of special strength. Then they throw a net over him and, beating him, drag him away.

Alexey German
Alexey German

Rumata learns that the coup d'état was carried out by Don Rebe, and that for this, the doctor, whom Rumata mentioned, came in handy. Replacing healers is a simple task. True, the false doctor also turned out to be deceived - he did not know that there was poison in the medicine, and, like the king, after drinking it, he poisoned himself. And don Rebe, who now came to power, actually turned out to be the master of the Holy Order and the bishop. In a conversation with Anton, Don Rebe, who suspects his "difficult" origin, tries to find out, but Anton-Rumata assures him that he is a "simple noble don".


Rumate still manages to return home. He reassures Kira, but suddenly attacking stormtroopers wound her with a crossbow, and the young man, neglecting the theory of bloodlessimpact, grabs the sword and, smashing the soldiers, hurries to the palace.

An earthly airship patrolling Arkanar throws bombs containing sleeping gas onto the raging city. Rumata sent to Earth.

This is the summary of "It's hard to be a god", a story by the Strugatsky brothers. It should be noted that you still need to read the book in order to have a complete understanding of all the vicissitudes of the plot.


Besides the main characters of "It's Hard to Be a God", which have already been mentioned in the plot summary, here are the rest of the minor characters.

Image"It's hard to be a god" (1989)
Image"It's hard to be a god" (1989)

Don Gug, aka Pavel (Pashka) - Anton's friend, also an observer from the Institute of Experimental History. In Arkanar, he is the senior bedchamber of the Duke of Irukan.

Baron Pampa - a provincial Arucan aristocrat, a friend of Don Rumata.

Dona Akana - maid of honor of the royal court, Don Reba's mistress.

Arata Hunchback - a professional revolutionary, was saved by the main character. One of the few characters who knew who Rumata really was.

Vaga Wheel - a kind of crime boss in the Straits. Collaborated with both Don Reba and Rumata.

Father Kabani is an Arkanar inventor chemist and hard-drinking alcoholic. Lives in the Drunken Lair. He feels morally crushed due to the fact that his inventions were used by Don Reboy to destroy objectionable citizens. Like the rebel Arata Humpbacked, he knows who Rumata is inreality.

Uno is a boy serving Rumate.

Anka is a mutual friend of Pavel and Anton, also an employee of the institute.


There are two known adaptations of "It's Hard to Be a God". One took place in 1989. Among the countries-producers, in addition to the USSR, there were also Germany, Switzerland, France. German Peter Fleishman was invited to direct.

Herman on the set of the film
Herman on the set of the film

Due to the complexity of the relationship that arose between the Strugatsky brothers, who were part of the script team, and the director, they almost immediately withdrew from the control of filming the film. Probably, this is partly why they have developed a negative attitude towards the production. In general, the film itself also received very lukewarm reviews from critics.

The second adaptation of the science fiction story "It's Hard to Be a God" was made in 2013. Its director was Alexei German Sr. The film won seven Nika National Film Awards in 2014.

The article contains a summary of "It's hard to be a god", the stories of the Strugatsky brothers, as well as the history of film adaptations of this work.