The inept Tsar Nicholas (Michael Jayston) ignores the pleas of his wise minister Witte (Laurence Olivier) and goes to war with Austria. The resulting war (now known as World War I) is a disaster. The Russian people turn against the war, and many blame Rasputin (Tom Baker), the mad monk who has been spiritual advisor to the Empress Alexandra (Janet Suzman).
Workers are striking and rioting in the streets, and many Russian soldiers are deserting.
A pair of Russian noblemen murder Rasputin, but things don’t get any better for Russia. Tsar Nicholas is forced to abdicate, and a democratic government led by Kerensky (John McEnery) takes control of Russia. Nicholas wants to move his family to safety in England or some other country, but no other country will accept the former tsar’s family. Nicholas and his family go into exile in the Russian countryside.
The Bolshevik leader Lenin is brought into Russia by the Germans. Under his leadership, the Bolsheviks topple Russia’s democratic government. They arrest Nicholas, Alexander and their children, and keep them prisoner in a Siberian mansion. One day, their Bolshevik captors tell the family to prepare for a move. The family dresses and gathers on a living room sofa, waiting for further instructions. Suddenly, a firing squad bursts in and kills the entire family.
Thanks John L!