What difference, if any, is there in meaning between "фильм" and "кино"? I've encountered кино before, but have just encountered фильм. A machine translation of the Russian Wiktionary suggests the фильм can mean the physical material used for a film, like in English, but it didn't indicate any other difference in usage.

  • One interesting fact, if you will allow. Initially word "Фильм" was feminine like, for example "Новая фильма".
    – Toivo
    Apr 13, 2018 at 3:14

4 Answers 4


Фильм is usually an artwork and sometimes a medium.

Кино can be that too, but it could also refer to a general notion of cinematography or a place where you watch movies.


  • По телевизору показывают интересное кино / интересный фильм.
  • Пойдем в кино / Пойдем на фильм.
  • Что это за пленка у тебя в руках? Это мой фильм.
  • Цветное кино появилось в России в 19хх году.
  • 2
    Never heard "фильм" in the meaning of medium. Only "плёнка".
    – Abakan
    Feb 21, 2017 at 15:20
  • @Abakan, it is possible, for instance, in the next situation: one is holding a reel with a movie, or a VHS cassette and says: "Это фильм". But even in this case, I admit, it is hard to imagine that he is referencing the medium itself, not the movie.
    – d.k
    Feb 21, 2017 at 17:59
  • 2
    @user907860 Yes. Let's assume, it's not a movie on that reel/VHS but an animation or a concert record. No one would say "Это фильм" in this case. But "Это мультик" or "Это концерт" correspondingly.
    – Abakan
    Feb 21, 2017 at 18:02
  • @Abakan, "фильм" can mean a medium in cases of literal translation from English, for instance. Especially for some older texts. It's like the word "синематограф" it was in use until the language sort of "stabilized" with the word "кинематограф". So there is a high chance that in the past "фильм" could mean a medium, as it does in English
    – d.k
    Feb 21, 2017 at 18:24
  • @user907860 Correct translation from English might demand "плёнка". In Englsh, 'film' is perfectly applicable to empty media, while it's impossible to use фильм instead of плёнка in contemporary Russian - it only could be true back at the times of adoption of the word (Ozhegov dict. mentions that meaning as obsolete). However, when the media is not empty, it still can be called "фильм" (some movie on film or any other media - by extension) and in more specific cases, "магнитофильм" (a recorded audio tape) or "диафильм" (a film roll for projection or direct watching of still frames).
    – Alex_ander
    Feb 22, 2017 at 8:30

Кино́ нескл., ср. [нем. Kino сокр. Kinematograph < франц. cinématographe < греч. kinema (род. kinematos) движение + grapho писать, рисовать]:

1. Искусство съемки и воспроизведения на экране движущихся изображений, создающих впечатление живой действительности;

2. РАЗГ. Помещение для публичной демонстрации кинофильмов (фильмов);

3. РАЗГ. Произведение киноискусства, предназначенное для демонстрации на экране. Документальное кино (документальный фильм). Научно-популярное кино (научно-популярный фильм).

Фильм (англ. film — плёнка), а также — кино, кинофильм, телефильм, кинокартина:

1. Отдельное произведение киноискусства;

2. Киноплёнка с отснятым на ней изображением и записью звука.

Таким образом мы видим, что значения слов "кино" и "фильм" частично совпадают (произведение киноискусства, предназначенное для демонстрации на экране), но они не являются полными синонимами.

From the foregoing it follows that the words "кино" and "фильм" have a common value only in one case (a work of art, designed to display on the screen), but they are not full synonyms.

  • Apart from the word "кинофильмов", this answer doesn't mention the word "фильм".
    – Golden Cuy
    Feb 21, 2017 at 11:48
  • Я добавил слово "фильм". Feb 21, 2017 at 14:47
  • 1
    Фильм в значении "кинопленка..." по-моему не используется. По крайней мере я никогда не слышала чтобы кто-либо так говорил.
    – Alissa
    Feb 21, 2017 at 14:52
  • Такое значение у слова "фильм" есть. Feb 21, 2017 at 14:54
  • Слово "фильм" в значении "киноплёнка": tolkslovar.ru/f1515.html Feb 21, 2017 at 15:00

"Кино" can mean a movie and a movie theater(depends on the context in which it is being used). "Фильм" basically means film or a movie.


"Кино" and "Фильм" are full synonyms in the meaning of "Live action feature film".

Different meanings, like "Cinema theater" or "Film reel" can be applicable only to one, but not the other.

And finally, when the movie is not "Live action feature length", there is more nuanced gray area, where "фильм" is usually preferred.

  • Short features usually called "Фильм" rather than "Кино"
  • Animated movies more often called "Фильм", however, this must be due to the prevalence of specialized word "Мультфильм"
  • Documentaries are more often called "Фильм" ("Документальный фильм")
  • Series are almost exclusively called "Фильм" ("Многосерийный фильм")

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