Arda Lessard

Written by Arda Lessard

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


If you are a fan of thrilling and suspenseful movies, then Citizen X is a must-watch film that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Released in 1995, this gripping crime drama takes inspiration from the real-life events surrounding one of Russia’s most notorious serial killers, Andrei Chikatilo. Directed by Chris Gerolmo, Citizen X delves into the chilling investigation led by detective Viktor Burakov, who is determined to catch the sadistic killer responsible for brutally murdering dozens of young boys and girls. As the plot unfolds, viewers are drawn into a world of dark secrets, cat-and-mouse mind games, and a race against time to stop the ruthless murderer. With impeccable performances by Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, and Jeffrey DeMunn, Citizen X deftly combines historical accuracy, intense storytelling, and unforgettable performances that will leave you captivated from start to finish.

Key Takeaways:

  • Uncovering the Dark Side of Soviet Society
    Citizen X is a gripping movie based on a true story, shedding light on the challenges faced by investigators in solving crimes in the oppressive Soviet Union.
  • The Resilience of the Human Spirit
    The film showcases the perseverance of investigators and the impact of serial killings, prompting viewers to contemplate the nature of evil and the pursuit of justice.
Table of Contents

Citizen X is based on a true story.

The movie Citizen X is a gripping crime drama based on the real-life case of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo.

It was released in 1995.

Citizen X was released in 1995 and directed by Chris Gerolmo.

The film stars Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland.

Stephen Rea portrays Investigator Viktor Burakov, while Donald Sutherland plays Dr. Alexandr Bukhanovsky.

Citizen X received critical acclaim.

The movie was highly praised by critics for its intense performances, gripping storyline, and chilling atmosphere.

It was nominated for several awards.

Citizen X garnered nominations for various awards, including Golden Globe and Emmy Awards.

The film explores the dark side of Soviet society.

Citizen X delves into the oppressive nature of the Soviet Union, highlighting the challenges faced by investigators in solving crimes.

The movie showcases the difficulties faced by the investigators.

It portrays the obstacles and bureaucracy that hindered the investigation of serial killings in Soviet Russia.

The killer’s nickname was “The Butcher of Rostov”.

Andrei Chikatilo, the real-life serial killer depicted in the movie, gained infamy as “The Butcher of Rostov.

Citizen X explores the psychology behind serial killing.

The film delves into the mind of Chikatilo and attempts to understand the motivations behind his heinous crimes.

It sheds light on the lack of resources in the Soviet justice system.

Citizen X reveals the limited forensic technology and investigative resources available to Soviet authorities during that time.

The movie highlights the perseverance of Investigator Viktor Burakov.

Viktor Burakov, the lead investigator in the case, is portrayed as a determined and dedicated individual who tirelessly pursues justice.

Citizen X showcases the collaboration between investigators and psychiatrist Dr. Bukhanovsky.

The film explores the unique collaboration between Investigator Burakov and Dr. Bukhanovsky as they work together to catch the killer.

The movie captures the atmosphere of fear and paranoia in Soviet society.

Citizen X effectively portrays the climate of fear and suspicion that gripped Soviet Russia during the investigation.

Citizen X is based on Robert Cullen’s book “The Killer Department”.

The movie draws inspiration from the non-fiction book by Robert Cullen, which provides an in-depth account of the case.

It highlights the challenges faced by investigators in a restrictive society.

Citizen X examines the hurdles faced by Burakov and his team in their quest to apprehend the serial killer, given the limitations imposed by Soviet authorities.

The movie brings attention to the importance of forensic science in criminal investigations.

Citizen X emphasizes the crucial role forensic science plays in solving complex crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice.

The performances in Citizen X were highly praised.

Stephen Rea’s portrayal of Investigator Burakov and Donald Sutherland’s performance as Dr. Bukhanovsky were critically acclaimed.

It gained a cult following over the years.

Despite its initial release, Citizen X has gained a dedicated fan base who appreciate its realistic portrayal of a true crime story.

The movie showcases the emotional toll of the investigation on the investigators.

Citizen X delves into the psychological impact of working on such a gruesome case and the toll it takes on the mental well-being of the investigators.

It is a thought-provoking examination of justice and morality.

Citizen X raises ethical questions about the nature of justice and the limits society places on individuals when faced with extraordinary circumstances.

The film accurately depicts the historical context of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Citizen X effectively captures the political and social climate of the Soviet Union during the time of the investigation.

Citizen X sheds light on the flaws within the Soviet justice system.

The film reveals the systemic failures and shortcomings in the Soviet justice system, which hindered the effective investigation and prosecution of criminals.

It was praised for its attention to detail.

Citizen X was acclaimed for its meticulous attention to detail in capturing the historical period and the intricacies of the investigation.

The movie serves as a reminder of the horrors committed by serial killers.

Citizen X is a chilling reminder of the atrocities committed by serial killers and the need for relentless pursuit of justice.

It showcases the power of determination and dedication in solving crimes.

Through the character of Investigator Viktor Burakov, Citizen X highlights the importance of perseverance and unwavering dedication in the face of incredible challenges.

The film highlights the impact of serial killings on a community.

Citizen X brings attention to the profound impact that serial killings have on the victims’ families and the wider community.

It was praised for its realistic depiction of forensic procedures.

Citizen X was commended for its accurate portrayal of forensic techniques and procedures used in criminal investigations.

The movie features an atmospheric and haunting soundtrack.

The film’s haunting musical score adds to the overall atmosphere of tension and unease.

Citizen X is a gripping and suspenseful thriller.

The movie keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its intense storytelling and chilling performances.

It explores the themes of obsession and the pursuit of justice.

Citizen X delves into the obsessive nature of investigators as they relentlessly pursue justice for the victims.

The film raises questions about the nature of evil.

Citizen X prompts viewers to contemplate the deep-rooted nature of evil and the factors that drive individuals to commit horrific crimes.

Citizen X portrays the resilience of the human spirit in the face of darkness.

Despite the horrors explored in the movie, it also highlights the strength and resilience of individuals who fight against darkness and seek justice.

It received high ratings from critics and audiences.

Citizen X garnered positive reviews from both critics and audiences for its compelling storytelling and powerful performances.

The movie is a chilling reminder of the capacity for evil within society.

Citizen X serves as a stark reminder of the potential for evil that exists within even the most seemingly normal individuals.

It delves into the motivations behind Andrei Chikatilo’s crimes.

Citizen X attempts to unravel the complex psychological motivations that drove Andrei Chikatilo to commit his heinous acts.

The movie presents a balanced portrayal of the investigators and the killer.

Citizen X offers a nuanced depiction of both the investigators pursuing justice and the disturbed mind of the killer.

It highlights the importance of teamwork in solving complex crimes.

Citizen X underscores the significance of collaboration and teamwork in successfully solving intricate criminal cases.

The film showcases the perseverance of the victims’ families.

Through the portrayal of the victims’ families, Citizen X sheds light on their unwavering determination to seek justice for their loved ones.

It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked violence.

Citizen X reminds viewers of the devastating consequences that arise when violence goes unabated and justice is not served.

The movie portrays the impact of the investigation on the personal lives of the investigators.

Citizen X explores the toll that the grueling investigation takes on the personal lives and mental well-being of the investigators.

It raises questions about the nature of humanity in the face of extreme darkness.

Citizen X presents a thought-provoking examination of what it means to be human amidst the presence of unspeakable evil.

The movie highlights the importance of empathy and understanding in criminal investigations.

Citizen X emphasizes the need for empathy and a deep understanding of the human psyche to effectively investigate and apprehend criminals.

It portrays the resilience of the human spirit in the pursuit of justice.

Citizen X presents a narrative of individuals who refuse to be silenced in the face of unimaginable horrors and push for justice.

The film addresses the systemic issues within the Soviet justice system.

Citizen X shines a light on the bureaucratic hurdles and limitations within the Soviet justice system that hindered effective crime-solving.

It showcases the undying determination to bring closure to the victims’ families.

Citizen X highlights the unwavering resolve of investigators to provide closure and justice for the families of the victims.

The movie leaves a lasting impact on viewers.

Citizen X is a powerful and haunting film that lingers in the mind long after the credits roll, serving as a testament to its enduring impact.


In conclusion, Citizen X is a gripping and thought-provoking film that delves into the dark depths of the human psyche. With its stellar cast, expert storytelling, and meticulous attention to detail, the movie captivates viewers from start to finish. The film sheds light on the real-life case of the Soviet serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, and the relentless pursuit of justice by detective Viktor Burakov. Citizen X not only explores the chilling crimes committed by Chikatilo but also delves into the failures of the Soviet bureaucracy and the courage of those who refused to give up. This film brings to the forefront the horrors that lurk within our society while highlighting the strength and resilience of those who fight for justice.Citizen X is a must-watch for movie enthusiasts seeking a thrilling and thought-provoking experience. Its powerful performances, haunting atmosphere, and gripping narrative will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all who watch it.


1. Is Citizen X based on a true story?

Yes, Citizen X is based on the true story of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo and the efforts of detective Viktor Burakov to bring him to justice.

2. Who directed Citizen X?

Citizen X was directed by Chris Gerolmo, an American screenwriter and director known for his work in films such as Mississippi Burning.

3. When was Citizen X released?

The movie Citizen X was released in 1995.

4. Who stars in Citizen X?

Citizen X features a talented cast including Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, and Max von Sydow.

5. Is Citizen X a horror film?

Citizen X can be classified as a psychological thriller rather than a traditional horror film. It focuses on the psychological aspects of the crimes and the pursuit of justice.

6. Where was Citizen X filmed?

The majority of Citizen X was filmed in Budapest, Hungary, due to its resemblance to 1980s Soviet Russia.

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