Sergei Eisenstein's operatic saga of the 16th-century Russian hero Czar Ivan IV is given a charismatic performance by Nikolai Cherkasov and a brilliant score by Sergei Prokofiev. Part One deals with Czar Ivan's beginnings as the ruler of Russia, Ivan's coronation, and his marriage to Anastasia Romanovna (Lyudmila Tselikovskaya). Ivan suddenly becomes gravely ill and then mysteriously recovers. When a group of conspirators poison his wife, Ivan becomes more wary of his retainers and announces that the will of the people demands his return from Alexandrov to Moscow. Ivan endeavors to preserve his country in the face of all the internal and external conspiracies.