It turns out I covered most of my spontaneous thoughts on the Soviet influence and their theory of montage in my review of Drifters. But even without the massive importance of Sergei Eisenstein’s exported masterpieces, Battleship Potemkin is just incredible.
I mean, propaganda? Sure. (Similar to most war films from any country at any time) It’s a pretty shameless fictional account of the 1905 Russian naval mutiny. The Odessa steps sequence is entirely made up, but dude, it’s so great! If you’re putting off watching this because you know you will eventually and it’s important but whatever, then do watch it. It’s very very good.
I watched the BFI release, which features an amazing musical score that turns the intensity up about one million percent. So I recommend that one.