An ordinary Soviet citizen accidentally intervenes into the huge operation of international criminal group that trades illegally obtained jewelry.
Semyon Gorbunkov goes on a cruise. In Istanbul, he slips and breaks his arm. What he didn't know is that this was a signal for a gang of smugglers (a real smuggler - Gena - was also on board the same ship). So his arm gets bandaged with gold and diamonds. After he returns home, the gangsters are trying to get their stuff back, while the police try to catch them using Gorbunkov and his arm.
It is a crime film with no cruelty, that presents a bright and very honest snapshot of the everyday life of an average soviet citizen and of his morale. The invasion of the capitalist valuables into the socialist society produces very funny situation. The film is not ideologically inclined: You feel sympathy towards both victims, criminals and police. You laugh both at human greediness, vices of the bureaucracy and the naivety of average Russians of that time. The film itself has influated the Russian language. Many of witty phrases from this film have already become proverbs.
The plot of this eccentric comedy is based on a newspaper item, found by script co-writer Yakov Kostyukovsky, about the arrest on the Italian border of a criminal who had hidden “gold and diamonds” in the plaster cast. The movie became the absolute box-office leader of 1969. It was seen by 76.7 million viewers.
The thrilling adventures of Semyon Semyonovich Gorbunkov, a modest economist, accompanied by a swindler named Count, have captivated several generations of moviegoers. The smugglers’ comic dialogues were picked up for citations and catchwords. Starring in the film are brilliant actors Andrei Mironov, Anatoly Papanov, Yuri Nikulin and others.