Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

2010 NR 1h 30m DVD

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

2010 NR 1h 30m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Venerated documentarian Werner Herzog teams with director Dmitry Vasyukov for this observant look at life along the River Yenisei in northern Russia, where the industrious inhabitants of a rural village truly live off the land.
Widescreen 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
NR - Not rated. This movie has not been rated by the MPAA.
age 12+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 12+
age 12+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Happy People: A Year in the Taiga -- a documentary assembled (though not filmed) by German director Werner Herzog -- captures a year in the life of the hunter-trappers who live and work in the wilderness region around Siberia. There's some violence related to hunting, with animals harmed and/or killed. In one sequence, a dog chases and bites a small animal. The movie briefly discusses the fact that many of the residents of this area have a drinking problem; some drinking is shown, as is cigarette smoking. The word "bitch" is used a few times, but only in reference to female dogs. These issues aside, Happy People is fascinating, informative, and sometimes touching, even showing what life might be like without media and cell phones. It should be fine for younger teens and older tweens.

Sexual Content

Not applicable


A few sequences of animals being caught and/or trapped. A dog chases a smaller animal and fights with it, and a hunter removes dead, frozen animals from traps. Guns are occasionally shown and fired. Fish are stabbed and shot underwater. There's a spoken story about a bear killing a dog. Little to no blood is shown.


The word "bitch" is used a few times (in subtitles), but only in reference to its actual meaning: a female dog.

Social Behavior

Some viewers may see the hunter-trappers as old-fashioned or out of touch, but there's something beautiful about the way that their methods have been passed down through the generations and the way that they live without media in the wilderness, focused mainly on survival and the task at hand. There are a couple of brief scenes of young people being taught these age-old skills for future reference.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

In one sequence, the movie explains how many of the inhabitants of this small village have a drinking problem, specifically mentioning vodka. One local seems to be either drunk or slightly crazy. (The main subjects don't seem to drink at all.) In another scene, locals drink strong vodka that the narration describes as being like "jet fuel." Some subjects are shown smoking cigarettes as well.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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