In communist Romania, thousands of Western films on bootleg VHS tapes — mostly Hollywood action movies — were smuggled behind the Iron Curtain, opening a window into the free world. Under President Nicolae Ceaușescu, Romania was culturally isolated and ideologically censored. Images of life outside its borders were cut off and TV was reduced to propaganda bulletins. From the drab concrete housing blocks to the food ration lines, the threat of surveillance prevented people from stepping out of line. But in the mid-1980s, under the nose of the Securitate, Ceaușescu’s secret police, thousands of Hollywood films were smuggled into the country by an underground operative named Zamfir, and they were all covertly dubbed by Irina Nistor, a courageous translator whose distinct voice captivated the nation and became a symbol of freedom. As we see through evocative re-creations in Chuck Norris vs Communism, a network of secret screening rooms sprung up across Romania as families, friends, and neighbors gathered to watch action heroes like Norris, Van Damme, and Stallone, along with romantic comedies, dramas, and Hollywood epics.
In 1989 an entire way of life ended for millions behind the Iron Curtain. Combining 1st hand testimony with extensive archive footage, this 3 part series recreates and examines the world that disappeared twenty years ago - the lost world of communism. See unique archive and personal testimony from those who lived behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania.