Eisenstein's epic production tells the story of one of Russia's greatest and most ruthless leaders. The first part chronicles Ivan's (Nikolai Cherkassov) childhood, coronation, marriage and illness. Eisenstein juxtaposes striking imagery with a stirring score by Prokofiev. In Part 2, Ivan continues his bloody struggle with the Boyars and the Church. Stalin, initially a supporter of the project, objected to Eisenstein's depiction of the Russian leader in the second part. The film was not released until 1958, and only a fragment of Part 3 exists.