Born into an artistic Russian family, Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky is the older brother of Nikita Mikhalkov. He spent ten years at the Moscow Conservatory, training to be a concert pianist. He then went on to VGIK (the State film school), where he studied under Mikhail Romm. Konchalovsky first attracted international critical attention in 1961 with his thesis effort, the short The Boy and the Pigeon. After co-scripting Andrei Tarkovsky's The Steamroller and the Violin (1960) and Andrei Rublev (1966), Konchalovsky helmed his first feature in 1965, The First Teacher. His 1967 follow-up, Asya's Happiness, was suppressed by Soviet authorities until 1988; more acceptable were his adaptations of Turgenev (A Nest of Gentle Folk, 1969) and Chekhov (Uncle Vanya, 1972), as well as his drama Romance of Lovers (1974) and his epic Siberiade (1979). In 1980, Konchalovsky came to the U.S., but his subsequent films weren't very successful at the box office. However, Runaway Train (1985), based on Akira Kurosawa's original script, enjoyed a decent second life on video. After clashes with producers while filming the Sylvester Stallone-Kurt Russell action film Tango and Cash (1989) and extremely poor box-office results from his subsequent film Homer and Eddie (1989), Konchalovsky returned to Russian topics. However, neither the drama of Stalin's projectionist, The Inner Circle (1991), nor Konchalovsky's sequel to Asya's Happiness, titled Kurochka Ryaba/Ryaba My Chicken (1994), impressed critics or filmgoers.