Aelita (Russian: Аэлита), also known as Aelita: Queen of Mars, is a silent film directed by Soviet filmmaker Yakov Protazanov made at the Mezhrabpom-Rus film studio and released in 1924. It was based on Alexei Tolstoy's novel of the same name. Mikhail Zharov and Igor Ilyinsky were cast in leading roles.
Though the main focus of the story is the daily lives of a small group of people during the post-war Soviet Union, the enduring importance of the film comes from its early science fiction elements. It primarily tells of a young man, Los (Russian: Лось, literally Elk), traveling to Mars in a rocket ship, where he leads a popular uprising against the ruling group of Elders, with the support of Queen Aelita who has fallen in love with him after watching him through a telescope.
One of the earliest full-length films about space travel, the most notable part of the film remains its remarkable constructivist Martian sets and costumes designed by Aleksandra Ekster. Their influence can be seen in a number of later films, including the Flash Gordon serials and probably Fritz Lang's Metropolis and Woman in the Moon.
Parts of the plot were loosely adapted for the 1951 film Flight to Mars.
While very popular at first, the film later fell out of favor with the Soviet government and was thus very difficult to see until after the Cold War.