Rudolf Nureyev had immense charisma, incredible talent, and a dramatic life story, and if that was not enough—the filmmakers unearthed unseen footage of his performances and rehearsals, including some contemporary pieces previously thought undocumented. Predictably a very intense man, Nureyev was not always nice—at times even aggressive and mean—but always captivating. His meandering career path took him from his poor Tatar home to the grand stages of the Soviet Union, and from there—after his defection—to the hearts of all Western dance lovers. The film traces his life using footage from his great performances, recollections told by him and those who knew him, passages from his memoirs read by the wonderful Siân Phillips, and rare footage of historic events from his lifetime. Parts of his story are illustrated with specially choreographed dance sequences.