The story of the people who lived in the House on Arbat Street in Moscow is the story of Russia of the 20th century. Built in the early 1900s, this grand apartment building at first was a residence of rich and privileged families. Then, after the Revolution of 1917, it was turned into a collective housing unit. People from very different backgrounds were brought in and told: "From now on you will have to cram together." People could not even choose neighbors. Through historical footage and the reminiscences of former residents, some now 99 years old, the incredible story of the House on Arbat Street comes alive. One resident describes how "every day you could hear doors banging: they had come to arrest someone." Another muses: "Today I am sure of nothing. There was so much hypocrisy and lying that everything I thought to be good was perhaps no more than an illusion. The only truly real thing was the people." The narrator remarks: "For 70 years all of Russia was like this, building a strange family indeed."