"Dzhentlmeny udachi" is regarded as a masterpiece of Soviet cinema and is very popular in Russia to this day. Although it is widely believed that the film was directed by Leonid Gaidai who made many outstanding Soviet comedies, it was actually directed by Aleksandr Seryy, whose other four films were unsuccessful. However, it was co-written by Georgiy Daneliya, who became an iconic director himself.
"Dotsent" is a common Russian academic title, roughly corresponding to "Professor" in the USA. The plot of a timid ordinary citizen being mistaken for a hardened criminal and becoming involved in catching the crooks goes back in US film history at least to John Ford's The Whole Town's Talking (1935), a comedy-drama that starred Edward G. Robinson in a similar dual role.