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Quiet Flows the Don (1957)

Tikhiy Don (original title)
A six-hour long epic (original director's cut) about the life of Don Cossacs in a village in southern Russia between 1912 and 1922. The leading character Grigori Melekhov is a rugged Cossac... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pyotr Glebov ...
Elina Bystritskaya ...
Zinaida Kirienko ...
Daniil Ilchenko ...
Panteleimon Prokofyevich Melekhov (as Danilo Ilchenko)
Anastasia Filippova ...
Iljinicna (as A. Filippova)
Nikolai Smirnov ...
Lyudmila Khityaeva ...
Dariya Melekhova
Natalya Arkhangelskaya ...
Dunyashka (as N. Arkhangelskaya)
Aleksandr Blagovestov ...
Stepan Lekatov (as A. Blagovestov)
...
Yevgeni Listnitsky
Aleksandr Shatov ...
Listnitsky Father
Boris Novikov ...
Mitka Korshunov
Aleksandr Zhukov ...
Miron Koshevoy
Gennadi Karyakin ...
Mikhail Koshevoy (as G. Karyakin)
Viliam Shatunovsky ...
Shtokman (as V. Shatunovsky)
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Storyline

A six-hour long epic (original director's cut) about the life of Don Cossacs in a village in southern Russia between 1912 and 1922. The leading character Grigori Melekhov is a rugged Cossac, who is torn between his first and true love Aksiniya, and his wife Natalya. Grigori Melekhov's personal life is shown as a rough journey through the experience of World War One, the Russian Revolution, and the following Civil War. The Cossacs are shown as traditional farmers and warriors, who are suffering through the most dramatic events in the history of Russia. Written by Steve Shelokhonov

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Taglines:

The epic film based on Mikhail Sholokhov's classic novel in COLOR See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

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Details

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Release Date:

1 January 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der stille Don  »

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Technical Specs

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Color:

(Sovcolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original Russian film is 340 minutes long (film length 9,582 m). It was reduced to 107 minutes for international distribution. See more »

Connections

Featured in Zhizn odna... (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Movie as immersion tank. Epic story of a Cossack, his love and his part in the First World War and the Revolution is political soap opera on a grand scale.
8 March 2007 | by (Glen Cove, New York) – See all my reviews

Almost six hour long Russian epic about Grigori Melekhov and the course of his life over the ten years from 1912 to 1922. Dealing with not only his personal life but the life of his town as the First World War, the Soviet Revolution, the civil war that followed and their aftermath impact on everyone living in Russia, and in particular in his Cossack town on the Don River. The story begins as Grigori starts an affair with the married Aksiniya, who's husband is away with the rest of Cossacks. Its an affair that is far from secret and who's fall out will affect everyone for years to come, it is also the center of the story which shifts gears as Grigori tries to find his place in the world, in the Czarist army, in the Red Army and even with the Whites.

Think of this as movie as immersion tank. This is a movie that picks you up and drops you into a particular time and place and keeps you there for its entire running time. Told, at times, through a series of five or ten minute scenes that move the plot along through time this is in episodic tale that doesn't feel as such. Its clear from each scene whats transpired in the interim and there is no need for explanations. Occasionally jumps in time and place are filled in by a title over the establishing shot. The film puts the viewer into the towns, homes and battlefields where the story transpires in a way that few films ever have. Its beautiful to look at with every shot worthy of being hung on the wall. This is a movie for those who want to sit and disappear into some place far away from todays world.

As a technical achievement the film is amazing, it looks great, the acting is wonderful, the music first rate. The movie for the most part hooks you and drags you along through its decade long story. Lets face it almost no film has ever tried to tell a story this big with out cutting it up into little pieces and it losing something (Consider that the original release of this film in the west was cut by almost four hours for release). Its amazing to see what the film makers have done.

On the level of entertainment I'm of mixed emotions. On some levels this is very much an epic soap opera, the film is ultimately concerned with who loves whom, who is cheating on whom, and all of the emotions that are so ingrained in human nature.Certainly this is not your typical romance, not only does the film have other things on its mind, but there is also a ten year arc to consider, ten years where the course of a country and the world was forever altered. And thats part of the problem for me. The film, which is broken into three parts, has almost three different feels and focuses. The first is the romances and its almost a self contained film about the various players trying to find love. The second part of the film concerns the First World War and the halcyon days of the early revolution, here there is a great deal of political discussion and it makes the already slow pace of the film seem even slower. The last part of the film concerns the revolution and the civil war that followed. Here we have a blending of politics and humanity and it makes for odd an odd mix as emotion crashes against propaganda. While I was happy to follow along I was also wondering if the film hadn't lost its way.

Do I like the film? Yes. I don't love it. I can honestly say that while it is a great achievement I think that its not going to be everyone's cup of tea. There is something the film that seems to be very rooted in the Russian experience, and in particular the experience of those that lived through or were affected by the time period covered in the story. The film is also deliberately paced which many people will take a slow and feel is the kiss of death (especially at five plus hours). I understand that but would argue with out the pacing you wouldn't really feel like you're in the place where the story is happening. And the soap opera nature of the events will also weed out some who want "real" life. I didn't mind it and just let the film do what its going to do.

Is the film worth seeing? Yes, if you're willing to give yourself over to it, perhaps on three nights. I don't know if its one of the great films of world cinema, but its certainly a unique one. If you click with it I'm almost certain that for the period its running you'll be in a little cossack town somewhere along the Don.


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