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Ballad of a Soldier (1959)

Ballada o soldate (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 26 December 1960 (USA)
Young Russian soldier Alyosha earns a medal, but asks to visit his mother instead. His journey recounts various kinds of love during wartime.

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Writers:

(as G. Chukhraj), (as V. Yezhov)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Pvt. Alyosha Skvortsov (as Volodya Ivashov)
...
Shura
...
The mother
...
The general
Evgeniy Urbanskiy ...
Vasya (the invalid)
Elza Lezhdey ...
The invalid's wife (as E. Lezhdej)
Aleksandr Kuznetsov ...
Gavrilkin (the train sentry) (as A. Kuznetsov)
Evgeniy Teterin ...
The lieutenant ('A terrible beast') (as Ye. Teterin)
Valentina Markova ...
Liza (Pavlov's wife) (as V. Markova)
Marina Kremnyova ...
Zoya (neighbor girl) (as M. Kremnnyova)
Vladimir Pokrovskiy ...
Pavlov's invalid father (as V. Pokrovsky)
...
Sergeant giving bars of soap (as G. Yumatov)
...
Pvt. Seryozha Pavlov (as G. Yukhtin)
Valentina Telegina ...
Old woman truck driver (as V. Telegina)
Lev Borisov ...
Joking soldier on train (as L. Borisov)
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Storyline

During World War II, 19 year old soldier Alyosha gets a medal as a reward for a heroic act at the front. Instead of this medal he asks for a few days leave to visit his mother and repair the roof of their home. On the train eastwards he meets Shura who is on her way to her aunt. In those few days traveling together they fall in love. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

medal | love | mother | soldier | train | See All (43) »

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The Critics All Agree It's Great...And So Will You! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 December 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ballad of a Soldier  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Zhanna Prokhorenko. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful and moving
27 December 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

In World War Two, almost thirty million Russian soldiers and civilians were killed in the fight against fascism, a fact mainly ignored during the paranoia of the Cold War. In our attempt to demonize everything Russian, we also overlooked stories of individual heroism. In 1959, Russian director Grigory Chukhraj made a film attempting to describe "what happens when the world loses a single person" and it is a masterpiece. The beautiful and moving Ballad of a Soldier tells a personal story that illuminates how war can ravish both an individual and a country. The film is set in Russia in the midst of the war. Pvt. Alyosha Skvortsov (Vladimir Ivashov), a signaller, has earned a commendation by destroying two German tanks. Instead of accepting a medal, he requests to be granted a four-day leave to go home and visit his mother.

We learn early through the narration that this soldier did not survive the war so his journey home to visit his mother for one last time becomes all the more poignant. The film, however, is not about a destination but about a journey. The four-day trip encompasses a lifetime of experience. Before hiding out in a freight car, Alyosha encourages a soldier (Yevgeny Urbansky) who has lost his leg to go home to his wife. Along the way, he hitches a ride on a rain-soaked road with a woman deprived of sleep for 48 hours. He brings a present of soap to an unfaithful wife of another soldier but changes his mind and gives it to her father who longs for his son's return. He also meets Shura (Zhanna Prokhorenko), a radiant young woman who, like him, hides out in a freight car. Reluctant at first and fearful of Alyosha, the young couple experiences their first love in several sensitive scenes but it is to be short-lived.

Ballad of a Soldier, of course, aims to present Russian soldiers in the best possible light yet Chukhraj does not hesitate to show his characters as real human beings with flaws. A venal security guard is willing to grant the young soldier free passage in a freight car in exchange for cans of beef, and the wife of a soldier is unfaithful to her soldier husband, a sequence that landed the director in trouble with the Russian censors. In Alyosha, Chukhraj has created a good person: kind, loving, and noble but not larger than life, a soldier perhaps typical of millions of young men who gave their lives to protect their homeland. Their struggle and personal sacrifice has been immortalized in a great film.


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