60 user 37 critic

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.



(as G. Chukhraj), (as V. Yezhov)

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov
Stars: Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasiliy Merkurev
War | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An unexpected romance occurs for a female Red Army sniper and a White Army officer.

Director: Grigoriy Chukhray
Stars: Izolda Izvitskaya, Oleg Strizhenov, Nikolay Kryuchkov
Fate of a Man (1959)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of a man (Andrey Sokolov) whose life was ruthlessly crippled by World War II. His wife and daughters were killed during the bombing of his village, he spent some time as a ... See full summary »

Director: Sergey Bondarchuk
Stars: Sergey Bondarchuk, Pavel Boriskin, Zinaida Kirienko
Clear Skies (1961)
Romance | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

During the 1950s Sasha Lvova reminisces about the WW2 years when she fell in love with Soviet fighter pilot Aleksei Astakhov.

Director: Grigoriy Chukhray
Stars: Nina Drobysheva, Evgeniy Urbanskiy, Natalya Kuzmina
The Ascent (1977)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In a freezing cold World War II winter, two pro-Soviet partisans - Sotnikov and Rybak - head off to find food for themselves and their compatriots. They find a goat at a local farmhouse but... See full summary »

Director: Larisa Shepitko
Stars: Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Sergey Yakovlev
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

At the end of the Russian Civil War, Red Army soldier Fyodor Sukhov is ordered to guard the harem of a Caspian Sea guerrilla leader.

Director: Vladimir Motyl
Stars: Anatoliy Kuznetsov, Spartak Mishulin, Kakhi Kavsadze
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

During WWII in a small village outpost, a commander has his troop replaced by an all female unit. As they finally begin to appreciate one another, German paratroopers are spotted nearby and the realities of war emerge.

Director: Stanislav Rostotskiy
Stars: Andrey Martynov, Irina Dolganova, Elena Drapeko
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Four geologists search for diamonds in the wilderness of Siberia.

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov
Stars: Tatyana Samoylova, Evgeniy Urbanskiy, Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In July 1942, in the Second World War, the rearguard of the Red army protects the bridgehead of the Don River against the German army while the retreating soviet troops cross the bridge. ... See full summary »

Director: Sergey Bondarchuk
Stars: Vasiliy Shukshin, Vyacheslav Tikhonov, Sergey Bondarchuk
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The Russian POW joins the partisan guerrillas and proves his loyalty fighting the Nazis.

Director: Aleksey German
Stars: Rolan Bykov, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Vladimir Zamanskiy
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Maksim Munzuk, Yuriy Solomin, Mikhail Bychkov
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An elderly veterinary assistant in a small Ukrainian town, Grinia, married to Natalia (he calls 'the old woman'), leaves his isba which has been destroyed by fire. The old couple choose to ... See full summary »

Director: Grigoriy Chukhray
Stars: Ivan Marin, Vera Kuznetsova, Lyudmila Maksakova


Cast overview, first billed only:
Pvt. Alyosha Skvortsov (as Volodya Ivashov)
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)


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) »


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


Drama | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 December 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ballad of a Soldier  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Vladimir Ivashov. See more »


Referenced in 500 Days of Summer (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Clutching at your heart-strings
29 April 2005 | by (Copenhagen, Denmark) – See all my reviews

Alyosha, a 19-year old private in the Soviet army, more or less by accident neutralizes three German tanks and is allowed to return home to see his mother and fix her roof on a six-day leave. On a train he meets another stow-away, the timid Shura, and falls in love. The movie depicts the people he meets on his way home through war-torn Russia.

This is an amazing film, a kind of shaggy-dog story and one you are not liable to forget. It is so extremely well-paced in a natural, flowing rhythm with a smooth, unassuming camera and lovely lighting. Be that all is it may, whatever the film's affinities with Pudovkin masterpieces such as 'Earth' and 'Deserter', 'Ballad of a Soldier' is all heart, empathy and sincerity, and it will clutch at your heart-strings.

The boy is not yet jaded in the grown-up fashion, and the people he meets stir him into immediate sympathy, Alyosha is simply one of the most likable characters you will encounter in a film, without being trite or cutesy. And the people he meets are hardly ever as sympathetic as he is, witness private Pavlov's girlfriend, whom Alyosha promised to bring the soap as a gift. When he gets there, she has a lover visiting her, and although Alyosha judges her, the film itself does not. Its description of budding young love is enchanting, but it has, finally, its own bitter irony.

Watch this whenever you get the chance. Do not let prejudice about what you think Soviet cinema is like detain you.

50 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
one of the best war movies ever richsparta
where are russians... rajiv_kuin
Heartbreaking johnryder86
What a beautiful movie hpord1
LAST ten min. Friesen_471
Music hg_b1
Discuss Ballad of a Soldier (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: