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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1970)

Fly-on-the-wall treatment of an ordinary day in the life of a prisoner in Stalin's Gulag. Closely adapted from Solzhenitsyn's classic novel based on his own experiences. Shot entirely on ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Espen Skjønberg ...
Alf Malland ...
Frimann Falck Clausen ...
Jo Skønberg ...
Odd Jan Sandsdalen ...
Eino
Torstein Rustdal ...
Vaino
James Maxwell ...
Captain
Alfred Burke ...
Eric Thompson ...
John Cording ...
Pavlo
Matthew Guinness ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roy Bjørnstad
Paul Connell
Sverre Hansen
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Storyline

Fly-on-the-wall treatment of an ordinary day in the life of a prisoner in Stalin's Gulag. Closely adapted from Solzhenitsyn's classic novel based on his own experiences. Shot entirely on location in northern Norway. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

7 December 1970 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

En dag i Ivan Denisovitsj' liv  »

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Color:

(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[Ivan is told the Communist Party has decreed the sun reaches zenith one hour after noon.]
Ivan Denisovich: Can they even tell the sun what to do?
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User Reviews

 
This film awakened my interest in Stalin's regime and how people suffered and died under his dictatorship.
18 March 2006 | by (Troy, Michigan) – See all my reviews

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who wrote "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" on which this film was based, is one of my heroes. He suffered greatly under Soviet dictatorship and had the courage to risk his life by writing of his experiences. His work brought world attention to the plight of the many thousands of Soviet citizens unjustly imprisoned in Stalin's era and beyond.

In 1974, the Soviet government deported Solzhenitsyn after publication in the West of "The Gulag Archipelago", his major work exposing the Soviet prison system. He made his way to the U.S. where he lived for eighteen years. His citizenship was restored shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union, and he returned to Russia in 1994.

I found "One Day in the Life. . ." most depressing as I absorbed it, but I didn't seek it out to be entertained. The subject matter was of course not pleasant, but the fact that this is a realistic depiction of what Soviet prisoners experienced makes it an important historical work.

Though I saw this film over thirty years ago, I still remember the surprising reaction that engulfed me when leaving the theater. My husband and I walked to the car in silence. When we were seated inside the car I turned to him and said words to this effect: "I have a strange sense of well-being and. . .comfort, or. . .triumph or something." He said, "So do I." We sat there for a few moments, rather surprised at this because the film was so depressing.

We came to the conclusion that the main character and many of the other prisoners, maintained and conveyed an awareness of their own human dignity despite the severe hardship and hopelessness of their days. They did this by respecting each other, sharing some of the very meager food or other items they had and carrying on their agonizing work with quiet acceptance. There were exceptions, no doubt, which I don't recall specifically. But, overall, the triumph of the human spirit came through clearly.

This film enriched our lives by making us grateful for our freedoms and the abundance of resources we enjoy here in the United States. In the current state of the world, we can take none of these things for granted.


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