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They Fought for Their Country (1975)
"Oni srazhalis za rodinu" (original title)

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


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Title: They Fought for Their Country (1975)

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Credited cast:
Vasiliy Shukshin ...
Piotr Lopakhin
Vyacheslav Tikhonov ...
Nikolay Strel'tsov
Sergey Bondarchuk ...
Ivan Zvyagintsev
Georgiy Burkov ...
Alexandr Kopytovskij
Yuriy Nikulin ...
Ivan Lapikov ...
Nikolai Gubenko ...
Andrey Rostotskiy
Nikolay Volkov
Nikolai Shutko ...
Yevgeni Samojlov
Nonna Mordyukova ...
Natalya Stepanovna
Lidiya Fedoseeva-Shukshina ...
Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tatyana Bozhok


In July 1942, in the Second World War, the rearguard of the Russian army protects the bridgehead of the Don River against the German army while the retreating Russian troops cross the bridge. While they move back to the Russian territory through the countryside, the soldiers show their companionship, sentiments, fears and heroism to defend their motherland Russian. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

12 May 1975 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

Oni srazhalis za rodinu  »

Filming Locations:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the last film of Vasiliy Shukshin. See more »


During the first battle, a few of the Germans are carrying MP44 (or STG 44) assault rifles. This film takes place in summer 1942 and those rifles were not in service in the German army (even as prototypes) until over two years later. See more »

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User Reviews

Not your standard heroes, not your usual war movie
10 September 2008 | by (China) – See all my reviews

Russian production. Genre ; WW 2 drama.1975. Based on the novel by Mikhail Sholokhov.

Screenplay and direction by Sergei Bondarchuk with Vasili Shukshin ( as Poitr Lopakhin ), Vyaheslav Tikhonov ( as Nikolay Strltsov ), Sergei Bondarchuk ( as Ivan Zvyagintsev ), Georgi Burkov ( as Alexandr Kopytovskij ), Nikolai Gubenko ( as the Lieutenant ), Yuri Nikulin ( as Nekrasov ), Ivan Lapikov ( as Poprischenko ) & Nonna Mordyukova ( as Natalya Stepanova ).

The film is based on the book by Nobel Prize winning author Mikhail Sholokhov. The action is set in Russia in July of 1942. The exhausted Soviet army was in full retreat against the might of the invading German Panzer divisions. A decision is to hold a ridge with what is left of an infantry regiment near a small village on the banks of the River Don, to allow the exhausted remnants of the army enough time to withdraw across the river and help fortify Stalingrad for the decisive battle that must come.

The loss of Russian life during the campaign was horrific and while there are some impressive set battle pieces, the film concentrates on the exploits of half a dozen or so soldiers from the shattered regiment, who must not retreat even in the face of the Panzers' greater fire power. The film depicts the thoughts and fears of the individual soldiers in the face of the impending battle, and their thoughts of their Mother Russia as well.

While the battles rage, the viewer is not only shown the inhumanity of the conflict, but also the strong personal bonds that develop between comrades in arms in a deadly conflict. There is also plenty of humor in the script, even if it is often grim and tinged with violent overtones. Vasili Shukshin ( as Poitr Lopakhin ) takes the acting honors, with a character that is as much larrikin as it is proletariat.

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