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They Fought for Their Country (1975)

Oni srazhalis za rodinu (original title)
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 »


2 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Vasiliy Shukshin ...
Piotr Lopakhin
Vyacheslav Tikhonov ...
Nikolay Strel'tsov
Ivan Zvyagintsev
Georgiy Burkov ...
Alexandr Kopytovskij
Yuriy Nikulin ...
Nikolay Gubenko ...
Andrey Rostotskiy
Nikolay Volkov
Nikolay Shutko ...
Evgeniy Samoylov ...
Natalya Stepanovna
Lidiya Fedoseeva-Shukshina ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tatyana Bozhok


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. While they move back to the Russian territory through the countryside, the soldiers show their companionship, sentiments, fears and heroism to defend their motherland. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

12 May 1975 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

They Fought for the Motherland  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


When the German BF-109 crashes into the Russian house, guide wires are clearly visible and one explosive at the point of impact goes off before the plane hits the ground. See more »

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User Reviews

Awesome in so many ways
11 November 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I don't understand why I had never heard of this film before. It was by accident that I found it, so I gave it a whirl.

And Wow! I think you could write a novelette on what makes this a great film. There's just too much to say in a review, so I'll be general.

This war film is about Russians fighting against Germans in World War II. In ways, it is much like old American World War II films, with the spotlight on a small group of soldiers in one unit.

The director does so much that is superior that I can't even begin to start on his achievement here.

The film shows us the reality of war, including the "down time" in between conflicts, when soldiers peruse the low points.

Yet we are never bored, even when the action is supplanted by drama. The reason is that the script is so well written, and I must also congratulate whomever translated this into English for me, because its dialog would make any American film writer jealous.

One of the clever things our writer-director team does is keep the reality in the beginning by not letting us know who will survive, and who may be a central character.

Two characters dominate the story, a lady's man and a cook. However, the other characters are also spectacular.

What really makes this film work is the humor, a dark humor, but a realistic one, and one that will make you laugh and cry and the same time. When one old veteran tells the story of his trench disease, you'll laugh along with the other soldiers. It's one of those stories that is Hell when you live it, but hilarious when you tell it after the war.

For me, the magical part is something that I can't say without a spoiler.

The camera work is amazing. The drama is amazing. The theatrics is amazing. Okay, it's all amazing.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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