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The Herd (1979)
"Sürü" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  March 1979 (Turkey)
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Because of a local blood feud, a peasant family in eastern Turkey decides to sell its sheep - a most precious commodity - in far away Ankara. During their long train ride, bribes must be ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Tarik Akan ...
Melike Demirag ...
Levent Inanir ...
Sener Kokkaya
Tuncel Kurtiz ...
Meral Niron
Yaman Okay ...
Savas Yurttas


Because of a local blood feud, a peasant family in eastern Turkey decides to sell its sheep - a most precious commodity - in far away Ankara. During their long train ride, bribes must be paid to petty officials, sheep are stolen or die in the packed, airless, contaminated wagons, and the sick wife of one of the family's sons becomes deathly ill. Written by Daniel Yates <>

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March 1979 (Turkey)  »

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The Herd  »

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User Reviews

An unusual love story told within the context of feudal oppression and social injustice. A tale of epic proportions!!!
11 April 2001 | by (Ankara) – See all my reviews

Suru (Turkish for 'Herd') is probably the best work of Yilmaz GUNEY, the most influential figure in the history of Turkish Cinema. As a young girl, Berivan (Melike DEMIRAG) was given in marriage to Sirvan (Tarik AKAN) to end the feud (Kan Davasi) between two families. Although bloodshed stops, it does not end the hostility. Years pass and Berivan produce three infant deaths, which makes Hamo (Tuncel KURTIZ), the patriarch of the family, very resentful towards her. Although Sirvan is a good man in his essence and very caring towards his wife, he is unable to confront feudal values, thus cannot help Berivan who retreats into silence for many years. One spring, Hamo wants to take his herd of sheep to Ankara for sale and Sirvan joins him and takes Berivan along with the hope of finding a cure for his illness in the city. The railroad journey from the eastern Turkey to the west becomes the center of the story and is used as a vehicle to show the corruption and social injustice in Turkish Society in mid 70's.

The film has an incredibly rich story line. At one point during the movie, you are asking yourself what is there left to say about ignorance and injustice. For instance, the image of crippled prostitute walking on railroad track still breaks my heart; engineer and conductors of the train, who bring the train to a sudden halt, thus cruelly injuring the animals riding in the wagons just because they don't get the bribery they wanted, still gives me a sudden flash of anger. Just think of tens of scenes like that, you will understand what kind of powerful movie I am talking about.

Suru was shot under very difficult conditions during a time just before the military coup d'etat of 1980 not to mention that Yilmaz GUNEY was at the prison during filming. That is probably why it looks technically inferior, i.e. no control of color, lighting or sound. However, this gives the movie a realistic look. It has some minor flaws, such as the didactic language GUNEY uses time to time. For instance, an socialist student Sirvan met in Ankara tries to explain him (or all illiterate people suffering under the corrupt system on his behalf) reasons of their misery and showing nice buildings in the city utters sentences like "Only the people who exploit you can afford to live here". True, yet, this severely interrupts the story, sounds irritating. The story already tells everything, why the need for words... However, the movie with its excellent script and direction (please let us do not forget Zeki OKTEN) and its fantastic performances has enough to be a true masterpiece of Modern Turkish Cinema.

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