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The Beast of War (1988)

R  |   |  War  |  7 September 1988 (France)
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During the war in Afghanistan a Soviet tank crew commanded by a tyrannical officer find themselves lost and in a struggle against a band of Mujahadeen guerrillas in the mountains. A unique ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Konstantin Koverchenko
Khan Taj
Anthony Golikov
Moustafa (as Haim Gerafi)
Shoshi Marciano ...
Sherina (as Shosh Marciano)
Yitzhak Ne'eman ...
Iskandar (as Itzhak Babi Ne'Eman)
Moshe Vapnik ...
Claude Aviram ...
Victor Ken ...
Avi Keedar ...


During the war in Afghanistan a Soviet tank crew commanded by a tyrannical officer find themselves lost and in a struggle against a band of Mujahadeen guerrillas in the mountains. A unique look at the Soviet 'Vietnam' experience sympathetically told for both sides. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There is no room in a tank for a conscience. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 September 1988 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Beast  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$161,004 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Captain (USMC, Ret.) Dale Dye served as the military/technical advisor on this film. He is frequently employed as such as well as actor in Oliver Stone films. See more »


In the cave scene when Koverchenko is fixing the broken RPG launcher, he has it cradled in his lap. In the next shot, Taj is shown holding the launcher. In the next shot, Koverchenko has it in his lap again. See more »


Taj: Allah, why have you forsaken us?
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the start of the film, just after the Columbia Pictures logo the following quote is given: When you're wounded an' left on Afghanistan's plains. An' the women come out to cut up your remains, Just roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains, An' go to your Gawd like a soldier. - Rudyard Kipling See more »


Referenced in The Big Hit (1998) See more »


Written by VICTOR TSI
Performed by KINO
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Soviets Lost In Afghanistan
4 January 2009 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

The only movie that I am aware of that deals explicitly with the Soviet war in Afghanistan, "The Beast" is also a fascinating example of an American made war movie that features absolutely no American characters. The conflict here is totally between a group of local Afghan mujahideen and the crew of a lost Soviet tank struggling to find their way out of a valley in which they're trapped. (The image of the lost tank may well be a symbolic representation of the wider war - the Soviet Union being hopelessly lost in Afghanistan.) The movie features a fairly graphic portrayal of the horrors of the battle from the point of view of both sides, as well as of the growing weariness of the Soviets, who - with the exception of their gung-ho and somewhat insane commander - want nothing more than to get out of this country as fast as possible. The mood of the movie is complemented perfectly by the starkness of the desert landscape. Opening with an example of an atrocity by the tank crew against the inhabitants of a small Afghan village, the movie follows the mujahideen as they seek revenge against their invaders.

The performances in this movie were absolutely first-rate, headed by a fantastic piece of work by George Dzundza as the insane commander Daskal, who willingly kills his own men if he takes a dislike to them and who refuses a chance to escape via a Soviet helicopter that chances upon the lost crew, choosing instead to get out with his tank and his crew. Jason Patric was equally good as Koverchenko, a member of the tank crew who finally turns against Daskal, and eventually finds himself aligned with the mujahideen in a quest for his own personal revenge against Daskal.

The Russians in this movie speak English (thankfully without fake accents) while the Afghans speak whatever their particular native language is with subtitles, which suggests to me that the Russians (and how they respond to their increasingly hopeless situation) are the focal point of the movie. I approach this type of movie with a bit of a grain of salt. American movies that depicted the Soviet Union in the 1980's tended to be a little bit over the top in their portrayal of the Soviet Union as Ronald Reagan's "evil empire." Still, there's no doubt that the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was a rather brutal affair, and this seemed a not unreasonable depiction of it. Truly one of the better war movies I've ever seen. 9/10

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