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The Way Back (2010)

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Siberian gulag escapees travel 4,000 miles by foot to freedom in India.

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(screenplay) (as Keith Clarke), (novel) | 1 more credit »
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1,638 ( 16)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Interrogator (as Zahari Baharov)
Sally E. Brunski ...
Janusz's Wife, 1939 (as Sally Edwards)
Igor Gnezdilov ...
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Andrei
Stanislav Pishtalov ...
Commandant
Mariy Grigorov ...
Lazar (as Marii Grigorov)
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Storyline

In 1941, three men attempt to flee communist Russia, escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group's natural leader is Janusz, a Pole condemned by accusations secured by torturing his wife, spent much of his youth outdoors, and knows how to live in the wild. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comedic accountant, a pastry chef who draws, a priest, and a Pole with night blindness. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, as well as many moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the journey towards freedom. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>, Shahob, Bellingham, WA, US

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Their escape was just the beginning


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent content, depiction of physical hardships, a nude image and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Language:

| |

Release Date:

21 January 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Camino a la libertad  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£1,327,650 (UK) (31 December 2010)

Gross:

$2,677,401 (USA) (18 February 2011)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film begins with the following statement: "In 1941 three men walked out of the Himalayas into India. They had survived a 4000 mile walk to freedom. This film is dedicated to them." This is accurate and based on historical evidence, but those 3 men were not Slavomir Rawicz or others from his largely fictitious escape story. The BBC reported in 2010: "We learned of a British intelligence officer who said he had interviewed a group of haggard men in Calcutta in 1942 - a group of men who had escaped from Siberia and then walked all the way to India. And then from New Zealand came news of a Polish engineer who had apparently acted as an interpreter for this very same interview in Calcutta with the wretched survivors. These stories are second-hand, and far from conclusive proof, but for Mr Weir, they convinced him that there was an essential truth in the story that he wanted to retain. "There was enough for me to say that three men had come out of the Himalayas, and that's how I dedicate my film, to these unknown survivors. And then I proceed with essentially a fictional film." This is why the film - to be released later this month - has a new title, "The Way Back", and why the central character is not called Slavomir Rawicz." See more »

Goofs

Janusz demonstrates a method using shadows of a stick and rock to find the compass direction of south. Yet, many of the scenes show them walking in a direction inconsistent with sun angles i.e. sun at their backs, which would have them walking north. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in Polish, using English subtitles]
Interrogator: [presents pen to sign confession]
Janusz: No.
Interrogator: Bring in the witness.
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [brought in]
Interrogator: Do you know this man? His name?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: Janusz Wieszczek.
Interrogator: Witness, what's your relationship with this man?
Janusz's Wife, 1939: [crying] I am his wife.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 83rd Annual Academy Awards (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Tibet
Written by Burkhard Dallwitz
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
I will never complain about going on a walk ever again!
2 January 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I went with my friends to see this the other day - we picked whatever film was on soonest at the cinema. The Way Back was on...and we went in. I had no idea what the film was about only that I'd heard that "People walk out of Russia".

This film really had you captivated for the entire journey - and you really connect with the characters within it, so much so you experience their emotions with them - you laugh with them, you are on the verge of tears at moments, and you feel their determination.

The acting was great - there were some familiar faces in the likes of Jim Sturgess (21) and Ed Harris (everything else)...and they do very well in their roles. Colin Farrell finds himself taking a respectable role in a respectable film - and does a very good job at it - and even manages to work a Russian accent, which he pulls off - and he pulls it off well. Surprisingly well, actually! Saoirse Ronan, at 15/16, is incredible in this. Given her youth, she manages to draw in the audience with her character's history and gravitas. The other actors within this, despite them being relatively unknown on the Hollywood stage, join the cast well, and the chemistry is there to make the journey and the true stamina of the group believable.

The cinematography was immense, with shots overlooking parts of Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, and India - just helps you realise the vastness of the journey. Most of the journey is filmed looking closely at the characters, but this is what is crucial to the audience enjoying the story. You can't have 2hrs and 13 mins of beautiful scenery and see the intimate struggles with each of the characters...therefore the director does well to mix the two. The audience can see just what the struggles and difficulties are...but are treated to some amazing shots of the scenery, which make you realise how incredible this journey was. (I even got a map out later and routed the journey they took)

I should expect that this film would receive some Oscar nominations, maybe for cinematography, director, perhaps even best picture, but I would love to see Jim Sturgess having a nomination for his role.


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