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Defiance (I) (2008)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, History  |  16 January 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 110,939 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 231 user | 201 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tamara Skidelsky
Kate Fahy ...


On the run and hiding in the deep forests of the then German occupied Poland and Belorussia (World War II), the four Bielski brothers find the impossible task of foraging for food and weapons for their survival. They live, not only with the fear of discovery, contending with neighboring Soviet partisans and knowing whom to trust but also take the responsibility of looking after a large mass of fleeing Polish Jews from the German war machine. Women, men, children, the elderly and the young alike are all hiding in makeshift homes in the dark, cold and unforgiving forests in the darkest times of German occupied Eastern Europe. Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

forest | russian | jewish | camp | nazis | See All (173) »


From the director of Blood Diamond and The Last Samurai. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

16 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Desafío  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$123,513 (USA) (2 January 2009)


$28,622,873 (USA) (24 April 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was kick-started some year's earlier when Edward Zwick was given Zus Bielski's (1912 - 1995) obituary to read from the 'The New York Times'. See more »


During the ambush scene, Zus runs up to the German tank to throw a grenade underneath it. The grenade he is holding is shown as a German stick grenade. However when he pulls the bottom out, the sound heard is obviously that of the pin being pulled on an Allied pineapple style grenade. See more »


Shamon Haretz: Merciful God, we commit our friends - Ben Zion and Krensky - to You. We have no more prayers, no more tears; we have run out of blood. Choose another people. We have paid for each of Your commandments; we have covered every stone and field with ashes. Sanctify another land. Choose another people. Teach them the deeds and the prophesies. Grant us but one more blessing: take back the gift of our holiness. Amen.
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References Come and See (1985) See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Exciting, Inspirational, Craig and Scheiber are Fine

"Defiance" is a very entertaining, exciting, suspenseful, and inspirational film about a tough topic: the Holocaust. Its many action sequences are well-paced and well-motivated. You know exactly why Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) breaks into a home and points a gun at a man in front of his family. Daniel Craig and Live Schreiber are terrific as Tuvia and Zus Bielski, who lead a band of Jewish forest partisans during World War Two, thus saying over a thousand lives.

The movie is not perfect. Characters speak English with Slavic accents. In other scenes, they speak Russian or Belarusian. Craig and Schreiber manage very good Slavic accents, both when speaking English and when speaking the Slavic languages, but Craig occasionally lapses into his English accent when speaking English. Female characters are not particularly well drawn, or given much to do. While this film is very good, it doesn't have the production values to be a timeless classic like "Schindler's List." The movie is controversial. Most of the controversies are shallow relative to the most important facts at hand. Many of those attacking this movie have axes to grind, including current events in the Middle East or feuds between Poles and Jews. The most important fact is this: the Nazis committed a genocide of six million Jews. In the midst of this Satanic nightmare, the Bielskis managed to save over a thousand Jews. That's the main, and absolutely true, point here, and it should not be lost in bickering over details.

Compared to other treatments of the Holocaust, this film is fair. It doesn't show Slavic peasants as uniformly Jew-hating collaborators. Nazis, not Slavic peasants, were the authors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Some occupied peoples collaborated, often out of fear and for financial gain or as payback for old grudges. Some occupied peoples did everything they could to help Jews, as does a Belarusian peasant in this film.

The Bielskis were not immaculate. They did summarily execute captured Germans, as shown here. They did raid peasants for provisions, as shown here. They did work with the Soviets, but so did Uncle Sam. Remember that photo of FDR and Churchill smiling with Stalin at Yalta. The Polish IPN institute is investigating charges that members of the Bielski partisans, but not the Bielskis themselves, participated in the 1943 Soviet massacre of 128 people in Naliboki. Aron, the youngest Bielski brother, was, in 2007, accused of defrauding an elderly Polish woman. These failures of the Bielski brothers to be perfect in no way lessen their achievement, any more than any failure to be perfect lessen any hero's achievement. Again, in the face of genocide, the Bielski brothers managed to save over a thousand people. Were they perfect? No. Were they admirable, heroic, and worth learning about? Absolutely yes.

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historically inacurate movie matedom
Accents Timescrew
What is the good luck charm the Bielskis pass to each other? dwebbieappleton
Made for TV?? rn189307
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What happened to Aron Bielski? sallanblock-1
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