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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 »
1,589 ( 67)
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 (176) »


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


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| |


| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The location for the birch woods in the film was found using Google Earth. See more »


In the shot, after Zus scolds Tuvia for not killing the Milkman which led to the attack, when the group is coming down the forest a reflection of some movement can be seen towards the bottom right half of the frame for almost 15 seconds. See more »


Tuvia Bielski: I thought you were dead.
Shamon Haretz: I am at least half dead.
See more »


References Come and See (1985) See more »


A Tants Fun Propoisk
Arranged by Dmitri Slepovitch
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Inspiring But Not Great
11 July 2009 | by (Durham Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

No doubt that "Defiance" is a very inspiring movie. Set during the winter of 1941-42, just after Nazi Germany has attacked the Soviet Union, the movie follows the exploits of the 3 Bielski brothers, who watched their father be murdered by German troops and escape into the forest, only to end up becoming a rallying point and leaders for other displaced Jews. The movie portrays rivalries among the brothers themselves, rivalries within the group of Jews they're leading, difficulties in dealing with the Soviet troops, who should be their allies, as well as the hardships of dealing with hunger, cold and illness. Ultimately it leads to a pretty good climactic fight against Nazi troops. Yet, for all that I can't say it's great.

I've seen better and more inspiring Holocaust-inspired movies: think "Schindler's List," "The Grey Zone," and even the fictional "Jakob the Liar." Although the last half hour or so, leading up to the confrontation with the Germans, was quite good, I thought the movie was inconsistent up to that point. It lacked flow, and failed completely to draw me in tightly to the story. If it's at all accurate (and I'm not at all familiar with the events on which it's supposed to be based) then it certainly is a story that deserves to be told, but in truth I can't give it higher than a 6/10.

40 of 74 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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