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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.

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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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Tamara Skidelsky
Kate Fahy ...
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Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

Freedom begins with an act of defiance! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

16 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Desafío  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$28,622,873 (USA) (24 April 2009)
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| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the internal walls of the living museum had to be painted with a matte-gloss covering to keep them from being damaged by the fake blood. See more »

Goofs

While Tuvia Bielski is talking to the people near the campfire towards the beginning of the movie, the smoke is rising. When the camera switches, the smoke is falling down, showing that the video segment was reversed when added into the final cut. See more »

Quotes

Tuvia Bielski: If we should die trying to live, at least we live like human beings.
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Connections

Referenced in The Big Bang Theory: The Killer Robot Instability (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Oy, Pri Luzhku, Pri Luzhke
Traditional
Performed by Ravil Isyanov
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Good movie based on facts about resistance fighters in the Belarus forests
18 April 2010 | by See all my reviews

This is an interesting film about a bunch of Jews commanded by Bielski brothers taking the Belorussia forest to shelter from Nazi criminals.This is a true story , worth telling and stunningly directed in old-style by Edward Zwick. It's completely set on the woods which it does some claustrophobic. Splendid acting acting by all star cast. Nicely photographed by Eduardo Serra with a colorful palette. Emotive and sensible musical score by James Newton Howard.

The picture is inspired on real events based on the novel titled ¨ Defiance : The Balski partisans ¨ , being well adapted by Clayton Frohman and Edward Zwick. The actual events are the following : The Bielski group's partisan ( three brothers finely performed by Daniel Craig,Liev Schriever, Jamie Bell) activities were aimed to hold the Jewish community together and fight against the Nazis and their collaborators, such as Belarusian volunteer policemen or local inhabitants who had betrayed or killed Jews. They also conducted sabotage missions. The Nazi regime offered a reward for assistance in the capture of Tuvia (Daniel Craig) Bielski, and in 1943, led major clearing operations against all partisan groups in the area. Some of these groups suffered major casualties, but the Bielski partisans fled safely to a more remote part of the forest, and continued to offer protection to the noncombatants among their band.The Bielski group would raid nearby villages and forcibly seize food ; on occasion peasants who refused to share their food with the partisans were the subject of violence and even murder. This caused hostility towards the partisans from peasants in the villages, though some would help the Jewish partisans.The Bielski partisans eventually became affiliated with Soviet organisations in the vicinity of the Naliboki Forest under Russian General ( in the movie Panchenko played by Ravil Isyanov). Several attempts by Soviet partisan commanders to absorb Bielski fighters into their units were resisted, such that the Jewish partisan group retained its integrity and remained under Tuvia Bielski's command. This allowed him to continue in his dedication to protect Jewish lives along with engaging in combat activity, but would also prove a problem later on. The Bielski partisan leaders split the group into two units, one named Ordzhonikidze, led by Zus (Liev Schreiber), and the other Kalinin, commanded by Tuvia (Daniel Craig). According to partisan documentation, Bielski fighters from both units killed a total of 381 enemy fighters, sometimes during joint actions with Soviet groups. 50 members of the group were killed. In the summer of 1944, when the Soviet counteroffensive began in Belarus and the area was taken over by the Soviets, the Kalinin unit, numbering 1,230 men, women and children, emerged from the forest and marched into Nowogrodek.Despite their previous collaboration with the Soviets, relations quickly worsened. The NKVD started interrogating the Bielski brothers about the rumours of loot they had reportedly collected during the war, and about their failure to "implement socialist ideals in the camp". Asael Bielski (Jamie Bell)was conscripted into the Soviet Red Army and fell in the Battle of Königsberg in 1945. The remaining brothers escaped Soviet-controlled lands, emigrating West. After the war, Tuvia Bielski returned to Poland, then emigrated to present-day Israel in 1945. Tuvia and Zus eventually settled in the United States. They operated a successful trucking business. When Tuvia died in 1987, he was buried in Long Island, NY, but a year later, at the urging of surviving partisans in Israel, he was exhumed and given a hero's funeral at the hillside graveyard in Jerusalem. His wife, Lilka (Alexa Davalos), was buried beside him in 2001. None of the Bielskis ever sought any recognition or reward for their actions.


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