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Defiance (I) (2008)

R  |   |  Action, Drama, History  |  16 January 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 109,582 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 228 user | 201 critic | 34 from

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:
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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 German tank which appears near the end of the film is a replica of a Panzer III which was created by modifying a Swiss Panzer 61 tank. It was one of two such vehicles previously used in Enemy at the Gates (2001). See more »


At the last battle scene, where the exodus Jews are met by the German tank, Tuvia replies to Asael, "No, we stay and fight." His lips clearly do not mouth the word fight. See more »


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


Referenced in The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: Daniel Craig (2009) See more »


Oy, Pri Luzhku, Pri Luzhke
Performed by Ravil Isyanov
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Preview Screening...
13 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

James Bond and Oscar winning director Ed Zwick take on the Nazis.

Saw a preview screening of DEFIANCE last week in Woodland Hills. Daniel Craig stars as Tuvia Bielski in the true WWII story of three Jewish brothers who hid in the Belorussian forests and built a community of partisan fighters, saving over 1200 Jews by war's end.

Liev Schreiber (Zus Bielski) and Jamie Bell (Asael Bielski) star alongside Craig as his two younger brothers. Both Craig and Schreiber give powerhouse performances as the older brothers competing for leadership, and Jamie Bell, who most recently starred in the abysmal Jumper, gives a surprisingly great performance as well.

Zwick has created one of the most beautiful and thought provoking films of his career and definitely one of the most Oscar worthy movies to hit cinemas in years. War and destruction has never been so captivating and moving. There have been dozens of war movies in recent years but none have left me caring so much or feeling so attached to the characters. My eyeballs wouldn't break from the screen for the full 120 mins, and by the film's end, I wasn't ready to stop watching. I can't wait for the release (which appears to be some time this winter) in order to see it again.

It's a superb film with a nice balance of heavy hitting action and intense drama, but if that's not enough to make you want to see it, just the fact that these on screen heroes existed in real life definitely make it worth the watch.

This is a WWII movie that doesn't hide or glamorize war but shows the intense reality of what happens when people band together against overwhelming evil and survive.

A solid 8.5/10

255 of 383 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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historically inacurate movie matedom
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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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