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The Ascent (1977)

Voskhozhdenie (original title)
| Drama, War | 1977 (Norway)
3:41 | Trailer
Two Soviet partisans on a mission to gather food contend with the winter cold, the occupying Germans, and their own psyches.


Larisa Shepitko


Vasiliy Bykov (novel), Yuri Klepikov (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4 wins. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Boris Plotnikov ... Sotnikov
Vladimir Gostyukhin ... Rybak
Sergey Yakovlev ... Village elder
Lyudmila Polyakova ... Demchikha
Viktoriya Goldentul ... Basya
Anatoliy Solonitsyn ... Portnov, the Nazi interrogator
Mariya Vinogradova ... Village elder's wife
Nikolai Sektimenko ... Stas'
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Anatoli Chebotaryov Anatoli Chebotaryov
Sergei Kanishchev ... Boy wearing Budenovka (as Serezha Kanishchev)
Vasili Kravtsov Vasili Kravtsov
Mikhail Selyutin
Leonid Yukhin
Aleksandr Zvenigorsky


In a freezing cold World War II winter, two pro-Soviet partisans - Sotnikov and Rybak - head off to find food for themselves and their compatriots. They find a sheep at the home of a German Headman but their return to camp is interrupted when they are arrested by a Nazi patrol. Taken prisoner, Sotnikov stands true to his beliefs and refuses to answer any questions despite physical abuse and torture. Rybak on the other hand argues that since they know nothing, they should simply tell them all that they know and do whatever they can to stay alive. One of them will live, but at a very heavy cost. Written by garykmcd

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Drama | War


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Did You Know?


This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #1,063. See more »


Sotnikov: [Imprisoned, Sotnikov and Rybak are arguing whether to speak with Germans or not] We're soldiers. Soldiers. Don't crawl in shit. You'll never wash it off.
Rybak: So then, to the grave - to feed the worms. Right?
Sotnikov: That's not the worst that could happen. No. That's not what I'm talking about. Now I understand. I understand. The important thing is to be true to yourself.
Rybak: Fool! You're a fool, Sotnikov. You graduated from the institute for nothing. I want to live! To live! To kill those bastards! Understand? ...
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Referenced in Evening Urgant: Philip Kirkorov (2020) See more »

User Reviews

A Christian parable from Soviet Russia!
9 June 2003 | by jitensmerchantSee all my reviews

I saw "Ascent" in Bombay (dubbed in English) when I was 18, soon after the film was made. I have tried to see it subsequently EVERY TIME it was screened at the local Russian cultural centre. One of the first images in the movie is of a series of telegraph poles in a snowscape, one of which is out of alignment....and you realise that they look rather like the sign of the cross in the Russian Orthodox Church. This is a Judas-Christ parable, with several scenes "composed" like famous paintings of scenes from the Passion. The references and symbolism are endless....in the plot-line, the characters, the mise-en-scene --- the final hanging of the protagonist among "thieves" on a hill (which he has to climb) is a clear reference to Golgotha. The black and white photography is among the most beautiful I have seen; the acting is superb, especially the man playing the protagonist -- though making him a "special agent of the Red Army" is obviously a nod in the direction of Big Brother! I cannot begin to tell you how important this film probably is in world cinema....I use the word "probably" because I am only a film-lover, NOT a film-historian. However, if its available on DVD, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!!!!

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Official Sites:

Mosfilm [rus]


Soviet Union


Russian | German

Release Date:

1977 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ascent See more »

Filming Locations:

Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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