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Ballad of a Soldier

Ballad of a Soldier (1959)


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Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 2,935

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Movie Info

The award-winning Ballad of a Soldier was the first Russian film to score an American success during the Cold War era. It is a relatively simple, uncomplicated story of a callow young Russian conscript (Vladimir Ivashov) who yearns for home and hearth during World War II. Unfortunately, only those who have committed a conspicuously heroic act are being honored with liberty. Almost in spite of himself, the boy becomes a battlefield hero, and as a result is allowed to visit his family. En route to

Apr 30, 2002

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (0) | DVD (14)

One of those "universal" tales that are so often vague and sticky, but the simplicity and restraint of director Grigori Chukhrai lift it above the run.

February 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's fairly standard stuff, made into something more by a sense of humanity and a knack for avoiding outright schmaltz.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

... a simple, poetic tale where the sentimental streak and patriotic idealism common to the Soviet formula is humanized with vivid characters and tender direction.

May 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

Deceptively simple, heartfelt.

May 23, 2008 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

At once particular and universal, this lyrically poetic, emotionally touching anti-war movie is one of the most honored and popular Russian films ever made, achieving an instant status of a classic.

April 11, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It's a lyrical humanistic black and white film that's simply told and its universal anti-war message is easily understood.

December 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...a simple, genuine, and non-dogmatic meditation on the incalculably tragic cost of war.

April 4, 2006 Full Review Source:

Had Ballad of a Soldier received wider play in 1960, more Americans would have realized that individual Russians are real human beings

July 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Almost awkwardly idealistic, instead of brimming with socialist rhetoric, the film celebrates the individual human spirit and the power of good deeds.

June 13, 2002
Q Network Film Desk

Perfectly crafted.

April 18, 2002 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Ballad of a Soldier

The leave of a young Russian soldier is sidetracked by his own kindness and humanity. A story of human decency set against a backdrop of destruction and devastation. Poignant and sad but still inspirational.
February 6, 2010
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

A beautifully-made film from Russia. As a reward for a heroic deed in battle, a young soldier receives six days leave to go home to see his mother. The rest of the film follows him as he tries to make it home and back in the allotted time. For part of his journey, he sneaks aboard a boxcar, and then later a pretty young girl does the same. You can take it from there...up to a point.

Like many Russian films, the faces are the main focus. The lighting of this film was particularly impressive, and every face seems to glow from within. There are some very interesting camera angles, especially in the early battle scenes, but also the shots of and from the train. Even the musical score was beautful and dreamy. The only flaw I found in the film was the heavy-handed sentimentality. You can show depth of feeling without being melodramatic about it. Otherwise, this is a touching and beautiful film.
November 14, 2009

Super Reviewer

A little hokey, but really well made.
October 9, 2007

Super Reviewer

A lovely, heartbreaking, somewhat episodic film about the travels of a young Russian soldier who's given a short leave to go home and see his mother. During the erratic journey back to his village, he meets an innocent farm girl and awkwardly falls in love. Beautiful cinematography, affecting leads.
April 3, 2011
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ballad of a Soldier (Ballada o soldate) (DE)
  • Ballad of a Soldier (Ballada o soldate) (UK)
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