Ballad of a Soldier (1959)

Ballad of a Soldier




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By: , , ,
Written By: Grigori Chukhrai, Valentin Yoshov, Grigori Chukhraj & Valentin Yezhov
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 30, 2002
Criterion Collection


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Critic Reviews for Ballad of a Soldier

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4)

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.

Full Review… | February 8, 2010
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
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.

Full Review… | May 9, 2009
Turner Classic Movies Online

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.

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.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer

A little hokey, but really well made.

Tim Sigur

Super Reviewer

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