Critics Consensus

Professionally made but artistically uninspired, Ed Zwick's story of Jews surviving WWII in the Belarus forest lacks the emotional punch of the actual history.



Total Count: 183


Audience Score

User Ratings: 251,277
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Movie Info

Based on an extraordinary true story, "Defiance" is an epic tale of family, honor, vengeance and salvation in World War II. The year is 1941 and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being massacred by the thousands. Managing to escape certain death, three brothers take refuge in the dense surrounding woods they have known since childhood. There they begin their desperate battle against the Nazis. The brothers turn a primitive struggle to survive into something far more consequential--a way to avenge the deaths of their loved ones by saving thousands of others. At first, it is all they can do to stay alive. But, gradually, as whispers of their daring spreads, they begin to attract others--men and women, young and old--willing to risk everything for the sake of even a moment's freedom. Tuvia is a reluctant leader and his decisions are challenged by his brother, Zus who worries that Tuvia's idealistic plans will doom them all. Asael is the youngest--caught between his brothers' fierce rivalry. As a brutal winter descends, they work to create a community, and to keep faith alive when all humanity appears to be lost.


Daniel Craig
as Tuvia Bielski
Liev Schreiber
as Zus Bielski
Jamie Bell
as Asael Bielski
Alexa Davalos
as Lilka Ticktin
Allan Corduner
as Shimon Haretz
Alan Corduner
as Shimon Haretz
Tomas Arana
as Ben Zion Gulkowitz
Mark Feuerstein
as Isaac Malbin
Jodhi May
as Tamara Skidelsky
Kate Fahy
as Riva Reich
Iddo Goldberg
as Yitzhak Shulman
Martin Hancock
as Peretz Shorshaty
Ravil Isyanov
as Viktor Panchenko
Jacek Koman
as Konstanty "Koscik" Kozlowski
George MacKay
as Aron Bielski
Sam Spruell
as Arkady Lubczanski
Mia Wasikowska
as Chaya Dziencielsky
Mark Margolis
as Jewish Elder
Markus von Lingen
as German SS Scout
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Critic Reviews for Defiance

All Critics (183) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (105) | Rotten (78)

Audience Reviews for Defiance

  • Feb 06, 2013
    Daniel Craig's "Fidder in the Forest" effort to recapture an example of Jewish defiance during the Second World War is decent but employs a paint-by-numbers approach to avoid real emotion and soul.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 02, 2011
    Defiance is a great tale, it just wasn't a great movie. The goods about the movie: the music was incredible, the acting from Craig and the other was very good, and the dramatic and intense moments are truly heartwrenching. The bad: the story gets very long and boring as the movie goes on because nothing is happening, I think the historical accuracy is a little sketchy, I think nere the end they tried making a Holocaust movie into an action movie. Overall, dont get me wrong I really liked this, but I had too many problems to say it was great.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    Despite a great and inspiring story, and wonderful actors and director, it's hard to think that Defiance wouldn't be great, but the reality is not quite so positive. The cinematography is extremely gorgeous: shot on location in Lithuania. The actors do a good job (except for Daniel Craig who can't seen to keep his accent), and James Newton Howard provides an intense, powerful score that should have won the Best Soundtrack Oscar, but the screenplay is cliched, and the film doesn't have any depth or emotional gravity to be powerful and involving.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2011
    Well acted and interesting. And the dirtier Daniel Craig gets, the bluer his eyes look. Just sayin'.
    Julie B Super Reviewer

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