Ivan's Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo)


Ivan's Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo)

Critics Consensus

Ostensibly an atypical Tarkovsky work (less than 100 minutes!), Ivan's Childhood carries the poetry and passion that would characterize the director from here on.



Total Count: 22


Audience Score

User Ratings: 5,788
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Ivan's Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo) Photos

Movie Info

A 12-year-old Russian orphan, because of his small size and ability to evade Nazi troops, works as a spy and a scout doing reconnaissance work for Soviet troops.

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Critic Reviews for Ivan's Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (22)

  • Unmissable.

    May 19, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • No other director is simultaneously so precise and so otherworldly.

    May 16, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Director Andrei Tarkovsky has mixed daring with poetry in making this film: he shows the Soviet hero as an individual troubled with the doubts and complexities of other humans.

    Aug 4, 2015 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • While the emotional weight of Ivan is clear from the first frames -- Tarkovsky doesn't stray from making us feel the pain of Ivan's world -- there is that sense of music the director is so intent on conveying.

    Aug 4, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Beauty, poetry and sadness are certainly lodged in its brief dramatic span, to be seized and embraced by anybody who will give a compassionate mind to it.

    May 9, 2005 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Remains one of the most remarkable debuts in all of cinema, and one of the most indelible portraits of war and childhood ever made.

    Aug 6, 2019 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ivan's Childhood (Ivanovo detstvo)

  • Jun 21, 2014
    Ivan's Childhood is a fine, well crafted picture that showcases the subtlety of Andrei Tarkovsky's work. The film is brilliantly crafted with a simple, yet terrific story and it shows that you can pull off something truly wonderful with using the simplest ideas and putting them to a phenomenal style of filmmaking that elevates the film to art. Beautifully done, Tarkovsky crafts another stunning drama that resonates due to its strong characters, powerful story and breathtaking direction. I've said many times before that Tarkovsky was a master of his art, and here, he crafts something that delivers an impressive hour and a half of brilliant entertaining. Here the cast deliver some thoroughly powerful performances. This is another standout picture from a director who clearly is able to push the cinematic medium into new territory that has elevated films significantly. What I loved about the film the most was the idea behind the story, and the way it unfolds. Tarkovsky yet again delivers a stunning work and it's a well crafted work that is exciting, engaging and delivers a dramatic story well worth your time. The film is shot in beautiful black and white and it adds so much to the tone, atmosphere and feel of the movie. This is a stunning piece of cinema that ranks among the finest foreign films ever made, and it is captivating from the first frame onwards. I heavily recommend this film to anyone looking for a truly outstanding piece of cinema, and it's a movie that resonates with its message, and to me it was the loss of innocence due to a tragic occurrence of the main character, and Andrei Tarkovsky captures everything through his lens and in turn creates a stunning and haunting, yet beautiful portrait.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2013
    A 12-year old orphan boy works as a scout for the Russian army during WWII, journeying alone into Nazi territory to gather intel on troop positions. Beautifully shot B&W war drama with tasteful dream sequences.
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2012
    Amazing cinematography. Very interesting story. Nikolai Burlyayev, gives one of the strongest performances I've seen from a child actor.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 09, 2011
    From the Criterion Collection Spine Number 397, this is a excellent Russian film about a young boy who is actually a spy for the Russians against the Germans in WWII. A very capturing story. In Russian with English subtitles. The child is an excellent actor, afraid of nothing. A good Black and White Film. A treasure in this collection worth 4 1/2 stars
    Bruce B Super Reviewer

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