Defiance

 (4,042)
7.22 h 16 min2009X-RayR
Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.
Directors
Edward Zwick
Starring
Daniel CraigLiev SchreiberJamie Bell
Genres
SuspenseMilitary and WarActionDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Alexa DavalosGeorge MacKayAllan CordunerMark FeuersteinTomas AranaJodhi MayKate FahyIddo GoldbergIben HjejleMartin HancockRavil IsyanovJacek KomanJonjo O'NeillSam SpruellMia WasikowskaMark MargolisMarkus von LingenRolandas BoravskisAlgirdas DainaviciusAurelija PrashuntaiteVidas PetkeviciusIna FrismanaiteAna GoldbergRimante ValiukaiteLeonardas PobedonoscevasKristina BertasiuteKristina SkokovaRemigijus BilinskasRimgaudas KarvelisLeonas CiunisJanina MatiekonyteAleksandr ZilaIveta NadzeikieneClayton FrohmanMarc LevyZoe RosenblumSakalas UzdavinysSaulius JanaviciuLeonid KotikDalia MicheleviciuteTadas KavaliauskasMatas CancingerisDiana AneviciuteSigitas RackysVaidas KublinskasValentin NovopolskijErvinas Martynas PeteraitisDmitrij DenisiukAntanas SurnaDalius MertinasVaidotas MartinaitisAldona BendoriuteDarius GumauskasIrmantas BacelisEdita UzaiteJordan BielskyGediminas GirdvainisStanislav AdamickijKlemens BeckerJonas TamulevigiusJaroslav PsenickaJolanta DapkunaiteMiroslav LhotkaGiacomo StrasserMac SteinmeierDmitri SlepovitchArkadij GotesmanBorisas KirzenerisRaimondas Sviackevicius
Producers
Emereta BalciunaiteAlex BodenPieter Jan BruggeMarshall HerskovitzAlisa KatzAndrew LitvinTroy PutneyRoland TecGary TuckEdward Zwick
Studio
Paramount
Rating
R (Restricted)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

4042 global ratings

  1. 80% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 12% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Made In The USA Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Defiance - DVD - Review - Unfairly Criticized
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4 stars overall for this movie - inspired by actual events during World War 2. Defiance will move you to tears. 4 stars for Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber.
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Excellent movie. Especially considering the budget, the time allotted for filming, and the outdoor conditions that actors and film crew endured.
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Some critics complained Defiance was not on the scale of Schindler's List. Reality is that the number of survivors in the forest was 0.02% of the number of people killed in Nazi death camps.
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Some critics complained Defiance did not include enough action. Apparently not enough battles and skirmishes against the Nazis for some critics. Reality is that the Nazis were focused on invading and dominating all of Europe. Watch other WW2 movies for full scale battles with tanks and artillery.
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Some critics complained Defiance did not involve enough character development. Reality is the movie is not just about the Bielski brothers. Movie is also about 1200 people who formed a community and survived in the forest for 3 years. Movie does show struggles, fears, anxieties, illnesses, and deaths. Movie hints about the issues women and young girls faced in the forest, without being unnecessarily graphic.
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Some critics complained Defiance concentrated too much on Tuvia Bielski and Zus Bielski. Reality is both were the 2 brothers who were in the forest for 3 years leading 1200 to survival. Asael Bielski abandoned his pregnant wife Chaya Dziencielsky, his 3 brothers, and the entire group - to fight with the Russians. Movie unfortunately did not cover this event.
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Some critics and people in Poland complained Defiance movie simplified facts, mythologized the group and omitted accusations against the Bielskis. Reality is that this movie was made in Hollywood, decades too late. Poland or any other European country could have made this movie anytime during the 60s thru 90s. Without the typical Hollywood spin.
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Some critics complained Defiance movie was not true to the 1993 book "Defiance: The Bielski Partisans" by a Holocaust researcher. Reality is that no 2 hour movie can replicate a historical or fictional book.
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Recommend watching Defiance without expectations of Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Hacksaw Ridge, or the miniseries The Pacific.
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7 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on September 13, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Highly recommend
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This is one of those movies that you can only watch every so often, but when you do it reminds you of the very first time that you saw it. While is not a completely accurate representation of the events that took place in the Russian forest, it gives the viewer some insight into the harsh and nasty conditions that this group of Jewish citizens had to endure for their freedom. The Beilski brothers went to great lengths to keep themselves, their neighbors and total strangers out of the hands of the Nazi party, and the Russian people who supported the Nazi efforts. It is a compelling story of love, strength, compassion, and basic human nature to protect one's self, and those around you that are suffering the same fate. While the movie does not depict the actual number of Jewish citizens that the Bielski brothers saved, it was roughly 1,200 people, it shows how they all learned to work together, and to provide the basic human needs. This group of people came together for the greater good of themselves, and eachother. It is a compelling story, with great actors and actresses telling a very little known story of the Holocaust through the eyes of the Russian Jews. The viewer gets to see some of the realities that faced the Jewish nation outside of Germany and the surrounding areas during WWII. It is a great watch, and I would recommend this to anyone wanting to see another side of WWII.
55 people found this helpful
Lee Roy EddieReviewed in the United States on August 17, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
They broke "into" a Nazi Death Camp and rescued 5000 Jews!!!
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An overlooked "Masterpiece" which is not just based on true events but "Is Historically Documented." The film "Defiance" made only $128,000 in it's first 2 weeks but by the end of the films theatrical run it made "50 million dollars"!!! There was no promotional blitz, nothing but word of mouth. This is an epic film running 2 hours and 18 minutes long. This was a major oversight. This actually happened and the photo,s which were taken as part of the film narrative actually exist and not just bearing a striking resemblance but an "EXACT" resemblance. According to Wikipedia the militia group believed that it was dishonorable to "BRAG"!?!?! Thanks to Edward Zwick" the world now could learn how a group of iron fist "Blocks" of Wood"-(description by local towns people) Jew's beat the crap out of the Nazi's sending them back to the hell they crawled out of. This film had me riveted to the screen. The audio Commentary is a "MUST"!!! Historically informative and captivating! Why didn't I know about this chapter of history? Who the F%#*k has the balls to break into a death camp and rescue 5 thousand Jews????? Damn!
32 people found this helpful
Cole CReviewed in the United States on May 19, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent and Important film.
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I won't reiterate the plot here, but this is a terrific film that does a really fine job of humanizing all the characters. Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber are terrific as brothers, as is almost everyone. There's a scene where the rabbi (I think, at least some sort of professor) gives a prayer that is a profound appeal, almost a reprimand, to God in the middle of hell, and says essentially, as a Jew, "whatever blessing or privilege we supposedly have as the chosen people, it ain't worth it. Please un-choose us." It good easily have gone all Woody Allen but instead it is so heartfelt and sincere it is the emotional tent-pole of the film.
Another worthy scene shows the Jewish camp members in the forest, the women and old men, mostly, beat a German soldier prisoner to death as he begs for his life. Daniel Craig's character watches but does not interfere. He does not agree with the action, but he understands their profound rage. The Russian commander of a partisan group with whom the brothers are cooperating is also terrific as a morally gray man in an impossible command situation. He will happily drink with you or shoot you with equal aplomb. It's your call.
There are some "big picture" scenes also, in particular one in the ghetto in the beginning of the film where one of the Jewish leaders declines an opportunity to escape to the forest. "The Germans need us to work," he argues. "Things are bad, but they can't kill us, they need us!" His profound failure of imagination is impressive.
Daniel Craig plays a man who is doing a task he didn't ask for, and shows a great range of strength and fragility. Liev Schreiber his brother who is more inclined to fight alongside the Russians than hide in the woods and whose character is less nuanced than Craig's, but in the end blood wins.
This is an important film both because of its quality and because it really helps explain how things went so wrong for the Jews in Europe during the time of the Nazis. i should mention that the action sequences are very well done and realistic, as are the technical aspects.
20 people found this helpful
Sherrie HReviewed in the United States on April 18, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
THE BRAVERY OF A PEOPLE WHO WERE GIVEN A VISION AND WENT FOR IT!
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I thought I'd seen every movie, read every book and had a large DVD collection re the Holocaust but then I happen to be checking out Prime movies and found Defiance! I never heard of this movie and it so deserves to be seen.

Two Jewish brothers embark on a journey to escape Nazi occupied Eastern Europe and they hideout in the Belarussian forrest. Once there they meet Russian resistance fighters and in these woods (which must have been far far away from civilization) they brought and found Jews who had escaped, began to build a village. this village would protect at least l,000 non-military Jews who had fled the Nazi Regime.

As you watch the story unfold it becomes clear that not everyone could thrive in this life. In the dead of winter; in the heat of summer; whatever happened when tempers flared these brave brothers and their charges put forth a valiant effort to stay alive to bring peace among themselves and, to live to tell the story of the German invasion and the cruelty that had just begun.

Danial Craig and Liev Schreiber play the brothers and they are both magnificent.
They have a rocky road in front of them and don't always agree about anything or anybody but they are all about helping their fellow Jews stay alive.
I watched this movie with tear-stained eyes throughout. I thought "If it were me could I have lived through that." I honestly don't think I could but these Jews; they were determined and the story of their plight is to be in viewed in awe!
12 people found this helpful
David GreeneReviewed in the United States on October 16, 2015
3.0 out of 5 stars
It's an ok movie but very hollywood.
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Well. First off let me right up front say that I get irritated by movie directors that have actors running around doing things that don't actually work in the real world, and this movie is guilty of an awful lot of that. It was more of an action adventure movie than any sort of historical action thriller, that is unless you think every russian jew was a dumbed down caricature of a person (read-character development was lacking), and the heros basically just sat around drinking a LOT and running about with a sub-machine gun with apparently inexhaustible magazines waving them around while running and actually hitting everything they pointed it in the general direction of. Also the German army were professionals, very much so in fact. They at least carried the correct arms, the russian jews on the other hand did have 1891/30 variants (Mosin Nagants) but the sub guns apparently were not in stock with the movie gun rental company so they were running around with a couple of Schmeissers (MP-40) instead of the very fine PPSh41 which shot ammunition that was actually readily available to them. I know, I'm nitpicking. The problem was that after a while I got tired of the plot line, which by the way was basically the germans hunting the jews, they hide in the woods, and after getting some sort of food supply and shooting a bunch of people running away and shooting some more people. Also they avoided the germans pretty much the whole time until the end when they apparently were attacked by Colonel Klink and the rest of the gang from Hogan's Heros with the same amount of bungling who then stood up and couldn't hit anything at all instead of doing what they would have done which is hit the dirt and shot many of them. It just wasn't much of a plot line, run away, firefight, bomb run with stukkas (which were fitted with sirens to terrify whoever they were bombing) that made no noise, and bombs which didn't do very much honestly. Carnage? No they just knock you over a little.
Pair of of ^ that with the fact that Daniel Craig seems to own a perpetually self shaving face and you have "Defiance". The acting was powerful when it needed to be, but the screenplay was crap and the directing was crap. Basically it was crap... but I like a crap movie from time to time as long as the good guys win so... three stars.
4 people found this helpful
AMAZONITISReviewed in the United States on September 8, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Exciting, Inspirational, Craig and Scheiber are Fine
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Defiance" is a very entertaining, exciting, suspenseful, and inspirational film about a tough topic: the Holocaust. Its many action sequences are well-paced and well-motivated. You know exactly why Tuvia Bielski (Daniel Craig) breaks into a home and points a gun at a man in front of his family. Daniel Craig and Live Schreiber are terrific as Tuvia and Zus Bielski, who lead a band of Jewish forest partisans during World War Two, thus saying over a thousand lives.

The movie is not perfect. Characters speak English with Slavic accents. In other scenes, they speak Russian or Belarusian. Craig and Schreiber manage very good Slavic accents, both when speaking English and when speaking the Slavic languages, but Craig occasionally lapses into his English accent when speaking English. Female characters are not particularly well drawn, or given much to do. While this film is very good, it doesn't have the production values to be a timeless classic like "Schindler's List." The movie is controversial. Most of the controversies are shallow relative to the most important facts at hand. Many of those attacking this movie have axes to grind, including current events in the Middle East or feuds between Poles and Jews. The most important fact is this: the Nazis committed a genocide of six million Jews. In the midst of this Satanic nightmare, the Bielskis managed to save over a thousand Jews. That's the main, and absolutely true, point here, and it should not be lost in bickering over details.

Compared to other treatments of the Holocaust, this film is fair. It doesn't show Slavic peasants as uniformly Jew-hating collaborators. Nazis, not Slavic peasants, were the authors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Some occupied peoples collaborated, often out of fear and for financial gain or as payback for old grudges. Some occupied peoples did everything they could to help Jews, as does a Belarusian peasant in this film.

The Bielskis were not immaculate. They did summarily execute captured Germans, as shown here. They did raid peasants for provisions, as shown here. They did work with the Soviets, but so did Uncle Sam. Remember that photo of FDR and Churchill smiling with Stalin at Yalta. The Polish IPN institute is investigating charges that members of the Bielski partisans, but not the Bielskis themselves, participated in the 1943 Soviet massacre of 128 people in Naliboki. Aron, the youngest Bielski brother, was, in 2007, accused of defrauding an elderly Polish woman. These failures of the Bielski brothers to be perfect in no way lessen their achievement, any more than any failure to be perfect lessen any hero's achievement. Again, in the face of genocide, the Bielski brothers managed to save over a thousand people. Were they perfect? No. Were they admirable, heroic, and worth learning about? Absolutely yes.
4 people found this helpful
Han X.Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely Riveting
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Why would anyone judge a movie just by the first, say, 20 mins? True, in Save Private Ryan, the beginning is spectacular and breath-taking, so did the Schindler's List, but different movies have different styles. The beginning for this movie is essential to render a foundation for the background and for character developing. Just because Jew-holocaust WWII genre isn't novel any more doesn't mean all audiences should be refused the chance to be immersed into a realistic personal experience of that unhappy era. One is free to leave to choose one's better after watching only a portion of the movie, but that doesn't grant one the right to comment on the movie FOR OTHERS (okay for oneself or if BEGGED to express personal opinions). If you really think a movie poorly and would like to announce your reasons by commenting, at least make the sacrifice to complete the movie. So, please, no more comments like "left only after watching for XX mins."

Personally I think the movie really excels in pulling out the viewers' sympathy (and empathy) for the characters. The rhythm is good -- now and then a blessed camp community moment in between surviving thrills and community tenses. Characters are thus not only struggling for survival but also tormented with their conflicting vulnerability and strength. The difficulties on all fronts are adequately presented and weighted in the film. The lack of big super-fighting scenes (except the last engagement) all the better makes the film shining not in gores or glory, but really in a survival epic catalyzed by the Nazi pursuit. After all, the survivors aren't the Allies' soldiers with gear and provisions, but scavengers. So an absolutely riveting humanity-probing journal, but not a super-hero, acrobatic, B-17 bragging, or army-man moaning cliche.
2 people found this helpful
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