4.3 23
Director: Edward Zwick

Cast: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell


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Inspired by a true story, director Edward Zwick's epic World War II drama Defiance tells the tale of three Jewish Eastern European brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell) who narrowly escape certain death at the hands of the Nazis, subsequently vowing to avenge the deaths of their loves ones by launching a desperateSee more details below


Inspired by a true story, director Edward Zwick's epic World War II drama Defiance tells the tale of three Jewish Eastern European brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell) who narrowly escape certain death at the hands of the Nazis, subsequently vowing to avenge the deaths of their loves ones by launching a desperate battle against the forces that seek to exterminate their entire race. The year is 1941, and the setting is Nazi-occupied Belarus. The Final Solution is in full effect, and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being slaughtered wholesale. Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Schreiber), and Asael (Bell) have miraculously managed to escape into the dense surrounding forest. Having played in these woods since childhood, the brothers have a distinct advantage over their adversaries, and soon decide that simply surviving is not enough. In order to make a difference, they must take action, but in order to take action they will need support. As whispers of their bravery take wind, others like them appear determined to lay their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. Tuvia has become the de facto leader of the group, but he's still somewhat reluctant to take on such a heavy responsibility and his brother Zus expresses concern that his idealistic plan will ultimately bring about the group's downfall. With winter setting in, everyone works to create a functioning community that will help them endure the frigid months that lie ahead, and Asael reluctantly finds himself caught in the crossfire of his older siblings' rivalry. Is it possible to keep faith alive in a time when the world seems devoid of humanity and survival becomes a way of life?

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
A Holocaust film that's light on sentimentality but high on human drama, Defiance tells one of those remarkable survival stories that's so incredible it must be true. Though the poster image may indicate a film geared more toward a physical act of defiance rather than a philosophical one, anyone walking into Defiance in search of some cathartic, Nazi ass-kicking action will be sorely disappointed. It turns out co-screenwriters Clayton Frohman and Edward Zwick (who also directed) are more interested in using the scenario to explore man's inhumanity to man and the ways that war simultaneously brings out both the worst and the best in our unpredictable little species rather than following a group of machine-gun-toting Jews as they decimate Hitler's ranks. Defiance takes its inspiration from Nechama Tec's nonfiction book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, which recounts the tale of three brothers who narrowly escaped a Nazi raid on their family farm, took refuge in the surrounding forest, and survived in the wilderness by setting up a small community with others who had lost their families and/or homes to the Nazi invaders. The year is 1941, and the Jews of Eastern Europe are under the threat of total extermination. Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron Bielski (George MacKay) have just lost everything they ever loved, and now in order to survive they must retreat into the trees. At first they have a distinct advantage over their pursuers; they grew up in these woods and know well how to use the cover to their advantage -- though as other wanderers arrive and their ranks begin to grow, so too do their chances of being discovered by the Nazis. When the competition for leadership between Tuvia and Zus threatens to stir dissent within the ranks, Zus makes the decision to leave the group and join a brigade of Russian resistance fighters who have set up camp nearby. As winter sets in, food supplies dwindle and disease begins to spread, causing many to wonder whether they should have remained in the ghetto and taken their chances with the Nazis. When it comes to Holocaust dramas, filmmakers have a habit of focusing on the larger stories and the epic battles -- and who can blame them? After all, it was a time when the world came precariously close to falling under the command of a fascist tyrant commanding an imposing army, and seeking to wipe out an entire race. And though many film lovers immediately recall haunting images of mass graves or sweeping shots from Triumph of the Will when we think of that horrible time in history, some of the most remarkable stories from that time are also some of the smallest, as evidenced by the continued impact of The Diary of Anne Frank, or, more recently, Roman Polanski's The Pianist. In Defiance, you won't find any goose-stepping Nazis marching in formation, and the one shot of a mass grave is revealed with a sure-handed subtlety that truly makes the blood run cold. This is an intimate story of family and community, told on the kind of small scale that forces us to experience the horror of losing someone whose face we recognize and whose voice has faded forever into the wind. It's a stark, albeit inspiring drama wherein brotherly bonds (both literally and figuratively) are put to the true test, and the challenge faced by survivors is how to maintain their humanity while being hunted and slaughtered like animals. The value in a film like Defiance is in helping us realize what it takes to hang on to our compassion even in times of unprecedented despair, and never giving up hope -- even when logic dictates that all is lost.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary by director Edward Zwick; Return to the forest: the making of Defiance; Children of the otriad: the families speak

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Daniel Craig Tuvia Bielski
Liev Schreiber Zus Bielski
Jamie Bell Asael Bielski
Alexa Davalos Lilka Ticktin
Alan Corduner Shimon Haretz
Mark Feuerstein Isaac Malbin
Tomas Arana Ben Zion Gulkowitz
Jodhi May Tamara Skidelsky
Kate Fahy Riva Reich
Iddo Goldberg Yitzhak Shulman
Iben Hjejle Bella
Martin Hancock Peretz Shorshaty
Ravil Isyanov Viktor Panchenko
Jacek Koman Konstanty "Koscik" Kozlowski
George MacKay Aron Bielski
Jody O'neill Lazar
Sam Spruell Arkady Lubczanski
Mia Wasikowska Chaya Dziencielsky
Mark Margolis Jewish Elder
Markus von Lingen German SS Scout
Rolandas Boravskis Gramov

Technical Credits
Edward Zwick Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Robert Alazraki Cinematographer
Jenny Beavan Costumes/Costume Designer
Pieter Jan Brugge Producer
Clay Frohman Screenwriter
Marshall Herskovitz Executive Producer
James Newton Howard Score Composer
Alisa Katz Producer
Gilbert "Berto" Lecluyse Cinematographer
Troy Putney Producer
Steven Rosenblum Editor
Eduardo Serra Cinematographer
Gail Stevens Casting
Roland Tec Producer
Victoria Thomas Casting
Dan Weil Production Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Defiance
1. Scene 1 [4:01]
2. Scene 2 [6:13]
3. Scene 3 [6:06]
4. Scene 4 [9:29]
5. Scene 5 [9:37]
6. Scene 6 [8:45]
7. Scene 7 [7:23]
8. Scene 8 [6:42]
9. Scene 9 [7:43]
10. Scene 10 [7:12]
11. Scene 11 [7:20]
12. Scene 12 [4:27]
13. Scene 13 [2:06]
14. Scene 14 [5:38]
15. Scene 15 [4:30]
16. Scene 16 [5:40]
17. Scene 17 [7:16]
18. Scene 18 [5:00]
19. Scene 19 [8:08]
20. Scene 20 [4:06]

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