Defiance (2009)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: January 16, 2009
DVD Release Date: June 2, 2009
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Critic Score: 57% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

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.

Ben Lyons
At the Movies

The way Zwick force-feeds his audience emotion becomes laborious.

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Peter Howell
Toronto Star

It's understandable and laudable that they desire not to sensationalize the Bielskis, and they've made a worthy film. But their understated approach makes the struggle seem less urgent than it must surely have been.

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Brian D. Johnson
Maclean's Magazine

The actors are compelling. And Director Edward Zwick inflects the material with his trademark mix of moral zeal and high adventure, as in previous epics like Glory, Legends of the Fall and Blood Diamond.

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Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies

I felt like these characters were prototypes and not people.

Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times

Ultimately, the film celebrates and memorializes the survival of something unthinkable, and a group of people for whom defiance meant, at heart, that they would push against the growing darkness and carry on.

Will Leitch

Zwick wants to tell timeless stories on a grand scale. I know that's not what people want anymore. I know it's not breathtaking. But it's not something many are doing now, and definitely not doing it this well.

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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor

As a piece of historical redress, a great service has been done in bringing this narrative to the screen.

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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle

It's difficult, perhaps impossible, to make a gripping 137-minute epic about people standing around under the trees.

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Kelly Vance
East Bay Express

Zwick does not deal in gratuitous grotesquery or far-fetched metaphor. "Operatic" and "surreal" are not in his vocabulary.

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More reviews for Defiance

Flixster Audience Score: 72% Flixster User Reviews
xGary Xx
Defiance is the true story of Jewish brothers Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber who hid from the Nazis in the Belarussian forest and quickly found themselves with… More
Raymond Wieser
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… More
Albert Kim
I wanted to love this movie. The plot, the actors, the setting, all seemed to be the perfect setup for a gripping and dramatic film. Edward Zwick directed this… More
Julie B
Well acted and interesting. And the dirtier Daniel Craig gets, the bluer his eyes look. Just sayin'.
Jens S.
If you were trying to find a way to bash this film you could say that it is about people running and hiding through the same kind of forest for two hours. That… More
Kevin M. Williams
Two Jewish brothers square off over the Nazi problem: one believes to fight fire with more fire, the other seeks the road less travelled. In the balance hangs… More