Defiance

User Score
5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 147 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 93 out of 147
  2. Negative: 46 out of 147
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  1. Mar 26, 2015
    10
    This film is America's way of glorifying unsung heroes of some of the world's darkest eras. I love it, and I doubt I'm alone. The acting is great, the setting is portrayed perfectly, and it brilliantly balances drama with action and not too much cheese. At the time of my review, its on Netflix so what's there to lose?!
  2. Sep 20, 2014
    5
    Defiance proves that not any Holocaust retelling makes for quality film. This one is extremely underwhelming, despite actual promise. There are moments of intense, genuine drama; however, it's hidden beneath several awkward performances.
  3. Jul 20, 2014
    4
    Defiance: 4 out of 10: I have a soft spot for director Edward Zwick. I have a real soft spot for his Blood Diamond flick despite its pedestrian script and subconscious racism. In addition, The Last Samurai is another film of his that I loved despite its historical inaccuracies and bizarre lead casting. Defiance shares many of the same endemic faults that plagued those two films. I was notDefiance: 4 out of 10: I have a soft spot for director Edward Zwick. I have a real soft spot for his Blood Diamond flick despite its pedestrian script and subconscious racism. In addition, The Last Samurai is another film of his that I loved despite its historical inaccuracies and bizarre lead casting. Defiance shares many of the same endemic faults that plagued those two films. I was not able to brush the faults off this time; I found them even more discordant as the film went on.

    Problem number one is Daniel Craig. He does not look like an Eastern Polish Jew. He looks like he misplaced his Oberstleutnant uniform at the Wehrmacht’s cleaners. Even if you were able to accept Daniel Craig as some sort of Paul Newman style Jew who parachuted into Eastern Europe, only Helen Keller would buy him as Lev Schreiber’s brother. A mutant dancing Australian is a more believable brother for Schreiber than Craig is.

    In fact, Craig and Schreiber seem to be in two different films and Schreiber is in the much better one. Schreiber seems to be in the here and now with a strong subtle performance that is the best thing in the film. Daniel Craig’s performance is as shaky as his accent. He, of course, is forced to do things like give Braveheart speeches from the back of a white horse, so the fault is hardly his alone. And saying platitudes such as “Our vengeance is to live" and "Every day of freedom is like an act of faith" while gazing at the camera with those, just give me an Oscar and I will go back to entertaining you, baby blues doesn't help his cause either.

    Problem number Two is best summarized by one of my favorite ladies I don't think we really need another film about the Holocaust, do we? It is like, how many have there been, you know. We get it. It was grim. Move on. No, I am doing it because I have noticed that if you do a film about the Holocaust you are guaranteed an Oscar ... That is why I am doing it. Schindler's bloody List. The Pianist. Oscars coming out of their arse.

    — Kate Winslet (Winner of the 2008 Best Actress Oscar for Holocaust drama The Reader) in Extras, 2005

    Defiance is clearly Oscar bait. In one scene Daniel “Moses” Craig leads his people through the reeds and swamps and away from the forest (and inexplicably away from decent cover and fortifications) until a Rabbi collapses, sputters out "I almost lost my faith but you were sent by God to save us” and then promptly dies... oy vey. It really is not that easy to make a mainstream Holocaust film, release it in December, and get no nominations* for Golden Globes or Oscars. Defiance is clearly trying too hard.

    The third problem is that a third rate cast of Fiddler on the Roof somehow showed up lost in the woods. Somebody call the Jewish stereotype prison, cause there has been a mass escape. Everyone is here. The nebbish intellectual who cannot hammer a nail, the passive Jews who are unwilling to fight, the greedy Jew more interested in money than his fellow man. Good lord, it is as if Leni Reisenthal’s travelling troop of stereotypes showed up. Thank goodness, Daniel Craig is here to straighten them all out and lead them to the Promised Land. Yup blond blue eyed Daniel Craig…. Yeah the movie has issues.

    *No nominations except, inexplicably, for its score; which at two hours of crying violins will test any ones nerves.
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  4. Aug 2, 2013
    3
    Neither smart, nor bright sci-fi that has poor characters, bad screenplay, cheap effects and stupid dialogs. Recommended only if there's nothing else to see (which is unlikely to happen).
  5. Jul 7, 2013
    10
    Daniel Craig will always be associated with the James Bond film franchise having tackled the lead role in two highly successful Bond movies (with a few more on the horizon). Craig's superb as the super-spy and boy can he handle action scenes. But Craig's not just Bond. He's taken on a diverse collection of film roles over the past 15 years, delivering outstanding performances as a killerDaniel Craig will always be associated with the James Bond film franchise having tackled the lead role in two highly successful Bond movies (with a few more on the horizon). Craig's superb as the super-spy and boy can he handle action scenes. But Craig's not just Bond. He's taken on a diverse collection of film roles over the past 15 years, delivering outstanding performances as a killer in Infamous, a member of the Israeli team assembled after the massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, and a business man never referred to by name whose plans for retirement from the drug trade are put on hold in Layer Cake. Craig adds yet another exceptional performance to his resume with his starring role in the dramatic thriller, Defiance, set in 1941. Directed by Edward Zwick (Glory, Blood Diamond) and adapted for the screen by Zwick and Clay Frohman from the non-fiction book by Nechama Tec, Defiance tells the true story of three brothers Tuvia, Zus and Asael Bielski who beat incredible odds and ultimately kept thousands of Jews safe from being murdered by the Nazis and their supporters. Defiance is an absolutely heartbreaking and heroic tale, and one that hadn't seen the light of day on the big screen prior to this film. The real Bielski brothers never sought fame or recognition for their bravery and so this is one true story that will be new to most moviegoers. And it's definitely one that deserves to be shared with a worldwide audience as the Bielskis accomplished the near-impossible and saved untold lives. Tuvia (Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), and Asael Bielski (Jamie Bell) escaped into the forest surrounding their family's home in Stankevich (now Belarus) after discovering Nazi collaborators had murdered their parents. Farmers by trade, the brothers were capable, resourceful men able to live off the land. But the Bielskis didn't just want to hide out and try to survive the massacre of their fellow Jewish citizens. The brothers wanted to avenge the deaths of their family and friends and did so by saving men, women, children, and the elderly from falling into the hands of the Nazis and their supporters. At the urging (basically under the direct order of) Tuvia, the oldest brother, anyone seeking food and shelter was accepted into the Bielskis' shelter in the forest. Zus initially wasn't a supporter of Tuvia's plan to take in all refugees, believing they would weaken the group's chances at survival. But Tuvia prevailed and the gathering grew into a society of 1,000+ people, all tasked with working to help the group survive. Temporary housing was built, booby traps were set out to protect the camp, and those capable of handling a gun patrolled the settlement's perimeter. The refugees survived by dealing with farmers and other merchants sympathetic to their situation as well as stealing resources meant for the army. Tuvia, the group's leader, did whatever was necessary to keep order in this makeshift community. He had strict rules everyone in the community had to adhere to and punishment for disobeying could be brutal. But whatever Tuvia did, he did for the good of this group which became known as the Bielski otriad. Thousands who would have perished in the Holocaust lived as the direct result of his actions. Surprisingly, the fact Craig, Schreiber, and Bell in no way resemble brothers doesn't distract from the film. Craig and Schreiber play tough as nails men who butt heads but also obviously love and respect each other. Jamie Bell is slight in build and seems slightly out of place, but his presence is strong enough to carry off the part of the younger brother who finds love in this makeshift community. I haven't read Nechama Tec's book, Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, and so I can't say with any certainty how closely Zwick and Frohman stuck to the source material. As with most films based on books, artistic license was probably taken to make the story flow cinematically. In interviews, Craig and Schreiber said in actuality there was much more brutality and killing than is portrayed in the film. And I have to believe Zwick and Frohman added in more romance than Tec's book revealed. But the basic story is supposedly much the same as how it played out back in 1941. It's incredible to me that I knew nothing about this story after all these years and all these tales of heroics by Germans keeping Jewish citizens safe (such as recounted in Schindler's List). Filmed in the forest outside of Vilnius, Lithuania instead of on a soundstage to add as much realism as possible to this retelling of the Bielskis' story, Defiance is a compelling human drama of revenge, honor, hope, and survival. It's also an engaging action film, although the action never overwhelms the story. Craig, Schreiber and Bell give performances that remind us this is above all the story of men making a stand during one of the bleakest moments in history. Expand
  6. Jun 22, 2013
    6
    I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. Defiance is a fairly run of the mill film that, considering the subject matter, is not as inspiring or emotionally intense as it could have been. The plot just seems to move along without being able to grab you and pull you in to the plight of the Bielski group, despite the deaths and suffering of it's members. Also, the plot doesn't reallyI wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. Defiance is a fairly run of the mill film that, considering the subject matter, is not as inspiring or emotionally intense as it could have been. The plot just seems to move along without being able to grab you and pull you in to the plight of the Bielski group, despite the deaths and suffering of it's members. Also, the plot doesn't really feature any twists, none in fact, so any increase in excitement or suspense is really limited.

    The acting scores a plus for the film, if you are prepared to accept some fluctuating Eastern European accents. All three leads turn in good performances but the supporting cast of Alexa Davalos and Allan Corduner are more than worthy of equal mention.

    A well made and acted film that surprisingly lacks in genuine drama and emotion.
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  7. May 18, 2013
    10
    Defiance has awesome character and story. This tv series is better than game Defiance. Positives aspect it different class people. I give 10/10, if next series will be better. Now some is boring, but i have hope, that will be better.
  8. Feb 24, 2013
    5
    Defiance is the real life story of the Bielski brothers, who during WWII in Belarus, saved and protected 1200 fellow Jews from the Nazis. The Bielski's never sought recognition for what they did, however the descendents of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands. The story is truly inspiring, as for the movie, it moved very slowly and like all war stories, was much tooDefiance is the real life story of the Bielski brothers, who during WWII in Belarus, saved and protected 1200 fellow Jews from the Nazis. The Bielski's never sought recognition for what they did, however the descendents of the people they saved now number in the tens of thousands. The story is truly inspiring, as for the movie, it moved very slowly and like all war stories, was much too long. You quickly see that the story repeats itself over and over again. The film starts off very strong and than just flat-lines. It's a shame, because it's a great cast and an inspiring, relatively unknown story, but it just doesn't go anywhere. Expand
  9. Dec 31, 2012
    9
    One of the best movies about the Nazis and Jews Ive EVER seen! Craig did an excellent job. I will, however say that the movie was a bit too long but the battles were so realistic that it didnt matter to me.
  10. Jan 23, 2012
    6
    Les Insurgés était sur le papier un sujet en or, surtout s'il se trouvait entre les mains d'un réalisateur comme Edward Zwick. Malheureusement, le film est bien en dessous de ce que j'attendais... Pourquoi? A cause d'un travail technique (mise en scène entre autre) trop académique? Ce n'est pas dérangeant, auLes Insurgés était sur le papier un sujet en or, surtout s'il se trouvait entre les mains d'un réalisateur comme Edward Zwick. Malheureusement, le film est bien en dessous de ce que j'attendais... Pourquoi? A cause d'un travail technique (mise en scène entre autre) trop académique? Ce n'est pas dérangeant, au final(il n'y a qu'à voir ce que cela a donné sur l'excellent Le Dernier Samouraï)... Je dirai plutôt que le film se perd surtout dans sa première moitié, qui semble montée à la va-vite et qui fait perdre tout intérêt que l'on puisse porter à cette histoire; et que cela manque d'une bonne BO de qualité (Hans Zimmer sur Le Dernier Samouraï, encore). Heureusement, Les Insurgés n'est pas un film à jeter, grâce à sa seconde partie, bien plus prenante et palpitante. De plus, le film est aidé par un casting honorable. Mais quand même, après avoir vu Blood Diamond, difficile de ne pas être déçu par ce film quasi "brouillon" et quelque peu académique... Expand
  11. Nov 26, 2011
    3
    Far too long and would have been a bit better if it wasnt. Solid acting by the main cast as well. The film overall though wasnt that interesting and often was rather dull through most parts of the film.
  12. Oct 27, 2011
    10
    I give this movie a such a high ranking, because it was an incredibly true story that I feel was acted out very well. To think about what those people went through just because they were Jews. It is so sad to see how the world still hates the Jews, including most of the negative reviewers, and for what? They are one of the most peace loving nations on earth; search out the truth about whatI give this movie a such a high ranking, because it was an incredibly true story that I feel was acted out very well. To think about what those people went through just because they were Jews. It is so sad to see how the world still hates the Jews, including most of the negative reviewers, and for what? They are one of the most peace loving nations on earth; search out the truth about what is going on in their land now, btw you will not hear the truth from the mainstream media (shocker). Anyhow I found this movie to be very engaging and was rooting for them to survive the whole time. Did not feel the foul language was needed and it added nothing to the movie, but to make sure it was R rated. Expand
  13. Sep 27, 2011
    7
    I don't understand the decent reviews. Daniel Craig gives his best in "Defiance", as well as Edward Zwick. He realistically potrays the horror and advesities the jews had to suffer. Despite the tedious pace, "Defiance" is still a great movie you will want to watch.
  14. Aug 26, 2011
    5
    A remarkable true story is left as a rather pedestrian and uninspired action flick in the hands of director Edward Zwick. We are left with routine drama and routine action, with self-important imagery and dialogue to lift itself above that.
  15. Aug 13, 2011
    6
    Not great, but a good portrayal of an amazing true story. Get's better as the movie progresses. Beautiful snow scenes contrast the horror. Captivating, but not enough.
  16. Apr 13, 2011
    7
    Somewhat manipulative but nonetheless quite engrossing film; it's based on such an incredible true story only astonishingly inept direction could have wrecked the premise, but there's plenty of that around, and this was pretty sensitively handled. I still have an involuntary antipathy towards adopted accents and there was a curious disconnect between the Russian which was subtitled (evenSomewhat manipulative but nonetheless quite engrossing film; it's based on such an incredible true story only astonishingly inept direction could have wrecked the premise, but there's plenty of that around, and this was pretty sensitively handled. I still have an involuntary antipathy towards adopted accents and there was a curious disconnect between the Russian which was subtitled (even when spoken by the leads) and the Polish which was rendered in silly, heavily accented English.

    Daniel Craig was somewhat low key and based on this portrayal it became a matter of surprise that he was regarded as the de facto leader of the partisans.

    All such films seem to be required by law to feature a mournful violin.
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  17. Jan 26, 2011
    7
    A pretty good movie about Russian Jews (hadn't really thought much about Russian Jews) during WWII. At times the accents were a bit hard to understand but the movie itself was enjoyable albeit a bit mushed together. Defiance isn't a Braveheart or Gladiator but it is a pretty good movie for those who enjoy a good drama.
  18. Aug 19, 2010
    2
    Irritating and self important. The Bielski brothers deserved better! The main problems lie in it's melodrama. When the film does action scenes they're actually alright. But they're the only satisfying part of it and even then look like they're on a set. Wouldn't blame the director or even actors for this, I would blame the producer who greenlit this for a hollywood studio despite itIrritating and self important. The Bielski brothers deserved better! The main problems lie in it's melodrama. When the film does action scenes they're actually alright. But they're the only satisfying part of it and even then look like they're on a set. Wouldn't blame the director or even actors for this, I would blame the producer who greenlit this for a hollywood studio despite it clearly needing a different style then what hollywoods accustomed to Expand
  19. CarlosT
    Aug 2, 2009
    7
    This was an extremely compelling story to tell, but subpar acting is what mostly kept it from being great. It was great how many of the secondary characters did get some attention as those actors seemed to do a much better job than the main ones. The action sequences were very well done and very enjoyable, however there is always some doubt as to how the Bielskis ever became so good at This was an extremely compelling story to tell, but subpar acting is what mostly kept it from being great. It was great how many of the secondary characters did get some attention as those actors seemed to do a much better job than the main ones. The action sequences were very well done and very enjoyable, however there is always some doubt as to how the Bielskis ever became so good at fighting even though they were only farmers. Overall, it is a good first attempt on an untold, but powerful story. Expand
  20. EliasC
    Jun 28, 2009
    8
    Very good thoughtful film. Good acting. A story, though simplified here, that needs to be told. Low user ratings may be because this is not an action film (viewers - do not expect James Bond), action sequences are realistic (viewers - do not expect fake fiery explosions), and perhaps because the film does not explain enough of the details of this true historical event for viewers too Very good thoughtful film. Good acting. A story, though simplified here, that needs to be told. Low user ratings may be because this is not an action film (viewers - do not expect James Bond), action sequences are realistic (viewers - do not expect fake fiery explosions), and perhaps because the film does not explain enough of the details of this true historical event for viewers too young to know what WWII was really like. Expand
  21. SamM.
    Jun 14, 2009
    2
    A story worth telling yet so remarkably badly made it hurts to watch this film.
  22. JayH.
    Jun 5, 2009
    7
    Excellent production values, a solid story and a great cast make this movie a winner. The score is great as is the cinematography. Moving screenplay. It's a bit long though.
  23. BobN
    Jun 4, 2009
    8
    Once again, a good film hated by critics. I was not expecting much, but was surprised. Blood Diamond was a fantastic film. Glory, top notch. This is a film about survival. It does not go too deep into the philosophical dillemas, but hey, how can you when you are trying to not die? I liked this film because it has no true message. The various characters find that the various ism, Once again, a good film hated by critics. I was not expecting much, but was surprised. Blood Diamond was a fantastic film. Glory, top notch. This is a film about survival. It does not go too deep into the philosophical dillemas, but hey, how can you when you are trying to not die? I liked this film because it has no true message. The various characters find that the various ism, communism, zionism, facism, etc. hold no water in the face of death. I respect that, for it is true. In the end, it all is a matter of staying alive, for the man next to you, and for your family. Great movie. Critics need to live a little...in the real world. Expand
  24. DavidF
    Jun 4, 2009
    3
    Action not bad but the accents drove me crazy, a mish-mash of them and languages, people speaking Russian for one sentence then switching to Russian-accented English, so you're always painfully aware they are acting. Ruined the film for me.
  25. ZachB.
    Feb 8, 2009
    9
    Defiance is a passionate, breathtaking, inspiring World War II movie. I have seen many World War II movies and this by far is right up there with Schindlers List at number 2. I am not a big Saving Private Ryan fan but Defiance has much more concept and meaning this movie shows how the hope of three brothers can bring thousands of people together and to act in Defiance. Edward Zwick really Defiance is a passionate, breathtaking, inspiring World War II movie. I have seen many World War II movies and this by far is right up there with Schindlers List at number 2. I am not a big Saving Private Ryan fan but Defiance has much more concept and meaning this movie shows how the hope of three brothers can bring thousands of people together and to act in Defiance. Edward Zwick really captures the full feeling of World War II. The movie's plot and story is also carried throught by absolutely exceptional acting from jamie bell daniel craig and Liev Shrieber. This movie is a must see and me being a jew and my grandfather having experienced World War II this movie to me was a mesmerizing film and one of the best of 08. Expand
  26. LoriW.
    Feb 4, 2009
    10
    Excellent! I read the book and the movie follows along pretty closely. Wonderful story of survival and helping others! Incredible true story!!
  27. BillyS.
    Jan 30, 2009
    7
    Defiance is a good film with aspirations of being great. Craig, Schreiber and Bell are atleast believable in roles of three russian brothers who's parents are killed and seek refuge in the deep forest with hundreds of fellow Jews. The acting and especially the cinematography are excellent but I don't get the Oscar nomination for score. All in all, a much better film that Defiance is a good film with aspirations of being great. Craig, Schreiber and Bell are atleast believable in roles of three russian brothers who's parents are killed and seek refuge in the deep forest with hundreds of fellow Jews. The acting and especially the cinematography are excellent but I don't get the Oscar nomination for score. All in all, a much better film that Valkyrie, or Top Kraut because the Americanm and English actors all try to use accents instead of having Maverick in a Nazi uniform! Expand
  28. SteveK.
    Jan 26, 2009
    9
    Given this was a true story, without going nuts, there are limits to the variance. So there was not enough action, the Germans were not so determined, well, that was just the luck of the situation and nature of this minor miracle. I thought the depiction of the situation and the battles was fabulously real. Ordinary people battling trained soldiers - they got their butts kicked - even if Given this was a true story, without going nuts, there are limits to the variance. So there was not enough action, the Germans were not so determined, well, that was just the luck of the situation and nature of this minor miracle. I thought the depiction of the situation and the battles was fabulously real. Ordinary people battling trained soldiers - they got their butts kicked - even if they survived they were not unrealistically portrayed as super heros. In particular Daniel Craig's part, as the leader he breaks down a few times - but fights to live. And it does nail the interpersonal relationships and the nature of survival mentality. And yes, there is the perenial 2 Jews/3 Arguments, that we all love to own. So yes, limited by the reality, but also open to the realities. Expand
  29. JayB.
    Jan 25, 2009
    0
    Perhaps I was overly sensitive to the Zionist message of a film at a time when Zionists were destroying the crap out of innocent lives in Gaza...Either way, this film was still also terribly over-produced, forced and predictable. I thought D. Craig and L. Schreiber were plan awful in this film! Ahhh! And to think I was anxiously awaiting this film. What a waste of money!
  30. ClaytonS.
    Jan 25, 2009
    8
    I thought Defiance was a very good movie about World War II and the persecution of the Jews. I was not aware of this small group of Jewish people who fought against the Nazis. I recommend it.
  31. RickF.
    Jan 23, 2009
    9
    This is an amazing story of survival against incredible odds. A no-nonsense group of brothers take charge after the Nazis murder virtually every Jew in the region. Those remaining are locked in Ghettos, which are in the process of being liquidated. The film explores several areas that, until now, had been badly misrepresented. For example, why didn't the Jews in the ghettos try to This is an amazing story of survival against incredible odds. A no-nonsense group of brothers take charge after the Nazis murder virtually every Jew in the region. Those remaining are locked in Ghettos, which are in the process of being liquidated. The film explores several areas that, until now, had been badly misrepresented. For example, why didn't the Jews in the ghettos try to escape? The reason, we learn, is that for every escapee, the Nazis murdered 20 Jews. Why didn't the townfolk try harder to help the Jews? The reason, we learn, is that there was a 500 ruble bounty on every Jew they turned in, and the penalty for helping or hiding a Jew was death by hanging. Why didn't more Jews try to run to the forest? The reason, we learn, is that the Nazis overtook the area with such speed and surprise (assisted by local collaborators) that it was nearly impossible to escape. Why didn't more Jews try to survive in the forest? The reason is that the local farmers turned them in to the Nazis, and could not be trusted, and there was virtually zero food in the forest. Even the Bielski group had to starve, eat horses and dogs, and live on watery soup. In addition, they had to face sub-zero temperatures, rampant disease, lack of hygiene, lack of hope, loss of virtually every family member, and intra-group fighting and positioning for leadership. Not to mention that on at least 3 occasions, the Nazis used airplanes to drop incendiary bombs on women and children, brought in tanks to fire at elderly, women and children, had machine guns, grenades, and other advanced weapons versus a motley collection of handguns and pistols. This story is amazing, and there are at least 3 times where it is impossible not to feel emotion, and real tears, for this group of ragtag Jews fighting for their survival. Expand
  32. jacksfilmblog.blogspot
    Jan 21, 2009
    4
    Zwick is a director with honourable intentions with an interest in telling stories about the struggles that different cultures have had to face. However, he seems to be genuinely unaware that his films always use the plights of minorities simply as a device to redeem his white heroes, and in the end there is no escaping the slightly uncomfortable image of the decidedly un-Semitic looking Zwick is a director with honourable intentions with an interest in telling stories about the struggles that different cultures have had to face. However, he seems to be genuinely unaware that his films always use the plights of minorities simply as a device to redeem his white heroes, and in the end there is no escaping the slightly uncomfortable image of the decidedly un-Semitic looking Daniel Craig nobly leading the helpless Jews to safety. Expand
  33. robertH
    Jan 20, 2009
    10
    This was an outstanding movie. One of the best I've seen in a long time. Many in the theater applauded at the end. I can't wait for the DVD to come out.
  34. ClareG.
    Jan 20, 2009
    4
    Some good moments and a great story on which to base a movie, but filled with terrible dialogue and cliches.
  35. DavidH
    Jan 20, 2009
    8
    It is often difficult to make a true story so interesting, but the bizarre history of Hitler and atrocious behavior of his Nazi troops makes a fascinating resource. The Holocaust has been covered many times but Defiance manages to give us a brand new angle and appreciation for the horrors faced by Jews in 1941. Daniel Craig proves without a doubt his talent can take him far beyond the It is often difficult to make a true story so interesting, but the bizarre history of Hitler and atrocious behavior of his Nazi troops makes a fascinating resource. The Holocaust has been covered many times but Defiance manages to give us a brand new angle and appreciation for the horrors faced by Jews in 1941. Daniel Craig proves without a doubt his talent can take him far beyond the predictable James Bond. It is odd despite his public dislike of personal handgun rights, he continues to land roles that require him to handle weapons. In this case, a very specific true story where if there was ever a time when private citizens had a right and a need to bear arms, this was it. Expand
  36. RaymondK.
    Jan 18, 2009
    9
    I would have liked to have seen the whole story, which you can't do in 2 hours. Hope TV picks up the rest. This was not fiction but reality for Jews in Europe and Russia during WWII. I'm not sure today's generation has the guts to do what they did (except in their own mind).
  37. ROBERTM.
    Jan 16, 2009
    10
    My wife and I found this movie to be totally riveting; the audience of mostly 55+ Arizonans applauded at the movies conclusion. Your reviewers seem to rate on the "artistic value" of the movie. Sometimes a true story, well-told is preferred by the "lesser forms of life" out here in flyover country.
  38. FooReal
    Jan 16, 2009
    9
    Great movie all around. The movie's score was a bit of a let down, especially when it was coming from a great composer, and the script was quite predictable. All around though, it was a very good film with a great cast and great production values
  39. HyperS
    Jan 16, 2009
    5
    I was struggling to remain focused. 2 hours in the woods with merely 10 minutes of credible action [Yes, there was slightly more, but it was just standard tiny German patrols (snore)]. I just don't think the dialogue or the community is entertaining enough to fill the void. Plus, sometimes you're left wondering why this community of Jews was allowed to remain in the woods for I was struggling to remain focused. 2 hours in the woods with merely 10 minutes of credible action [Yes, there was slightly more, but it was just standard tiny German patrols (snore)]. I just don't think the dialogue or the community is entertaining enough to fill the void. Plus, sometimes you're left wondering why this community of Jews was allowed to remain in the woods for years despite having been discovered by patrols, etc. Or the fact that hundreds fled a Ghetto seemingly easily into the woods, but no Germans bothered to pursue? Maybe they were busy fighting the war I suppose. The movie would have been better served venturing out of the woods once and a while to give the viewer a broader view of where this scenario was playing out and how much of a German presence was around the woods or even how big the woods were. Instead all we get is a few farms and one German radar station. 2 hours of monotonous wood scenery and some Jews walking from one spot to the other is just too much. I really can't recommend the movie as I spent the latter half hoping it would end so I could go home, but the fact that it was based on a true story makes it somewhat more intriguing to watch. Expand
  40. MmCruise
    Jan 14, 2009
    10
    A Beautiful War-Movie of year ! Great performance of Daniel and perfect screenplay ... Fantastic !!!
  41. PAulB.
    Jan 11, 2009
    9
    Reminds me of a good solid war movie from the 50's and 60's - entertaining and character led. It doesn't do anything new, or different, or push the viewer - just an enjoyable war movie based on a little known subject thats not trying to be clever.
  42. SeanP.
    Jan 10, 2009
    7
    A good looking film that needed a better script in my opinion. It's not award worthy nor razzie worthy, it's simply an enjoyable film that perhaps on one or two occasions tries to be more than it is. A solid 7.
  43. ShoaibM.
    Jan 9, 2009
    10
    AN awesome movie a must watch great acting, great story extraordinary.
  44. PatG.
    Jan 9, 2009
    7
    Yes, the movie is flawed, but well worth two hours of your time. The story is amazing and the production values are good. Craig and Schreiber are excellent and the others good enough. I do recommend it.
  45. billbob
    Jan 6, 2009
    10
    Bloody brilliant.
  46. [Anonymous]
    Jan 3, 2009
    0
    Belongs on TV at 3am. Low budget, badly cast predictable and over-produced soap opera of the forest.
  47. [Anonymous]
    Jan 3, 2009
    0
    Belongs on TV at 3am. Low budget, badly cast predictable and over-produced soap opera of the forest.
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. It's a heroic story, and Zwick frames it rather too strenuously as an antidote to the generic Holocaust stories of Jewish passivity and martyrdom. And yet, as a piece of historical redress, a great service has been done in bringing this narrative to the screen.
  2. That butting of heads, as performed by actors as strong and soulful as Craig and Schreiber, lends Defiance an emotional charge, even as the film itself struggles dramatically to find its way out of those woods.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    A potentially exceptional story is told in a flatly unexceptional manner.