Prisoner of the Mountains

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Prisoner of the Mountains
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Produced by Boris Giller
Written by Boris Giller, Arif Aliyev, Sergei Bodrov
Story by Boris Giller
Music by Leonid Desyatnikov
Cinematography Pavel Lebeshev
Edited by Alan Baril
Olga Grinshpun
Vera Kruglova
Distributed by Orion Classics
Release date
  • 1996 (1996)
Running time
98 minutes
Country Russia
Language Russian

Prisoner of the Mountains (Russian: Кавказский пленник, Kavkazskiy plennik), also known as Prisoner of the Caucasus, is a 1996 Russian war drama film directed by Sergei Bodrov and written by Bodrov, Arif Aliyev and Boris Giller. The film is based on the Caucasian War-era short story "The Prisoner in the Caucasus" by the classic Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

Prisoner of the Mountains was awarded a Crystal Globe at the 1996 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and the same year was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Russia)[1] and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film (Russia). It also received rave critic reviews.

This film illustrates the conflicting views between traditional Chechen culture and Russian warfare through the use of soundtrack, costuming, and arms. The personal confrontation between two Russian soldiers and their Chechen captors is the main theme of the film, which was shot in the mountains of Dagestan (mostly in the aul of Ritcha, whose inhabitants are mentioned in the film's credits), a short distance away from the then-ongoing First Chechen War.



A group of Russian soldiers is ambushed by rebels in the Chechen mountains and the two survivors are taken prisoner by an old man Abdul Murat, who wants to swap them for his son held by the Russians. The two prisoners cope with the situation in very different ways, as the war-hardened and cynical sergeant Sasha (Oleg Menshikov) works to escape while the young and naive conscript Vanya (Sergei Bodrov, Jr.) tries to make friends with his captors and falls in love with the daughter Dina. After an escape attempt fails, the different personalities of the two prisoners determine their fate.






Prisoner of the Mountains received a very positive score of 87% "fresh" (positive) reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, with the average rating of 8.3/10.[2]

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