Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Aleksey Sidorov|
|Written by||Aleksey Sidorov|
Mars Media Entertainment
|Distributed by||Central Partnership|
|Budget||600 million rubles |
|Box office||2,225,624,380 rubles |
T-34 (Russian: Т-34) is a 2019 Russian war film directed by Aleksey Sidorov. The title references the T-34, a World War II-era Soviet medium tank used during the invasion of the Soviet Union. The film narrates the life of Nikolay Ivushkin, a tank commander who gets captured by the Nazis. Three years later, he begins to plan his ultimate escape, alongside his newly-recruited tank crew. It stars Alexander Petrov as Nikolay Ivushkin, with Viktor Dobronravov, Irina Starshenbaum, Anton Bogdanov, Yuriy Borisov, Semyon Treskunov and Artyom Bystrov.
T-34 was released in Russia by Central Partnership on January 1, 2019 and for hire converted into IMAX format. The film was released to generally positive reviews, with critics praising the production quality and visual effects. It was successful commercially, grossing 2.2 billion rubles (about $32 million), against a production budget of 600 million rubles, after a week in cinemas. It is in second place on Russia's biggest blockbusters list with over 8.5 million viewers and 2 billion rubles, and is currently the second-highest grossing Russian film of all time, behind Going Vertical
In December 1941, just outside Moscow, Junior Lieutenant Nikolay Ivushkin (Alexander Petrov) is driving a ramshackle truck and trailer with a young Red Army private beside him. A German Panzer III tank pops over a hill and blocks their way. They maneuver skillfully and escape unscathed. Nikolay takes command of a damaged T-34 tank whose commander was killed. He and his new crew try to delay the Germans' advance. They withstand withering fire. Their T-34 survives many hits as they take out many German Panzers. By the end of the battle, most of the Russian defenders have been killed. With half his own tank crew dead, Lieutenant Ivushkin and driver Stepan Vasilyonok are captured.
Three years later, Standartenführer Klaus Jäger (Vinzenz Kiefer) — who was the German tank commander Ivushkin fought back in 1941 — is sent to a concentration camp by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler to pick out a Soviet POW tank crew that will be used for training the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. Jäger recognizes that Nikolay is one of the POWs. Jäger wants to use Nikolay so that his novice German tankers can face a real up-to-date T-34 tank handled by a veteran Russian crew. The Nazi gets the camp interpreter, Anya (Irina Starshenbaum), to convince Nikolay to accept the idea. Nikolay agrees reluctantly after Jäger threatens to kill Anya.
Nikolay picks out three other tankers from ranks of the POWs – driver Vasilyonok, loader Serafim Ionov, and gunner Demyan Volchok -- to crew a T-34/85 that the Germans just captured. At first the men resist, thinking Nikolay is a traitor and collaborator. The Germans first order the Soviet tankers to clear out the rotting and burned bodies from the captured T-34. As they remove the bodies, they unexpectedly find 4 armor-piercing and 2 high-explosive shells. They ask permission to bury their comrades. They hide the ammunition on the bodies of the dead. The Russians bury them — and the live shells — under a pile of rocks on the edge of the new tank training range. As the men repair the captured T-34, Nikolay develops a bond with Anya. Later the Soviet POW crew is allowed outside the POW camp into the tank training area. They go directly back to the rock pile and uncover the six live projectiles.
Back at the camp, Standartenführer Jäger gives a presentation to officers of the German high command, extolling the virtues of his upcoming realistic training exercise. Not trusting the Soviet tankers, the Germans lay land mines all around the edges of the training grounds to prevent their escape. They also limit the fuel put in the T-34. Anya sneaks into Jäger's office and steals maps so that the Soviet tankers can escape to Czechoslovakia. She then walks out of the POW camp, using a pass, and waits at a bus stop with some German women.
The training exercise begins. The Germans watch as their novice tanks advance on the supposedly "unarmed" T-34/85. The Soviets set a fire to make a thick smoke screen to mask their movements. The Russians destroy the first German tank. They quickly move nearer to the German officers' high observation tower and fire a high-explosive round. This kills most of the Nazis present. Jäger and general Heinz Guderian narrowly escape. The T-34 boldly breaks out of the camp's main gate, avoiding the German minefield. On the way out, they drive their tank over many Nazi generals' staff cars. The Russians rejoice. The tankers then pick up Anya at the bus stop outside the camp. They realize they are deep inside German-held territory and plot a course to bring them back to the Red Army's lines. In the first town they come to, Nikolay and his hungry crew find badly needed fuel, new clothing, and fresh food. They burn their ragged prisoner clothes as they drive out of town. The Germans scramble to figure out how to locate and recapture the T-34.
Before dawn, knowing that the Germans will be hunting them, Nikolay puts Anya out of their tank and tells her to make her way east on foot through the forests. The Soviets drive on towards the mountain pass into Czechoslovakia.
Jäger meanwhile takes to the sky in a Fieseler Storch to find Nikolay's T-34. He then takes command of four German Panther tanks and sets up an ambush in a small town.
Still in the dark, the T-34 enters the town and stumbles into the platoon of German tanks. Nikolay, through cunning, disposes of one Nazi tank. He then sends out Volchok, armed only with a grenade, to take over one of the other Panzers. Driver Vasilyonok crashes their T-34 through building walls before unexpectedly colliding with one of the other Panzers. The Russians manually turn their damaged turret and get a shot off just as the Germans are about to fire. Unfortunately Jäger has arrived on the scene and he lines up his Panther to destroy Nikolay. However, Volchok manages to fire a shell out of the German tank he just captured. Jäger's tank is damaged, but he quickly disposes of the captured Panzer, badly wounding Volchok.
Both Jäger and Nikolay emerge from the cupolas of their tanks. Jäger throws down his glove, inviting Nikolay to a duel. Nikolay asks for 5 minutes to pick up his wounded comrade. Both tanks then move outside the town and face off over a narrow bridge with high arches. Jäger fires one shot at the front of the T-34. The German's shell does not penetrate because spare tracks add to the thickness of frontal armor. Jäger begins lining up a second shot at the T-34's tracks. Nikolay aims for the weakest spot on the Panther: the driver's vision port. Both shots hit their intended targets, and driver Vasilyonok rams the German tank hard, pushing it to the edge of the bridge. The Panther is left hanging dangerously, and Jäger crawls out an escape hatch just as Nikolay clambers out of his T-34. Jäger shouts for Nikolay to shoot him, but Nikolay offers his foe mercy. The two officers clasp hands. Jäger shakes his hand in respect, and then lets go. Seconds later, Nikolay watches the German plunge to his death as his tank falls into the deep gorge below.
The crew reunites with Anya, whom Nikolay had told the night before to meet them in a large meadow outside the town.
- Alexander Petrov as Nikolay Ivushkin, junior lieutenant
- Vinzenz Kiefer as SS-Standartenführer Klaus Jäger
- Viktor Dobronravov as Stepan Vasilyonok
- Irina Starshenbaum as Anya Yartseva
- Yuriy Borisov as Serafim Ionov, tankman-artillery
- Anton Bogdanov as Demyan Volchok, tankman-machine gunner
- Pyotr Skvortsov as Lykov
- Semyon Treskunov as Vasiliy Teterya
- Guram Bablishvili as Gabuliya, tarshina, commander of the infantry
- Danila Rassomakhin as Vasechkin
- Artyom Bystrov as Korin, captain
- Joshua Grothe as Thielicke
- Mike Davies as Generalinspekteur der Panzertruppe Heinz Guderian
- Igor Khripunov as Lapikov
- Robinson Reichel as Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler
- Yaroslav Shtefanov as Makeev, machine-gunner
- Anton Shurtsov as Chief of Staff
- Aleksandra Torgushnikova as Vasilyonok's Wife
- Danil Tyabin as Radio Operator
- Christoph Urban as Schlozer
- Aleksey Ushakov as Telephonist
- Vladimir Vinogradov as Refueller
- Polina Volkova as Daughter of the Mistress
- Alexandr Zaporozhets as Petya
The shooting process of T-34 started on 23 February and continued for 61 days. Some scenes were shot in Moscow, Kaluga and Moscow regions, others in the Czech Republic, Prague, Kačina (library), Loket (Sokolov District), Rudolfinum and Terezin. For the picture, more than 25 scale sceneries were built, among them a Russian village and a prisoner of war camp. Five military-historical consultants took part in the making of the film.
In the film, several real T-34 tanks were remade and updated for the film. The film also showed several Nazi and Soviet cars, such as SD.KFZ. 251. The Panther tank with Zimmerit paste were made from T-55 tanks distinguishable from the five large wheels.
Production designer Konstantin Pagutin spent a whole month building an entire village in a field near the village of Starlkowka, Kluj County, although the houses were destroyed at the beginning of the film, each one was designed in its own particular style, including hand-picked decorations and props.
The film was scheduled to be released on December 27, 2018 in cinemas, but instead the picture was released on January 1, 2019, five days later than the planned date, distributors such as the Central Partnership and for rental converted to IMAX format.
T-34 premiered at Comic-Con Russia 2018, the most attended Russian festival of pop culture, which took place in Moscow from 4 to 7 in October and once again beat attendance records, was held by the Central Partnership company.
On the first day of release, the Russian box office amounted to 111,335,337 rubles.
- Т-34, 2018
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- Фильм "Т-34" занял второе место по сборам в истории российского проката
- «Т-34» ворвался в исторический прокатный топ
- "Т-34" стал вторым после "Движения вверх" по сборам в истории российского кино
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