White Tiger (2012 film)

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White Tiger
The white tiger dvd.jpeg
Russian DVD cover
Directed by Karen Shakhnazarov
Produced by Karen Shakhnazarov
Written by Aleksandr Borodyansky
Karen Shakhnazarov
Ilya Boyashov
Starring Gerasim Arkhipov
Cinematography Aleksandr Kuznetsov
Release date
  • 3 May 2012 (2012-05-03)
Running time
104 minutes
Country Russia
Language Russian

White Tiger (Russian: Белый тигр, translit. Belyy tigr) is a 2012 Russian action war film with fantasy elements, directed by Karen Shakhnazarov. The film is about a badly wounded Soviet tank commander on the Eastern Front of WW II who becomes obsessed with tracking down and destroying a mysterious, invincible Nazi tank, which the Soviet troops call the "White Tiger". The Soviets design a new, more powerful T-34 tank and assign the tank commander the job of destroying the White Tiger. The film was selected as the Russian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.[1] The film is based on the novella Tankist, ili "Belyy tigr" (The Tank Crewman, Tanker or The White Tiger) by Russian novelist Ilya Boyashov.


After a WW II Eastern Front tank battle, a Russian tank operator is found in a destroyed Soviet tank. Miraculously recovering from burns on 90 percent of his body, he suffers amnesia and cannot recall his identity. He receives a new passport in the name Naydёnov (from the Russian word for "found"), and is returned to duty. Naydёnov believes he has the mysterious ability to communicate with tanks as if they were people, though he tries not to advertise this. He is also recognized as the best tank driver in his army group.

In the meantime, rumors arise about a new, invincible Nazi tank that appears seemingly out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly, destroying dozens of Soviet tanks. This mysterious, heavily armoured and powerfully armed enemy tank is dubbed "White Tiger" by the Soviet forces.

Naydёnov believes it is this tank that nearly killed him, and he is out for revenge. Given his skills, Naydёnov is ordered to locate and destroy this White Tiger. Naydёnov becomes obsessed with finding the mysterious Nazi tank. He is convinced that the enemy tank is unpiloted, being essentially a ghost of war. The counterintelligence officer assigned to tracking down the White Tiger, who helps Naydёnov, comes to believe the latter's interpretation.

During a subsequent battle, Naydёnov comes upon the White Tiger tank in an abandoned village and engages it in a tank battle. The White Tiger is damaged but not destroyed, and it manages to escape. The counterintelligence officer then attempts to convince his commanding general that both the White Tiger tank and the "born again" Naydёnov are creations not of man, but of the war itself. The general is unconvinced and sends the counterintelligence officer on leave, thinking the officer is exhausted.

After the fall of Nazi Germany, the counterintelligence officer meets Naydёnov in a field and tries to convince him that the war is over. But Naydёnov disagrees, saying that the war will not truly end until the White Tiger is destroyed. Naydёnov believes the White Tiger has gone into hiding. He claims it is inevitable that it will come back in several decades, unless it is eradicated.

This suggests that the White Tiger is a metaphor for war itself, and that Naydёnov is a symbol of all people who have been damaged by war but have, as a result, acquired an iron-willed conviction to oppose war in any of its forms. Naydёnov then mysteriously vanishes along with his tank, presumably having gone in search of the White Tiger.

In the final scene of the film, Hitler is shown seated in a large room with a fireplace (Hell), talking to a shadowy stranger (the Incarnation of Satan) and defending his actions during the war.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Karen Shakhnazarov’s "White Tiger"nominated for Oscar". PanArmenian. PanArmenian. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 

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