I love action movies, but nothing is better than a good action flick that's based on a true story--which is why I've always had a soft spot in my heart for movies like the Great Escape and Apollo 13 (and hey, even Domino and First Blood).
So I'm excited to see Defiance, which has an almost literally incredible true story as its inspiration: The movie follows four Jewish brothers and how they fought back against the Nazis during WWII. There were many Jews in similar situations who simply fought the Germans head-to-head (guerrilla-style or by teaming up with the Red Army), but the eldest Bielski brother--played in the movie by Daniel Craig, the latest James Bond--decides that survival is the best weapon. They set out to save as many fellow Jews as they can, and by the end of the war they amazingly manage to build an armed community in the forests of Belarus with over 1200 people.
Now, this Web site isn't called Guys Movie Wire, so I'm sure you're wondering where's the book in all of this? The movie was based on a rigorous written history called Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, which recounts how the group survived against such long odds. The movie's director, Edward Zwick, wrote the foreword to the new edition--which you can read online--and he describes how it got him inspired:
To read of the Bielski brothers and their fight to create a safe haven in the midst of a hell-on-earth evokes in me something utterly primitive and deeply personal, a roiling wave of fear, awe, humility, and admiration. And outrage, too--that such a story was not better known. Here, clutching captured Schmeisser submachine guns and “potato-masher” grenades, were Jewish fighters whose deeds were as stirring and brave as any I had ever encountered.
So check out the movie--and the book! (And even the movie's informative Web site.) And if you're looking for another action-packed, true story, watch the Oscar-winning Glory, also directed by Zwick, about the first all-black volunteer company in the U.S. Civil War. The books behind that movie were One Gallant Rush, Lay This Laurel, and the letters of Robert Gould Shaw.
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