This is the story about four Jewish brothers from Poland who lead a resistance group, which hides hundreds of refugees in the forest during World War II. Daniel Craig plays the lead character Tuvia Bielski. He is the eldest of four brothers who live with their father in a small village in Poland. Three of the brothers are not at home when Nazis attack the village. Two of them, Asael (played by Jamie Bell) and Zus (played Liev Schreiber) are in the forest nearby. They see the attack but cannot do anything to stop it. After the attack is over, they sneak back to the village. The Nazis have killed their father, but their younger brother Aron (played by George Mackay) was able to hide, so he escaped being shot. They all run back to hide in the forest.
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While they are sleeping, Tuvia walks right up to them without them noticing. He yells at Asael for not keeping watch. However, he is happy to see them. Tuvia does not get along very well with his brother Zus. Zus wants to rescue his wife and child from another village where they are still hiding. They find more people hiding in the forest. Zus does not want to be responsible for them, but Tuvia says he will get food from Koscik (played by Jacek Koman). Tuvia goes to see Koscik who gives him a gun and some food. While he is there, the Police Chief (played by Sigitas Rackys) drives up. Tuvia hides in the barn. There are other people also hiding. The Police Chief gets out of his car. He brags about killing Tuvia's father and tells Koscik he is hunting down the four brothers who escaped. After he leaves, Koscik pleads with Tuvia to take the other refugees with him back to the forest because they are not safe at his house.
When Tuvia gets back to camp with some food, but also with more people Zus gets angry. Tuvia tells Zus the local Police Chief killed their father. Later, Tuvia goes to the home of the Police Chief. He kills him and his two sons in front of the mother, but leaves her unharmed to suffer. When Tuvia gets back to camp, he tells Zus what he did and he brings more people with him as well. They begin to build shelters in the forest. Two men arrive from the village where Zus used to live. They tell him his wife and child was killed. Zus in his rage, goes to attack the Germans with a couple of men and Asael. Tuvia follows them. They kill a few people, then a German on a motorcycle, and then they attack a jeep killing everyone. A truck carrying German soldiers catches them. Two of the forest camp men are shot. One dies instantly, the other later. Asael runs off with the Germans right behind. Tuvia and Zus escape back into the forest, unharmed.
At the forest camp, Tuvia is angry with Zus, especially since they lost their brother. Tuvia convinces everyone that living is the best revenge. There will be no further killing. They go to Koscik's house. He has been beaten and then they hung him with a sign, which says he is a lover of Jews. They cut him down, and bury him. Koscik's wife shows them a secret cellar, which was not found by the Germans. Asael is there with two women, Bella (played by Iben Hjehle) and Chaya (played by Mia Wasikowska). They find guns in the cellar, which they take. They go back to the camp in the forest. Tuvia gets news his wife was killed. He is saddened, but continues forward because now he is responsible for many people. Zus and Asael attack the milkman named Kissely (played by Ervinas Peteraitis) on the road near camp. They take most of his milk and his coat. Kissely comes back, leading the Germans to the hidden camp. They get warning just in time from the lookouts to evacuate. They are able to fight off the Germans, who retreat temporarily, but they know the Germans will return. This forces them to relocate.
When Tuvia and Zus look for a place to set up the new camp, they run into Russian fighters. They make friends with Viktor Panchenko (played by Ravil Isyanov) by telling him they fight the same enemy. People set up a new camp before the harsh winter comes. Tuvia learns from Chaya about the people in the ghetto. Tuvia wants to free them. This plan causes a big fight with Zus, which ends up with Tuvia almost killing him. Tuvia prevails and the plan succeeds. Many from the ghetto join the secret forest camp. The men begin to take what they call “forest wives” but Tuvia forbids the women to get pregnant.
When winter hits, they run very low on food. Tuvia kills his horse so they can have something to eat. Even this is not enough. An outbreak of typhus occurs in the camp. He tries to get penicillin from the Russians. They force him to disable the local police radio in order to get some. Two forest men are killed in the attack and Zus is injured. Zus leaves Tuvia to join up with the Russians and does not come back to forest camp. Tuvia gets very ill. One of the other forest camp men named Arkady (played by Sam Spruell) uses this to his advantage and tries to take over the camp, bullying people. Tuvia gets out of his sickbed and shoots him in front of the others, restoring order. Tuvia recovers from the illness. One of the women has a baby. Tuvia is furious and wants to throw her and the father out of the camp because the forest camp is not place for babies. However, it turns out the woman was raped by a German soldier so they let her keep the baby and stay in the camp.
In the Russian camp, Panchenko tells Zus they will be moving out because the Germans are planning an attack. The forest camp will be sacrificed so the Russians can escape. If Zus does not leave with them, he will be shot. The Germans attack the forest camp by plane. They evacuate forest camp, running away from the troops. Asael stays behind to delay them. However, soon the Germans catch up to those running away. Germans chase them to the edge of a dangerous marsh. There is no other way to escape. They tie themselves together using ropes and belts. They make it across the marsh. On the other side, they are attacked by a tank. There is a fierce battle and many are killed. The Germans pin down Tuvia and his people with constant fire. Suddenly Zus shows up with men to attack the Germans. Zus throws a grenade in the tank, which kills everyone inside. They kill all the Germans. Zus and Tuvia are back together again. Aron is with them. Asael joins them, also having survived. The brothers walk back into the forest together leading the survivors to form a new camp.
Best part of story, including ending:
What I like the best is it shows that Jewish people can fight and that this film is based on a true story.
Best scene in story:
I like the scene when Tuvia gets out of his sickbed to shoot a bully, to let everyone know he is still the leader, because it shows how much inner strength he has.
Opinion about the main character:
It is admirable that he does not like killing, but he does what is necessary to save as many as possible.