In this war propaganda drama about a Soviet village heroically resisting the German invasion Lillian Hellman wrote the screenplay, Lewis Milestone directed, and the music was by Aaron Copeland with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
In June 1941 Damian Simonov (Farley Granger) graduates at the top of his class, and at a celebration he dances with Marina Pavlova (Anne Baxter), who is worried about a year apart. Damian, Marina, Kolya Simonov (Dana Andrews), Clavdia Kurina (Jane Withers), and young Grisha Kurin (Eric Roberts) leave for Kiev, walking and singing. They sleep on the ground. Old Karp (Walter Brennan) gives them a ride, and they hear planes. Bombing begins, and Kolya orders people into the ditch. A man and a boy are killed. Diving planes strafe the town. Radio reports that the Germans have invaded the Soviet Union. Boris Simonov (Carl Benton Reid) organizes the men for guerrilla resistance and tells the others to destroy everything before the German army arrives. Men take an oath to fight Fascist slavery. Boris drives a truck carrying arms that is attacked by a plane. As Boris dies, his son Kolya gets the guns out and then leaves them with the others.
Col. Harden (Erich von Stroheim) is a doctor but leads the Germans who are to occupy the North Star village. People burn their homes. Germans arrive shooting and put out fires. Sophia (Ann Harding) admits she is the wife of the leader Rodion Pavlov. She is taken inside and screams. Col. Harden tells Dr. Kurin (Walter Huston) that her arm and leg were broken. At night Damian and Karp shoot at German soldiers.
On a plane the pilot is killed; bombardier Kolya flies the plane into tanks, and it explodes. Dr. Kurin tries to stop an operation on a boy. Dr. Harden lets Kurin live and tells him they take blood for their wounded soldiers. Dr. Kurin takes the boy to the resistance. Damian and Marina see trucks passing and make a plan. Clavdia shoots at men on motorcycles and is killed. Damian is wounded and is taken in the wagon by Marina and Karp. Dr. Kurin tells the guerrillas that the town is being bled to death. Rodion Pavlov (Dean Jagger) agrees to fight even though they have only a few guns. They use gasoline and attack the Germans holding the village. Karp, Marina, and Damian arrive with the wagon-load of guns. Dr. Kurin picks up a pistol, goes to Dr. Harden and rebukes him before killing him and another German doctor. In the final scene Marina hopes that this will be the last war.
This drama contrasts the happy life in a Soviet village
before the war to the horrors of a Fascist invasion and reflects
the immense sacrifices made by the Soviet Union during the German