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Prisoner of the Mountains [DVD] [1998] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

Product details

  • Actors: Oleg Menshikov, Sergey Bodrov Jr., Susanna Mekhraliyeva, Jemal Sikharulidze, Aleksandr Bureyev
  • Directors: Sergey Bodrov
  • Writers: Sergey Bodrov, Boris Giller, Arif Aliev, Leo Tolstoy
  • Producers: Sergey Bodrov, Boris Giller, Carolyn Cavallero, Eduard Krapivsky
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: 1 July 2003
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008ZZ9M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,335 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


A stunning, emotionally charged indictment of war, this Oscar�(r) nominee* for Best ForeignLanguage Film is at once 'thoughtful, moving (Roger Ebert), potent, engrossing (Variety),and unexpectedly affecting (The Wall Street Journal)! Two Russian soldiersa fresh recruit named Vanya and a hardened veteran named Sachaare taken hostage by Chechen guerillas after a deadly ambush leaves all of their comrades dead. Their captor, a battle-weary village elder,wants to use them as a bartering tool to get back his own son, held prisoner by the Russian army. But when the trade goes sour and all trust is broken, Vanya and Sacha realize their hours are numbered and attempt to escape before they're forced to join their comrades in death. *1996

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Jun 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The film takes you inside the home of Caucasus villagers, and inside their lives and the lives of the Russian soldiers they abduct. The abduction is their way of dealing for their relative's release from jail. The film's main objective is to break down the cultural division, or "enemy" labels, between the peoples by bringing things out of the larger conflicts of war and into a personal setting where relationship naturally grows. At the same time we get to see inside the cultures and view the beauty and terror of the Caucasus. Filmed in Dagestan. Excellent film, though the technical quality is not too high.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. Cotton on 9 Aug 2005
Format: DVD
Whilst most war films highlight the violence, destruction and senseless brutality of conflict Prisoner of the mountains chooses to focus on the relationships between the characters thrown together by Russias conflict with Chechnya. Protagonist Vanya is a conscript who has no time to find his feet before he is captured by the enemy along with hardened veteran Sasha. Vanyas naievity and innocence contrasts with Sashas toughness and as a result leads him to form a friendship with the daughter of his captor Abdul whose intention is to use the captives as a bargaining chip to secure the release of his own son held by the Russians in a nearby town, garrisoned by an apathetic conscript force and led by an equally jaded commander.If you are excpecting an action packed film Prisoner of the mountains will disappoint you, however if you wish to watch a fantastic, moving and touching film set amongst breathtaking scenery it may well become like me your favourite film.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon on 26 Oct 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This beautiful award winner moves me every time I watch it, and there are scenes that are forever etched in my mind.
Taking place in Chechnya, it has the same Central Asian rugged terrain that we've seen in recent news stories of Afghanistan, one of the many reasons that makes this an interesting film to view...a glimpse into what is an enigmatic part of the world for most of us.
The cinematography (Pavel Lebshev), and soundtrack (Leonid Desyatnikov), are marvelous, and the performances perfect. How dierctor Sergei Bodrov managed to get such fine acting from the local villagers (like Susanna Mekhalieva, who plays "Dina"), is a marvel.
As the two soldiers who are tied by fate, there is the brilliant Oleg Menchikov (also so good in "Burnt by the Sun"), and the director's son, the extraordinarily talented, charismatic Sergei Bodrov Jr., who tragically was taken from us recently in an accident while working on a film.
Also putting in a wonderful performance is Valentina Fedotova as the mother.
Losely based on Tolstoy's tale for children, "Prisoner of the Caucasus", it's a film full of compassion and love, and has plot subtleties that make this rare gem of a film deserve several viewings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alexa VINE VOICE on 3 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The title in Russian is "Prisoner of the Caucasus", and that gives a better idea of the theme. The story is about Vanya, a simple conscript soldier held captive in a remote Chechen village, to be used to bargain for the freedom of his captor's son, held in a Russian gaol. But its theme is how the tragedy of this war-torn region, and how its past imprisons and constrains everyone involved.

This is a love story where the protagonists never touch, let alone kiss. It is about one father's love for his son, and another for his honour. It is about love of one's country, and one's people, and the atrocities that these impulses can drive one to. Terrible things are done, yet all are driven by love, rather than hate - even his cynical fellow prisoner, Sasha, reveals a deep love of his country in the end.

If you are looking for an action movie, you will probably be disappointed, but if you are looking for a film about war, and the effect of war on everyone it touches, then this is a moving, and uplifting film, even if the constraints of the past render its conclusion inevitable.

The film is visually beautiful, making full use of the breath-taking Caucasian scenery, although technically speaking, it is occasionally flawed - either there are some continuity bloopers, or the film has been heavily cut for international release. (Does anyone else know if this has happened?) This means that a certain amount of background knowledge is required to make sense of the early parts of the film - Vanya's army career is summed up before the opening title! But it seems churlish to criticise the film on these grounds; it is memorable for the compelling performances by all the leading actors.

Based on a story by Tolstoy, it fits seemlessly into a contemporary setting, thus proving that truths about human nature are timeless.
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