Alyosha has it rough, being a Russian teenager on the front lines of World War II. But when he singlehandedly takes out two German tanks, he earns a day pass to go home and visit his mother. And wouldn't you know it... the voyage home is far more treacherous than those enormous tanks.

Ballad of a Soldier earned international acclaim during its 1959 release but was beloved nowhere more than in its homeland of Russia. It's easy to see why. Alyosha's (Vladimir Ivashov) journey has all the makings of high adventure, drama, and romance. He has to bribe a fellow soldier just to hop a train to his village, but he also finds solace in the arms of a fellow hitchhiker, Shura (Zhanna Prokhorenko), though it is all too fleeting. At times, it looks like the simple trip home to mom will never be completed.

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