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Defiance (2008)

Daniel Craig, Defiance | DANIEL CRAIG
Image credit: Karen Ballard
DANIEL CRAIG

Details Release Date: Jan 16, 2009; Limited Release: Dec 31, 2008; Rated: R; Length: 137 Minutes; Genres: Drama, War; With: Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber; Distributor: Paramount Vantage

We've grown accustomed to stories of European Jews suffering horrible fates during World War II. But victim is the last word to describe the real-life heroes of Defiance. The three Bielski brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell) fled into the woods of 
 Belarus after the Nazis 
 invaded in 1942, then recruited other Jews to join a sometimes violent campaign of resistance that arguably saved hundreds of lives. ''These brothers fought back,'' says Craig, who plays the oldest brother, ''and they fought back very aggressively.'' Just how aggressively? ''There was a story they decapitated a guy who ratted them out, and left his head in the center of the town,'' says Schreiber.

While shooting the 
$32 million film last fall in Lithuania, the three stars formed a brotherly bond. ''The first day I walked into the hotel where we were staying, Daniel shouted my name and hugged me like I was this long-lost family member,'' recalls Schreiber.
OUR 
 TWO CENTS Glory director Zwick has proved he can balance history and drama. And who doesn't want to see 007 kick Nazi butt? 12/12
DEEP DIVE Belarusguide.com offers everything you need to know about Europe's last dictatorship

Originally posted Aug 14, 2008 Published in issue #1007-1008 Aug 22, 2008 Order article reprints