Ballad of a Soldier

(aka "Ballada o soldate")

directed by Grigori Chukhraj
Soviet Union 1959

"Had Ballad of a Soldier received wider play in 1960, more Americans would have realized that individual Russians are real human beings—with hopes and dreams, essentially good hearted and caring, family oriented, and no more in love with war than the common people we all know in the U.S. Forget about political agendas—all Alyosha desires is to see his mother and survive the war, and his nature compels him to touch others. It's surprising to find that Chukhraj's universally relatable film wasn't well received by the Soviet government when it was first released due to its more personal style and portrayals of character weakness (as if the rest of the world was to believe that sexual adventures and adultery didn't exist there). Arguably the best post WWII Russian film to date, Ballad of a Soldier communicates a human interest story for the ages"

Excerpt from John Nesbit's review found HERE at

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DVD Comparison: Criterion Region 1 vs. RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC

All screenshots courtesy by Ashirg

DVD Box Covers



Distribution Home Vision Entertainment - Criterion Spine #13
Region 1 encoded (North America) 
Region 0 
Runtime 1:28:09 1:24:09 (PAL Speed Up?)
Video 4:3 Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1
Average Bitrate: 6.15  mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
4:3 Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1
Average Bitrate:  6.22 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.





Audio Russian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)

Russian Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles English or none English, Russian, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Hebrew, Swedish, Chinese, None
Features Discographic Information:
DVD Encoding: Region 1
Layers: Dual
Available Audio Tracks: 
Available subtitles: English

Edition Details:

• Black & White
• 15 minute Interview With Director Grigori Chukhrai and Stars Vladimir Ivashov and Zhanna Prokhorenko, Conducted After a Preview Screening in New York

• Liner essay

Description: NTSC, Region 0, Russian, English, French. Subtitles 13 languages

Primary Screen Format:
4:3 Non-Anamorphic NTSC

Discs / Sides / Layers:
1 / 1 / Dual


Special Features:

- five trailers
- filmographies
- stills gallery
- wartime newsreel of 1941 parade in Red Square
• 35 min. interview With Director Grigori Chukhrai
Unless you are just about anything but English or Russian, then this is an easy one. The Criterion quality far exceeds the RusCiCo in every capture. The Ruscico disc has, of course, more subtitles as they always do...they have also upgraded the original soundtrack to 5.1 from monaural... purists would not approve, so its a personal choice. Regardless, Criterion wins this one quite easily. Ohh yeah, the RusCiCo interview with director Chukhrai is 20 minutes longer and much more detailed, actually more modern, the Criterion stuff is stills and a radio segment from the 60's.

DVD Release Date: April 30, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 21

DVD Release Date: Summer 2001
Keep Case

Chapters 20

(Criterion left, RusCiCo  right)

DVD Menu


In the RusCiCo we get a 35-minute interview with the late director.  He tells some amazing stories about shooting, troubles he had with the government, how he cast the leads and after shooting started, and then changed them.  This interview is a fantastic extra


(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Capture #1

(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Capture # 1a

(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Capture # 2

(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Capture # 3

(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

Notice slight print damage at 1.05 on both prints.
Capture # 4



(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

Capture # 5




Capture # 6

(Criterion Region 1- NTSC TOP, RusCiCo Region 0 - NTSC - BOTTOM)



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Extras: RusCiCo
Menu: Criterion