Only Old Men Are Going to Battle

Synopsis: Stunning WWII flying sequences as the Soviet Air Force battles the Luftwaffe. Veteran Russian pilots teach their new recruits about life, death & love. When the older men fly into battle, will the young pilots be ready to fight - and how many will return?
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Director(s): Leonid Bykov
Production: KinoNation
92 min


Film Studio


L. BYKOV as Titarenko

S. PODGORNY as Darkie

S. IVANOV as Grasshopper


Ye. SIMONOVA as Masha


V. TALASHKO as Skvortsov

Regiment Commander -


A. SMIRNOV as Makarych

A. FEDORINSKY as Alyabyev


A. NEMCHENKO as Ivan Fyodorovich

V. PASHCHENKO as Vorobyov

That was a hell of a battle!

I thought it was the end.

- How's the machine?

- Great.

I got to his tail,

and he from his back... like hell!

He just waved his tail,

and that was the last I saw of him.

Why did you stay so far behind?

You see,

I thought my guns got jammed.

All right, time to fill up.

And he's dragging on a left turn...

The dumplings are getting cold.

- With cherries?

- With cheese.

Comrade Commander,

the mission's been completed.

Seat. What did you see?

I saw one, that was all in smoke,

but I didn't see him fall.

- That's not it.

- May I?

What did you see?

From the first 9, we shot down 2,

the rest ran away.

That's not it.

Vano, what did you see?

Four Fokkers were forcing us down,

but we slipped away and came to you.

I shot it down! I did!

I shot it down, Comrade Commander.

Oh-oh-oh, what have you done?

Now we have to call your

parents to the principal.

- Tomorrow.

- Right.

- I swear I did.

- I guess, out of fright.

Congratulations on your first victory!

But remember,

Ivan Fyodorovich,

shooting down enemy planes

is not an act of heroism,

it's the duty of fighters,

it's our daily routine.

But what did you see?

- In battle?

- Yes.

Don't help him.

Greetings, Second.

Gimme some milk.

You alive?

Broke your paw?

Ten holes, the tank torn out,

as for me - not a scratch.

How do you say it, Maestro?

We'll live on. Thanks.

You're welcome.

So, what did you see?

Haven't you noticed?

Today we were fighting

over my Ukraine!

How can one notice?

The same fields, roads, villages.


The air is different.

The sky is bluer, the earth is greener.

Commander, as for

greenery, in our Siberia...

Why Siberia, my dear?

Come to Bakuriani,

you'll see the real greenery.

- Have you ever seen the Yenisey?

- No, I haven't.

And have you seen the Tsenitskhali?

There they go...


A lark.

Based upon

the reminiscences

of Soviet pilots fighting

in the Great Patriotic War,


and wartime songs.

Chief Consultant -

Hero of the Soviet Union,

General-Lieutenant of the Air Force



Production Designer


Director of Photography


Screenplay by

Leonid BYKOV


Alexander SATSKY

Directed by

Leonid BYKOV



Give me First.

Give me first squadron!

Comrades pilots,

please don't go away.

Captain Dementyev, come to me.

Give me first squadron!

- Comrade...

- Later.

Comrade Commander, we've got

reinforcement. What do we do?

- Get the third up.

- Yes!

I'm First.

Ninth, answer me.

Ninth, answer me.

I'm First.

The wireless is too weak, it won't do.

- Weak... Get me a stronger one!

- That's only in the division.

So get it in the division! You're

a communications man, not a balalaika.

Maestro, answer me.

Maestro, I'm First.

Maestro, answer me. I'm First.

Commander, there are

no miracles that happen.

He's been out of fuel

for 30 minutes now.

Shall we deal with the reinforcement?

They should be assigned

to squadrons.

It's never late to assign

the living to the living.

Comrade Guards Major,

I got a new comedy in the division,

"George from Dinki-Jazz".

They gave it to us, but Regiment 125

intercepted it. It's robbery.

- What did they intercept?

- "From Dinki-Jazz".

What jazz?

From Dinki.

Off you go!

Why is everybody here?

Everyone go to supper.

Do you need

a special invitation?

Oh, it's you, Sergey.

He ordered me to lead everybody away,

but I'm No. 2.

I wasn't supposed

to leave him alone.

Stop torturing yourself.

You had to carry out the order.

- I know.

- Go and have supper.

It'll be windy tomorrow.

Looks like it.

Forty-seven minutes.

I need a pipe changed

in the engine.

And the stock-keeper won't give it.

Please, order him to.

You'll never stop. You'll leave the

whole regiment without spare parts.

All right, tell him I allowed.

They brought "George from Dinki-Jazz. "

A comedy, they say.


Come on, enough of that.

- Free here?

- Occupied.

- May I?

- I said it's occupied.

Let's go over there.

The Messers!

Makarych, accept the machine.

Here, I swapped it without bargaining.

You can hold it by it's tale,

the dragon doesn't bite anymore.

And I...

got connecting pipes

for our Niner.

The Niner is kaput.

- Everybody got back?

- Right!

- Why are you so gloomy then?

- Mourning the Niner.

Comrade Commander, I was shot

down while on a fighting mission.

Couldn't make it over the front line.

The infantry helped me out,

attacking just in time.

Guys at the airfield

gave me a new Messer.

Hi, pop.

Hi, you lucky devil!

The parachute's kaput, too.

That's it. The second to rehearsal.

Come on.

Everyone, who can tell the 'do' note

from the 'fa' note, follow me!

That amateur talent business again!

The pilots ought to rest.

Who said songs at war

should be dropped as such?

After a fight one yearns

for music twice as much.

Start'er up!

Today we have a respite,

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Leonid Bykov

Leonid Fedorovich Bykov (Russian: Леонид Фёдорович Быков, 11 December 1928 in Znamenka village, Artemivsk Okruha of Ukraine, USSR - 11 April 1979 in Kiev Oblast of Ukraine, USSR - 11 April 1979 in Kiev Oblast of Ukraine, USSR) was a Ukrainian Soviet actor, film director, and script writer. He received the "Honored Artist of the RSFSR" title in 1965 and the "People's Artist of the Ukrainian SSR" title in 1974.Bykov contributed to several Soviet World War II films that portrayed a stereotypical Soviet Ukrainian. Bykov died in a traffic accident in 1979 on the highway from Minsk to Kiev. In 1994, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet after him, (4682) Bykov. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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