The Way Back

Synopsis: In 1941, three men attempt to flee communist Russia, escaping a Siberian gulag. The film tells their story and that of four others who escaped with them and a teenage girl who joins them in flight. The group's natural leader is Janusz, a Pole condemned by accusations secured by torturing his wife, spent much of his youth outdoors, and knows how to live in the wild. They escape under cover of a snowstorm: a cynical American, a Russian thug, a comedic accountant, a pastry chef who draws, a priest, and a Pole with night blindness. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, as well as many moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the journey towards freedom.
Director(s): Peter Weir
Production: Newmarket Films LLC
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
133 min

Look at those poor men.

They've got night blindness.

I saw it in the transit camp.

It's vitamin deficiency|from starvation.

Here, here.

You planning on surviving|on half rations, son?

Look, he's an old man.

I'm an old man.

I'll be alive in the morning.|He won't.


That can kill you here.

He's American.

In Here? How?

Stalin hates foreigners,

and that includes Poles.

You're Polish, no?

I like you Poles.

Your burning sense of injustice,

the yearning for freedom.

Khabarov...|Andrei Timofeyevich.

Weiszczek... Janusz.

Your charge, may I ask, Janusz?

A spy.

That's what they told me.

Ten years?

No. 20.

And you were on Soviet side of line,

and they arrest you.|They accuse you of spying.

Torture you?

Did you sign confession?


No, I wouldn't sign,

so they... they tortured|someone else.

Forgive me.

I was actor.

Moving pictures.

In my last picture,|I played aristocrat.

They arrested me when the film|was released.


It was claimed

I was elevating the status|of the old nobility.

So you got ten years|for a performance in a film.

I've had better notices.


The Urki.

Do you know who these are?

Professional criminals.

Murderers and thieves.

Don't stare at them.

The guards let them|run things in here,

and they are to be feared.

Then why would they|let them run things?

Because they are byproduct|of bourgeois society

and so friends of people.

We are political prisoners|and so enemies of people.

The Soviet Union|has become one vast prison.

Slave labor.

They are from far reaches|of Soviet Empire,

all caught up in same net.

And do any of them|wriggle out of the net?

No, Janusz.|You must be more careful.

Stalin has eyes|and ears everywhere,

even in here.

If you are not more careful,

you will die after one year.

If not literally,

then spirit.

And how long have you|been in here?

Eleven months and 29 days.

You do for me.

You want me to draw you?

No. Not me.


Eating me alive.

For that I have|old folk remedy. Come.

The mine.

They blast at night.

What are you doing?

We must be quick.

Or this will not be|here in the morning.

You're going to|leave it here overnight? Why?

You'll see.

It can be done.

I know a way through the wire.


Lazar, my associate,

he is overseer|of construction.

He showed me.

If you ever escape the camps,

and I've been waiting|so long for someone like you,

someone with the strength,

the will to see it through.

But to go where?

I mean, we can't go west.

I mean, apart from the Germans,|there's the Soviets.

And east, all Soviet|right to the Pacific.

No, no, no, no.

North. Have to be...|have to be south.


But do you know where we are?|I mean, exactly?

I beileve we are about 500 kilometers|north of Lake Baikal.

This is the lake.

Camp is here.

And the border is here.

We could follow the edge|of the lake here.

That runs due south.

Exactly. Then we cross|the Trans-Siberian Railway

to the Mongolian border|and freedom.

Spring is already upon us.

We will have to wait|till autumn.

No. Why wait?


Because it is a thousand kilometers|to the border, maybe more.

We need careful planning.|We need to stockpile food.

I've already begun|trading, dealing.

You must do the same.

And in autumn,|the weather is more predictable.

We can use the new snow|to cover our tracks.

And we bring my friends.

Your friends? You trust them?

Of course.

They won't all survive.

But they will die free men.


That's a really brave man!

First we need big branches!

One on each side|and then one on the back!

Help me, Kazik.

These down there,|put it there on the branch.

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    "The Way Back" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 8 May 2021. <>.

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