[[quoteright:330:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dersu_uzala.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:330:The title character.]]

''Dersu Uzala'' (Дерсу Узала) is a nonfiction book written by Vladimir Arsenyev, a Russian officer sent on a series of exploration missions in the Siberian Far East at the turn of the 20th century. The book is named after an indigenous nomadic hunter whom Arsenyev befriended, and whose life was one of primal symbiosis with the harsh environment.

The book was [[TheFilmOfTheBook made into a movie]] on two occasions, the second and more famous adaptation being that of Creator/AkiraKurosawa in 1975. The film, a Russian production in the Russian language, is the only film of Kurosawa's career in a language other than Japanese. It's also one of two Kurosawa films to win the UsefulNotes/AcademyAwardForBestForeignLanguageFilm--the other being ''Film/{{Rashomon}}''--and one of four Russian films to win the award, the others being the 1968 adaptation of ''Film/{{War and Peace|1966}}'', ''Film/MoscowDoesNotBelieveInTears'' (1980), and ''Film/BurntByTheSun'' (1994).

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!!Contains examples of:
* BadassGrandpa: You can tell from the picture above. Somewhat deconstructed, though, as old age eventually catches up with the character.
* BambooTechnology: Save for his rifle, Dersu has no modern gear at all (and his rifle is described as being an antique he inherited from his father). With just a knife and what nature has to offer, however, he can craft pretty much anything he might need. Many times with actual bamboo, not uncommon in the taiga.
* ChekhovsGun: A literal, if unconventional, example. [[spoiler: When Dersu returns to the wild for the last time Arseniev insists on giving him his Winchester rifle. The rifle is missing when Dersu's body is found later, implying that he was murdered for it.]]
* CrazySurvivalist: At least once the Russians laughs of what they consider Dersu's excessive zeal on fire making or camping. Needless to say, [[SnowMeansDeath he's]] [[BigCreepyCrawlies always]] [[EverythingTryingToKillYou right]], so the others soon learn to shut up and start digging/lumbering/actually doing something.
* TheEmpire: Russia.
* TheFilmOfTheBook: Two of them, one Russian and the other Japanese-Russian, made by Creator/AkiraKurosawa and a CrowningMomentOfAwesome for the history of cinema.
* GoingNative: The result of enduring several expeditions into the wild for Arseniev.
* TheLostWoods: The primeval forest of eastern Siberia.
* InterchangeableAsianCultures: The original candidate for the role of Nanai Dersu Uzala was Japanese Creator/ToshiroMifune, and in the end Maxim Munzuk, a Tuvan, got the role.
* MagicalNativeAmerican: Though actually of Nanai ascent, Dersu fits the role accordingly, seeing the interconnectedness of all things, living in complete harmony with the environment, performing some shamanic medicine and addressing to all living things as "men". By extension, he might fall in the CryingIndian trope as well. Usually for [[HumansAreBastards good reasons]].
* MightyWhitey: Averted. Arseniev repeatedly acknowledges how much he had learnt from Dersu and how it would have been absolutely impossible to navigate or even survive through the taiga without his guide.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: In 1922, when the furthest reaches of Siberia were finally annexed to the Soviet Union, Arseniev choosed to stay in Vladivostok and become a Soviet citizen, even if he was [[DirtyCommies hardly a communist]].
* MyMasterRightOrWrong: Dersu is extremely loyal, and will accept orders from the leader of the expedition even against his advice.
* NativeGuide: Native Dersu guides the Soviet soldiers through the harsh remote Siberian taiga.
* NatureHero: Dersu is the quintessential wild mountain man, more at ease in the deepest wilderness than anywhere civilized. As such, he saves the lives of Arsenyev and his men on two occasions.
* OddFriendship: Between the young Russian officer and the grizzled native.
* OfficerAndAGentleman: Arseniev, who was a quite literate man and also a hardened officer.
* SceneryPorn: Arseniev is quite good at describing the unspoiled beauty of the Siberian taiga. Kurosawa's movie takes it UpToEleven and explodes with these, all of them {{JustForFun/Egregious}}.
* SnowMeansDeath: Or at least it would have been for Arseniev, if he didn't had Dersu at hand.

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!!Tropes found in the 1975 film:

* FishOutOfWater: Dersu can't deal with all the restrictions of life in a city--he feels uncomfortable living in a house, he's told he can't fire his gun in city limits, he gets arrested for cutting down a tree. Eventually he goes back into the wild.
* HowWeGotHere: The film starts with Arsiniev in 1910, trying to find Dersuís grave. After that intro, we jump back to 1902 and their first meeting.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: The soldiers amuse themselves by tying a bottle to a string, setting the string swinging on a tree branch, and taking potshots at it. All of them miss. Dersu, who objects to wasting something as useful as a glass bottle in the wild, says he'll shoot the string instead. He hits it, of course. (This makes it feel all the more tragic towards the end when Dersu's deteriorating eyesight means he can't shoot wild game anymore.)
* OminousFog: The fog in the forest sets an ominous mood right before Dersu figures out that there is a tiger very close to them, hiding in the fog.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: The only woman in the cast is Arsiniev's wife Anna, who pops up 20 minutes before the end of the movie, when Arsiniev is back home.
* TimeSkip: Five years pass between Arsiniev's first journey to Siberia in 1902 and his second in 1907.
* YouNoTakeCandle: Dersu speaks broken Russian of the "me no understand" variety.
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