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* RunForTheBorder: Several escapees from TheGulag flee, hoping to escape from Russia and seek refuge in Mongolia. When they finally reach the border, they discover that Mongolia and Russia are now allies. Since the country on the other side of Mongolia also has communist ties, they are forced to cross ''three' borders before the survivors of the group are safe.


* DeathOfAChild: Granted, Irena is a young teenager rather than a small child, but she’s definitely the baby of the group, and she [[spoiler:dies of dehydration in the Gobi desert.]]



* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Nope.]] Granted, Irena is a young teenager rather than a small child, but she’s definitely the baby of the group, and she [[spoiler:dies of dehydration in the Gobi desert.]]


* BasedOnATrueStory: Sort of. It's based on a memoir, though the extent of its authenticity has been questioned. [[note]]If you are curious: loosely speaking, it's generally considered true that a Polish man made such a trek, what's not is who was this guy and how did he do it.[[/note]]

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* BasedOnATrueStory: Sort of. It's based on a memoir, though the extent of its authenticity has been questioned. [[note]]If you are curious: loosely speaking, it's generally considered true that a Polish man made such a trek, what's not is who was this guy was and how he did he do it.[[/note]]



* HeartwarmingOrphan: Played with but eventually subverted. The gang accept and come to have affection for Irena, but [[spoiler:she dies in the desert.]]

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* HeartwarmingOrphan: Played with with, but eventually subverted. The gang accept and come to have affection for Irena, but [[spoiler:she dies in the desert.]]



* LiarRevealed: Several of the characters, but Irena is the most obvious: Mister realizes the story she told can't be true, because the area she said she lived in was occupied by Russia in the World War II, rather than Germany. Valka asks why she lied when her real history is awful enough (her Polish parents went to Moscow to work for the Communist Party, only to be executed for no reason and leave her and her brother orphans sent to a collective farm), and she says she thought an even sadder story would keep them from leaving her behind.[[spoiler:Voss]] also eventually reveals that he was in the gulag not for being a priest, but for [[spoiler:killing a young soldier who had defaced his church. It wasn't premeditated, but it was still murder.]]

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* LiarRevealed: Several of the characters, but Irena is the most obvious: Mister realizes the story she told can't be true, because the area she said she lived in was occupied by Russia in the World War II, rather than Germany. Valka asks why she lied when her real history is awful enough (her Polish parents went to Moscow to work for the Communist Party, only to be executed for no reason and leave her and her brother orphans to be sent to a collective farm), and she says she thought an even sadder story would keep them from leaving her behind.[[spoiler:Voss]] also eventually reveals that he was in the gulag not for being a priest, but for [[spoiler:killing a young soldier who had defaced his church. It wasn't premeditated, but it was still murder.]]



* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: At one point Valka asks Janusz who they should eat first, assuming that the reason Janusz brought so many extra people was so there would be something to eat. Janusz is horrified.

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* NoPartyLikeADonnerParty: At one point point, Valka asks Janusz who they should eat first, assuming that the reason Janusz brought so many extra people was so that there would be something to eat. Janusz is horrified.



* SpoilerOpening: [[spoiler:The opening credits say that only three men made it to India, meaning we know from the first most of the characters are going to die, or at least not make it. Slightly subverted in that Smith and Valka survive but leave the group before they reach their objective--Valka decides he can't leave Russia and figures even if he's caught again he probably would be sent to a different gulag (his concern being getting away from the gangsters to whom he owes money in the gulag they escaped from) and Smith thinks he can get to a US army mission in China from Lhasa]]
* TattooedCrook: Valka, very heavily. Historically accurate, too, as Russian prison tattoos have long had very specific meanings.
* ThirstyDesert: Very thirsty. They have no water bottles or canteens; they're reduced to carrying what small, open pots they could find, which leads to evaporation and other problems. At one point they do find a well, but the Gobi has very few natural water sources.
* YankTheDogsChain: Half the movie is one long case of that, but right off there’s poor Kazik. Their first night of freedom and he [[spoiler:gets lost looking for wood and freezes to death.]] The real kicker is that he saw the fire vaguely and thought he’d come close enough. He hadn’t.

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* SpoilerOpening: [[spoiler:The opening credits say that only three men made it to India, meaning we know from the first most of the characters are going to die, or at least not make it. Slightly subverted in that Smith and Valka survive survive, but leave the group before they reach their objective--Valka decides he can't leave Russia and figures even if he's caught again again, he probably would be sent to a different gulag (his concern being getting away from the gangsters to whom he owes money in the gulag they escaped from) and Smith thinks he can get to a US army mission in China from Lhasa]]
* TattooedCrook: Valka, very heavily. Historically accurate, too, as Russian prison tattoos have long had and very specific meanings.
* ThirstyDesert: Very thirsty. They have no water bottles or canteens; they're reduced to carrying what small, open pots they could find, which leads to evaporation and other problems. At one point point, they do find a well, but the Gobi has very few natural water sources.
* YankTheDogsChain: Half the movie is one long case of that, but right off off, there’s poor Kazik. Their first night of freedom and he [[spoiler:gets lost looking for wood and freezes to death.]] The real kicker is that he saw the fire vaguely and thought he’d come close enough. He hadn’t.

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* FightToSurvive: A long, desperate struggle to walk halfway across Asia on foot.


A 2011 film by Creator/PeterWeir, starring Creator/JimSturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris.

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A 2011 film by Creator/PeterWeir, starring Creator/JimSturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell Creator/ColinFarrell, Creator/EdHarris and Creator/EdHarris.
Creator/SaoirseRonan.


A 2011 film by Creator/PeterWeir, starring Creator/JimSturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris. In 1941, seven escapees from a Soviet gulag try to make their way to freedom from Siberia to UsefulNotes/{{Mongolia}}. Along the way, they pick up an orphan runaway, but as soon as they reach Mongolia, they realize that it is Communist as well: they are not safer there than in Russia, and they have to keep going south. This involves crossing the Gobi desert, a part of China and Tibet (which were separate at that time), go through the Himalayas, to make it to safety in India.

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A 2011 film by Creator/PeterWeir, starring Creator/JimSturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris. Creator/EdHarris.

In 1941, seven escapees from a Soviet gulag try to make their way to freedom from Siberia to UsefulNotes/{{Mongolia}}. Along the way, they pick up an orphan runaway, but as soon as they reach Mongolia, they realize that it is Communist as well: they are not safer there than in Russia, and they have to keep going south. This involves crossing the Gobi desert, a part of China and Tibet (which were separate at that time), go through the Himalayas, to make it to safety in India.India.

Not to be confused with 2020's ''Film/{{The Way Back|2020}}''.


A 2011 film by Creator/PeterWeir, starring Jim Sturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris. In 1941, seven escapees from a Soviet gulag try to make their way to freedom from Siberia to UsefulNotes/{{Mongolia}}. Along the way, they pick up an orphan runaway, but as soon as they reach Mongolia, they realize that it is Communist as well: they are not safer there than in Russia, and they have to keep going south. This involves crossing the Gobi desert, a part of China and Tibet (which were separate at that time), go through the Himalayas, to make it to safety in India.

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A 2011 film by Creator/PeterWeir, starring Jim Sturgess, Creator/JimSturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris. In 1941, seven escapees from a Soviet gulag try to make their way to freedom from Siberia to UsefulNotes/{{Mongolia}}. Along the way, they pick up an orphan runaway, but as soon as they reach Mongolia, they realize that it is Communist as well: they are not safer there than in Russia, and they have to keep going south. This involves crossing the Gobi desert, a part of China and Tibet (which were separate at that time), go through the Himalayas, to make it to safety in India.


* LanguageBarrier: To an extent. Because the characters come from all over the USSR (and one from America), English is the only language they have in common, but each person speaks it with a varying level of fluency. Valka struggles heavily, while Voss and Irena, having had a proper education, are fairly fluent. English is Mister's native language, and given that he moved to Russia he presumably speaks Russian as well. (He also speaks at least a little Mongolian, as he's able to more or less communicate with a band of nomads they run across in Mongolia.)

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* LanguageBarrier: To an extent. Because the characters come from all over the USSR (and one from America), English is the only language they have in common, but each person speaks it with a varying level of fluency. Valka struggles heavily, while Voss and Irena, having had a proper education, are fairly fluent. English is Mister's native language, and given that he moved to Russia he presumably speaks Russian as well. (He also speaks at least a little Mongolian, as he's able to more or less communicate with a band of nomads they run across in Mongolia.)

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* LanguageBarrier: To an extent. Because the characters come from all over the USSR (and one from America), English is the only language they have in common, but each person speaks it with a varying level of fluency. Valka struggles heavily, while Voss and Irena, having had a proper education, are fairly fluent. English is Mister's native language, and given that he moved to Russia he presumably speaks Russian as well. (He also speaks at least a little Mongolian, as he's able to more or less communicate with a band of nomads they run across in Mongolia.)

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* LiarRevealed: Several of the characters, but Irena is the most obvious: Mister realizes the story she told can't be true, because the area she said she lived in was occupied by Russia in the World War II, rather than Germany. Valka asks why she lied when her real history is awful enough (her Polish parents went to Moscow to work for the Communist Party, only to be executed for no reason and leave her and her brother orphans sent to a collective farm), and she says she thought an even sadder story would keep them from leaving her behind.[[spoiler:Voss]] also eventually reveals that he was in the gulag not for being a priest, but for [[spoiler:killing a young soldier who had defaced his church. It wasn't premeditated, but it was still murder.]]


%%%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.


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%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
%%


%% * CrossingTheDesert: The Gobi. It doesn’t end well.
%% * DarkAndTroubledPast: ''All'' of them. They all wound up in a gulag, after all.
%% * {{Determinator}}: All of them.

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%% * CrossingTheDesert: The Gobi. It doesn’t end well.
%%
well for most of them.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: ''All'' of them. They all wound up in a gulag, after all.
%%
all. What's extra heartbreaking is that only two of them are actual criminals -- and one of those criminals killed someone in the heat of the moment (out of grief).
* {{Determinator}}: All of them.them, but especially Janusz, whose motivation is to [[spoiler:find his wife and forgive her for the torture-induced "confession" that got him sent to the gulag in the first place.]]



%% * GreatEscape: From...
%% * TheGulag: Which is where the story starts out.
%% * HeartwarmingOrphan: Played with but eventually subverted. The gang accept and come to have affection for Irena, but [[spoiler:she definitely doesn’t get a happy ending.]]
%% * HeroicBSOD: Smith has this after [[spoiler:Tomasz dies.]]

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%% * GreatEscape: From...
%%
The opening of the film involves the protagonists planning (and executing) an escape from the gulag.
* TheGulag: Which is where Where the story starts out.
%%
out. All but two of the characters had committed no actual crime.
* HeartwarmingOrphan: Played with but eventually subverted. The gang accept and come to have affection for Irena, but [[spoiler:she definitely doesn’t get a happy ending.]]
%%
dies in the desert.]]
* HeroicBSOD: Smith has this after [[spoiler:Tomasz dies.]]



%% Load: Kazik.

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%% Load: Kazik.* TheLoad: Kazik. His night blindness (caused by a vitamin deficiency, and not uncommon in gulags) meant he was something of a liability. Sadly, [[spoiler:it gets him killed on their first night of freedom.]]



%% * OohMeAccentsSlipping: A milder case than a lot of movies set in Russia, but it’s still there.

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%% * OohMeAccentsSlipping: A milder case than a lot of movies set in Russia, but it’s still there.there. Colin Farrel and Saoirse Ronan have it the worst in places, but all of them slip sooner or later. (Ed Harris got to keep his natural American accent, since his character was from America.)
* OutlivingOnesOffspring: [[spoiler:Mister]] is especially bitter because before he himself was even sent to the gulag, his seventeen-year-old son was shot (and it's implied by Irena that it was done in front of him.)



%% * PapaWolf: All of them for Irena, but especially Mister Smith, whose teenage son [[spoiler:was shot in the head before he himself was sent to the gulag.]]



%% * SceneryPorn: All over the place. Another excellent work by Peter Weir's frequent collaborator, award-winning cinematographer, Russell Boyd.

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%% * SceneryPorn: All over the place.place, especially as the film was largely shot on-location. Another excellent work by Peter Weir's frequent collaborator, award-winning cinematographer, Russell Boyd.



%% * TattooedCrook: Valka, very heavily.
%% * ThirstyDesert

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%% * TattooedCrook: Valka, very heavily.
%%
heavily. Historically accurate, too, as Russian prison tattoos have long had very specific meanings.
* ThirstyDesertThirstyDesert: Very thirsty. They have no water bottles or canteens; they're reduced to carrying what small, open pots they could find, which leads to evaporation and other problems. At one point they do find a well, but the Gobi has very few natural water sources.


A 2011 film by Peter Weir, starring Jim Sturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris. In 1941, seven escapees from a Soviet gulag try to make their way to freedom from Siberia to UsefulNotes/{{Mongolia}}. Along the way, they pick up an orphan runaway, but as soon as they reach Mongolia, they realize that it is Communist as well: they are not safer there than in Russia, and they have to keep going south. This involves crossing the Gobi desert, a part of China and Tibet (which were separate at that time), go through the Himalayas, to make it to safety in India.

to:

A 2011 film by Peter Weir, Creator/PeterWeir, starring Jim Sturgess, Creator/ColinFarrell and Creator/EdHarris. In 1941, seven escapees from a Soviet gulag try to make their way to freedom from Siberia to UsefulNotes/{{Mongolia}}. Along the way, they pick up an orphan runaway, but as soon as they reach Mongolia, they realize that it is Communist as well: they are not safer there than in Russia, and they have to keep going south. This involves crossing the Gobi desert, a part of China and Tibet (which were separate at that time), go through the Himalayas, to make it to safety in India.

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* ShownTheirWork: The tattoos Valka has were adopted by many criminals who hoped to avoid being shot, as it was illegal to deface an image of Stalin. Of course [[DidntThinkThisThrough that didn't stop people from shooting them in the head]].



The book ''Literature/TheWayBack'' doesn't relate to this film.

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