Battle of Neretva, The (1969): Yugoslavia Oscar Nominee

Yugoslavia

Originally released as “The Battle of the Neretva,” Yugoslavia’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar, this three-hour historical epic pays tribute to the Yugoslav partisan fighters of World War II.

Boasting an international cast, the film stars Yul Brynner as Vlado, a guerilla leader whose mission is to eradicate all Nazis from his homeland.  Hardy Kruger costars as the principle German antagonist.

The ensemble also includes Orson Welles, Kurt Jurgens, and Franco Nero.

The tale was later criticized for failing to acknowledge Yugoslav collaboration with the Nazis.

Originally released at 175 minutes, this $12 million spectacular was cut down to a presumbaly more manageable102 minute version by its American distributors.  As a result, the shorter version feels like a blueprint, or a series of incongruous scenes, though the action pieces remain compelling.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Best Foreign-Language Film

Oscar Context:

The winner was Costa-Gavras’ political thriller “Z.”

Credits

Rating: G.

Running time: 175 Minutes.

Directed by Veljko Bulajic.

Released: October 7, 1969.

Cast

Yul Brynner as Vlado

Hardy Kruger as German Captain

Franco Nero as Italian Captain

Orson Welles as Senator

Kurt (Curd) Jürgens as German General Lohring

Anthony Dawson as General Morelli