Taras Bulba (1962)

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German title Taras Bulba
Original title Taras Bulba
Country of production USA , Yugoslavia
original language English
Publishing year 1962
length 124 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director J. Lee Thompson
script Waldo Salt ,
Karl Tunberg
production Harold Hecht
music Franz Waxman
camera Joseph MacDonald
cut Folmar Blangsted ,
Gene Milford ,
William H. Reynolds ,
Eda Warren

Taras Bulba is a 1962 American - Yugoslav adventure film directed by J. Lee Thompson and starring Yul Brynner. The script is based on the story of the same name by the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol .


After decades of fighting for Ukraine , the Polish army managed to defeat the Turks in 1550 with the help of the Cossacks . Cossack leader Taras Bulba is invited by the Poles to a victory banquet. But the Cossacks are betrayed and have to flee into the steppe.

Andrei and Ostap, Taras Bulba's sons, are supposed to travel to Kiev to study from the Poles as students. Andrei falls in love with the noble Natalia, but is rejected by her because of his low status. After Andrei and Ostap get into a fight with Natalia's brother, in which he dies, they travel back to their homeland. Andrei realizes that the Cossack army is big enough to attack the Poles near Dubno .

Taras has Dubno besieged, leading to disease outbreaks and hunger in the city. Andrei learns that Natalia is in Dubno and sneaks into the besieged city. While trying to free Natalia, he is captured. He agrees to attack the Cossack camp in order to steal food in order to prevent Natalia's death at the stake . The attack succeeds, Andrei is able to save Natalia. But he is shot as a traitor by his father. Only when he sees Natalia crying over Andrei's corpse does he feel sadness rise too.


The film premiered in France on November 21, 1962. In the USA it was published on December 19 of the same year, in Germany two days later. The film was not financially successful. The budget was approximately seven million US dollars. In the United States, the film only grossed four million US dollars.

For the role of Andrei, Burt Lancaster was initially planned. However, after he refused, Tony Curtis was signed up. It was a severe blow to Yul Brynner, who played the title role, as he was not named as the first actor. The film was shot near the Argentine city of Salta . During the filming, Tony Curtis got to know the young actress Christine Kaufmann, whom he later married.

Gogol's story was filmed several times. In 1924 Vladimir Strizhevsky and Joseph N. Ermolieff shot a German version. A Franco-British production starring Harry Baur in the title role and directed by Alexis Granowsky was filmed in 1936. The sequel The Barbarian and the Lady followed two years later . Finally, in 2009, Wladimir Bortko filmed the story with Bogdan Stupka .


For the lexicon of international film , Tara Bulba was an “elaborate colossal painting of a heroic time, which superficially combines barbarism and confusion, banality and pathos” and was “impressive in the crowd scenes”. The film magazine Cinema described the film as "incredibly pompous historical ham".

Variety certified the film in the battle and landscape scenes pomp and splendor. The power of these images does not help the film over the "Wischi-washi subplot". In addition, the otherwise talented Curtis acts uninspired.


The film received two nominations in 1963. Franz Waxman was nominated for an Oscar in the category of best film music and for the Golden Globe in the same category .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Business on imdb.com
  2. Taras Bulba. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed June 3, 2019 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. See cinema.de ( Memento from March 11, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  4. See Taras Bulba . In: Variety , 1962.