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247 Ratings

The North Star

Directed by Lewis Milestone
United States, 1943
Drama, Romance, War


A small Ukrainian village is attacked by the Nazi as part of the German invasion. Erich von Stroheim, a brutal German doctor takes the children of the village and uses them to transfer blood from them to wounded German soldiers. As the children start dying, the villagers organize an attack.

Our take

A pro-Soviet Goldwyn production, Lewis Milestone’s Oscar-nominated invasion drama is truly one-of-a-kind: a song-filled war film set in a besieged Ukrainian farming village inhabited by Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, and Walter Huston. With cinematography by James Wong Howe and music by Aaron Copeland!

The North Star Directed by Lewis Milestone Watch now

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1944 | 6 nominations including: Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Critics reviews

Mainly “The North Star” strove for innocuous universality. The peasants were played, without accents, by down-to-earth, all-American types: Dana Andrews, Anne Baxter, Dean Jagger and (in his first movie) the 16-year-old Farley Granger… The Russian-born Milestone… was a middling director, less than an auteur but more than a hack.
July 24, 2014
Read full article
The North Star is a movie I admire for the effort, patience and talent—all sincere—that went into the making of it; but it is one that I feel is too careful of how it walks and what path it takes. This in spite of there being no shoddiness, that it is a grateful, compassionate tribute to the Russian people, projected cleanly and with that elegance of craftsmanship that Sam Goldwyn manages by obtaining the best material and artists available to satisfy his idea of a well tooled product…
November 08, 1943

What are people saying?

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The North Star

    An extraordinary war film that is unjustly disparaged by lay and professional critics alike. Not only is the homage to the iconography of Dovzhenko excellent to look at, mostly in the long shots, the bold decision to start a film as a musical celebration of plenitude and communal solidarity and move in the last hour to a riveting war film (anticipating in some scenes Klimov) is ingenious. The cinenatography stuns!

  • P Teddy Sawyer's rating of the film The North Star

    Buried by McCarthyism, this is an astonishing war film contemporary to events depicting huge set pieces which at times almost seem documentary. 'Burn your houses ! The Germans are coming !' script by: Lilian Hellman ! An oscar for special effects!

  • Loz Loory's rating of the film The North Star

    Such an earnest production, with hokey musical numbers and all. A good film to see to understand why Film Noir evolved, and an important film in the history of American censorship. It's only his first role, but Farley Granger's screen presence is phenomenal. Lillian Hellman's memoir, "An Unfinished Woman," has a brilliant section about her WWII visit to the USSR and her time at the Front with the Russian Army.

  • DrFirestone's rating of the film The North Star

    Worth watching for the cinematography alone - especially the amazing set design and wonderful camerawork. It is also interesting to think that what we see on the screen is a contemporary depiction of WW2... As for the rest - a painfully obvious war propaganda brainwashing, and just try to imagine this film made 3 or 4 years later: the Soviets would be the devils incarnated, draining blood from German soldiers...

  • Jason's rating of the film The North Star

    We naturally excuse a certain amount of treacle in our Classic Hollywood. Both artistry and craziness help us to excuse. THE NORTH STAR. For artistry: the illustrious James Wong Howe as cinematographer. For craziness: delirious writing from the divine Lillian Hellman, noted drinker. And what a cast! Walter Huston and Erich von Stroheim are especially marvelous. Odd subgenre, this. Military alliance proxy propaganda.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film The North Star

    A l'est rien de nouveau. De la médiocrité au kilomètre ou plutôt à la verste, des acteurs qui surjouent comme le pire des néophytes, des trucages aériens d'une affligeante pauvreté visuelle, un accompagnement musicale surnuméraire et cacophonique, le tout dans une grandiloquence de matamore à l'agonie qui laisse le spectateur pantois et les mânes du pauvre Staline en capilotade...

  • Christofer Pierson's rating of the film The North Star

    One of those oddballs from American film history that every cinephile really should see at least once. Unfairly judged today for not having the prescience to see through Stalinism. Take it on its own terms. It's beautifully shot and acted. Interesting Copeland score. A surprisingly brutal war film for its age.

  • SA's rating of the film The North Star

    It's too American in every way and thus hokey. Even Von Stroheim. Yes the photography is excellent but I find myself wondering when John Wayne's scenes would start and the Star Spangled Banner sung.

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