Trial on the Road (Russian: Проверка на дорогах, romanised: Proverka na dorogakh) is a 1971 black-and-white Soviet film set in World War II, directed by Aleksey German, starring Rolan Bykov, Anatoly Solonitsyn and Vladimir Zamansky.
It is also known as Checkpoint or Check up on the Road.
The drama takes place in December 1942 during the Nazi occupation of the USSR in World War II. It revolves around the former Red Army sergeant Lazarev who was captured in his German uniform by Soviet partisans. Earlier he was captured by the Nazis and became a collaborator (hiwi), but after being captured by partisans he starts fighting against the Nazis.
The title of the film was based on real events: partisans used to stop a truck full of “politsais” (police made of local collaborators) or Vlasovites and shoot them all after a brief trial, leaving one to tell the story. Lazarev’s character is based on a real person as well, but his real-life role was to penetrate Vlasov detachments to convince Vlasovites to give themselves up. In the film, Lazarev voluntarily gives himself up to partisans, and two partisan leaders (of antipodal characters), Commander Lokotkov and Commissar Petushkov, put the collaborator to the test. For some partisans, he will be always a traitor and treated with suspicion, but for others this former Red Army officer, by joining the group of partisans, has to prove himself on the battlefield as a patriot and hero. In the end he gets killed in action distinguishing himself with bravery and heroism.
- Rolan Bykov – Ivan Egorovich Lokotkov.
- Anatoly Solonitsyn – Igor Leonidovich Petushkov.
- Vladimir Zamansky – Alexander Ivanovich Lazarev.
- Oleg Borisov – Victor Mikhailovich Solomin.
- Fyodor Odinokov – The Old Mine-Layer – Erofeich.
- Anda Zaice – Inga – the partisan-interpreter.
- Gennadi Dyudyayev – Dmitry Mit’ka – a young partisan.
- Maya Bulgakova – a peasant woman.
- Nikolai Burlyayev – The young auxiliary policeman.
- Victor Pavlov – Kutenko – an auxiliary police watchman.
- Trial on the Road was censored and taken out of circulation in the Soviet Union for 15 years after its release due to its controversial depiction of Soviet soldiers.
- The film is based on a story by the director’s father, Yuri German. The screenplay was written by Eduard Volodarsky.
- This film is Alexei German’s solo directorial debut which took a philosophical approach to the Soviet usage of “heroes” and “traitors”. Screenplay by A. German and Eduard Y. Volodarsky (1941-2012), the film is based on the novel of his father (Operatsiya “S Novym Godom”, or Operation “Happy New Year”), Yuri German (1910-1967), a Soviet novelist, screenwriter, and journalist.
- The original film title was that of the novel.
- The film was released in 1987, during “perestroika” in the Soviet Union.
Production & Filming Details
- Aleksey German.
- Vladimir Besprozvanny … producer (as V. Besprozvanny).
- Yuri German.
- Eduard Volodarsky.
- B. Aleksandrovsky.
- Lev Kolganov … (as L. Kolganov).
- Yakov Sklyansky.
- Anna Babushkina.
- Lenfilm Studio.
- Pervoe Tvorcheskoe Obedinenie.
- Artkino Pictures (1986) (Argentina) (theatrical).
- Films Cosmos, Les (1986) (France) (theatrical).
- International Film Exchange (IFEX) (1986) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled).
- Kosmos-Filmi (1986) (Finland) (theatrical).
- New Star (2021) (Greece) (theatrical).
- Nihonkai Eiga (1987) (Japan) (theatrical).
- Polfilm (1988) (Sweden) (theatrical).
- Yleisradio (YLE) (2006) (Finland) (TV).
- Release Date: 1987 (Soviet Union).
- Running Time: 96 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: Soviet Union.
- Language: Russian.