Ninth Company (9 Рота) is a 2005 Russian war film about the Soviet Union’s war with Afghanistan. The war, between the Soviets—supported by Afghan allies—and Afghan guerrilla-type soldiers, lasted from 1979 to 1989. The film takes place toward the end of this period and is based on a true story, that of the “battle at hill 3234” (бой у высоты 3234).
In the film, a group of young recruits finishes their training in the Soviet Union and is shipped out to Afghanistan. They are made members of the Ninth Company, an airborne regiment, and their mission is to guard a hill. During the mission, the Soviet leadership decides to end the war and bring home the soldiers, but the Ninth are left where they are, and most of the young recruits lose their lives in the battle that follows.
There are major discrepancies between the film and the real-life event. In the film, the soldiers are left alone, having been forgotten about by the Soviet leadership during the troop withdrawal—it’s just their small company against the world. In reality, though, they were a fully fledged part of the war effort during their battle.
Fyodor Bondarchuk (Фёдор Бондарчук), the film’s director, has written that the film brought the Soviet–Afghan War further into mass consciousness, where not much is known about it. The film was a political success, with President Putin praising it as “close to life” and comparing it to the film adaptation of War and Peace, but its critical and audience reviews were less solid. It did very well at the box office, though, and at the awards ceremonies: it won four Golden Eagles, including Best Film, and was nominated for four others. It also won three Nika Awards, again including Best Film, and was nominated for a variety of others at that and other awards programs.
Director: Fyodor Bondarchuk (Фёдор Бондарчук)
Stars: Artur Smolyaninov (Алексей Смолянинов), Aleksey Chadov (Алексей Чадов), Konstantin Kryukov (Константин Крюков), Ivan Kokorin (Иван Кокорин), Mikhail Yevlanov (Михаил Евланов), Artyom Mikhalkov (Артём Михалков), Soslan Fidarov (Сослан Фидаров), Ivan Nikolaev (Иван Николаев), Mikhail Porechenkov (Михаил Пореченков)
Production company: Art Pictures Studio, Kanal 1+1, Finnish Film Foundation, MRP Matila Röhr Productions Oy, Slovo, Kanal STS, Yleisradio
Box office take: $22.56 million