The film won the Best Director Award at the 1955 Cannes Film Festival
The film focuses on a key event in the history of Bulgaria – the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation \1877-1878\, after which the Bulgarian nation won its Freedom. The film follows the crucial moments of the war. Thousands of extras were used to depict the crossing of the Danube and the battle of Stara Zagora. At Stara Zagora the leading elements of the Russian army \the so called Forward squad\ and the Bulgarian volunteers met the army of generalissimo Suleiman pasha, fought bravely and, after all, were pushed back to the strategic Shipka pass. The defense of the pass in august 1877 proved to be one of the most famous battles, fought on Bulgarian soil. It also became a legendary victory for both the Bulgarians and the Russians. It is, of course, the climax of the film, with vivid battle sequences. The Russo-Bulgarian military comradeship is shown here at its best with a lot of memorable moments. The film then brings us to the siege of Pleven, where the army of marshal Osman pasha was surrounded, and, after several bloody assaults by the Russian forces, eventually was urged to surrender in November 1877. The film also shows the passing of the Balkan mountain range and the march to Constantinople, where, in a small suburb of the Turkish capital, called San Stefano, the cease-fire agreement took place \3.03.1878\ and Bulgaria emerged after 500 years of oblivion
Oh my God! I just watched this movie for a first time, and all I can say that it’s truly great. Absolutely epic masterpiece from notable Soviet director Sergey Vasilyev. First of all this is a war/battle movie so it contains a lot of battle scenes which is truly epic, especially the part with infantry charge on Pleven. Even 55 years after the day that scenes were filmed they still looks like one of the best battle scenes of all time. Acting and direction here are also well. Sergey Vasilyev’s crew and cast of best Soviet and Bulgarian actors did an outstanding work in that movie. Yeah, some people may say that “Heroes of Shipka” also contains some of Soviet’s Marxist propaganda, but come on! There is only a little bit of it in the whole movie, so you just can left it behind. And nope it is not boring at all. I watched it “on one breath” as we say in Russia =) So if you likes a well done war epic/battle dramas – this movie is just for you. I recommend it.