This so called "eastern" (or "ostern" western Russian style), the movie about the fight of the Red Army soldier with the bandits ("basmachi") in the Central Asia during the Civil War that followed the Revolution of 1917, became not only a cult, but also one of the most beloved pictures for several generations of the viewers in all countries of the former Soviet Union. It has become a tradition for all Russian cosmonauts to watch it the night before their flight. Its success had formed the genre of domestic "eastern".
The demobilized after many years of military service soldier Fedor Sukhov walks through the desert to his native hamlet where his beloved Caterina Matveevna has been waiting for him. The movie is made as the letters that Fedor writes to Caterina (but never sends them) and tells her (with great humor) about his (often deadly dangerous) adventures. The band of cruel Abdulla rages in the area. Sukhov is charged with the task to accompany the harem of the leader to the safe area because Abdulla intended to murder his women rather than set them free. Accompanied by a young naive Petrukha, Sukhov leads "the group of the comrades" through the desert, knowing well that the face off with Abdulla is inevitable. Smart, fast, and brave Sukhov is the Army of One but at the most dramatic moment, he would need help from the former custom officer Verechagin and not very talkative but reliable Said who never forgot that Suknov had saved him from the horrible death in desert.
I've seen this movie ten or maybe twenty times - first, when it was released many years ago and I was a middle school student in Moscow and recently - after all these years. I know I have changed but the movie has not - it is funny, dynamic, and absolutely captivating. This perfect blend of comedy, action, and touching drama is deservingly one of the best Soviet films. The theme song "Vashe blagorodiye, gospozha Udacha" ("You Honor, Lady Luck") written by one of the best Soviet composers Isaak Schwarz with the lyrics of the legendary bard Bulat Okudzhava had became an instant hit and its fame has only grown as time passed. White sun of desert still shines bright.