The Thirteen Directed by Mikhail Romm Written by Iosif Prut
Starring Ivan Novoseltsev
Cinematography Boris Volchek Edited by Tatyana Likhachyova Music by Anatoli Aleksandrov 1h 30min Country Soviet Union Language Russian
Soviet Central Asia. Ten demobilized Red Army soldiers ride through the desert to the railroad. Three more people are with them: commander of the frontier Zhuravlev and his wife Maria Nikolaevna and an old geologist. In the desert, they find a well and hidden machine guns – this is the base of Basmach Shirmat Khan, whom the Red Army could not neutralize for a whole year. A single soldier is sent out for help while others remain to restrain the Basmachi.
In the well there is almost no water, but the Red Army carefully conceal it from the Basmachi who have approached. The bandits suffer from thirst, but attack violently in an attempt to reach the well. In an unequal battle, nearly all defenders of the well are killed, and the enemies are captured by the cavalry which has come to the rescue.
- Ivan Novoseltsev - Squadron Commander Ivan Zhuravlyov
- Yelena Kuzmina - Marya Nikolaevna Zhuravlyova
- Aleksandr Chistyakov - Aleksandr Petrovich Postnikov, geologist
- Andrei Fajt - Half Colonel Skuratov
- Ivan Kuznetsov - Soldier Yusuf Akchurin
- Alexei Dolinin as Aleksey Timoshkin - Red Army soldier (as A. Dolinin)
- Pyotr Masokha as Petr Sviridenko - Red Army soldier (as P. Masokha)
- Pavel Yudin as Petrov - Red Army soldier (as P. Yudin)
- Dmitry Zolts as Dimiriy Levkoyev - Red Army soldier (as D. Zolts)
- Viktor Kulakov as Nikolay Balandin - Red Army soldier (as V. Kulakov)
The 1943 US film Sahara, directed by Zoltan Korda and starring Humphrey Bogart, and its 1995 remake shared significant plot similarities. In fact, in the film's opening credits for screenplay and adaptation, the 1943 film credits the Soviet photoplay for inspiration.