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Bitter Harvest (2017)

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Set in 1930s Ukraine, as Stalin advances the ambitions of communists in the Kremlin, young artist Yuri battles to save his lover Natalka from the Holodomor, the death-by-starvation program that ultimately killed millions of Ukrainians.


George Mendeluk


Richard Bachynsky Hoover (screenplay), George Mendeluk (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Richard Brake ... Medved
Barry Pepper ... Yaroslav
Max Irons ... Yuri
Aneurin Barnard ... Mykola
Terence Stamp ... Ivan
Samantha Barks ... Natalka
Nicholas Aaron ... Walter Duranty
Tom Austen ... Taras
Lucy Brown ... Olena
Tamer Hassan ... Sergei
Kathy Kiera Clarke ... Varvara
Edward Akrout ... Professor Temchuck
Gary Oliver ... Stalin
William Beck ... Stefan
Paul Hickey ... Lazar Kaganovich


Set between the two World Wars and based on true historical events, BITTER HARVEST conveys the untold story of the Holodomor, the genocidal famine engineered by the tyrant Joseph Stalin. The film displays a powerful tale of love, honour, rebellion and survival at a time when Ukraine was forced to adjust to the horrifying territorial ambitions of the burgeoning Soviet Union. With an exceptional cast of established and rising stars, the film epically recreates one of the most dramatic and dangerous episodes in the history of 20th Century Europe.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An epic film based on historical facts. See more »


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Website


Canada | UK


English | Russian

Release Date:

24 February 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Devil's Harvest See more »

Filming Locations:

Kyiv, Ukraine See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$219,357, 26 February 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$557,004, 31 March 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Max Irons and Aneurrin Barnard played brothers Edward IV and Richard III, respectively in The White Queen (2013) See more »


Title card: [at the end of the film]
Title card: Only a few made their way past Stalin's border guards and escaped to freedom. The genocidal famine created by the Soviets in 1932/33 is known today as the Holodomor - Death by Starvation. The full horror of this deliberate policy of genocide towards Ukraine was revealed only after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. In 2003, Russia signed a U.N. declaration confirming that the Holodomor had taken the lives of between 7 and 10 million innocent people. Today, the ...
See more »


Wedding March
Music by Anatoliy Mamalyga and Iryna Orlova
Performed by Olha Chornokondratenko (Violin); Vadym Chornokondratenko (Tambourine)
Courtesy of Andamar Entertainment Inc.
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User Reviews

This should be required viewing for every one in the USA.
6 April 2017 | by deusexmachina-42776See all my reviews

This is a heart wrenching movie, but one that tells a story that seems few are aware of. Those too common apologists for communism need to see this movie to get a dose of reality concerning the nature of that system under Stalin and what it did to the people of the Ukraine. This movie has excellent acting that removes all impediments to being fully absorbed in the cinematic allusion. There are endless movies about Hitler's Germany, but this single movie stands out as a message that the Ukrainians' experience rivals the worst of what various groups suffered under the Nazis. The history from which this story is extracted has been swept under the rug, as the telling of history is controlled by the victors. Imagine how the atrocities of Hitler's regime would have been painted away if Germany had won WW2. I take this movie as an attempt to rectify this and bring awareness to the current plight of the Ukrainian people as they continue to struggle against Russian dominion. I think my own awareness was greatly expanded because of the well executed visual imagery Bitter Harvest provided.Some seem to dislike the romantic fiction aspect of the picture. I see it as a mechanism to provide some shoes for the common man/woman to walk in so as to be able to feel how it might have been if this had been our own story.

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