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At Home among Strangers (Russian: Свой среди чужих, чужой среди своих; Svoy sredi chuzhikh, chuzhoy sredi svoikh) is a 1974 Soviet film starring Yuri Bogatyryov and Anatoly Solonitsyn and directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. Some hail it as the most significant of osterns. Like many Soviet films of the period, it was mainly in colour, but had certain short scenes in black and white.
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English language titles
Its English title has numerous variants, and this in part has hindered success in English speaking countries, along with particularly bad dubbing when it was first released in them. Variants range from a full length translation of the Russian title — At home among strangers, a stranger among his own or A friend among foes, a foe among friends to At home among the Strangers.
The setting is post-Russian Civil War, during the reconstruction of the young Soviet republic. During the war, Shilov, Sarichev, Kungorov, Zabelin and Lipyagin had become great friends.
There are two main plots in the film, the first involving the theft of gold by outlaws just after the Russian civil war. Though the cannons are now silent, the enemy continues to harass the Soviets. The regional committee sends a precious shipment of gold by train to Moscow, and a group of Cheka soldiers led by Shilov are entrusted with the responsibility of guarding it. The gold is needed to buy bread from overseas to feed the starving population. The Cheka guards are attacked and killed by a group of assassins, and the briefcase of gold is stolen. The group then hops onto another train, only to face a reversal of their own when their train is attacked by bandits. All of the assassins are killed except their leader, who discovers that a bandit has secretly stolen the gold. He then joins the bandits in an effort to learn where the gold is, and to escape with it. In the meantime, Shilov was kidnapped and drugged before the train sets off, and is dumped in the street after the attack and framed as the inside man. He is suspected of treason, partly because his brother was a "White", which is where the second plot comes in. Shilov must infiltrate the enemy bandit camp to find the gold, hence the title. The second plot involves the Shilov's desire to clear his name of murder, and he must find out who killed his friends. During his efforts, Shilov uncovers a web of deceit and treachery, which allowed the robbery to succeed. The story of a hero battling against corruption and greed echoes the cattle baron or railroad Westerns.
The film also has male camaraderie as a subplot, as the initial joy of demobbed Red Army soldiers returning from the Revolution is sorely tested. It has strong parallels in some ways with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in its look, period setting, and strong action sequences, which are still famous in Russia, involving literal cliffhangers, white water rafting, chases on horseback, holding up trains and other adventures.