The Fifth Horseman is Fear

Watch The Fifth Horseman is Fear

  • 1965
  • 1 hr 40 min

The Fifth Horseman is Fear is a political drama produced in 1964 directed by Zbynek Brynych and featuring Miroslav Machacek. Set in Czechoslovakia, which was still under communist rule at the time, the movie tells the story of young doctor Marek, who moves to a small town to work in a local hospital. Marek, who had been trained in Paris, finds himself in a foreign land, where he is forced to navigate the complexities of the Soviet-controlled medical system while trying to maintain his ethical standards.

The movie begins with Marek arriving in the small town of Zelary, where he is assigned to work in a hospital that is sorely lacking in resources. Marek's first day at work is a trial by fire, as he is forced to deal with several emergency cases with scarce supplies, and is reprimanded by the hospital director for disregarding the rigid protocols of the communist bureaucracy.

As Marek gets involved with his patients, he begins to learn about the darker aspects of life in communist Czechoslovakia. He meets a young couple, Pavel and Stepanka, who are struggling to cope with the oppressive regime. Pavel is a former high-ranking officer in the army, who was demoted and sent to work in a factory after being accused of a political crime. Stepanka is a former actress, whose career was ruined after she fell afoul of the authorities for expressing her political opinions.

The couple is desperate to leave the country and start a new life in the West, but they need money and fake passports to do so. Marek is sympathetic to their plight, but he is hesitant to become involved in their schemes, which could land him in prison or worse.

As the movie progresses, Marek becomes increasingly disillusioned with the communist system, which he sees as corrupt and oppressive. He clashes with his superiors at the hospital, who demand that he cover up medical errors and deny patients treatment based on their political affiliations.

The movie's climax comes when Marek is called upon to treat a high-ranking official of the communist party, who has been involved in a car accident. Marek is torn between his professional duty to save the man's life and his political convictions, which tell him that the official is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the regime.

Throughout the movie, there are several instances of symbolism that underscore its themes of oppression and fear. The title itself, The Fifth Horseman is Fear, refers to the biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which represent conquest, war, famine, and death. The fifth horseman, according to the movie, is fear, which is the driving force behind the totalitarian regime.

Overall, The Fifth Horseman is Fear is a powerful indictment of communist rule in Czechoslovakia, and a timeless exploration of the human cost of oppression. It is a must-see for anyone interested in political cinema or the history of Eastern Europe in the Cold War era.

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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language