It’s a blockbuster take on a “true” story.
Australian director Peter Weir’s new film The Way Back, which features an all-star cast starring Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Colin Farrell, tells the harrowing story of a group of prisoners who escape from a Soviet Gulag (World War II) in Siberia and embark on a treacherous 6000 km journey across five countries in a desperate search for freedom.
The film is inspired on The Long Walk, a ghost-written 1956 memoir by Sławomir Rawicz, a Polish Army lieutenant who was imprisoned by the Soviets.
Controversy has always surrounded the validity of Rawicz’s book and evidence suggests that he never actually made the journey.
So, how much of the story is really true?
Well, apparently most of it.
In 2009, a former Polish soldier living in Cornwall, UK came forward and said that the The Long Walk is really an account of his own escape.
This man’s name is Witold Glinski.
According to him, he had a very strange encounter in London in the 1940’s.
Apparently, he was approached by two mysterious men who told him that they were writing a book about Polish history and wanted to speak to him about his journey to England.
He declined to speak because he wanted to forget about the war and because he had already recounted his journey to the staff at the Polish Embassy in London.
Sometime after the encounter Witold Glinski realized that the man who had approached him was Ronald Downing – the ghost writer of The Long Walk.
The book has since been translated into over 25 languages and sold half-a-million copies.
And now you can see it on the big screen.