This movie (called "Баллада о солдате" in Russian)was really good. Even though it was made in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War it is just like all the great American World War 2 movies made at the time. The two main characters, Alyosha and Shura, are youthful (they are only 19) and honest. They portray what the war did to the young people and how, even during wartime, life and love go on.
The film was the first Soviet movie to be released by an independent company. The director and the two leads were even allowed to travel to the United States - which was very rare in 1950s USSR.
I have seen countless Soviet/Russian movies about World War 2 and yet this is my favorite one so far. It has action, drama, romance, comedy and an innocent quality that show the different emotions that living in an invaded/occupied country and fighting for your survival would bring out.