Alexander Alov and his partner, Vladimir Naumov, were postwar Soviet cinema's preeminent creators of epic films. Born in Ukraine, Alov fought in the Red Army during WWII. After his discharge from the service, Alov studied film direction at VGIK under Igor Savchenko. Alov and Naumov teamed up while still in film school, after Savchenko died while working with Alov on the feature film Taras Shevchenko (1951). Together, Alov and Naumov finished their mentor's work, and they would continue their professional partnership, sharing screenwriting and directing chores until 1983. Their professional debut, Trevozhnaya Moldost/Restless Youth (1954), and their subsequent early efforts were large-scale romantic and patriotic pieces. However, in 1970, Alov and Naumov reached a turning point with the release of Beg/The Flight, which is widely considered their most important film, in large part for presenting an unusually sympathetic view of the White Guard, a brave band of deposed noblemen and their associates who united to attack the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. Defeated, the White Russians were forcibly exiled for the remainder of their lives. The film would win the duo several major awards on the international film circuit, including the Venice Film Festival. From here, Alov and Naumov started making more austere, character-driven works. At the very end of their collaboration, Alov and Naumov turned again toward more sentimental romantic epics. They made their last film together, Bereg/The Shore, in 1983, the year that Alov received a People's Artist U.S.S.R. Award for his contributions to Soviet cinema.