The Story of a Real Man was written by Sergei Prokofiev from 1947 to 1948 and was his last opera.
The libretto, by the composer and Mira Mendelson, is based on the novel of the same name by Boris Polevoy; this in turn was based on the story of pilot Alexey Maresyev.
The story is set during the Second World War. Alexei, a Soviet fighter pilot, is shot down in combat against the Germans and badly wounded. He is rescued and cared for by villagers from a collective farm before being transferred to a hospital, where both his legs are amputated. He is inspired by the thought of his girlfriend and the support of his fellow patients, one of whom tells him the story of a First World War ace who continued to fly after losing one of his legs. The opera ends with Alexei taking to the air again in his new plane.