The Winter War (1989)
"Talvisota" (original title)

 |  Drama, War  |  December 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,213 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 8 critic

Set during World War 2. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Russia attacked Finland in November 1939. Finnish reservists leave their homes and go to war. The film focuses ... See full summary »



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7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Taneli Mäkelä ...
Private Martti Hakala
Vesa Vierikko ...
2nd Lieutenant Jussi Kantola
Private Pentti Saari
Heikki Paavilainen ...
Private Vilho Erkkilä
Antti Raivio ...
Corporal Erkki Somppi
Esko Kovero ...
Medical Corporal Juho Pernaa
Martti Suosalo ...
Private Arvi Huhtala
Markku Huhtamo ...
Private Aatos Laitila
Matti Onnismaa ...
Corporal Veikko Korpela
Konsta Mäkelä ...
Tomi Salmela ...
Private Matti Ylinen
Private Mauri Haapasalo
Vesa Mäkelä ...
Lieutenant Yrjö Haavisto
Aarno Sulkanen ...
Captain Sihvo - battalion commander
Kari Kihlström ...
Lieutenant Jorma Potila


Set during World War 2. After Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Russia attacked Finland in November 1939. Finnish reservists leave their homes and go to war. The film focuses on two farmers from the municipality of Kauhava in the province of Pohjanmaa/Ostrobothnia, brothers Martti and Paavo Hakala, serving in a Finnish platoon. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They held back the Russian Juggernaut in a frozen Hell!


Drama | War


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Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

December 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vinterkriget  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FIM 23,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (International Cut) | (miniseries)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Pekka Parikka wasn't actually planning to make an extended TV version back in the late eighties. He received financial help from Finnish Broadcasting Company, and they wanted him to make a miniseries for Finnish TV. It has an hour of additional footage compared to the original theatrical version. See more »


During the battle of Äyräpää, some attacking Russian soldiers can be seen wielding modern assault rifles. See more »


Aatos Laitila: If it gets any colder we'll need dynamite to break up the cheese.
Arvi Huhtala: Let Russian artillery do it for us.
See more »


Featured in Matka suomalaiseen elokuvaan: Muistoja sodasta (2006) See more »


Composed by Jean Sibelius
Written by Heikki Nurmio
See more »

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User Reviews

Deserved the 3 Jussis
5 May 2004 | by See all my reviews

What's wrong with the movie world. "winter war" easily competes with everything i've seen from hollywood. i think saving private ryan or Thin Red Line are great, but "winter war" is equally great, and i mean it on every level. special effects and action was nice (lots of trees get "cut" in this movie), although i felt that in some scenes it was lit badly or the filmm stock was cheap so it didn't achieve an "expensive" top quality look like big hollywood productions. the director and producers did a great job, it's really hard to make a good war movie with actual war in it with a limited "european" budget. amazing that SVP gets 5 oscars(not undeserved) and "Winter War" only 3 "Jussis"...i already knew that oscar means s**t but my point is that "Winter War" deserves much more recognition because it's one of the greatest war movies on the planet. Watch it, "Winter War" is a (anti-)war movie at it's best.

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