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

 |  Drama, War  |  December 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,159 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 5 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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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


See all certifications »

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


| (cut) | (miniseries)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Pekka Parikka insisted on having a red star painted on the tanks, although there was no insignia on the Russian tanks during the Winter War, just an identification number painted on the turret. See more »


Paavo Hakala is wounded on December 18 and gets a week's leave. However, he is back to the front already on December 23. See more »


Vilho Erkkilä: They use explosive bullets! That's forbidden!
Arvi Huhtala: Go tell them it is.
See more »


Followed by Return to Plainlands (2000) See more »


Performed by Timo Torikka
See more »

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User Reviews

An unknown gem--one of the most powerful war films ever made.
18 February 2000 | by (Barre, VT) – See all my reviews

TALVISOTA (Winter War) deals with the 1939-40 Russo-Finnish War, a largely forgotten conflict that was one of the most savage wars of the 20th century. The Soviet Union invaded Finland in November of 1939 when the Finns refused Stalin's demands to relinquish some of their territory in Karelia. The Finns were outnumbered 50-1 but fought with incredible courage and tenacity and inflicted a half million casualties on the Soviets before they were forced to capitulate in March of 1940. The Russians were equally brave but not as smart; they stormed well defended positions en mass and were mowed down by the hundreds. TALVISOTA brilliantly captures the horror and carnage of that war and all wars. Disturbing and depressing but also a gripping and deeply moving experience. Makes SAVING PRIVATE RYAN look like a walk in the park.

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