A Navy navigator is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him.
In World War II, the fall of Stalingrad will mean the collapse of the whole country. The Germans and Russians are fighting over every block, leaving only ruins behind. The Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev stalks the Germans, taking them out one by one, thus hurting the morale of the German troops. The political officer Danilov leads him on, publishing his efforts to give his countrymen some hope. But Vassili eventually start to feel that he can not live up to the expectations on him. He and Danilov fall in love with the same girl, Tanya, a female soldier. From Germany comes the master sniper König to put an end to the extraordinary skilled Russian sniper. Written by
The locomotive used for filming the troop train scene is, ironically, a German-built "Kriegslok" ("war locomotive"). About 2700 were captured by the Soviets but not used by the Soviet Railways until after the war (see Goofs). See more »
Vassilij is always called with his full name. That might be considered a minor goof, especially when such a name is used by the grandfather and Vassilij is a kid. A Russian grandfather is likely to call his grandson using diminutive like Vasja or Vasjachka (e.g. Tim or Timmy for Timothy). See more »
[whispering to boy aiming rifle]
I am a stone. I do not move. Very slowly, I put snow in my mouth. Then he won't see my breath. I take my time. I let him come closer. I have only one bullet. I aim at his eye. Very gently, my finger presses on the trigger. I do not tremble. I have no fear. I'm a big boy now. Ready Vassili? Now, Vassili, fire!
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Bursting into my Top Five war movies of all time is this film. A gritty and realistic portrayal of one of the worst battles in the history of war - the 1942-43 armwrestle for the city of Stalingrad.
Much has been made of the actors speaking in their native accents, but this seems a trivial complaint - the film is in English after all! More important is the masterful manner of speech of the actors - Bob Hoskins' gutteral exultations as Ukrainian potato farmer Nikita Krushchev; Joseph Fiennes' pompous and proud intonations as the political officer; Jude Law's common man for the peasant turned soldier; Ed Harris with the clipped and crisp tones of a German officer.
This is my pick for the best film of the year so far (August). It is truly a cinematic masterpiece, with horrific scenes of the violence of war, brilliant dialog and heart-wrenching tragedy. Expect to be moved.
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