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Enemy at the Gates (2001)

R  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  16 March 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 177,007 users   Metascore: 53/100
Reviews: 656 user | 182 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

A Russian sniper and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.

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6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eva Mattes ...
Sacha Filipov (as Gabriel Marshall-Thomson)
Matthias Habich ...
Mario Bandi ...
Hans Martin Stier ...
German NCO (as Clemans Schick)
Mikhail Matveev ...


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 Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A single bullet can change history. See more »


Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic war violence and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

16 March 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enemigo al acecho  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$68,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,033,164 (UK) (16 March 2001)


$51,396,781 (USA) (6 July 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Joseph Fiennes was the first actor cast. See more »


Nikita Khrushchev's mole at the left edge of his nose is sometimes prominent, sometimes minimal, and sometimes missing altogether in several scenes. See more »


[first lines]
Grandfather: [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!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits are slanted and curved See more »


References Stalingrad (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A fascinating film about the strategy of two great snipers…
20 September 2008 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

In "Enemy at the Gates," the future of the greatest battle of World War II, would be decided between a young Russian sniper and an aristocratic sharpshooter from Germany sent to kill him… Jude Law and Ed Harris sit for hours waiting for the right moment… It was a duel set in the siege of Stalingrad… Stalingrad was one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of World War II, and in the midst of this huge battle, these two soldiers were hunting each other down…

The film opens with the harrowing transport of thousand of Russian soldiers across the Volga River to Stalingrad… The recruits were packed onto steamers, barges, whatever they could find to ferry them across the river… All that under a deluge of shells, bombs and explosions…

By the time Vassili arrives to Stalingrad, the Nazis have a distinct edge, and Soviet morale is at an all-time low…

Leading the Russians in their seemingly futile defense is Nikita Kruschev, played by Bob Hoskins… The Germans, at that time, were overrunning the place and the Russians were in an appalling state… It was the most awful battle of the war…

Joseph Fiennes plays Danilov, an idealistic Russian officer who passionately speaks about his belief in getting the troops to turn the grave situation in Stalingrad around… He finds the perfect inspiration in Vassili…

Rachel Weisz plays a young woman who volunteers to help in the war effort… She's literally protecting the people she grew up with… When she meets Vassili, he just has a natural intelligence, a natural instinct…

Jude Law is remarkable as the young sharpshooter Vassili Zaitsev who conveyed both humanity and intensity… There's such a fierce intelligence and liveliness in his eyes… He can also be very quiet and internal… Vassili found the complexity within the silence and stillness… In fact to be a sniper is very much about a man of action through stillness… Vassili represented the ultimate hero, the symbol of someone who could instill hope and belief in victory amongst the troops, because his skills as a sniper were unparalleled…

Ed Harris played Major Konig, the German sharpshooter sent to hunt down Vassili… He knows that Vassili was picking off German officers with some regularity, and was becoming a folk hero for the Russian soldiers as well as the Russian populace... He decided to eliminate him…

The casting of Ed Harris opposite Jude Law resulted in a striking visual link between their characters… They both have these unbelievably penetrating blue eyes… And director Jean-Jacques Annaud began to see the duel through their eyes… And one of the first shots of Ed Harris was a close-up of his blue eyes…

Annaud painted the tensions very clearly and concentrated purely on the eyes of the Jude Law and Harris and, of course, on their rifles and how they were hidden and what they were doing… Basically, the core of his camera is the duel of their eyes, duel of men, duel of snipers, therefore a confrontation of people that scan the surrounding buildings, and try to decipher what they see…

40 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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