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Enemy at the Gates (2001) Poster

Trivia

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Jude Law and Ed Harris were cast largely on the expressiveness of their eyes. They were frequently called to convey emotion without saying a word.
Unfortunately, in real life, there was no happy reunion for Vassili and Tania: by the battle's end, each thought the other dead, and Tania learned years later that not only was her lover still alive, but had recently married. Or at least, so she claimed. According to Vassili, they were never lovers, and in fact, he was never in any relationships during the war.
Major Konig, played by Ed Harris,can be seen wearing gloves with the index finger and thumb on its right hand removed. This was quite common for snipers in cold conditions as it helped prevent frostbite in the hand, while allowing them to make delicate changes to their weapon and ensuring a smooth trigger squeeze.
The duel between Zaitsev and Konig is partially based on records made by Zaitsev. The rifle scope taken from the killed German sniper is now at the Central Army Museum in Moscow, Russia. German who was shot in the duel was SS sniper Colonel Heinz Thorvald. The Germans claimed someone named Koenig had been shot in the duel and not Thorvald because they didn't want to admit their ace was down. This was claimed by Zaitsev, who also found the papers on the body identifying him as Thorvald.
At 54:10, one of the snipers burns his fingers on a field stove and quickly rubs them behind his ears. This is very realistic, as there is usually body oils accumulating there and it would ease blistering.
The scope on the Russian rifle is a German scope. And the scope on the German rifle is Russian. They got it reversed.
In the scene in the printing press when the characters of Vassili and Danilov have an argument, the tears in Jude Law's eyes are genuine.
"Enemy at the Gate" was the call for resistance in 1941 when the Nazis besieged Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia). Leningrad resistance stopped the Nazis, and the words "Enemy at the Gate" became a call for anti-Nazi resistance everywhere. Same words are used in the book "Enemy at the Gate: The Battle for Stalingrad" (1973) by William Craig, which also documents the real-life war exploits of Vasilli Zaitsev.
The large set of Stalingrad had to be built from scratch in Germany.
Most of the characters in the film are based on real people. Nikita Khrushchev was indeed a political commissar in the Red Army who popularized and promoted sniper Zaitsev.
It is estimated that the Germans suffered 260,000 soldiers killed in action with 90,000 captured during the battle of Stalingrad. The Russian casualties were much more severe with an estimated 500,000 soldiers killed and probably as many civilians.
In the large battle scenes it was deemed too dangerous with so many extras in a confined space to set off explosions by remote. Stuntmen were mixed in with the extras to set off the explosions by stepping on pressure plates.
The character of Ludmilla is a possible reference to another famous Soviet sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, who had over 300 kills, even more than that of Vassili Zaitsev, who had around 257 kills.
The film was poorly received at Berlin festival. The German-Russian writer Wladimir Kaminer who played an extra in the film, criticizes how the Russian soldiers are portrayed in the film.
Apart from Ron Perlman's "English Accent"...all characters use their normal speaking voices without modifying or mangling them for their characters' country of origin. For example, Ed Harris plays an Aristocratic German/Prussian Officer but he speaks in a normal American accent as he is an American actor. There isn't the "Germanized" English that you see in so many war movies.
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Vasily uses a Mosin-Nagant rifle during the film. It is chambered in 7.62x54R.
Originally the story was a long-cherished project of Sergei M. Eisenstein. The Battle of Stalingrad was also a project that Sergio Leone was set to make but the project fell through.
The wreckage of a German aircraft outside the department store scene is a Siebel Si204, a light military transport built in small numbers. It is consistent with the period and the markings are authentic for the Russian Front. It was built in France and Czechoslovakia, as well as Germany, and many were operated by both civilian and military air fleets until the 1970s. It is clearly a mock up, however, and the tailplane is wrong: it is a single tailplane and the 204 had a twin tail.
Joseph Fiennes was the first actor cast.
One of the trailers made for the movie used several musical themes from Nixon (1995). Ed Harris and Bob Hoskins star in both movies.
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Originally slated for release in late December, Paramount shunted it back to the following spring.
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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).
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Throughout the film, the only times Vasilli is ever seen killing anyone is at the beginning (in Stalingrad when he meets Danilov) and at the end (when he kills Konig) with the first being the only scene showing his sharp-shooting prowess.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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