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Leningrad
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Reviews & Ratings for
Leningrad More at IMDbPro »

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

the budget was too low

Author: wvisser-leusden from Netherlands
6 November 2010

With a larger budget 'Leningrad' would have been great.

All ingredients are there. Above all, one of the most horrible scenes in history of mankind: the Nazi-siege + deliberate starvation of Leningrad, nowadays St. Petersburg. Russia's second city, renowned for its magnificent architecture. This siege from 1941-'44 caused a few million casualties, and an unending amount of human suffering.

'Leningrad' deserves praise for its research: the wartime Soviet-society from Stalin's days is well reflected. The film also is adequately in touch with the harshness of the North Russian winter. And the almost unparallelled tragedy of this siege comes out beyond doubt.

After this we arrive at 'Leningrad's weak points: its acting is barely adequate, and its shooting no more than mediocre. A severe tragedy like this surely deserves a lot more dignity and respect than shown here.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Read 900 days then watch movie

9/10
Author: athunder7 from US
11 December 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you've read 900 days you'll be treated to a very real view of what happened from 1941 to 1944 in Leningrad. I recommend reading the book first. Effects in this movie are intense. I'm surprised this movie didn't win many awards. Von Leeb and the mighty German army couldn't take Leningrad cause it was defended by 1.5 million starving Russians protecting family's and homes. This movie takes you into the lives of not just Kate the journalist, but several other characters who struggle to survive the day to day life of the siege. This is one of the best historical films ever made. Ranks with some of the best like "Longest day", "Bridge too far", Bridge over river Kai", to name a few. Enjoy

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33 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Preposterous

3/10
Author: allenrogerj from United Kingdom
27 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A very bad film, an amalgam of clichés and historical inaccuracies. A few examples: in an early scene Soviet infantry are attacked by the Germans; instead of staying in their trenches to shoot at them, they advance into open ground to fight them,contrary to all infantry tactics; Kate, one of the central characters, is supposedly the daughter of a White Russian and obsessed with her Russianness, yet she does not speak Russian; a guilt-stricken German airman attacks an anti-aircraft gun- the gun, however, does not fire shrapnel shells but scores a direct hit on his 'plane, which doesn't look much like a German 'plane of WWII. In fairness, when they could escape the preposterous plot and the consequent absurdities there are some genuinely powerful moments- the depiction of people slowly starving to death is convincingly done and moving, but these only show up the rest of it even more. A film to be avoided.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

What a waste

1/10
Author: phd_travel from United States
3 November 2012

The siege of Leningrad is a such a significant part of WWII History that it deserves a good film. There haven't been enough Western movies made about the suffering of the Russians in WWII. We all know "Enemy at the Gates" which is a thriller action war movie that deals with heroic soldiers but not the suffering of the people.

This turned out to be an example of a movie that could have done with a Hollywood touch to tighten the script and bring a story into focus with interesting characters. The story doesn't flow properly. Mira Sorvino and Gabriel Byrne both seem like fish out of water here.

The photography of the city is so limited. They couldn't even manage some arial shots of the city and its landmarks to give an on location feel.

The English dubbing of the characters is terrible with everyone sounding alike.

Don't bother with this movie. It's terrible.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

City Under Siege.

5/10
Author: Robert J. Maxwell (rmax304823@yahoo.com) from Deming, New Mexico, USA
13 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mira Sorvino is a British/American journalist who insists on reporting from Leningrade. The city is under siege by the Germans and bombed daily. Sorvino is wounded and taken in by a Russian family, whose miseries she shares thereafter. The isolation of Leningrade lasts for years and one and a half million people die in the city, either from the bombardment or from starvation.

I don't know why it's not a better, a more gripping movie than it is. It's dramatic material. Everyone's life is as tenuous as those of the families in Anne Frank's attic. The performances are at least adequate but the plot focuses on events that should be peripheral to the main story.

I'll give an example. It develops, half-way through the film, that Mira Sorvino may be a stranded journalist (and audience proxy) but she is also the daughter of a White Russian general and was born in Russia herself. The White Russians fought the Bolsheviks for control of the state and lost. When the NKVD discovers that the British daughter of an old, exiled, harmless White Russian is at loose in a city where people are carving up live horses and eating dogs, they implement a search for her and it becomes dangerous for Mira Sorvino to leave the shabby, freezing apartment. Does anyone believe that? The director uses enormous close ups of people's face and the photography draws its colors from the ghoulish green end of the palette. It makes the actors look dirty and ugly. In fact, I was startled enough by the signs of aging in the principles that I recognized -- Mira Sorvino, Gabriel Byrne, and Armin Mueller-Stahl -- that it prompted me to run to a mirror for reassurance that the years hadn't caught up with me.

Sorvino does okay and handles her British accent acceptably, assuming she wasn't dubbed. And Byrne is just right for the small part of the lover who is lost for good. His face is a mask of tragedy anyway. But Mueller-Stahl as a stern, unfeeling German officer who orders his own nephew to his death? No, no. Armin Mueller-Stahl is somebody's fond uncle, a paragon of resigned humanitarianism.

At least this much can be said for the casting. In Europe, at the height of the Cold War, I saw movies that never played in the United States and was able to pick up the kinds of slight nuances in style and appearance that constituted propaganda. Some of the Russian and French films showed smiling, avuncular Soviet officers who wouldn't harm a fly but might be very effective leaders of a Gestalt therapy group, while the Americans in the picture were rich, fat, bumbling, stupid, and spoke with ludicrous accents. Of course, America was using the same techniques in its own movies but the simple devices had always slipped under the radar, taken for granted. No such accusations of propaganda can be made about "Attack on Leningrad." Everybody looks ugly, including the jowly Soviet leaders, one of whom bears a remote resemblance to Uncle Joe. Stalin isn't mentioned but many Russian citizens recognized that they were caught between two dictators. As one observer said at the time, "We preferred the one who spoke Russian."

Anyway, what we get to see is the effects of the siege on a diverse group of citizens -- an aristocratic theater star, a crippled kid, a mother who starves herself for her children's sake, a young woman who is a police officer. No mention of cannibalism. There wasn't even a law against it. The 900 people indicted had to be charged with "extreme banditry." But what's really needed is the context of the siege itself, instead of a story beginning in medias res. That might not have been necessary in Russia or in much of Europe, but it is essential for American audiences, many of whom seem to have strong opinions but little knowledge of foreign history. Not because they're dumb but because they have the same level of curiosity as, say, Elvis Presley. The singer was stationed in Germany but rarely got past the PX. Many of us seem to live in a kind of informational gated community. So -- what is Leningrad (or St. Petersburg) to us? What, or who, is Lake Ladoga and why was it important? A poll a few years ago revealed that a substantial number of school children believe that in World War II, Germany and the USSR fought on the same side.

It ought to be seen for its education value alone, regardless of its flaws as a piece of art.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A Great Opportunity Trashed

3/10
Author: davidcartiersr2003 from Canada
24 March 2011

What a disappointment .... This SHOULD have been a great film, with such a topic, it should have been a great epic. Instead , we get a rather formulaic and simple minded romance story, so devoid of feeling for the historical complexity of this vast tragedy, that it comes across as an insult to the memory of all those millions who suffered and died here. The story of a stranded British war correspondent (Sorvino) and her lover (Byrne), which apparently is based on true events, would have worked as a subtext; a sideline to the larger human events transpiring, but, Hollywood-style, it takes front and centre, while the Russian People are largely relegated to roles as stereotyped KGB bad guys or masses of faceless ragamuffins dragging coffin-laden sledges along windy alleyways. None of the great players are fleshed out in this mess ... Zhdanov, whose heroic efforts saved so many, is shown only in passing, while Stalin, whose bad decisions led to the siege of Leningrad, is not even mentioned.

Sorvino, who, even when looking withered and starved, still has the cutest smiles in film history, tries desperately to bring some life to this, but is defeated by her desperate attempt to affect a British accent, amid the generally poor direction. The other big-name actors don't even try, as they are handed only bit parts.

After this, and "The Barber of Siberia", I'm coming to the conclusion that any Russian film with western actors should be avoided like the plague. A Pity. If you want to see a great Russian film about WW2, see Tarkovski's early film, "The Childhood of Ivan", or Elem Klimov's "Come and See". If you want to know something about the siege of Leningrad read Harrison Salisbury's harrowing epic, "The 900 Days". The movie's not a total bomb, It may be worth watching if you're a Russian film buff like myself, or might be enjoyable, if you know nothing about the siege of Leningrad ... It's just an immense disappointment, compared to what it should have been.

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16 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A terrific, moving WWII film with an exciting plot and great performances!

10/10
Author: ak1214 from Bloomington, Indiana
4 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The heroic defense of the city of Leningrad and the superhuman endurance of its citizens during one of the worst sieges in history, is beautifully depicted in the stunning, heartbreaking film "Leningrad", written and directed by Alexandr Buravsky.

I have been teaching a Film History course at Indiana State University for over 25 years and happened to be in London on the day the film was screened. What luck! Kate is a foreign journalist who misses her plane and is forced to survive in the besieged city. She's both an outsider (English) and an insider (of Russian descent). Caught between the Soviet apparatchiks who refuse to give up Leningrad matter the cost and the Germans who are hell-bent on conquering it, Kate, for the first time in her life is faced with a choice – survive or die. She chooses the latter, helping others survive in the process. The transformation she goes through and the final choice that she makes, will make even the strongest among us cry. Yet the film is fiercely, stubbornly unsentimental, which is one of its great strengths. It's not just a film about what the Russian people had to endure during the almost nine hundred-day siege; it's an honest, authentic testament to the triumph of the soul in the face of unspeakable adversities.

My only regret is that "Leningrad" is not playing in the U.S theaters. I sincerely hope that North American distributors get a chance to view this powerful movie and appreciate it not only for its emotional gravity and entertainment value, but for its commercial possibilities as well. This may be the year of "Avatar", but for all its technical brilliance, Cameron's film couldn't hold a candle to Buravsky's.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

emotions effect our strength..

9/10
Author: paul2471 from 2480
1 August 2015

Found outstanding performance by Olga Sutulova as "Nina Tsvetkova" Mira Katherine Sorvino as "Kate Davies" excellent also.

They depict well the determination and commitment essential for success, as true reminders how so many of us enable far smaller barriers to overcome us.

Entire video each time leaves me with great sadness and sympathy for citizens of then Leningrad, for their suffering and sacrifice endured, while at same time great thanks to them for the meaning now attached to the word Leningrad, as a reminder of true endurance.

The word Leningrad, or memory at other memorials, always for a moment generates sadness, then thanks to them for their example of real endurance, real suffering, of real struggle when facing adversity.

They a reminder and encouragement to us all to show determination as we face lesser challenges...

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Even the preview is moving.

Author: elcoat from Norway now
15 December 2013

I have not yet seen the film, but as a World War 2 historian just the previews hit pretty hard ... the scene dramatizing the historical photos of people pulling sleighs with little bodies on them, for example ... and I shall try to find a copy around Oslo to watch, to complete this.

The reviewer who expressed doubt the Russians would mount an unsupported infantry attack across open ground is wrong. In the first years of the war, many Russian lives were wasted in such desperate attacks, often forced at gunpoint by NKVD political commissars.

Defense Minister Voroshilov - one of only two of five prewar Red Army marshals to survive the NKVD purges of the Red Army ordered by Stalin - had been sent to Leningrad to personally defend it, and he personally led one of these desperate counterattacks.

I will be interested to see if there are any sequences of K(limenti)V(oroshilov) tanks rolling out of the Kirov tank works and directly into battle? On my CoatneyHistory webpage, I have a free little boardgame titled Leningrad 1941: the Embattled City, about the early Wehrmacht onslaught (until the Germans shifted panzer and infantry forces to the attack on Moscow), with a dedication to its people.

The theme of my webpages is "The more we learn about the Second World War, the better our chances it will be the LAST world war." We NEVER want another one, and this film looks like it inescapably shows how the innocent - especially children - suffer most.

By the way, the pretty Russian actress who played Natalia in Sergey Bondarshuk's epic 1966 War and Peace film, Lyudmila Saveleva, was born in Leningrad on 24 January 1942, during the worst of the siege and starvation.

Lou Coatney

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Attack on Leningrad

4/10
Author: richard6 from United Kingdom
27 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where do I start for the review of Attack On Leningrad! Firstly, as the title identifies, the former Soviet city of Leningrad is the focus, the attack is the German air and land forces during their summer offensive in 1941. For reason of ideology, The German leader, Hitler, wanted to raise this city to the ground. Opposing this attack, the Soviets wanted to prevent the city that renders the name of the Russian revolutionary leader falling into German hands and contingent destruction. During this attack and eventual besiege, the inhabitants of Leningrad suffered 900 days of the most harrowing experiences any group of people suffered during those already horrifying years of violence and brutality. Uniquely, the directors injects a story involving foreign, British, news correspondences reporting from inside this city befitting hell, a young Soviet female police officer, a young family and various army officers, both soviet and German, members of the NKVD and inhabitants of Leningrad. Also, half way through the film their is a tense plot twist.

On paper this film appears a nerves strain of cinematic representation. If the director's ambitious vision had matched this cinematic ability, it could have been an epic film worthy of a higher rating. Instead, Attack on Leningrad is tedious and choppy. It jumps from one plot point to another without returning to resolve the storyline. About half way through, we discover that news correspondent Kate was raised in England yet born in Russia, and her father was a White Russian General during the revolution. This is not a good thing for Kate to be in the midst of the desperate Red Russians and their murderous regime now fighting to save their Motherland. Yet, this arousing plot twist is unsuspectingly left unevaluated, resulting in a incoherent film failing to fulfil an interesting and enumerating subject. Even though there are scenes well handled and diligently display the suffering of the cities population. Yet, overall there are too many emotionally flats and poorly constructed moments throughout the film. The result is a promising plot and creaky enterprise finally collapsing into a smoking heap.

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