Battle of Warsaw 1920 (2011) Poster

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7/10
Unrefined and rough but mostly riveting (see it in 2D)
wolandscat16 October 2011
My starting point for this film was no knowledge of this famous battle (and I imagine a good many people from outside central/eastern Europe know little about it either), which made this film a real cultural education.

If films were like singing, this film would be a rowdy pub singalong rather than a finely nuanced choral mass, but by the end of it, I didn't mind one bit. There are a few functions it should fulfill: to tell the amazing story of this battle (I had to educate myself afterward, and it really is an amazing episode) as well as to say something about Poland's place in the world, and explain something about Polish mentality, particularly with respect to Russia. It more or less succeeds on all fronts, even while lurching from almost slapstick comedy (a beloved art form in Eastern European film) to the horrors of war to the important military strategising scenes.

The nightclub scenes are really well done, with some great stage numbers, which although incidental to the main story, lend authenticity. The two leads - one a soldier, one the night club star singer are warm characters, and the rest of the cast are good too. The war scenes are not only visceral and realistic, but historically fascinating. At the point in time of this battle, the old technologies of canon and horse were competing with machine guns and armoured cars. But in 1920, machine guns often jammed (the downside), but were becoming lighter and nearly portable (the upside), while armoured cars were not much more than a T-model Ford covered in steel sheets, undoubtedly with limited range and speed. This meant that no single technology was decisive: in the end, a Polish cavalry charge is what sends the Bolsheviks fleeing, even though they had greater numbers and more 'new' technology.

Some scenes are set in the halls of the Kremlin and involve the conversations of Lenin, Stalin, and others as they plan the attack, justified by what seems today an absurd concept of a pan-European (and then global) socialist nirvana. It's hard to believe anyone could even think in such abstract terms, with a complete disregard for real human lives and indeed entire countries and cultures, but we know of course that it was only too real.

It would have been easy for this film to be a breast-beating Polish nationalist pride statement, but it absolutely avoids that stance, and in doing so I suspect would make many Polish people proud of what their forebears achieved in this battle, and how they are perceived today. For me, with little knowledge of Polish culture, it was a real eye-opener into issues such as the historical antipathy for Russia, and the insecurity of even being Polish during a century of invasion. The Polish general Jozef Pilsudski is portrayed as a real person, rather than a heroic personification of his erstwhile legend, and in doing so, allows us to reconstruct the legend for ourselves.

One complaint: the 3D is terrible (I didn't realise it was 3D until too late). I really hate 3D, and I found it terribly disturbing when trying to focus, particularly on battle scene long shots. Let's give this 3D mania up now before too much money is spent on it - it adds nothing, and detracts from the great cinematography.

I recommend anyone who doesn't know much about Poland to go and see this film - you will learn a lot. And anyone who likes cinema with real heart and soul should see it as well. As for Polish people reading this, all I can say is that I am glad to see such an important episode in your history finally on the big screen.
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9/10
Well worth watching!
benfaust5919 February 2012
I was sent this film (with subtitles) on DVD by a friend in Poland and found it engrossing.

I guess it helped that I had already read a book on the subject, Warsaw 1920 by Adam Zamoyski, so knew what direction the film was going before it started, and that helped my understanding. The love interest and sub-plots enhanced the film, but again some knowledge of 20th Century Eastern European culture and politics helped.

My initial thoughts were that some of the colours were rather vivid and maybe unrealistic but a variety of cinematic styles were used and as they were not used frivolously they worked well in the end. The cabaret scenes showed glamour, style and sensitivity where necessary - all in stark contrast to some, frankly, barbaric and unglamorous battle scenes. I suspect that they were actually quite realistic representations of the fighting. There were some interesting touches that most people would not think about eg the taking of soldiers'/prisoners' boots (sometimes before their wearers were dead) because of their value at the time.

The principal story is true and the outcome of the battle ultimately decided whether Poland enjoyed independence between its partitioning until the end of WW1 and its invasion by the Germans and then the Russians in 1939.

For those with an interest in Eastern European history, it has been said that Stalin's treatment of the Polish Army officers in WW2 (see the superb film Katyn) was determined by the outcome of this battle.
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8/10
Bitwa Warszawska - Both Great and Bland At Times
denis88811 November 2012
I love Polish history. I am fond of the Civil War period, and this particular period is of an extreme interest. 1920 was the year decisive for Poland, since Soviet powers decided to attack the land and take it making it a Soviet republic. The slim but brave Polish army defends the Motherland and due to several smart moves manages to defeat Soviet troops and keep the country integrity intact. That was history. Now, Jerzy Hoffman made a grand war film with a huge budget and great Andrzej Idziak as a cameraman. Great casting, excellent actors (Urbanska, Szyc, Olbrychski, Domogarow, Ferency, Kabo among many), superb color scheme, good music, awesome battle scenes, and a sheer explosion of patriotism galore. The film is generally very good, and a great period piece, the obvious similarities between Bitwa and Ogniem i Mieczem made it even better. But there are some weak dialogs, some prolonged scenes, some obvious caricature images of Bolsheviks - these all made the film good, but not perfect. Which is a pity, it could've been much better
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3/10
What was that?
thebodzio31 October 2011
How come, every time I wait for a good polish movie about some episode from Poland's history, I end up being seriously disappointed? Every time. With this movie being notable confirmation of this rule.

Battle of Warsaw. One of the most important events in Europe's or maybe even world's history. A tragic struggle, held on the very extremes of hope, justly called by some "Miracle at the Vistula", won by a thread against all odds. One would think such event would deserve an epic piece of cinematographic art. I thought so too. A movie was made at last. Why I'm not happy? First thing I despise is the lack of focus. Not the optical one – I despise the lack of focus of the story itself. It seems like creators of the picture wanted to show all of the battle breadth and depth, on every possible level: human, psychological, social, national, strategic and tactical. Guess what? It didn't work. It couldn't work. If one wants to emphasize everything, one emphasize nothing. If one wants to show everything at once, one shows nothing. All the potential of this movie was dissolved in different side-plots and micro-episodes, in the end loosing its proper load. This thin solution is spiced up with some cliché, overdone pathos and stupid, contemporary jokes. Humor in the movie lacks the feeling of a "safety valve" for troubled mind. It lacks a hint of underlying sadness, so specific for polish sense of humor in trying times. Generally it's just artificial and thoughtless.

Now a little bit about the story itself (don't worry no spoilers here). To me storyline holds striking resemblance to a bulleted list. Such lists are quite popular in polish schools as a means of putting down most important motives in analyzed literature works. They're also common in cheat-sheets. So it is in the case of this movie. Love motif? Checked! Social view? Checked! Great battle? Check! Enemy's view? Checked! The list goes on. A series of unconnected fragments. The problem is – the movie is contiguous as a story telling mean. Good movies are able to glue seamlessly all bits and pieces of single scenes into one logical, contiguous tale. "Bitwa..." in many places changes topics without warning and reason leaving many things inelegantly untold.

Next thing: photography. Sławomir Idziak is mentioned as director of photography. I say: no way! Take "Gattaca" or "Black Hawk Down". There is no way the same man was responsible for shooting them. There are some (technically) nice takes but they're mostly just copies of "BHD" style of filming. I liked them but yet hoped for something specific to this movie, something more innovative, not just another visual "same ol' thing". And about 3D... More and more often I think of 3D as a hype helper in the way: "We can't make it worthy – let's at least make it 3D". I don't oppose new techniques – they're interesting and have indifferently a potential – but I oppose using new techniques whether it makes sense or not. In this case – I'm not impressed, sorry...

And where does it leave me? I'm still waiting... hoping... and pray my wait is not in vain. In the meantime: 3 stars out of pity :(
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7/10
Battle of Warsaw - 1920
ianharrywebb9 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
It's not often I get to see a film from Poland. The 3D was quite good and overall I enjoyed the film.

The first world war is over; people are enjoying the peace. But the Red Army is approaching and Lenin has ideas of world revolution.

The polish people united to resist and stopped them outside Warsaw. In part this is a love story as well as a history lesson. We follow two newly married people caught up in the conflict. We sway back and forth from the front-lines, back to Warsaw, as the Red Army pushes east.

With some of the story being told in song in a nightclub a little in Moscow and at the front, we learn a little of the politics of the time.

Some of the blood hits the screen people shot but overall there is little to make people squirm. Both genders will enjoy it as it's not all battle scenes. Well made, well acted, with some humour, and a little romance. Worth seeing. Just under two hours.
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Grand historic war drama
mahatma-kumar1627 February 2012
Here comes another history epic from the Poland's number one producer Erzy Hoffman who is a tireless re-creator of Polish war sagas. After a number of rather successful epic films dedicated to Polish Deluge period (late 17 c.) he turns here to a more recent - but by no means less dramatic and tragic period - the war for Polish independence from Soviet ("Red") Russia of 1920. The canvas he paints strikes with realism, meticulous attention to historical details everywhere, be it Polish fashion vintage 1920 or Red Army commissars' brutal faces, or the renegade Don Cossak's military uniforms. The war scenes are very graphic and realistic, the quality of camera work and dynamics of military action could well put Ridly Scott to shame. It is stunning how Mr. Hoffman managed to develop each character to a remarkable depth - they all, Poles, Red and White Russians are very credible psychologically and culturally. So my congratulations go to maestro Hoffman who created another quality history saga. 9 stars out of 10. One star less is given only for one drawback - very little attention is given in the film to the Soviet military genius - Mikhail Tukachewski ("The Red Napoleon") who was commanding the Red invasion and later became both the hero and the victim of Russia's Red Empire.
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9/10
More Humane Than Heroic; More Victorious Than Miraculous
marcin_kukuczka16 October 2011
1920...Poland, led by its charismatic commander Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, is forced to fight again for its newly regained independence. The enemy occurs to be stronger than most pessimistic anticipations could ever foresee: it is the army of the Bolsheviks driven by furious desire to light the 'flame of world revolution' by robbing, raping, killing and treading on Poland's corpses westwards. Yet, history sometimes proves to be more unpredictable than ever...

A significant period indeed and the crucial battle seen by the great British politician and diplomat, Lord Edgar D'Abernon, as one of eighteen most important battles ever fought in history of mankind. Yet, not long ago, it was merely a dream to see a motion picture about these events – a highly unpopular victory silenced by communist historiography. Although there was a silent movie MIRACLE AT THE VISTULA (1921) directed by Richard Boleslavsky (the director later made Hollywood career and worked with Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich), the movie did not stand a test of time. No wonder...what divides us from that film is practically the entire 90 years of cinematic development. As recent years have brought a greater freedom within artistic expressions, we are lucky that it is Jerzy Hoffman who has directed this picture in 3D technology (the first one in Poland) using the most up-to-date language of art and supplying the story with new vividness. Mr Hoffman, a renowned Sienkiewicz director (TRILOGY), proves to know best how to evoke the classical spirit "There is a history in all men's lives" (William Shakespeare) and adapt it to the modern needs of viewers. His direction along with Jaroslaw Sokol's screenplay result in an astounding, majestic spectacle combined with the psychology of real people --- both historical figures and fictitious characters.

However, decades have passed and the young generation may rightly ask a question: what does the ideal of our great great grandparents have to do with us? Hasn't 'Make Love not War' been a more appealing message? What can they say to us?

1920 BATTLE OF WARSAW, in both a traditional and a modern way, combines facts and fiction, duties and emotions, something historical and modern. We see the historic figures, the most eminent being Jozef Pilsudski (Daniel Olbrychski) and Vladimir Lenin (Victor Balabanov) but, in a way, they appear to be the background for the emotional side highlighted throughout. As in most of such stories where war steps in, there is a couple whose love must give in before duty for homeland - the main protagonists Ola (Natasza Urbanska), a vaudeville dancer and Jan (Borys Szyc), a cavalryman and a poet who embody all social reality. The topic, though may create a danger of kitschy clichés, is accurately handled. The two supply the story with human struggles, feelings, dilemmas, dreams, sorrows and joys; they are realistically depicted as foremost humane but, in the long run, ready for heroic deeds. After their wedding urgently conducted by historic figure, priest Ignacy Skorupka, their oath is loyalty to each other and to Poland. This oath will unite them at multiple levels... For these roles, casting occurred almost flawless: Natasza Urbanska in her film debut beautifully portrays a young, talented woman who grows in genuine feelings and very convincing motives. Borys Szyc, the actor popular among the younger generation of viewers, very well depicts the situation of a young man of that period: his own goals give in before the duty to fight and personal ideas get polished in face of true reality. He becomes a patriot in time, what is it if not the experience that makes us the way we are?

And other cast...Daniel Olbrychski perhaps does not portray Pilsudski in such a perfect manner that Janusz Zakrzenski would perhaps do that; however, he really does his best to underline the genius of the man who is truly at the core of Poland's heart, who is with the people and for the people; finally, someone who does not deny the divine intervention and says memorably: 'everything is in God's hands' Unlike the Russian leaders of the time, he accepts the supernatural power. More to say, not in the blasphemous "God is with us" (as other monstrosity once did...) but the redemptive "God deliver us" In that way, the events end as a 'miracle' but not solely as the intervention of God but true people's effort who contribute to the end more victorious than miraculous. A nice performance is given by Lukasz Garlicki as priest Skorupka who dies at Ossow with the Cross raised high. The Russian leaders like Igor Guzun as Stalin, Viktor Balabanov as Lenin and Aleksandr Khoshabaev as general Tuchaczevsky very well fit to their roles. Among other supporting cast, Adam Ferency as Bukovsky personifies all wretchedness of the revolution; Olga as Sofia Nikolajevna represents the old, destroyed world, the tsarist Russia (candle at the Madonna motif) and Aleksandr Domogarov as sympathetic Kryszkin. Some best Polish actors are also given their parts, including Ewa Wisniewska in a humorous role of Ada.

Within its artistic merits, the film can particularly boast memorable images of uhlans from bird's view. The 3D technology makes effect in battles as well as the shots of streets and interior decors. Consider, for instance, the falling shoe during one of Ola's performances... Moreover, a memorably presented moment is the battle at Radzymin. Much is to be thanked to cinematographer Slawomir Idziak, renowned for his achievement in Ridley Scott's BLACK HAWK DOWN. The movie is also accurately set in the period depicting its trends of culture, costumes, songs; displaying weapons like armored cars, planes, and, surprisingly, observation balloons. Among the songs, a truly iconic one and the one I have a soft spot for is "First Brigade" And humorous breaking of Russian ciphers...

A great film that has indeed much to say to the youngest generation. No shining words but shining examples that invite us to remember those boys and those days of wounded but victorious Poland.
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7/10
An interesting Polish war Film
gordonl5620 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Battle of Warsaw 1920 (2011)

This film is about the decisive battle of the Polish- Soviet war of 1919-1920.

Here is a bit of history on the event to start with.

The newly formed Polish Republic was made up of various areas that had been part of the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian Empires. The country was being threatened by the equally new U.S.S.R. Poland decided to take advantage of the civil war in Russia at the time between the Red and White Army factions. Poland moved its forces east to expand their territory and make a buffer zone.

The Red Army, once it gained the upper hand against the Whites, attacked. The Soviet forces quickly over ran the thinly held Polish lines. The Poles were soon in full retreat right up to their capital, Warsaw. It was only a desperate counterattack launched at the last minute that saved the day. The Reds were completely routed and were soon in flight. The Soviets would sue for peace thus ending the war. Now, on to the movie.

This film is about a Polish cavalry man, Borys Szyc, and his new wife, cabaret singer, Natasza Urbanska. The film starts with Szyc being called up to join his unit on the advance east to Kiev. The two, Szyc and Urbanska were only married the night before.

The Polish forces advance and soon set up a series of small unit positions. The entire advance has only met light resistance and the Poles relax their guard. Syzc, is soon in a dispute with his commanding officer. The man insulted Syzc by asking if the picture of his wife was a whore. The two come to blows with Syzc winning. He is soon up on charges and sentenced to be shot the next day.

This of course does not happen as the Red Army attacks the outpost. They overrun the Poles and find Szyc locked in a cell. The Red officer in charge, Adam Ferency tells Szyc he can join up with the Reds or be shot. This is an easy choice of course to make, Szyc picks life.

Szyc is forced to watch as the Reds execute all the captured Polish officers. The rest of the prisoners quickly switch teams and join the Red side. Szyc goes along with this deal till he gets a chance to escape. This he does during an attack by several Polish aircraft. He hotfoots it into the forest and heads to the Polish lines.

Back in Warsaw, his wife, Urbanska, has just received word that he is dead and his unit destroyed. Needless to say she takes this hard. As the war news gets worse, and the Soviets draw closer to the Capital, Urbanska joins the women's army and is trained in the use of a rifle and machine gun. Then she is shipped out to the front to help with the wounded. Her husband, Szyc has reached the Polish positions and rejoined the army. Everyone now waits for the coming Soviet attack.

As this is going on, at the Polish headquarters, the man in charge, General Józef Piłsudski, (played by Daniel Olbrychski) has learnt of the Soviet plan of attack. The Polish Army radio service has cracked the Soviet radio code. They see a large gap between the Soviet forces. The Poles round up every spare man and boy and send then towards the gap. They wait for the Soviet assault on Warsaw, then, strike into the gap routing the Reds.

The film follows both, Szyc and Urbanski's actions during the Red attack. Szyc is badly wounded and hauled off to a field hospital. Urbanski ends up manning a heavy machine gun after its crew is killed. After the successful counterattack, she returns to the hospital to help. There she of course finds her true love, wounded, but still alive.

This film is one of the most striking looking films I've ever seen, then again it was made in 3-d. The action scenes come right at the viewer, even in the 2-d print I viewed. There is excellent attention given to period detail and the uniforms, weapons etc. The story is a bit cliché ridden, but the action makes up for that. Not the best war film, but worth a watch.
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6/10
Visually Spectacular but lacks Story Telling
Veejay2031 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Visually, the film is very spectacular, and every now and then it fades to black and white to give it that "WWI" newsreel footage type feel which is well done. What makes it compelling is seeing "inter war" battles with the early T17 tanks, cavalry, Russian tachankas, etc. And the various uniforms of the Cossacks, Russians, and French-armed Poles are well done. There is a lot of attention to detail here, and it is worth watching the movie for this alone, as it is a rarely touched upon period in film making. The masses of people on screen really make this stunning to watch, and the atmosphere is very well done.

Unfortunately, the story line lets the movie down. The protagonist doesn't really seem to do anything. He marries the love interest at the start, so there is nothing to develop here. He goes off to war and takes part in battles, but only as a participant, he does nothing heroic. The only development seems to be that there is a change in his political leanings, which is not that compelling a subject.

There is no one single "bad guy" to draw us in either. There are a couple of characters, one a cruel cheka operative, and the other on older Polish officer interested in the protagonists wife. However, neither seem sufficiently menacing, nor given enough screen time. Another is the background presence of Stalin, but this is not really developed either. In the end, the protagonist gets wounded by an unknown Russian soldier, rather than an existing character. There are no climactic showdowns here. By splitting the "bad guy" into so many smaller roles, the story telling falls very flat.

A second story line was the high level political one, with leaders of both sides being shown at different times. However, this is very under developed, and some of it does not make sense. There was scene where the Polish leader Pilsudski was accused of being a traitor by some other Polish political leaders, but it didn't seem to fit in to anything else, nor explained, nor developed. Then there are references to the Ukrainian leader Petliura fighting against the Russians at the start of the movie, but this goes nowhere as well.

And after such an emphatic victory against seemingly impossible odds, I would have thought that there would be scenes of relief and celebration at the end. But this never happened either.

I suspect that movie is just trying to do too much, by showing a vast array of different types of characters so as to give an overview of life at the time. But in the process, it loses out on story telling. However, it is worth seeing, if only for the grand scale and atmosphere of the visuals, during the much neglected "inter war" period.
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The Poles take one for Europe
YohjiArmstrong9 March 2015
Warning: Spoilers
1920: BATTLE FOR WARSAW is the first ever Polish 3D movie, dramatising their heroic struggle to save themselves (and Europe) from the first attempt by the Soviets to conquer the continent. Being 3D means some wild camera shots and some weird colours but after the initial shock it becomes (relatively) normal as the film settles down into the sort of old fashioned narrative which director Jerzy Hoffman is so good at. It basically ping-pongs between the various heads of state with the 'big picture' to the dramas of our hero - a modern artist turned cavalryman, who learns to hate the Reds - and heroine - a pretty cabaret dancer who sees off the unwanted affections of a creepy officer and joins up herself - living through these events. Although a sensible decision, the writing never quite brings the two plots together as seamlessly as it ought to, with the climax so poorly signposted that it was almost a shock when the film ended. Being Polish there's a lot of classic war action, plenty of Catholic piety and an understandable pride about the achievements of the Poles. It's an under-explored time period in the West so enthusiasts can also admire the Tachankas (horse drawn carts with machine guns), crude tanks and the use of the Polish Boy Scouts in combat. That said, for all its charm, it was never quite as good a film as I'd like it to be.
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2/10
the best film theater... unfortunately
nomysz15 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Unfortunately I'm watching the movie at the moment. It's so boring that I have plenty of time to say few words about it. I have just seen the worst moment in the movie when Natasza is shooting with the machine gun... Why can't we have one historical movie that would be good enough to show abroad. I would rather watch "Rejs" by Bareja with my foreign friends, than this movie. With this one I would have to explain how it is possible to create such a bad historical movie nowadays. Fortunately I didn't watch the movie in 3D. It can be easily seen that some of the scenes were filmed just for 3D... I bet that the audience of this movie in 90% consist of school visits, the same horrible moment like I had in secondary school, while watching "Pan Tadeusz".

Oh it has finally finished. I run to find my remote. I'm proud of myself that I survived to the end...

Don't watch it... What a terrible music... why why why... Borys Szyc is singing the final song... why why why...
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5/10
Hopply, hopply hop - it's a flop!
michaelmalak17 October 2011
The movie plays out like a bad "Winnie The Poo" episode - but with a lot of fireworks.

There are some great performers here; a beautiful woman, handsome hero; and great, colorful costumes, horses, and all the spiel that comes with making a big-budget-movie. However, as it usually is the case with Polish cinema, the movie (as a whole) falls short. It falls short unable to decide whether it wants to be a slapstick comedy or a serious, patriotic war hymn.

The cinematography is great. Natasza Urbanska is beautiful, graceful, and not a bad actress either. But the first half of the movie is very choppy, with the action moving back-and-forth between several threads in a matter which fell short from challenging me to really care about the characters or the story.

Some of the scenes, or rather dialogues, are overtly infantile even for a Winnie The Poo episode - ruining the whole movie.

The 3D effects in some scenes are phenomenal, and in others are extremely poor.

Michael Malak - Polish-American
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8/10
When is it coming to the US???
DetroitAMA4 December 2011
I just learned of this movie through some Polish-American newspaper for the Detroit area. I loved "With Fire and Sword" and from the looks of the trailer, that one should be even better. I can understand the previous review feeling the film is lackluster, as I have felt the same about many movies on the American Civil War, and I am a big US history fanatic and also do CW reenacting as a hobby, with which I have participated as an extra in many films and documentaries.

This part of history (Europe between WWI and WWII) is pretty much ignored by history buffs in the US. A few of us in the Detroit area take a lot of interest in this particular historical segment, as not only are there many Polish-Americans in the region, but Detroit had sent a large contingent of its young men to fight the Bolsheviks at that time in and around Archangel. They were known as the Polar Bear Division, and are still remembered by some of us here.

As the film has been "officially" out for a few months now, I am wondering if it has made it to the US yet. I see no website dedicated to the film, and internet searches only pull up YouTube trailers. I can only hope that it gets some due recognition here.
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10/10
One Better Than All
hgulliver1017 March 2012
China and Poland, both are not strange to the Soviet of Russia, but the differences on film-art to the similar experiences are very distinct. The Polish film of 2011, Battle of Warsaw 1920, is better than all Chinese films on the same subject of war. Mr. Hoffman is an eminent film-director.

Bolshevik(Social Democratic Party) of Russia, after seizing power through "October Revolution of 1917" by lie and instigation, made peace with the Central Powers at March of 1918 by expense of very huge nation-interest, then concentrated robbery and slaughter within Russia, and quickly launched war against other nations in the name of "liberate the people of the world". The Polish-Soviet war took place between February of 1919 and March of 1921, eventually ended with defeat of the Soviet-Russia. The Battle of Warsaw was took place at August of 1920, which is the historical background of this film.

The film has a main storyline about invasion and anti-invasion, besides, there is another sub-line, which is the love story of Jan Krynicki and Ola Raniewska, but that's not like what some people imagine. Jan Krynicki is an officer of Polish army who had some illusion to the propaganda of Bolshevik, after experiencing a life with an officer of Cheka, Jan said to him, "you've cured me." This sub-line is very necessary, which, appears to me, is just where Hoffman's more excellent than others ordinary. Soviet-Russia claimed its invasion is not an invasion but to liberate the proletarian from capitalist of another nation, to give them freedom, how great these saviors! But it's not true, on the contrary, communist-tyranny is the most evil and most skillful institution in the human history so far. In the beginning, the communists instigated the lower class to destroy the higher class in one society, which not only the main property owners but also naturally those who holding knowledge and wisdom came from; they mocked all true honor and virtue, then labeled all mean human nature as merit. The maintenance of communist-tyranny is not a myth, it just only declared that the right of property is a shameful and corrupt matter, because they always can find some instances. After stimulating the passion of envy and revenge of the slaves(proletarian), communism must evoke strong response, and let those who dare to think the proper property institutions overwhelmed by the stupid crowd-sea. In the process of human freedom supported by aristocracy superseded by that supported by the lawyer-class is there a large gulf. The communism advocators well know that the intellectuals would become whores as long as cleaning out the base on which they live, they have no choice but only to flatter the tyrants or amuse the popular; and when few of them are aware of this shameful position one day, who would realize the worldly base on which the righteousness depends has already been dismantled. By that time, the whole society has fallen into the deep mud-pit, suffering the mischief of despotism without end, and can hardly find a way out of this disaster.
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2/10
Hello bad movie
alexfromhorn31 October 2018
I was so interested in watching this and to see the polish perspective of these events and how Poland more or less looked like back than. Sadly this was not presented in a believable way, everything looked new, it appeared to be some kind of costume show, hard to describe. They also behaved kind of modern, but enough about that. The cinematography was a joke, I have no idea why there was so much focus on Natasza Urbanska, all that singing didn't make much sense to me nor did it contribute to the story. It seemed very overacted, as if every actor was a theatre actor and not a movie actor. Additionally the music was total out of place most of the time, often scenes appeared to be comedic because of the music and that was not intended.
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9/10
Jerzy Hoffman brings one of the world's most decisive battles to film
brzostek23 June 2012
Polish director Jerzy Hoffman brings one of the world's most decisive battles to film in 1920 Bitwa Warszawska (The Battle of Warsaw). This 2011 film has special effects galore and happens to be the first Polish movie made in 3D. It evokes feelings of a historic epic and is teeming with the best Polish actors (and even a few Russian actors too).

Poland just resurfaced on the map in 1918 after 123 years of being wiped off the map by her neighbors, but trouble is never too far away. Thankfully, Poland has strong leaders like Jozef Pilsudski (Daniel Olbrychski), Jozef Haller (Jacek Poniedzialek) and Boleslaw Wieniawa-Dlugoszowski (Boguslaw Linda) that are able to defend her from the Soviet invaders that would like to see socialism across all of Europe. There only stands one thing in the way from spreading socialism across the world: Poland.

1920 Bitwa Warszawska tries to balance spoon-feeding us historical details that give the story context with the personal side of the war by showing us how the war affected the lives of a newlywed couple. Jan Krynicki (Borys Szyc) marries her girl Ola Raniewska (Natasza Urbanska) just before he is sent out to war. While the frame of the story is a romance, it doesn't develop this part of the story too greatly as there is so much other things that need to be shown. The film takes on a lot in a short amount of time, so it could have easily been at least an hour longer to develop the details in greater depth, but then some would complain the film is too long.

Jan is seemingly sympathetic to socialistic ideas, which gets him in trouble with his fellow soldiers, but ends up saving his life as well. Jan is cured of his sympathy when he sees firsthand the doubletalk and absurdity that come with socialism, convincing him that he must do everything to stop the Soviets. We see both many forms of Soviet propaganda pushing socialism and Polish patriotism that attempts to stir every emotion among its people to stand up to the coming tide of Russian assault.

Although there are many Poles apathetic to what is happening, as they would rather not mix with politics knowing that things can change too quickly and being on the wrong side means death, many do all they can to help with the ongoing war. While Ola worries for her husband's safety, she decides to help by joining the army and gives her heart and soul into defending Poland.

Blood and guts are not spared in the least, so war is by no means some glorious parade of brave men in uniform, but rather a chaotic hell in which one can loose one's life or limb at any moment. While there are many skirmishes and clashes of forces throughout the film, it really all leads up to the big fight at the end. The battle doesn't look miraculous save for its outcome, as it really is just a slaughter, with both sides having its people massacred.
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Unfortunately in the Hollywood style crap
searchanddestroy-125 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I am deadly sure that thirty or forty years ago, this film would have looked the same; and I don't speak here of the special effects. OK, I agree that the Varsovie battle that took place in those years - 1918 - was not very known of the western audiences, but I know that the movies made in the fifties or sixties in Poland did not look like this one. There were more drama lines in them and most of all not those f...happy endings destined for silly and squeamish audiences. We unfortunately find the same problem with Russian, Korean and other countries films, especially war films, maybe not dramas or crimes, which remain very specific to the genuine culture and traditions. But concerning war movies, all look like American ones, and mostly since the PRIVATE RYAN era. Meaning the most realistic scenes battles. Forget it, or only for the historical point of view which may be rather accurate. At least I hope...
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9/10
'…He snatched the crown from his enemy's head…'
papasergey31 July 2015
The words in my review's title are the reference to the romantic poem 'The Two Giants' by the well-known Russian poet Lermontov; and as for the poem, it (just normally for any major creative works) may be interpreted as loosely as one likes. Experts in literature, however, believe this poem of the two giants fighting is in fact about Napoleonic invasion of Russia in 1812, as the same poet later, on the same topic, the Battle of Borodino, released the masterpiece 'But tell me, uncle, why our men let Moscow burn, yet fought again to drive the French away? ' The two giants' hand-to-hand fight, a metaphorical description of persistent struggle of the powers for a land where simple people live meekly awaiting who wins and thus whom to submit, is literally true either in the centuries-old drama of feud between Russia and Poland…

This Polish film is certainly 'throwing stones at our Russian window'. If the events described in it were not that temporally distant, those would be not even 'stones' but 'swell cobble-stones'. As a major defeat, sustained by the Red Army, is shown here while the Red Army is still considered to be invincible in stereotyped social view of Russia. But alas, those Russians as well, to whom history is not alien, do know that catastrophic defeats causing bitterness of forfeit in terms of land and, on a large scale, of influence, were sustained by us more than once; moreover, many splendid victories of Russia were canceled out before we could reap their fruits. This was like nobody's business vividly in evidence as concerns confrontation with Poles who still name their country 'Rzeczpospolita' which sounds magniloquent for slavophones. The phrase 'with varied success' ideally fits here like nobody's business! Some people even believe that Russians simply misappropriated the right of bearing the name 'Russians', as historically, where now major Russian cities are situated, no Slavs at all used to be; there were Finno-Ugrs who used to live there; also, centuries-old experiences as a Turkic-Mongolian tributaries (those guys from the Golden Horde often acted with fire and sword) was likely to have left our nation marked for life… How many words in Russian are heavily Turkic! How many geographical names in the seemingly 'hail-fellow-well-met' Russian backwoods are heavily Finno-Ugric! And as for the territories just a bit westwards of the Russian cities of Tver and Bryansk (i.e. what is now Belarus, Poland, the Baltic states and the Ukraine) a powerful Slav-led kingdom used to be not so long ago, and its population minded very much Muscovy's bold push for (laying a claim to) the Third Rome standing (became cheeky, huh?!)! Thus, some haters say, there is no word for it! Muscovites have the nerve to boast their 'Russianity', while the Ukraine people, and Poles, and Belarusians, and Lithuanians have to content themselves with supporting roles of 'quasi' nations, which had the very opportunity to appear just by chance of epic fails of the said Muscovites; and the latter ones would get enthusiastic about some dubious, spouting blood, idea (Tsarism, Sovietism, Yeltsinism, specify) and tend to infect half the world with it – at that, the aforesaid Poles & Co. would be likely to suffer most of all… Hard to say, whether this is true, but in the end, never mind what used to be, what we eventually have here – that matters; he laughs best who laughs last. But there is neither 'last' victory, nor 'last' revolution, nor 'last' reform: as there is no last number on number line. Please not again! keep hoping... But Slavs are again killing Slavs for for the right of bearing the title of the Power… History repeats itself, history continues… It is unclear yet if the Polish and the Finnish experience would be useful for the Ukraine...

What one should show in a film telling of one of the most severe cants of the wheel of history? when it is being defined, regarding this or that country, whether to be or not to be; regarding this or that truth, is it going to win or to be defeated? (Each country either by armed force or, less likely, in specie settles the bill of its sovereignty; truth has always fallen upon truth as even our ape-like ancestors would fall upon each other, holding cudgels, whooping each one's own deity's – or one's own chief's – name). One should show heroic upsurge of the nation which was determined to, ad rem, not just yell scurrilous things (especially, outraging national leaders of the state one hates), but also combat to the death etc. And the Poles have managed to show this: even the blockheads who would always be boozing in inns became, in actual fact of the war, capable signalmen and cipher officers who tried their best to service their motherland while simple soldiers were working wonders on the Vistila beating back the Red Army, which was at the gates of Warsaw, just going to seize it… One should show the combat itself: bloody, tremendous, plausible. And it is shown like this! Trenches heaped up with the killed and the wounded whose bodies are trampled on by the alive, hurling themselves at the enemy to fight hand-to hand... Violence in action and in a lull... Soldiers' sweat, and blood, and abuse... What a moment when a Red Army soldier is caught red-handed, raping a civilian woman! The 'red' commander indulgently offers him to marry her – or to be shot and killed! What the soldier answers and what happens next, is so special…

In all fairness I must say, the Poles are not that poor wretch. Time and again, certain Polish hawkish circles would goad this honourable Slavic power into reckless wars where the Poles, not reckoning with domestic casualties and, all the more, giving their enemies no quarter, would try their best to, if not defeating, do them maximum harm, spoil all their plans…
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