Enemy at the Gates
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Product Description

Russian sniper, Vassili Zaitsev becomes a hero fighting the Nazis during the battle of Stalingrad, and comes face to face with Major Konig, a Nazi sniper bent on stopping him.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: R
Release Date: 29-DEC-2004
Media Type: DVD

Like Saving Private Ryan, Enemy at the Gates opens with a pivotal event of World War II--the German invasion of Stalingrad--re-created in epic scale, as ill-trained Russian soldiers face German attack or punitive execution if they flee from the enemy's advance. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud captures this madness with urgent authenticity, creating a massive context for a more intimate battle waged amid the city's ruins. Embellished from its basis in fact, the story shifts to an intense cat-and-mouse game between a Russian shepherd raised to iconic fame and a German marksman whose skill is unmatched in its lethal precision. Vassily Zaitzev (Jude Law) has been sniping Nazis one bullet at a time, while the German Major Konig (Ed Harris) has been assigned to kill Vassily and spare Hitler from further embarrassment.

There's love in war as Vassily connects with a woman soldier (Rachel Weisz), but she is also loved by Danilov (Joseph Fiennes), the Soviet officer who promotes his friend Vassily as Russia's much-needed hero. This romantic rivalry lends marginal interest to the central plot, but it's not enough to make this a classic war film. Instead it's a taut, well-made suspense thriller isolated within an epic battle, and although Annaud and cowriter Alain Godard (drawing from William Craig's book and David L. Robbins's novel The War of the Rats) fail to connect the parallel plots with any lasting impact, the production is never less than impressive. Highly conventional but handled with intelligence and superior craftsmanship, this is warfare as strategic entertainment, without compromising warfare as a manmade hell on Earth. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • vondaful, darling, vondaful!
    I really liked this movie. Jude law was spectacular- as well as all the other actors. The authenticity of the story made the movie. I highly recommend it...more info
  • Excellent movie about war...without the emphasis on war!
    Let me start off by saying that I'm not a war movie buff, like the other reviewers here seem to be. I never really watched all of "Platoon" and I still feel that the first fifteen intense, minutes of "Saving Private Ryan" is what actually saves it from being completely boring and just plain middling for the rest of it. But, getting back to "Enemy at the Gates", I really don't like war movies and American war films in particular, are almost always one-sided. This movie however, covers a portion of the war that is almost never told, the Russian front and particularly the battle for Stalingrad. This movie deserves major props for tackling a part of the war that Hollywood refused to acknowledge (instead creating yet another anti-war film or worse yet, an imitation John Wayne piece of [...] like "We Were Soldiers") and script writers avoided at all costs in an effort to create another "Full Metal Jacket" for American consumption. This movie's realism isn't about what war really looks like, in the way "Private Ryan" was (although, I think you'd be hard pressed to say that the beginning of "Enemy" is any less powerful or chaotic than "Private Ryan's" was)this movie actually focuse's on story, not war and on people and the choices they make during one. This movie is just that...a movie... so, if you're expecting complete, historical, accuracy from this film, than you're probably better off watched yet another, dreary, documentary on the A&E channel! "Enemy" is great because you're dealing with the creation of and separating the differences between idols and heroes based on their faith, beliefs and their values. This movie also paralells boxing, with Vasilli, as a young almost-protege', with natural skill on his way up and Major Konig is like an aged champion who knows he must face the young contender at some point. In the process, Vasilli sees the champion/Konig in action first hand and is awed by his already incredible skill, making him become a little kid again, unsure if he can even beat him now. To top off that comparison, Bob Hoskins as Krushchev, is incredible and (probably not far off from what the real man was like in real-life)he should have gotten an Oscar for his role as Krushchev (let's face it, he was better in this than "Roger Rabbit"!). He in fact, plays the role almost like that of a Don King-like fight promoter, who's interest in Vasilli is to promote a "fight of the century" between the "Russian" and "the German" as propaganda for the Russian side. There is a part where Konig, begins to take an almost fatherly interest in Vasilli (and you get the sense that they both admire one another like a protege') asking "why he didn't learn to shoot from his father" and we also learn about Konig's son's death, I would have liked to have seen this storyline followed more and expounded upon. One even wonders if they're would have been a father/son or a teacher/student relationship between them had there been no war. As for the love interest,... completely believeable! I don't know of any man or woman, who hasn't been in love with someone...who was in love with someone else. Where, no matter what you do (logic, reason, change of clothes, etc.) nothing can change the fact that that person just doesn't feel that way about you. If you can't understand that, than you're just missing something and I don't mean just about this movie! But seriously, you feel for everyone in this film and I think that's what really makes this film work so well. Except Sasha, I was actually very happy when the Major finally killed him off. First, I don't like any little boy with a girls name (except Sue of course) and this kid just tried too hard to look and be adorable! I thought he was a real piece of sh@# to begin with and he would just grow up and become an adult like that. So when he did meet his untimely end, I actually had a nice, big, smile on my face. When he met his end, I didn't particularly care at all..."serves him right" I thought. Sasha, makes the little girl from "War of the Worlds" seem downright loveable! Another thing about this movie, for anyone who doubts the love story or interest in this film. I know a lot of women who have seen this film and they all tell me that the sex scene between Rachel Weitz and Jude Law is one of the hottest scenes they've ever seen and I've heard quite a few say that it's even one of their favorites! If you want your girl to think you have a heart and... intelligence...than rent this film for her and you'll get plenty of lov'in! Besides that, she'll (temporarily at least), think you're smart and courageous like Vasilli and the sex scene will keep her happy and... better yet...you won't get bored! Grreat Move and an even greater movie because of it! Rent it for both you and Her! ...more info
  • Very good war movie, very poor history lesson
    For those of you who want a shoot-em-up war movie... this is right up your alley (as it is mine!). But historically, it's incredibly inaccurate.
    Put your feet on the coffee table, crack a beer, open a bag of potato chips, and lose yourself in a really good war movie. Beautiful set design for a blasted out Stalingrad, great costuming, and wonderful makeup. I wonder how long it took them to get clean after their filming in all the dirt and debris
    However, this movie is about as historically accurate as John Wayne's "Flying Tigers"
    I would HIGHLY recommend reading the books, "Enemy At The Gates" by William Craig, and "War of the Rats" by David Robbins. These are the REAL stories of the battle of Stalingrad. The incredible suffering of both Soviet and German armies, and what it meant to be a Soviet conscript in the Red Army and thrown into the "Kessel" which was Stalingrad. (AKA "Der hexen kessel" The witches' cauldron). Both Soviet resolve and the famous Russian winter ganged up on the German and some Italian forces to create a truly exquisite hell on earth, and the nearly totally destroyed city of Stalingrad itself gave wonderful and equal cover to both forces. There is no more savage warfare than urban fighting.
    The movie is the story of the dual between the Soviet and German snipers and does indeed make for a great flick. But the true story is quite different. In the book, "Enemy At The Gates", the dual took up a whole two or three pages... it was a mere trifle in the total battle.
    Jude Law's character, Vassili Zaitsev, was probably not a "superb" marksman since most urban sniping is at 100 yards or less (usually a lot less). The Moisen-Nagant is a good rifle, but it was still a field-grade, as-issued rifle. What Zaitsev was REALLY good at, where he really shined, was in hiding and concealment. Tania Chernova was blond and, in addition to being a very successful sniper in her own right, did some explosives work.
    The real person (named in the movie) Sacha Fillipov was indeed hanged, but not by the German sniper. He was rounded up by a German army squad and hanged, not from a water tower, but from a tree along with three or four other Russian youths. He was not a little kid as in the movie, but was fifteen or sixteen.
    Another little tidbit... the German major was not killed standing up in a train yard, but while he was in his cover under steel plates. Snipers DO NOT break cover... ever... and offer themselves up as fodder by walking out into the open. While there may be other snipers (counter-snipers) operating in the area, it's just plain suicide. (Trust me on this... I know of which I speak).
    The whole movie is riddled with little details that are not factual. It either portrays incidences which did not happen, omits incidences which did, or portrays actual incidences incorrectly... very incorrectly.
    Bottom line.... Forget all about the history books, and just relax and enjoy the movie... It's a good one!!! (That is, if you can overlook Russians speaking with British accents). To tell the truth, I'm watching it again as I'm writing this.
    And, thank God, at least it's not a movie loaded with obscenities! I was in the military and I know what it's really like, but this is one inaccuracy I approve of.

    And Rachel Weisz should ABSOLUTELY get an Oscar for her performance in the only sex scene in the movie. If she doesn't light your fire in this sequence, you have a real problem!!

    Five stars for a good "fictionalized" war movie... but it's only a one star movie for historical accuracy....more info
  • wonderful duel, in the context of war-torn Stalingrad
    This is a really good film of a talented fighter, Zaitsev, who is chosen as a tool of political propaganda in a desperate era. The acting is wonderful, from Law as the hero, Fiennes as the political propagandist and Hoskins as Krushchev, to Ed Harris as the sensitive and hoghly talented villain/sniper. I have watched this, utterly rivetted, several times these last months, and my fascination with the historical period and characters is undiminished.

    Warmly recommended....more info
  • This is one of the finest-ever WW II films
    At least three films are needed to describe World War II values; this one is a Russian view, 'Stalingrad' is the German reaction and 'Saving Private Ryan' is for the Americans.

    In each case, lots of men die. 'Ryan' is typically American, stumbling into hell and then showing incredible courage in the belief that despite the bumbling of superiors they will make it a better place. 'Stalingrad' is typically Nazi, based on the heartless assumption that human lives do not matter for any reason. 'Enemy' expresses the "soul" of the Russian people, incredibly decent, humane and resourceful despite the total depravities of their communist rulers.

    It's a simple story. The film opens with masses of Russians being driven into withering German machinegun fire at Stalingrad. Many of those Russian serfs are without weapons, because their commanders know the unarmed soldiers will be able to use the weapons of those who are the first to be killed. Gradually, the commissars realize they must treat common soldiers with some decency if they are to avoid defeat. So, to show the Red Army that it is possible to defeat the Germans, a skilled sniper is elevated to be a popular hero of the people. It's based on actual events, like the other two films.

    All three are visually stunning, a graphic reminder of the brutal impact of war. The acting is superb; the plots, in each case, have an authentic tone. Purists will have a delight debating picayune details in each film, perhaps never realizing that life and war includes incongruities as well as logic. If you've been there, you already know anything is possible.

    Instead, watch this film because of how it depicts the character of the Russians, a people who rose far above their communist masters to win a tremendous victory. It should be remembered the Russians faced and defeated 80 percent of the Nazi military. The ordinary Russian is resourceful, brave, decent and loyal to a fault to Mother Russia; Stalin is portrayed as an absolute tyrant who ruled only by extreme terror, while Krushchev is presented as the ruthless commisar who slowly learns to listen to the advice of others.

    As in most literature, the central characters are larger-than-life stereotypes. In 'Enemy', the Russian sniper and his girlfriend become people anyone would genuinely like to know and invite home for a barbecue; Krushchev is the boss to definitely avoid, while the German sniper is a prime candidate for lethal injection.

    But this together with gripping action and sustained suspense -- any fool knows it will end with a dead German and the good Russian alive somewhere with his girlfriend -- but getting there is a is a beautiful chess game in which pawns, knights, bishops and queens fall until only one king is left alive. Like most stories, the history may not always be as clear as some would like; but then, is 'The Illiad' or the Bible accurate history? Hardly. Instead, the truly great works of literature and film are more of an impressive study of character and morals.

    In that, it ranks with the best films of World War II.

    Buy this, then get 'Stalingrad' and 'Saving Private Ryan'. The subtleties within each will be appreciated once all three have been viewed....more info
  • the eastern front - the REAL reason why Germany lost
    Not seeing much of the Eastern Front portrayed in movies, I found it fascinating. I mean, both countries fighting are ruthless and aggressive and basically run by evil men. It's weird, we usually see good versus bad in war movies like this (meaning, America vs Whoever Else), so it was hard to take my eyes away from fighting armies who have no regard for human life on either side. Not that this is what the movie is REALLY about. We all know it's about sniper versus sniper, and I agree with the other reviewer that it's about the PEOPLE involved, how they deal with existing in a surreal war environment like this. What drags the movie a little IS the romantic subplot, but the other subplot about the German sniper and the Russian boy was actually very interesting. Not the greatest war movie, but certainly fresh and much needed. Whenever I watch it playing on a movie channel, I can't take my eyes off it. I suppose I should buy the DVD....more info
  • good B movie
    Its funny but I think I like this movie best for reasons that other people seem to dislike it. If I really wanted historical accuracy wouldn't I be watching a documentary? Personally I found this movie to be completely entertaining, and when I define entertaining I mean Not Boring, which I find more and more movies to be these days. Also, the Russian viewpoint of the film is at least a different take, not a volunteer army. In short with all the garbage movies out there, I fail to see how anyone could dare call this movie bad. It was at least good, if not great, and I personally think it still to be Jude Law's best role to date, if that's saying much, heh? ...more info
  • Blu-ray: Beautiful picture quality, nice use of sound and overall, powerful war film!
    In March 2001, a World War II film adapted from a 1973 nonfiction book "Enemy at the Gates: The Battle for Stalingrad" by William Craig was released in theaters.

    Featuring a screenplay written and directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud ("Wings of Courage", "L'Amant", "Seven Years in Tibet", etc.) along with co-writer Alain Godard ("Wings of Courage", "Der Name Der Rose", "Palace", etc.), the film which had a budget of $68 million, went on to make over $96 million worldwide.

    "ENEMY OF THE GATES" is a fictionalized story about the Russian sniper hero Vassili Zaitsev. Known for killing hundreds of Axis soldiers using a Mosin-Nagant rifle but also a symbol of success for the Russians in their use of training of snipers.

    The film begins with a young Vassili being taught by his grandfather how to shoot a fox that is about to hunt down a horse. We are then taken to World War II where Vassili (Jude Law) is a Red Army soldier and is traveling in a cattle truck with soldiers and civilians. He immediately takes notice of a beautiful woman (Rachel Weisz).

    The cattle truck is then turned to a military convoy headed to Stalingrad, which is being under attack from the Germans. We see soldiers trying to cross the Volga getting gunned down and slaughtered as the Germans have airplanes to take down the ships in the sea.

    The Russian military issues the warning that if anyone from the Red Army attempts to run or retreat, they will be killed. The groups are split into two groups. One that is assigned with a Mosin-Nagant rifle, while the other carries ammunition. Vassili is given the ammunition.

    Because of misinformation of how far the control the Germans have of the city, members of the Red Army end up being slaughtered by their own military for violating the rule.

    We then see a car driving through the streets and becomes under fire from the German, eventually knocking the car over. The driver, Commissar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) hides amongst the bodies of other Russians. As the Germans come and make sure all Russians are dead, a few of the Nazi military leaders start to relax while one takes a shower outside of a destroyed building.

    Commissar Danilov gets one of the rifles but he is not a real soldier that knows how to fire guns but one of the Russian survivors, Vassili tells him that he will take all five of the Germans out and he does so by using a rifle with one shot each. Danilov is grateful that Vassili was there to take them down and is amazed of what courage this young man had in taking on the Nazi's literally by himself.

    Meanwhile, Nikita Khrushchev (Bob Hoskins) arrives in Stalingrad to coordinate defense strategies. Because of the constant lead changes between the Russians the Germans, morale is down. To improve morale, Commissar Danilov offers Khrushchev a suggestion that the Russians need to have a hero. When asked if he knows of one, Danilov suggests Vassili.

    Commissar Danilov who has the job of boosting morale through media like newspapers and propaganda fliers has took his new friend Vassili and made him the major hero throughout Russia. Wherever Vassili shows up, the Russian soldiers are inspired to have him around. Vassili is now transferred to the Russian sniper division.

    As the film progresses, Vassili ends up at the home of Mother Filipov (Eva Mattes) who lives with her son Sacha (Gabriel Thomson). That is where Vassili is reunited with the beautiful woman he saw when he first became a soldier. The woman is a soldier named Tania Chernova (Rachel Weisz) who learned German.

    Vassili is happy to see Tania but so is Commissar Danilov who seems to have fallen for the soldier as well. He immediately tries to convince her that her knowledge of German can help the Russians intelligence decode German communication.

    Meanwhile, Vassili's fame continues to grow as he and the other snipers are killing off German soldiers and officers. The Germans who are aware of the Russian hero, Vassili decide to bring their top sniper to go after him. His name is Major Erwin Konig (Ed Harris), an excellent sniper and the head of the German Army Sniper School.

    While Vassili and other snipers are out on a mission, Major Konig takes out two of the snipers that accompanied Vassili. Immediately, Vassili knows that Kong's precision and his way of hunting is excellent and feels that he may not be up to the job to take him on.

    Danilov knowing that his friend is feeling a bit down about the situation, brings in Koulikov (Ron Perlman), a sniper who trained under Konig before the war. Koulikov then trains Vassili on the ways Major Konig thinks and behaves.

    Thus begins the cat-and-mouse game between Vassili and Major Konig and who has the skills and experience to take each other out. Meanwhile, the relationship intensifies for Tania and Vassili but what will happen when Commissar Danilov who also has fallen for Tania finds out his friend Vassili (who knows that Danilov is smitten with her) is also going for her behind his back?

    VIDEO & AUDIO:

    "ENEMY AT THE GATES" receives its 1080p High Definition transfer (2:35:1 aspect ratio) which looks absolutely wonderful when watching the war unfold. Just watching the war in the first half hour as chaos erupts during a cold, cloudy day with this bluish tinge showing bleakness was well captured by Director of Photography (Robert Fraisse).

    With that being said, the majority of the shots during days of overcast and conditions were not colorful and vibrant. Indoor scenes showcase a yellowness as natural lighting and places where there are no electricity shows the amber effects with blacks all around the characters.

    "ENEMY AT THE GATES" is not a film to expect color vibrancy, its a film depicting war with many lives lost, times when the Russian forces feel they don't know themselves if they will live another day. I didn't notice any compression artifacts and even in times of darkness, I think I saw may a little speckle but overall, the transfer to HD was well done.

    As for audio, the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD transfer (also featured are French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks) was great but not excellent. There is very good use of direction of sound from the ongoing bombings throughout the city which utilizes the low frequency of the subwoofer, then during scenes where there are many Russians around, you can hear those people talk in the fronts while dialogue is coming straight from the center speaker. Sniper shots and rifle shots are also done well as you can hear the bullets zipping and hitting its target on impact. But if there was one weakness that I found, I did not notice any usage of the rear surrounds.

    This was surprising because you hear the front channel and subwoofer being utilized but I was putting my ear right next to my rear surrounds during several scenes and I didn't hear anything. Made sure to switch to another film to make sure that things were working correctly and surround utilization was fine, switched back to "ENEMY AT THE GATES" and no rear surround usage. Overall, audio use was very good but it would have been even better if the rears were utilized effectively.

    Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

    SPECIAL FEATURES:

    "ENEMY AT THE GATES" features several informative special features which include:

    * Through the Crosshairs - (19:35) Interviews with Director Jean-Jacques Annaud, producers and talent. How they wanted the right people to accomplish their goal for this film. How they looked at different spots in Europe to film the battle sequences and settled in Germany and for the river scenes right near the Polish border. And then dissecting several scenes such as the many lead changes between the Russians and Germans during the Battle of Stalingrad. How the talents had to train with a rifle and how 600 extras were used, 250,000 pounds of smoke oil and the challenges they had since the extras spoke different languages and they had to time the explosions and the extras correctly. A very informative special feature.
    * Inside Enemy at the Gates - (15:01) Interviews with Director Jean-Jacques Annaud and the four major talent. How the cast studied a little about World War II and the involvement of the Russians, being trained with a rifle and their impression of their characters and working witch each other. Then each discussing their favorite scenes from the film and also how difficult it was for Jude Law to have the love scene with Rachel Weisz knowing that many people were around them.
    * Deleted Scenes - (10:13) A total of nine deleted scenes. Two key deleted scenes showing the closeness of Tania Chernova and Mother Filipov when discussing her parent's death and also Vassili talking about sleep deprivation and Koulikov telling him that its the worst thing for a sniper. But also a key scene which shows what happens with Danilov's final report about Vassili.
    * Theatrical Trailer HD - (2:27) The original theatrical trailer in High Definition.

    JUDGMENT CALL:

    "ENEMY AT THE GATES" is a very impressive war film. Around the time this film came out, I was impressed by the amount of extras utilized for the film but to see body parts and blood spatters (in one scene it gets on the camera). This was filmed wonderfully!

    I was also impressed with the performances with all four major talents. Jude Law did a great job as Vassili, and on one side we know he is the great sniper of Russia but when not on the battlefield, he was a man in love. Ed Harris who plays the antagonist is just a wonderful actor and did a great job playing Major Konig. And the performances by Rachel Weisz and Joseph Fiennes are absolutely fabulous.

    If you take the film on its own as a fictionalized story, then you can probably enjoy the screenplay as it shows the bleakness of war but how, during war, love is found and how love was lost. It's a powerful film... But its a powerful film that can be marred by the fact that certain scenes are embellished for the sake of the story. This is not a factual story.

    There were protests in Russia of how Russian soldiers and officers were being depicted. For example, soldiers who were forced by their officers to attack Nazi machine guns in a suicide attempt and if they retreated, the officers shot and killed their own. For Russians who honor their war heroes and those who lost their lives at "The Battle of Stalingrad", they have every right to have been upset with how the soldiers were depicted.

    But this is a fictional film inspired from three pages of the original book by William Craig. It's indeed a powerful film with strong images of war and a film featuring wonderful performances from the talent. The Blu-ray HD transfer is well-done and fans of the film may want to double dip if they have own the original DVD release solely for picture quality and lossless audio.

    I enjoyed "ENEMY AT THE GATES" and I definitely recommend it on Blu-ray!...more info
  • Excellent War Film
    This is one of the best war films I have ever seen. Jude Law is excellent, as is the action....more info
  • The Eastern Front
    I'm not that familiar with the true account of the famed Russian sniper, Vassili Zaitsev so I can't comment on how accurately the script of his accomplishments is portrayed, but as one fairly familiar with the German attack on Stalingrad, ENEMY AT THE GATES is a fair adaptation of the events that occurred there during the 1942 Eastern Front campaign. I do know that Zaitsev did in fact, score 182 kills with his Nosin-Nagant model 1891/30 rifle and did in fact kill the German Major Kulikov, who had been tracking him for 5 days prior to the German withdrawal of Stalingrad.

    The story begins when a beleaguered Russian army, on the brink of disaster, and desperately in need of a moral boost. A Russian propagandist (Fiennes) introduces the high command to the story of Zaitsev (Law), a Russian sniper from the Urals wilderness who had successfully killed over a dozen German officers. A local propaganda campaign began and with Zaitsev's elevated stature among the local populace, he draws the ire of the German high command, who send their best sniper, Major Konig (Harris) (I don't know why they chose not to use Kulikov's real name) to engage in a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase between the two warriors. Rachel Weisz adds what is likely a fictionalized romance to the film, and Bob Hoskins gives a brilliant portrayal of a middle aged Nikita Krushchev.

    Most notable in this film is the presentation to the western world of the events of the Eastern Front during World War II. An epic saga, for the most part, overlooked by film makers. The peasant army of Russia in the 1930's and 40's was, for the most part, illiterate. Therefore, when compared to the war in the west and in the Pacific, only a fraction of personal accounts have been written on this theater of operations. It's good to see what appears to be a fairly accurate portrayal of that sector of the war.

    The acting in this film is above average. The filming itself is great with realistic battle scenes and ensuing chaos that was apparent during the Battle of Stalingrad. The horrors of war are graffic in this movie, so parents should be advised.
    ...more info
  • ENEMY AT THE GATES

    THIS WAS A GREAT MOVIE AND THE TRANACTION WAS ALSO GREAT. IT ARRIVED RIGHT AWAY AND I APPRECIATE EVERY ASPECT ABOUT THIS ONE.

    THANKS....more info
  • This movie is fair, but that's all
    Judging by all the comments made about the historical innacuracy of this film (somehow the outcome of biggest battle in the history of the world hinges on the personal gun duel between a Russian speaking with an English accent and a German speaking with an American accent), or the hackneyed way the contrived romance displaces what ought to be the real story in the movie (the sniper duel), I still rented this movie hoping that I would like it.

    To be honest, there were some very fascinating parts of this film -- even the innactuarate ones like the nonsensical opening phase of the film is still interesting to watch.

    The sniper scenes are also interesting to watch, however I doubt that a huge battle between several hundred thousands of soldiers would suddenly cease just so that a sniper duel between two people can have greater dramatic tension. There are many points when the snipers reveal themselves in the open where, although perhaps invulnerable to each other, would make wonderful targets for other soldiers, including other snipers.

    I also found the ending very odd. I got the impression that when the Russians were evacuating the city across the Volga river, that the Germans were poised for victory. Suddenly, the movie cuts to the next scene where somehow the Germans lost. Although this is true historically, the movie offers no context or explanation for the sudden change in fortune. In reality the change in fortune came about because of large Russian army counterattacks on an overextended German line, but the movie tries to tell you that the battle was decided one the Russian sniper bested the German sniper.

    PLEASE.

    Overall, an okay movie. My boyfriend majors in european history and he was more disappointed in this movie than I. I could stand the romance, however the way it was played was too cutesy and unlikely. This movie is a throw-away popcorn flick that for some reason thinks it's better than it really is. A wannabe epic in the Pearl Harbor (2001) vein. ...more info
  • Pretty Good
    This movie would have got five stars from me but there is one reason why I didnt rate it five out of five is simply because Hollywood is being hollywood adding some romance in the picture not that seeing Rachel Wiesz is a bad thing because it is not I just think that leaving it out would have made for a better picture

    This movie takes you to Stalingrad the Nazis last stand and hope to fight off the Russians starting on a boatt getting shot at by planes above heading to the docks to recive a gun or ammo the Russian military werent to financially well off and could not afford a gun for every soldier so one soldier got a gun and the other a clip of ammo
    The whole plot of the movie is a Russian Sniper is born and begins killing to many Nazi officers so the Nazis send their best Sniper to take him out
    A classic and somewhat historically accurate grudge match there really was a Russian Sniper Vaceli something i foget how to spell the last name his weapon is on display in a musem somewhere most likely in Russia and this really did happen a Nazi Sniper and Russian where out hunting one another
    This is recomended defenitly rent it if you want but I would flat out buy it...more info
  • excellent!!! will buy from again!! The best!
    Excellent movie! Vassilly is a true hero, and this is the finest war movie I have ever seen....more info
  • Exciting and vivid
    Given the importance of the Russians in WWII, I really like it when a good movie comes out about them. I especially enjoyed finding out more about how the crossing of the Volga looked from the Russian side. Yes, it was historically inaccurate to have it occur in the daytime, but it made for a more exciting movie. I found the love scene between Zaitzev and Chernova very erotic. ...more info
  • Handsome, taut telling of the battle of Stalingrad
    Based on a true story and handsomely presented, ENEMY AT THE GATES is a rousing World War II action flick chronicling the Battle of Stalingrad as seen through the eyes of Russian soldier Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law,) a young Russian soldier ferried over to the besieged city at the height of battle who soon proves himself a peerless sniper. In fact, before long Vassili Zaitsev has picked off so many high-ranking officers the Germans call upon their own champion, Maj. K?nig (Ed Harris,) to take the precocious young sniper down.

    This movie is the story of their cat-and-mouse hunt for each other through the piling rubble of Stalingrad. The plot is adorned with a love-triangle involving Vassili, a fellow soldier named Tania Chernova (Rachel Weisz) and a propaganda agent, Commisar Danilov, played by Joseph Fiennes. Nikita Krushchev (Bob Hoskins) arrives at one point to bully and bluster, drink vodka, resent Stalin, and generally chew a bit of carpet. Thankfully none of these side streets prove too distracting. Even when Danilov tells Vassili the fate of Stalingrad, upon which falls the fate of the war, will be determined by which sniper is able to outwit the other, seems a little less forced than it should.

    The half-destroyed city is beautifully recreated and photographed. The pacing allows for us to spend tense moments with Law and Harris, doing not much more than looking through a gun-sight, without growing bored. This movie also seems wonderfully edited. Battles, action characters in movement, are hard to keep track of while maintaining the proper mood and tension, but we never get lost or disentangled from what's going on. Law is very good as the young shootist who must convince himself he not overmatched, and Harris, in a role that calls for little more than one note, is pitch perfect. One of the better war movies to come down the pike in a while.

    ...more info
  • Deflated historical context
    This is maybe the most disappointing film by Annaud. Great history deflated to a boring love blahblah ? on war background ? in embarassingly badly crafted d¨¦cor - reminds of Spartacus movies of the 50ies or the first Star Trek serials with plastic rocks flying around. Very listless. Dully played by most of the actors. If something is mud and dirty - must be Russian. Annaud proves this beautiful attitude once again.
    PS: There seems to be a double plot - Tania must have been a German spy or something, as the sort of pants she wears (or undresses) never have existed in wartimes Soviet Union. And some more other false impressions and details....more info
  • Unconvincing Romance Substract from an Otherwise Good Movie
    I rate this movie overall as a four star (out of five). I will divide it in terms of:

    Historical Accuracy: Yes Vasily Zaitzev fought in Stalingrad and earned the tittle of Hero of the Soviet Union. Its true he was extensively used in propaganda efforts by the Red Army in trying to keep the moral of its troops high while still being on the loosing side of the war. The careless disregard for human lifes and the lack of war materiel was true on part of the Red Army, the use of terror and the fratricidal killing by the political troops of the NKVD and the political commissars was also true. The importance attached to Zaitzev by the German High Command was grossly overated, the sharpshooters as a whole were seen as a grave danger but bringing a full Prussian Colonel to deal with just a Russian soldier will not be in line with the usual behavior of the Wehrmacht. The film gives too much importance to Nikita Khruschev and any credit at all to General Chuikov, who kept the defenses of Stalingrad going against all odds. Although the premise of the story is basically true some details are way off so I will give 3 stars in terms of accuracy.

    Entertainment.- Very entertaining, very good scenes specially the crossing of the Volga while being attacked by Stukas and the Red Square battle. Sniping is mostly a game of stealth and patiente and certainly is not a matter of great spectacle but the movie kept this very light and did not make it boring. In this category the movie certainly rates a high 4 stars.

    The Romance.- I didn't see the point of Rachel Weisz's character, too untrue, too volatile. Very convenient that she was listening to the radio when news of the assasination of her parents by a german death squad came, this is the sole premise for her getting in harms way to try to acheive vengeance by becoming a sniper and landing in the process in the arms of Jude Law (sorry Zaitzev). The romantic triangle was also unnecesary and Danillof (Joseph Fiennes) should have been played as a manipulating Commissar rather than a basically good man lead astray by jealousy. As I undestand one of the requisites to be a Political Commisar was devoting your actions to the cause while leaving personal feelings or symphaties out of the way. Since the romance and the amorous triangle was hokey and unnecessary I will give this part a One-star.

    The Scope.- Stalingrad was basically the bloodiest and greatest battle fought until that moment, one can even argue it is the biggest battle ever fought, I believe the scope of the movie was not appropriate to showcase the battle, in fact you never learn something about the battle in itself, why the Russians in the end win, the treatment of the battle is mostly referential and tangential. the snipers were one of the causes for the german defeat but not the main reason. The encircling operation of Stalingrad is much more important as the city was left isolated when the Rumanian, Italian and Hungarian armies that were left in the left and right flank of the city defenses collapsed against the Soviet attack allowing the German Sixth Army to be encircled and the starved it to submission in the bleakest part of the winter 42-43. There is never a reference to this, about the starvation of the german army, and we don't have a feeling for the battle with its artillery duels and the house to house fighting. In this respect the movie does not pay justice to the subject and I will leave this as three stars.

    The sets.- very well done, the sets look real, I have seen pictures of red square and the red October factory and the sets used are very accurate. The Volga I believe is a much more impressive river than what is shown to us (I believe the movie was shot in Germany and maybe the river portrayed is the Rhine. The ambientation, the uniforms, the equipment shown is very realistic (mark III panzer tanks, spandau machine guns, SKDf half tracks, etc.) in this respect I will give the production a five star.

    The Music.- repetitive, needs more grandeur to accomodate the subject, I was not impressed by the soundtrack. Why not use Soviet and German patriotic music that has the grandeur and probably give the movie more realism. Three star.

    Overall a good movie, not the best on the subject and the Stalingrad Battle still has not been portrayed as justly deserved...more info
  • Enemy at the Gates - Blu-ray Info
    Version: U.S.A / Paramount / Region Free
    MPEG-4 AVC BD-50 / AACS / High Profile 4.1
    Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
    Running time: 2:11:05
    Movie size: 39,700,334,592 bytes (39,70 GB)
    Disc size: 44,270,460,575 bytes (44,27 GB)
    Total bit rate: 40.38 Mbps
    Average video bit rate: 31.94 Mbps

    Dolby TrueHD Audio English 3485 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3485 kbps / 24-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
    Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
    Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
    Number of chapters: 20...more info
  • Enemy at the Gates is no enemy of mine.
    If you're a war-movie buff like me, you've seen just about all of them: Saving Private Ryan, Hart's War, Windtalkers, Men of Honor, A Few Good Men, We Were Soldiers, U-571--for time and interest' sake, I'll stop there, even though I could rattle titles off for pages and pages to come.

    Enemy at the Gates has joined the ranks of these unforgettable war films, which set themselves apart from other films in the genre because men in spit-polished shoes at shoot-'em-ups is not all that is required. A compelling story has to be the very foundation of the film, there has to be at least a meager amount of activity going on outside of the battle, to serve as a distraction from the chaotic and war-torn events.

    Enemy at the Gates has the upper-hand to begin with, boasting a powerful concoction of your better actors--Jude Law (The Aviator), Ed Harris (A History of Violence), Joseph Fiennes (The Great Raid), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) and Bob Hoskins (Mrs. Henderson Presents). Its nail biting twists and turns will arrest your attention throughout this solidly-written script by Jean-Jacques Annaud (Seven Years in Tibet) and Alain Godard (Two Brothers), with more than a few unexpected surprises. To keep the ladies immersed until the end of the 131-minute movie, it even has a little romantic sub-plot, which potentially turns out to be the bewitching undoing of the lead character.

    The battle takes place during World War II in Stalingrad, Russia, with sharpshooter Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) almost single-handedly bagging the bodies as promptly as they arrive. Things eventually start to look grim for the Russian troops when the Germans move inward, and Commander Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) devise a "brilliant" plan to boost the hope of the civilians with propaganda-laden newspapers.

    Day after day, the underground newspaper reports on the finest soldiers and their number of kills, with the poster-boy Vassili's mug shot on the front page. But it wasn't all work and no play for Vassili. He drudged on like any soldier at war, and even had a little time for a sweet romance with a neighboring soldier, Tania (Rachel Weisz). But the citizens of the Iron Curtain weren't the only ones reading the tabloid. The German army had been following the heroic efforts of the Russians and had a hero of their own to trumpet, courtesy of Major Koenig (Ed Harris), a highly-focused soldier who obviously worked his way to the top by being the best at what he did as a marksman. He was sent in to counter the efforts of Russia's finest, whatever the cost, and pulled every trick out of his arsenal to ensure Vassili's defeat, which quickly turns into a game of cat-and-mouse.

    The performances in this motion picture were stunning to watch. Jude Law's character starts to develop early on in the film and continues until the curtain comes down and the lights go up, it'll linger with you. And veteran Ed Harris as Major Koenig dazzles with mystique, and an almost expressionless face that speaks loudly (not to mention how charming he looks in a uniform). The location wasn't too shabby either; the scenic mood feeling raw with muted colors, taking you back half a century with the help of Cinematographer Robert Fraisse (Hotel Rwanda).

    Enemy at the Gates is no enemy of mine. It'll shake you loose of the slop-stitch handiwork that you have become accustomed to, and raise the bar for craftsmanship in quality movie-making....more info
  • good movie
    I wanted to get this movie because I like sniping, and I like the sniper rifles they use in the movie. I think if you like world war 2, you definitely should have this movie. Very entertaining, with a good plot....more info
  • "You won't give up the river bank! I don't care if you've lost half your men, lose the other half!"
    Enemy at the Gates, despite being mostly fictitious, is a very entertaining film that accurately depicts much of the fighting in Stalingrad. Though the focus in this film is on the duel between snipers Vassili Zaitsev and Major Koenig, short battle sequences are thrown in periodically to remind us there's a bigger war taking place.

    For the most part, the sequences in Enemy at the Gates are believable, if not quite historically accurate. There are a couple of questionable scenes, such as Koenig walking out in the open at the end (a rookie mistake) and his rank (Majors in the Wehrmacht were never snipers), but it is about entertainment, after all.

    One of my biggest complaints with this film, however, is that the Russian characters are predominantly portrayed by British actors. Needless to say, the accents are ridiculous. The acting is superb, though, with both Jude Law and Ed Harris delivering excellent performances.

    Argue about the inaccuracies all you want, Enemy at the Gates is still an entertaining film that kept me enthralled throughout. I highly recommend seeing it....more info
  • A fascinating film about the strategy of two great snipers...
    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... ...more info
  • Enemy at the Gates Review
    I think this is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It takes place in 1942 in Russia and the Nazis are attacking Stalingrad. Jude Law is a member of the resistance and becomes a hero, and the Germans send a guy (Ed Harris) to stop him. They are both top snipers and the sniper war is on. They both have to out-think the other, and it goes on from there. This movie is a suspenseful thriller you will want to watch over and over. I have had friends over to watch it and they have called me back later to ask what the name was so they could order it for themselves so they could watch it again at home. This movie is a must-see and a must-have movie. I can't recommend it enough. It is a GREAT movie!*****!...more info
  • Plays It Safe, But Does It Well.
    "Enemy at the Gates" is a work of historical fiction, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud who also wrote the screenplay along with Alain Godard. The setting is the battle of Stalingrad which was the turning point in World War II. The story is about a duel between two snipers: Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law), a Russian soldier who goes from a foot solider without a rifle, to a state hero, and Major Konig (Ed Harris), an aristocratic German officer who is sent to kill Zaitsev. This film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 7th of 2001.

    The base story is true, but the account is fictionalized to make a more standard movie. The movie at the start has a broad focus, concentrating on the battle at the start of the film. During this part of the movie we do see the main characters, but they are not identified. The movie then narrows its focus to the main characters, starting with the meeting of Commisar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) and Zaitsev, where Zaitsev's marksmanship saves the two of them, as he eliminates some German officers and their guards. The result is that Danilov decides to promote Zaitsev as a hero in his writing, as well as himself in the eyes of Khrushchev (Bob Hoskins).

    The relationship between Danilov and Zaitsev is complicated by a love triangle, as Danilov and Zaitsev compete for Tania Chernova (Rachel Weisz), who becomes a soldier herself, as she joins the fight against the Germans. Another side story includes that of Sacha Filipov (Gabriel Thomson) and his mother (Eva Mattes) who are Tania's neighbors. Sacha sells information to the Major Konig, but also tips off Danilov so that he can help Zaitsev prevail.

    This is not a perfect movie by any means. The horrors of living in Stalingrad during this battle are not really shown, especially the starvation aspect, which would have well served the sub-plot where Sacha is selling information to Major Konig. Once the story narrows to the main characters, the battle disappears for the most part, reappearing only when needed. Finally, the fictionalized story isn't really anything new, there are no chances taken, and there are no real surprises.

    This DVD has 5.1 surround sound, and is widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions. There is a behind-the-scenes featurette and cast and crew interviews. It also contains some additional scenes, which were not used in the movie.

    Despite some weaknesses, I do find this movie to be very entertaining, and overall I would definitely recommend this DVD. The performances by the main characters are all solid, and there are no major flaws or mistakes. It is true that the story is not 100% accurate historically, but if that is what you are looking for then you really ought to be looking at books on the subject, or perhaps some documentaries and not a movie made primarily for entertainment.
    ...more info