|Enemy at the Gates (Spec) [VHS]
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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
- 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
- A Great Movie
This is the first amazon movie review I have written, after reading many reviews for other movies for quite some time.
The criticisms I read about Enemy at the Gates are, by and large, correct! And, as a rule, I do not like war movies. So why on earth do I think this is a great movie?! I did happen to read the account of the sniper duel at the heart of the story, many years ago. (The story has been made more marketable, the love story is silly, but it is in essence truer to history than other much hyped movies...)
Well, the performances are great. The movie tells of a battle that was central to WWII.
I think I rate this movie so highly because it focuses on the brutal win or lose nature of total war. That's what it came down to. If the Russians lost they were going to be massacred en masse - that was Hitler's plan to make room for German expansion to the East. No 'earn this' like at the end of Private Ryan. WWII was about the life and death of vast numbers of civilians. The upbeat ending is bogus - yes I agree. But if you can just tune out those parts - this movie is like 'Paths of Glory' - it gets to the guts of war - either I kill you or you will kill me (and my family as well.)
- A good cat and mouse game
Ed Harris (the Nazi) and Jude Law (the Russian) are matched against each other as World War II snipers serving their country. Joseph Fiennes is also good in a pivotal role as is Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khrushchev and Rachel Weisz as a strong female character (who just wants to throw herself on Vasseil's just becasue he famous of being a great sniper) any typical stupid woman. This movie is a compelling look at the constantly needed reminder that simply, war is terrible and the innocent victims that suffer is even more tragic....more info
- Cat and Mouse
Set during the fall of Stalingrad in World War two, "Enemy at the Gates" focuses on Vassili Zaitsev, a poor soldier who has a gift for sharp shooting. That gift comes to the attention of Commisar Danilov, who sees Zaitsev as a political propaganda coup for an ailing Russian military. The Germans call in a sniper of their own, a Major Konig, to deal with this sniper who is growing in fame.
The tension is thick in this movie, as the two snipers stalk each other. However, around them is the maelstrom of the Battle of Stalingrad. The stark realities of the Russian army are very realistic, with soldiers sharing a single weapon, living in horrid conditions, and suffering badly.
The attempts of the political officers to exploit Zaitsev for their own goals are also highlighted. Their sometimes cynical use of people to advance the glory of the Motherland is sometimes horrible to contemplate and view.
The movie is earthy and real, and the acting is excellent. Jude Law is great in the lead roll. I was very impressed with the cast of the movie.
Not an action filled gore-fest like We Were Soldiers (Widescreen Edition), it is certainly realistic in its depictions. It is a good movie with lots of tense moments. I enjoyed this movie a lot....more info
- Great pick
Great pick for a movie, excelent quality, quick delivery.
I will buy here again!!...more info
- Enemy at the Gates
This dvd should be a good addition for those who collect 'sniper' movies. The story line developed within thick fabric of Russian defense of Stalingrad (during WWII) and made it more colorful than average 'sniper' movies. It's fun to watch. ...more info
- How about realism?
I feel awkward stating this, but I honestly found no realism in the movie Enemy at the Gates. Sure, this was a great movie for passing the time, great action, fine acting, and so forth. The truth is the whole plotline is false, not that they ever truly claim it to be based on a true story. He is one soldier, one of millions in Soviet army. They sadly idolize Zaitsev as the hero of Soviet. The truth was, there would be little knowledge of him around Soviet Union at the time. Maybe the area sure, but the truth was the movie acted as if he would turn the war around....more info
- Enemy at the Gates
Enemy at the Gates is an excellent movie. It is far from an action movie - more like a drama with guns, an awesome sniper movie. Never before have I seen into the mind of a sniper in a movie as in depth as I did in this movie. The beginning of the movie (going into war) was more shocking to me than the opening of Saving Private Ryan. Two thumbs up to Rachel Weisz and Jude Law!...more info
- The true picture of war
Terrible yet fascinating tale of the horrors of war. This represents the true and ugly view of war. ...more info
- Please Hold Onto the Bar
"The Enemy at the Gates" is a war movie like few others ever made. It's promotional "hook" is the lethal, real life cat-and-mouse game between a German sniper and a Russian sniper during World War II. But the abject, brutal Power you are going to feel - the blow to your chest that will have you aching all over comes from the setting - the incredible squalor and waste of the siege/defense of Stalingrad.
Every sight is overcast, dark, dingy, dirty, cold and deadly. The people, if you can believe they are still people, seem most like maggots scurrying about in a cold, dank tomb, day after grinding day.
Every mindless, ghastly horror of War you can think of, from the total Dehumanization of young and old - to the pointless mass reduction of lives to gore and stench - to the total Avarice of politicians - to the total Malignancy of Greed and Power - is hurled straight into in your face. And yet... when you have long since decided those wretched pawns could never ever be live people again you will suddenly find yourself watching a lovemaking scene so totally Erotic yet so totally Human, and, somehow, so genuinely Artistic you WILL be absolutely spellbound. And that will be the point you finally feel some precious shred of hope you will actually be back in the light of your "real" world when the movie ends. "The Enemy at the Gate" is a slow, excruciatingly dismal trip across the River Styx - and back. Use your own discretion. ...more info
- Superb contemporary production of the WW II Stalingrad seige
Wow! Realism beyond compare in a great new war film about the WW II German invasion of Stalingrad. Two snipers pair off against one another -- high suspense and an incredible story.
There is also the expected love story sub-plot but not to the degree that the horror of this insurrection is in any way diminished.
The cinematography is astounding and the scenes are quite graphic. This is one to see, no doubt about it!...more info
- AN IMPRESSIVE, THOUGH FLAWED, WAR PICTURE
ENEMY AT THE GATES is a well-crafted movie that has a wonderful cat-and-mouse premise, but the plot is bogged down by a love-triangle that instead of moving events along, simply gets in the way. The acting was excellent, the characters interesting, and there was plenty of suspense. The cinematography was grand, and the direction sure. It's no PLATOON, but it tries hard, and is well worth watching.
- 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
- Romantic Triangle in Battle
This is based on a true story from the Battle of Stalingrad. It tells how a sniper became a hero for publicity and morale. The first scene shows men crossing the river in the daytime! [Night crossings would prevent air attacks.] Wasn't there a Soviet Air Force to defend against those Stuka fighters? Were those soldiers only given one clip of ammunition? Next there is a charge against entrenched troops. Didn't they learn anything since WW I? [Or is this just symbolism and propaganda?] Vassily Zaitsev the shepherd knows how to shoot a rifle. Nikita Khrushchev is now in charge and asks for suggestions. Why not improve morale? The sniper's exploits are advertised for building morale. Women were used for sniper duty, successfully.
Vassily gets an experienced older sniper who studied in the German sniper school. The Germans use a captured soldier as lure to reveal a sniper's location. A young boy provides a story for a bar of chocolate. Major Koenig lays a clever trap, it almost works. Is that boy a double agent? Tanya and Vassily are nice to each other. There will be a new attack and Vassily is prepared for Koenig. Koenig is very clever to understand that boy, and lays a trap. Will wolf hunter Vassily become the hunted? Will personal emotion create an unneeded conflict? The film continues to the final showdown between Vassily and Koenig. Is it believable, or just a dramatic ending? Will Vassily meet Tanya for a happy ending?
The encircled German 6th Army surrendered at Stalingrad in February 1943. It was the end of the beginning. The Battle of Kursk in July 1943 marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. You could read one book and learn a lot more than what you get from this entertainment; or most war films.
- A classic war movie!
I love WWII movies. This one is a modern classic. Don't miss it!...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
- It's a movie about people... only using war as background!
It's a movie about people using war as the background. It's a good suspense and entertaining movie. However, it contains a typical theme in many Hollywood-style war movies that the effort of one hero destroyed an entire German army. But, the collapse of German troops at Stalingrad couldn't be only caused by a single Russian sniper. There are many other factors to it. Please read and study the history or the original book......more info
- Enemy at the Gates
Very powerful movie I've always enjoyed and now, my daughter is doing a report on the same. Thank goodness for continued excellent movie making !!! This is a movie that will certainly hold your attention and focuses on other aspects that certainly do occur during any war. Worth watching....more info
- Nice Shot, Comrade
In the epic opening battle scene, a trainload of fresh-faced recruits being hustled into battle learn the buddy system Soviet-style: An officer yells into a bullhorn, "The one with the rifle shoots; the one without follows him. When the one with the rifle gets killed, the one who is following picks up the rifle and shoots." It's surreal, but a fitting introduction to a movie about the harrowing, intersecting worlds of a sniper and a propagandist.
The hero gets his rifle (a very bad thing for Wehrmacht officers), but the film never develops into the sniper movie action-oriented viewers expect. Instead, it has more to say about the megaphone than the Dragunov, offering insights aplenty into propaganda in wartime and the terror of life under Stalin. On top of that, there's a robust allegorical layer far more complex than it first appears.
As a couple or three hundred reviewers have noted, this film has its share of problems: The plot twists are telegraphed, a Russian accent couldn't be located for Mr. Law, the lighting calls attention to itself, and the romantic element has all the chemistry of a firefly. But unless you watch movies like a producer, you can probably put the nit-picking aside and enjoy the film.
Oh, and one last thing: Apparently, Soviet rifles never need cleaning. And to think they lost the Cold War.
- An Insightful Movie
In the desperate days of Stalingrad, Communist-Left wing dictator Josef Stalin and his henchmen threw any Soviet conscript that they could into the fire of Stalingrad. After all, Stalin did not want to lose his namesake city to Adolph Hitler. In the opening scene, the brutal Communists send men toward the German lines. Many are unarmed and ordered to pick up the rifles of the men who are killed ahead of them. When these men retreat, the Soviet Socialists kill them with their own machine guns. In this brutal war, the Russian sniper became a legend in this fiery maelstrom. I am not a big fan of Jude Law with that silly smile plastered on his face but he plays the role with some humility here and it works pretty good.
- This is a very smart and romantic movie.
This movie shows a pivotal moment in Russian history. It shows the Russian military during a very important moment in World War II. The music is sublime. This movie is very good. It shows love, war, and politics in a way that people can understand how it relates to national interest....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 microcosm of the gigantic war between the Nazis and Soviets.
The opening scenes capture the realities of war almost as effectively as was done in "Saving Private Ryan." This movie does something that so many other WWII movies does so stupidly, though: It tries to drive a romance into the middle of a survival of the fittest mortal combat film. I don't mind such a thing in a work of fiction, but this movie is about the Battle of Stalingrad, which is probably the most important battle of WWII.
Actually, the film is about a legend that grew in Soviet Russia during WWII, and this story puts it into that great battle. The opening scenes are pure adrenaline pumping combat that is stark and terrible. As the film settles down, though, we begin to focus in on a highly politicized duel between a pair of snipers. One is a peasant from Russia. The other is a professional from Nazi Germany. They hunt for one another through the broken city of Stalingrad, each attempting to find their advantage against the other.
To be sure, the sniper scenes are a bit far fetched, the love story is strange, the political drama overdone. The mass combat is spectacular. Watch this film for a look at that for yourself. The climax is ridiculous, especially for a sniper war. I suggest that you watch this film once just to get an idea of the nature of combat between the professional German army and the conscripted peasant army of the Soviet Union. It will give you a small look at the struggle that cost 20 million Soviets' lives....more info
- Hollywood mutilated a good true story......
The problem with the Hollywood version of the story is how they changed the story. Tania was Zaitsev's lover, but she was wounded during a raid on a German HQ, not by shrapnel and Zaitsev actually carried her back to Soviet lines. The young boy, Sacha Fillipov, is also a true character who was hanged for his spying. The duel between Zaitsev and Koenig was more like Hollywood in real life than it was in the movie. Zaitsev and Kulikov, who died in the movie, managed to trick Konings to shoot a helmet, Kulikov stood up and acted as if he had been shot, when Konings looked at his "victim", Zaitsev shot him in between the eyes. The movie is very good though, and has a very good look at the eastern front during WW2. For another good movie about the eastern front, try "Stalingrad" by Wolfgang Petersen, it is a German movie, and is very good and accurate....more info
- Hollywood Advances To The Eastern Front!!!!!!!!!!!
I've seen a lot of WW2 movies examples: "Saving Private Ryan", "Pearl Harbor", "The Thin Red Line", "The Longest Day", and "Patton", which covered the war in the Pacific, as well as The Western Front of WW2!!! Now Hollywood has finally opened up The Eastern Front of the WW2!!!
The movie kicks off at the battle of Stalingrad, as troops cross the Volga River, awaiting on the other side is the Nazi war machine crusing any resistance!!!When they reach other side, they are welcomed by chaos, death, and destruction, and are sent to press the attack!!!
An, ordinary soldier named Vassili Zaitsev(Jude Law) only with a clip of ammo is sent in with hundreds of others, on a suicide charge, in a hoppless attempt to break the German lines!!! They move forward and are mowed down, and if they retreat they are shot by their officers, a lose, lose situation!!! Vassili some how survives the battle and is met by Danilov(Joesph Fiennes), a political officer, who becomes his best friend!!! When he sees, Vassili Zaitsev take out 7 German officers!!!
Meanwhile, Kruschev (Bob Hoskins) comes to Stalingrad to take control of the situation. Danilov, tells him a different way of motivating the soldiers instead of giving them the choice of bullets, he suggest that they encourage them and make examples, or heros!!! From their on, Vassili becomes the center of propaganda, and the Red Army forms the sniper division, and form a brave counter offensive against the Nazi army, in the ruins of Stalingrad!!!
Vassili and Danilov, are best friend, but then get caught in a love triangle, between the beautiful Tania (Rachel Weisz) and things start to heat up!!! Meanwhile, the Germans send in their best sniper Major Konig(Ed Harris), to kill the great Vassil Zaitsev that is reaking havok among the German Army!!! As, the struggle for Stalingrad rages on, a private war rages on, playing cat and mouse in a fight to the death, in the vast ruins of the great city!!!
Sounds like, a great movie huh, well it is more than great!!! This movie tells about how the Russian snipers, the greatest being Vassili Zaitsev (242 kills total), played an important in the battle of Stalingrad, which was a turning point in the war!!! THis has to be the best WW2 movie since "Saving Private Ryan",!!!
Everything was perfect about the movie, especially the cast of actors, along with the realistic feel, and sheer visual genius!!! The special features are woth checking out too!!! This movie is an instant classic that you will savor every minute of action packed excitment, along with realistic combat!!!
Overall, I will give this a 5/5, for being a fantastic war movie about the great sniper war going on during Stalingrad!!! THis opens up The Eastern Front for the first time as well as WW2 sniper theme going on!!! This is a tale of the Legendary Vassli Zaitsev!! This is great for any action fan or anybody that loves great war movies!!!
I will suggest that you buy this immediately!!!
If you like this you may also like:
"Saving Private Ryan" or "Patton", and any other WW2 movie!!!...more info
- It could have been so awesome...!
I was "temping" at Sovietski Collection Imports when a huge order arrived for WWll era uniforms and props. They were to outfit an upcoming film about the snipers of the Battle of Stalingrad! Not a documentary, but a full length Major Motion Picture! I could hardly contain my excitement waiting for its debut; it was gonna be so awesome...!
It could have been, but alas, it wasn't. Anyone remember the Aesop's fable wherein a farmer permits a fox, closely pursued by hunters, to hide in his barn? Then the farmer loudly tells the hunters he has seen no fox, all the while winking and gesturing toward the barn. The hunters depart, not getting the message. As the fox takes her leave, the farmer berates her for showing no gratitude. "I would be more grateful," she replies, "if only your body language had been as helpful as your words." Likewise, "Enemy at the Gates" gets a star of gratitude for recognizing the enormous Soviet contribution to the Victory, and for its portrayal of sympathetic Russian and Ukrainian heroes based on real people. But, like Aesop's fox, I'm unimpressed by its overall body language.
OK, I didn't expect strict historical accuracy from Jean-Jacques Annaud. After all, he had previously given us that ludicrously un-natural "nature" film of a male bear nurturing an orphan cub! One expects Hollywood fantasy to pervade even "realistic" movies. The fact that EATG's famous duel likely never occured does not detract from the overall story. Silly melodrama, banal dialogue, distracting accents, and unbelievable actions, to a greater degree, do. But I could have overlooked those. I could even forgive the unrealistic suspensions of fighting which occur each time the snipers take to the streets. Because EATG gives us the immensely interesting Stalingrad setting, complete with long overdue Eastern Front heroes for us to root for! But wait... all is not what it seems. Unfortunately, its overwhelming amount of heavyhanded russophobic propaganda suggests that the producers' fear, like that of Aesop's farmer, was being pegged an "enemy collaborator." And unlike the hunters in the fable, the audience can't possibly miss the (wink, nudge) "message."
I could cite dozens of examples, but here are just a few, crafted to create a politically-correct counterbalance of Russian incompetance and callousness: #1. That unforgetable Volga crossing; those sluggishly moving boats under unopposed Stuka fire! In reality, most crossings were done at night, under cover of darkness and Soviet air defense forces (PVO). #2. Those human waves of unarmed cannonfodder hurling themselves against German fortifications, shadowed by NKVD gunners itching to mow down any retreat! In fact, depicted here are a penal battalion and blocking troops, not a typical Red Army engagement. This scene is especially dishonest, because in Stalingrad, highly effective ten-man squads, well armed with machine guns and other weapons, engaged in urban guerrilla combat. The setting was more likely a ruined house or factory than an open town square! #3. Those CGI formations of German bombers brazenly razing the city -- and no Russian planes in sight! In fact, Stalingrad was where Soviet aviation finally gained air superiority over the Luftwaffe. Fighter pilots of the PVO guarded installations and strategic locations. "Free Hunters" of the Soviet air force (VVS) patrolled the city, seeking targets of opportunity. Some of these pilots, such as the female ACE Lilya Litvyak, became as legendary as the famous sniper Vasiliy Zaitsev.
Which brings me to EATG's main characters. Zaitsev, while played charmingly by Hollywood heartthrob Jude Law, was actually a strict, self-confident leader, not a shy farmboy. He did have a frontline affair with one of his female snipers. (One of the film's redeeming features is its recognition of the million-plus Soviet women combatants.) We never see Weiss's character fire her weapon. However, Tanya Chernova was already a partisan and sniper before meeting Zaitsev, and scored some 81 kills in her short war-career. The young Ukrainian was obsessed with avenging her family -- to the point of disregarding Zaitsev's training. After she initiated one premature firefight, resulting in the deaths of her comrades, Zaitsev slapped her across the face in rage. So much for the tender Hollywood romance! Nor did he return for her following her wounding and recovery. When asked why, he coldly replied he didn't want a woman whose injuries prevented her from bearing children! The political officer Danilov is misrepresented in the film, an embarrassing, contrived character whose purpose is to provide Zaitsev a romantic rival. For most of the movie, the character is the producers' main vehicle for disseminating their russophobic sentiment. At the end, Danilov's tearful anti-communist epiphany and lovesick sacrifice are not only unconvincing but nauseating. Equally hamhanded, politically-correct anti-commie dialogue was scripted for Ron Perlman's completely wasted character. Also irritating was the film's portrayal of Sasha, the too-adorable chocolate-loving child martyr. The real Sasha, who met the same fate as the celluloid urchin, was a partisan already in his late teens. And the less said about the outrageously over-the-top performance of Bob Hoskins as Nikita Khruschev, the better!
All in all, this film promised so much greatness and delivered so much b.s. I'm sorry to say so. But the truth is this: I would be embarrassed to sit through this offensive mess with any of my Russian friends. The German film "Stalingrad" gives a much more accurate and serious impression of the turning-point battle. William Craig's book, which inspired the title and some of the scenes of EATG, is worth reading. David L. Robbins' historical fiction "War of the Rats" will appeal to those interested in snipers, although it has way too much emphasis on the Zaitsev/Chernova love affair (and even portrays Tanya as an American). My recommendation for anyone who would like to experience a truly realistic novel of the Battle of Stalingrad, by a writer who was on site: find a translated copy of Konstantin Simonov's "Days and Nights." And get ready for a harrowing read! ...more info
The problem with this movie is that historical inaccuracies. If one is to make a movie based upon an actual event, it really should try to stick to what really happened. To make matters worse, great actors were stuck into bad parts and they seemed to just sleep-walk through the thing. Plus, Jude Law does a terrible Russian accent, when he even tries. Just a waste of time AND money. ...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.
"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.
"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
- I extra star for the camerawork,
which is really magnificent in this. The acting ranges from superb to good, and the story is captivating as well as interesting. Suffice to say if you like WW2 epics, you'll like this a lot. The only real problem has been mentioned by a few others, too: the film s simply too long, and spends too much time on politics and not enough on the action, which is, of course, the premise of the whole film. Several scenes are especially chilling, not all of them involving overt violence....more info
- 4 stars - but with a few caveats...
I enjoyed this movie, and give it 4 stars for its scenery, props and acting.
However, you'll have to already know (i.e., have studied) the Eastern Front war in general and the Stalingrad battle in particular to understand the overall war picture. By that I mean in the movie the Soviets seem to go from almost certain defeat to victory without explanation. (The real explanation, by the way, was largely twofold - the Germans grossly over extended their supply lines, and the Russians very smartly fed just enough troops into Stalingrad to keep the Germans fixated on "winning" there until the Russians could organize their encircling counter-attack. None of this comes out in the movie).
The setting, scenes, uniforms & weapons, were accurately protrayed to a very good level of detail. Too bad the plot wasn't treated the same. It starts off as a broad heroic story, which then narrows to a conflict between Zaitsev and Koenig, with a love triangle of Zaitsev-Tanya-Danilov thrown in. Plot development is the film's weakest point in my opinion.
There are some inaccuracies, such as the locking of the Russian cattle-car troop trains - that was NOT the Soviet's practice! They left them open in case of air attack. Things like that scene are most likely the result of American (or more generally, western) inclinations to view the Communists as indifferent to life or as some sort of slave-labor-based society. Mismanagement aside, the Russians suffered terribly from the war.
Its a good movie - but don't take it as history. Zaitsev was a real person though and a real hero, as was Tanya. Major Koenig is now believed to be a propaganda invention.
For the real story of Stalingrad, I'd suggest reading the book "Enemy at the Gates" by William Craig - a very easy read....more info
The action is awesome and realistic. The characters fit the story very well. Alot of idiots on here complain about the romantic elements of the movie, but that just makes the story deeper I think. It adds more mystery to what is going to happen. Instead of just shooting and blood and gore you have two guys in love with the same woman amidst the fighting and brutality of war. You have action, suspense and romance in a true to life package. The Russian sniper becomes so notorious that the Germans send a sniper after him. You see both sides of the conflict which doesn't always happen in war movies. I highly recomend this. -Dre ...more info
- Enemy at the Gates - well done
This has become one of my favorite movies with Jude Law. I wasn't sure I would enjoy a war movie, but found this story of the 2 snipers, with the backdrop of the Second WW in Stalingrad compelling. Jean-Jacques Annoud co-wrote, produced and directed this film released in 2001. Not your usual war movie, but focused on the main characters: Ed Harris as Major Konig the German officer brought to kill Zaitsev and their struggles to survive successful in eliminating the other; and it follows the relationship of political officer Danilov (Joseph Feinnes) and Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) through many ups and downs of support, neglect, political wrangling, and later jealousy over the love interest played by Rachael Weisz. In the end Danilov sees the truth of the situation and how he used Zaitsev to serve his own purposes and questions the meaning of war. This movies deals more with the battle of wits between the snipers, and the rivalry between the 2 russians for the love of the woman, than the bigger picture of the Battle of Stalingrad. I thought it was well done; interesting; and is based on a true story....more info