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  • Stalingrad
    • Stalingrad
    • Runtime:127 min
    • Release Date:2014-10-25 04:29:18
    • Director: Joseph Vilsmaier
    • Genres: Drama, War
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Stalingrad
Auhtor:

   

STALINGRAD , released in 1993, remains one of the most brutally honest
depictions of war on film. A brief history of the facts behind this
film have been well stated: 'The Battle of Stalingrad was a major
battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the
Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in
southwestern Russia. It took place between 17 July 1942 and 2 February
1943, and is often cited as the turning point of the war in Europe. The
German offensive to take Stalingrad, the battle inside the city and the
Soviet counter-offensive–which eventually trapped and destroyed the
German 6th Army and other Axis forces around the city–was the first
substantial German land defeat of the war. The battle involved more
participants than any other on the Eastern Front, and was marked by its
brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties by both
sides. It was amongst the bloodiest in the history of warfare, with the
upper estimates of combined casualties coming to nearly two million.'
The horror of this battle as written by Jürgen Büscher, Christoph
Fromm, Johannes Heide, and director Joseph Vilsmaier manages to allow
us to see the 'other side' of the German forces, those not committed to
the Nazi hunger for world domination, but instead were simply men
serving their required time in the army, hoping to return to their
families.

The film opens with a prelude: German troops of the 6th Army are
languishing in Italy after their successful mission in North Africa.
They are soon assigned to attack a port in Russia – a place called
Stalingrad – and off they go to what is perceived to be another quick
victory. The unit is directed by Lt. Hans von Witzland (Thomas
Kretschmann, in a role that should have won him every award possible,
so fine is his performance): he is a man who appears more human than
soldier and indeed when his troop arrives in Russian territory he is
appalled by the treatment of Russian POWs by German officers, a
response that places him in a negative light with the Nazis. But
Witzland is assigned to take a Russian strong hold with the close help
of his group of fellow soldiers (played with extraordinary humanity by
Dominique Horwitz, Sebastian Rudolph, Oliver Broumis et al). For a
moment in time they are successful heroes but their commitment to the
war is rapidly and fully eroded by the slaughter around them and the
orders from the heinous Nazi officers to treat the Russians with less
than dignity. They are threatened with death by firing squad for their
humanity in attempting to give aid to the Russians being constantly
attacked and only released form their prisoner status when the war
appears to be aimed toward loss. There are many very tender moments
between the 6th army and the Russians trapped by the siege of
Stalingrad and as the bitter winter sets in the battle-weary soldiers
are dying, committing suicide or attempting to escape and find their
way back home. The over two hour study of the cruelty of war ends with
a solemn statement, both emotionally and visually and the Battle of
Stalingrad, a victory of the Russians, shows the defeat of the minds
(and lives) of the Germans.

The film is brave in its commitment to address the fact that the
universal 'German image' of World War II is a negative one. This film
focuses on individual ideals and the scarring that war, on both sides,
leaves on the soldiers and people who survive it. Highly recommended.

Grady Harp

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The best most realistic film on the battle for Stalingrad – No question
about it! The effects are amazing and the story line as well. If there
were high quality camera's back in the 40's this is what you would see
on Stalingrad newsreels. This is not enemy at the gates which hardly
shows battle footage,this movie is full of action. The only reason I
give it 8 out of 10 is because of some of the weapons not being
historically accurate – like the Russian's Mosin Nagant sniper
rifle,the scope setup on it never was used in the Red Army its just a
fake prop. But don't let this stop you from watching it – its an
awesome film!

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On the eastern front of World War II a group of Wehrmacht soldiers,
fresh from time off after a successful campaign in Africa eagerly
proceed to their next line of duty: the Soviet city of Stalingrad, the
site of history's most brutal battle. The film however is not so much
about the battle and how the strategy from either side played out, but
of the ordeal that these young men had to go through. After being
subjected to what the viewer can only presume as much of the Third
Reich's propaganda, many are eager to "fight communism" and "uphold
western Christian tradition" but stronghold of brainwashing soon
collapses like a brick wall of a bombed building.

The production of the film is very impressive with a startlingly
convincing display of the giant ruined city. Heaps of rubble, wrecked
vehicles, bodies, sewers, and soon a savage winter. Humanizing the
Wehrmacht has been a sort of taboo, especially in the US where German
soldiers appear on screen all too often just to be shot. Some more
films from more daring directors, like Peckinpah's "Cross of Iron" have
had the guts to show "the bad guys" as humans caught up in a whirlwind
out of their control. And not as the archetype of the "evil army" as
the Wehrmacht is often perceived. For instance, there were no SS
divisions at this battle, so politically fanatical Nazis are totally
absent from this WW2 movie about the German Army… imagine that? To
Americans this might come as a surprise. Now don't get all offended,
your reading what an American has written.

Secondly, it is not just the dreaded SS that is absent, but also
iconography is not shown… or rather it just hasn't been ADDED as in
movies like "Enemy at the Gates" have done so and, all too often, to
more-than-slightly ridiculous extents. Giant swastikas on evil Nazi
trains and imposing red stars on Soviet vehicles and banners… not
here. HOWEVER, the Nazi swastika DOES make one key appearance – on the
tail fin of a cargo plane, an outbound medical flight, the last plane
out of the battleground. Wounded soldiers attempt to board the plane to
be deservedly flown to safety, but in the chaos the plane leaves; the
swastika leaves. The symbol that these men rallied behind to serve
their country abandons them in the one moment when they need something
from it. It is not just a scene of "war tragedy," it is outright
betrayal. And it came after the most brutal battle in all of history.

Without question one of the best war films of all time. — 9/10

BsCDb Classification: 13+ — violence

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For me as a German, the movie "Stalingrad" was disappointing as it
fails to give a three-dimensional image of the Stalingrad battle.

The Stalingrad battle is presented only from the German perspective and
not once from the Russian one. Thus, ironically, the Germans are
indirectly portrayed as the victims whereas the Russians are presented
as the faceless enemy. It is almost forgotten throughout the movie that
the Germans actually are the invaders and that the Russians are
defending their own country. What is therefore missing is a depiction
of the suffering of the civilian population and the Russian soldiers.

The battle scenes, however, are well-produced and seem realistic from a
technical and historical viewpoint and overall manage to portray the
futility of the battle.

To sum it up, the movie fails to give a three-dimensional image of the
Stalingrad battle and therefore to some degree distorts the historical
facts.

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