If you haven’t seen the three movies below on the Battle of Stalingrad, the battle that turned WWII around, you really are missing something. I would start with this very good documentary with several interviews with survivors from both sides – free on youtube: Stalingrad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0NSXHwPl68 (By the way, there are several other documentaries on the Stalingrad battle on youtube – this is another good one: Line Of Fire Stalingrad)
Then, you can watch “Enemy at the Gates” 2001 – a good, but very Hollywood, glossy version of the snipers in the conflict. It’s very well written, the characters are great, plenty of drama and suspense, but it’s too embellished. The main character (Jude Law as handsome as can be) is somewhat based on a real Russian sniper, and the central idea of the movie, the duel between the best German and Russian snipers, as well. But most other characters and events are fictional, even though they represent many of the feelings and experiences of real people. Of course, not included in the fictional content are major war events and people, like Stalin, which are real. In any case, despite these issues, it’s a good film for what it sets out to be – but this doesn’t mean it is what a movie about Stalingrad should be.
Before you get to the best movie of all times about Stalingrad (at least that I know of!), you can watch, if you have nothing better to do one day, a reasonably lousy one, just as a way to think about how a war and Stalingrad movie should not be done. Ridiculous story, characters, events, and reactions abound in Stalingrad (2013), directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. A sappy, ridiculous pastiche introductory sequence sets the movie on its way of mostly bad story writing. Many of the lackluster characters have such stupid incoherent minds and personalities. There is so much that doesn’t make sense in this movie that I kept wondering if I had misunderstood many things that were said, given how much they lacked sense! In fact, I think this group of four movies would be great material in a film production class. Show the films where they did things well and compare with this nonsense.
Lastly, we come to the best. Interestingly enough, it’s a German production way back from 1991, also called Stalingrad, directed by Joseph Vilsmaier. It is one of the greatest fictional movies about WWII. I think every adult should see this movie to understand the horror of war.
Today, when most people in the West are sitting comfortably in their living rooms while wars rage in far away places, many in Africa, often deployed to fulfill the greedy and corrupt interests of the West, sustained by its official Western merchants of death, the various military industries that are left to ravage the world unbridled, this movie should be shown every year, like they do with those Xmas and New Year’s Eve classics – I’d add the documentary above for education about the context. This German “Stalingrad” is brilliantly written, has greatly built characters, directing, and acting. It is not an “action” movie – these grotesque movies that present violence to be considered entertaining. This movie is about the truth.