|Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Starring: Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
"Enemy at the Gates" is a dramatization of the rise of Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law) as a Soviet war hero during the Battle of Stalingrad. The opening battle scenes in this movie tracking Vassili's arrival in Stalingrad rival the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan." The director captures the true horror of the German siege of the city, as thousands of Soviet soldiers are led to their slaughter in the face of the better-armed Germans, only to face the bullets of their own Soviet officers if they dare retreat.
Khrushchev (Bob Hoskins) arrives in Stalingrad trying to turn around the desperate state of affairs for the Soviets. A political officer named Danilov (Joseph Fiennes) convinces Khrushchev that Vassili's incredible success as a sniper should be used as a rallying cry for the Soviet troops. As Vassili's fame grows, the Germans bring in their top sniper, Major Konig (Ed Harris), to take out Vasily, and the story revolves around this methodical battle between the two men in the ruins of Stalingrad. It's also a love story, as both Vassili and Danilov fall in love with Tania (Rachel Weisz), a beautiful Jewish woman whose parents have been killed by the Nazis.
It's rare for Hollywood to produce a WWII film that doesn't involve the Yanks or the Brits. This unique perspective makes this excellent war movie that much more interesting. Fans of the genre should not miss this film.