is a 1993 German war film directed by Joseph Vilsmaier, following a platoon of Heer
soldiers through their service in Russia fighting the Soviet Union
, centred around, naturally
, the Battle of Stalingrad. Along the way, the brutality of the conflict they find themselves in leaves them demoralized, as they try to find a way to cope with the war.
See also a Russian film with the same title
that also stars Thomas Kretschmann
This film provides examples of:
- Child Soldiers: A young Russian boy named Kolya is captured by the platoon after attempting to attack them with a grenade.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Leutnant Von Witzland is a German nobleman serving in the Wehrmacht. The clue is in the "Von".
- One Steve Limit: Averted. When a young private tells Lance Corporal Reiser his name is Müller, his response is "We've got too many of those", and nicknames hims GG (GeGe).
- Reds with Rockets: The primary antagonists.
- Shirtless Scene: The opening scene in Italy is laden with it, though with less focus on the women at the Italian beach.
- Snow Means Death: As it did in real life at the Battle of Stalingrad, with the Germans freezing and starving through a Russian winter.
- The Squadette: Irina, a Russian sniper the unit encounter several times.
- Tanks, But No Tanks: All of the T-34s in the movie were T-34-85s that weren't even used until 1944.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: The entire Sixth Army is trapped behind enemy lines after a Russian pincer attack cuts them off inside Stalingrad.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: By the time Otto shoots himself, the soldiers are so numbed to the horrors around them that they don't even flinch. His body falls to the floor and he is promptly forgotten about.
- Urban Warfare: And it is hellish
- Villain Protagonist: To a certain degree, though the enlisted ranks get off far more lightly than the officer class.
- War Is Hell: The actual combat sequences of this film aren't very long. However, they are extremely brutal, chaotic, and nasty.