Film: Stalingrad

Rollo: Is this your first time at the front?
Lieutenant von Witzland: (shrugs) Everyone must start somewhere.

Stalingrad 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.
  • Downer Ending: The remaining main characters are implied to freeze to death
  • Driven to Suicide: Otto kills himself.
  • The Engineer: The German soldiers depicted are combat engineers, as shown by their extensive usage of flamethrowers and demolition charges.
  • Ensign Newbie: Lieutenant von Witzland, who lampshades it.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Nazi Germany vs Soviet Russia, as both sides are totalitarian, exploitative, mass-murdering dictatorships, and by this point in the conflict were waging unpopular wars of aggression with armies of conscripts. The two factions could be differentiated mainly by the size of their leader's mustache (Stalin's was bigger). At some point in the movie, due to the sheer chaos and horror going on in the battle, the front lines and factions disappear entirely and the characters focus on merely surviving, an endeavor they all fail in.
  • Face Death with Dignity: A Soviet child who was adopted by the protagonists is ordered shot by a sadistic officer.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself Man: Several times. It usually doesn't work.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Narrowly averted. At one point the Germans and Russians call a truce to collect their wounded and dead, and some even start sharing food with each other, until single shot from Rollo brings the tentative peace to a violent end.
  • Grave Robbing: The soldiers steal good-quality boots from corpses, and a few later steal doctor-signed passes in a desperate attempt to be airlifted out with the wounded.
  • Handicapped Badass: Hauptmann Hermann Musk, whose Establishing Character Moment has him quickly affix his prosthetic arm before leading the platoon on an assault against a heavily guarded factory.
  • Home by Christmas: On the train ride through Ukraine, one of the soldiers boasts that they'll take Stalingrad in three days.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: The Russian sniper Irina is found tied up to a bed Haller's stronghold. It's clear she's been used as a 'comfort woman', and the protagonists even plan to take turns doing the same. Hans puts a stop to it and lets her go, however. Hans at first was conflicted over whether or not to help her, kill her, or rape her. "Fick mich oder schiess mich!"
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Though by the end, almost all of them decide to desert.
  • The Neidermeyer: The officer who orders war crimes committed and hounds Hans for being a 'Russian sympathizer'. True to form, he is shot by the remaining troops at the end.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Leutnant Von Witzland is a German nobleman serving in the Wehrmacht. The clue is in the "Von".
    • He also smokes with a cigarette holder.
  • 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.