12 Russian War Movies You Must See

Russia is another of those countries whose film production rarely disappoints. I haven’t seen all of the below mentioned movies yet but have read a lot about them and have seen parts of them. There are most certainly more but these seem to be the most important ones. They are quite different. Some, like 9th Company, are pure, gritty  infantry combat, others like Come and See are more experimental. Mongol and Admiral are quite beautiful. What they all have in common is a feel of authenticity, and a way of showing how atrocious war is that is very unique and emotional. If you haven’t seen any Russian war movies so far, I would suggest you change that as soon as possible.

The Fortress of War aka Brestskaya krepost (2010) Dramatic infantry combat. The Germans attack the Brest Fortress from all sides. Soldiers and civilians fight for their life. (See my review)

Admiral (2008) The true story of Admiral Kolchak. WWI and Russian Revolution. War Movie and Love Story. (Here is my review)

Mongol (2007) The story of the rise of Genghis Khan. (Here is my review)

9th Company aka 9 Rota (2005) Gritty infantry combat in Afghanistan. It has similarities with Platoon but the characters are very different, very emotional. (See my review)

The Thief aka Vor (1997) Childhood drama that starts during WWII.

Come and See aka Idi i Smotri (1985) A young boy gets caught up in the atrocities of WWII.

The Dawns here are Quiet aka A zori zdes tikhie (1972) The story of a group of female soldiers during WWII.

Ivan’s childhood aka Ivanovo detstvo (1962) A young boy works as a spy at the eastern front. Three Soviet officers try to take care of this boy-child.

Ballad of a Soldier aka Ballada o Soldate (1959) A 19-year-old soldier gets a medal for bravery. On his leave he meets a girl on the train and falls in love with her. (Here’s my review)

The Story of a Man aka Sudba cheloveka (1959) The story of a man whose life is destroyed by WWII. When his village is bombed his wife and children are killed.

The Cranes are Flying aka Letyat zhuravli  (1957) A young woman waits for the love of her life to return from the war. The movie shows the battlefield and the home front. (See my review)

Battleship Potemkin aka Bronenosets Potyomkin (1925) A silent movie classic. One of the first war movies ever with a lot of famous scenes. Very expressive.

It is also worth mentioning other movies by Sergei Bondarchuk like War and Peace or Waterloo. They are all excellent but mostly co-productions with international stars that’s why I didn’t include them but chose The Story of a Man instead.

Do you have any favourite Russian war movies and/or recommendations?

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6 Highest Ranking War Movies on all Lists of Overlapping Genres

The filmsite has undertaken to analyze as many lists as possible and came up with a total of  6 war movies that had equally high ranks on all the lists, including other genres than war movies.

Since we all love lists, here goes:

Battleship Potemkin (1925) (see my enthusiastic post)

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) (see my posts on Remakes and Daniel Radcliffe)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Schindler’s List (1993)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

While I do agree with some choices I really disagree with others. I suffered through Battleship Potemkin which doesn’t mean it is bad but I don’t think Apocalypse Now and Schindler’s List deserve to be among the 6 most appreciated war movies. What’s funny though is the fact that these two movies are such opposites in the way they treat their subject. While one is easily understood and a very simple, true story – one man’s fight for justice and humanity , so to speak – the other one is a conflicting, ambiguous movie. There are a few war movies that are multilayered, Apocalypse Now is certainly one of them. Not easily accessible for everyone like Schindler’s List. Yeah, well, people are fickle, why shouldn’t this be reflected in lists?

Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin aka Bronenosets Potyomkin (1925): A Painful Movie Experience

Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin is one of the great cinema classics and the first time a movie was dedicated to a Revolutionary act. It tells the story of a mutiny that took place in 1905 and was followed by a street massacre. The crew of the Battleship rebelled against their officers.

Some of the scenes, like the one posted below, dubbed “Odessa Steps”, have written film history.

Be it as it may, I suffered all through the viewing of this film. I found it agonizingly boring. Maybe I am just not a silent movie person although I seem to remember I have seen a few that I liked.

Still, I quite like the Odessa steps scene but the parts on the ship with the long takes on machines and guns are excruciating.

We have to bear in mind that this movie is also an eloquent piece of propaganda.