Enemy at the Gates

  • Directors: Jean Jacques Annaud
  • Producers: Jean Jacques Annaud, John D Schofield
  • Writers: William Craig, Jean Jacques Annaud, Alain Godard
  • Genres: Drama, History, Thriller, War
  • Actors: Jude Law, Ed Harris, Rachel Weisz, Joseph Fiennes, Bob Hoskins, Gabriel Thompson

The story focuses on the exploits of Vassili Zaitsev (a character based on the real-life Vasily Zaytsev and played by Jude Law), a Ural peasant who was taught how to hunt and shoot by his grandfather, now fighting on the Eastern Front of World War II. A Red Army soldier, he is traveling in a train’s cattle truck along with other soldiers and civilians, where he notices a young woman (Rachel Weisz) before the train is converted into a military convoy headed for Stalingrad, a city that is now under attack by the German Army. Upon arriving on the city’s outskirts, the soldiers attempt to cross the Volga on unprotected river barges, bombarded by German Stuka dive bombers and artillery, resulting in many casualties. When the survivors disembark on the other side, only half of them are given Mosin-Nagant rifles; while the rest, among them Vassili, are given only a five round clip of ammunition. As their comrades are shot down, the men with the clips are to use the dead men’s rifles. In a hopeless charge against the well-armed Germans, the Red Army soldiers are massacred both by the enemy, and by several Soviet NKVD machine gunners who cut down anyone who attempts to retreat.

Two months later, it is revealed that Stalingrad is liberated and Zaitsev finds Tania in a field hospital, safely evacuated and recovering.

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