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The Winter War [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Taneli Mäkelä, Vesa Vierikko, Timo Torikka, Heikki Paavilainen, Antti Raivio
  • Directors: Pekka Parikka
  • Writers: Pekka Parikka, Antti Tuuri
  • Producers: Jukka Mäkelä, Marko Röhr
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Tapeworm
  • VHS Release Date: June 30, 1990
  • Run Time: 195 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000JPH0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,711 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

The battle scenes are good as it looks very realistic.
BernardZ
This is a very good movie about Finnish troops trying to repel the massive Soviet invasion of Finland in the early part of World War II.
William Markley
Even though the movie is long, there's nothing boring about it.
Bookworm

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

280 of 290 people found the following review helpful By J. Collins on August 8, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"Winter War" (Talvisota in Finnish)is the story of the 1939-40 Russo-Finnish War seen through the eyes of a reserve infantry unit. We see them leaving their farms on mobilization, to assembly at the border, and follow them into battle until the armistice some 110 days later. To most Americans who know anything about it, the Winter War is visions of Sissi skiing rings around Russians. True that did happen, but the majority of Finnish units operated conventionally either in the Mannerheim Line or to the North/North East of it. This is what this film describes. The battle scenes are as authentic as any in Saving Private Ryan; if memory serves the "Soviet" Forces are Russian extras. Vehicles, weapons, uniforms are all entirely accurate. It's probably fair to consider this movie as Finland's SPR. Whereas some have criticized SPR for it's somewhat contrived plot, this movie has none of that; simply citizen soldiers called to save their nation. We watch as more and more of their friends are killed and wounded, in relentless Red Army assaults. This sense of loss is brought home again simply, but elegantly, in the scenes with the "home front". The final anticlimatic news of the armistice on the troops is depressing to see, but again entirely accurate. This film is a fitting tribute to the Finnish "Greatest Generation" who also did nothing less than save their nation- twice in 5 years from Soviet enslavement.
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170 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Stephan Bullard on February 16, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
The Winter War is the most historically accurate and realistic war film I have seen. During the film, we follow the lives of a small group of friends as they find themselves in the frontlines facing a soviet invasion. All aspects of the movie are well conceived and finely filmed. The best aspect of the Winter War, however, is the fact that there are no underlying subplots. Unlike Saving Private Ryan (which I must admit I also thought was excellent), the characters do not spend the movie attempting to accomplish an unlikely (albeit intellectually satisfying) objective. Rather, the characters try to stay alive, protect their friends, and follow orders as real soldiers might.
Another very compelling aspect of the film is it's historical accuracy. Tactics and equipment all correspond to those employed by Russia and Finland in 1939. T-26 tanks, I-16 fighters, and human wave attacks fill out the Russian Arsenal, while the Fins remain on the defensive aside from local counter attacks. Adding to the realism is the fact that much of movie is filmed in a limited geographic area. This allows the viewer to become familiar with local terrain features in a way that few other films permit. Hence, the viewer begins to sense the directions from which attacks might come and beings to get a feeling of what constitutes a "Full-scale Attack," a "Probe," etc.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Winter War to anyone who enjoys war films or who is interested in Military History. Due to the lack of subplots, however, people simply looking for an action film or for a simple diversion are likely to be disappointed.
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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig VINE VOICE on December 8, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
it is the business of the artist to follow it home to the heart of the individual fighters-not to talk in armies and nations and numbers-but to track it home. D.H. Lawrence

The Russo-Finnish War, known as "The Winter War", began on November 30, 1939 when the Red Army invaded Finland. The war began after the Finns refused demands from Stalin to move its borders 25 kilometers back from Leningrad. The basis for this demand was the fear on the part of Stalin and the Soviet High Command that Hitler could launch an invasion of the USSR directed at Leningrad using Finland as a base for its attack. The Winter War ended by means of a truce signed on March 12, 1940. During this brief three-month war a Finnish army consisting of 180,000 men, most of them reservists waged a defensive battle against an advancing Soviet army of about 450,000 men. Fighting from entrenched positions against full-frontal assaults resulted in the death of close to 23,000 Finnish soldiers. At the same time more than 126,000 Soviet soldiers were killed or missing and another 264,000 were wounded. This short war had a dramatic impact on the future course of the Second World War (the Winter War took place during the `phony war' period between the occupation of Poland and the commencement of Germany's invasion of France). The horrifying losses suffered by the Red Army were a reflection of the chaos caused by purges of the military that practically eliminated every professional officer from the Red Army. This vulnerability could only have encouraged Hitler in making his decision to invade the USSR in June 1941. Finnish film director Pekka Parikka's 1989 film "The Winter War" is an exceptionally well made movie about this little-known (at least to me) war.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By T. Turner on October 26, 2009
Format: DVD
This war movie has to rate as one of the greats! The plot begins as tried and true; soldiers say goodbye to sweethearts, wonder how they will fare when faced with combat, try to get another sweetheart along the way, etc. Then the waves of Russians are on them!! From there on it is full-tilt gritty and very well done. Unlike most war films, the viewer gains a sense of how quickly soldiers become weary veterans and how the ragged few who remain gain a sense of fatalism when surrounded by so much death. The battle scenes are plentiful and memorable. No cheesy gasoline explosions here. Hollywood should be jealous that a small budget Finnish movie can deliver a knockout blow at 1/100th the cost.
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