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There are no heroes or villains in this stark German-made film about a WWII battle that claimed nearly one and half million lives. Instead, it reveals the humanity and vulnerability of both Russian defenders and German invaders caught in an epic winter siege. Without preaching, it unflinchingly conveys the insanity of war. 1992; 2-1/2 hours.
It's tempting to call this harrowing picture a World War II version of All Quiet on the Western Front: both films take the perspective of ordinary German soldiers at ground level. Stalingrad surveys the misery of the battle of Stalingrad, the winter siege that cost the lives of almost one and a half million people, Russian defenders and German invaders alike. Not unlike Spielberg's approach to Saving Private Ryan, German director Joseph Vilsmaier rarely steps outside the action to comment on the higher purpose of the war, assuming the audience is aware of the evil of the Nazi regime. Instead, we simply follow a group of soldiers as they endure a series of gut-wrenching episodes, events which have the tang of authenticity and horror. Vilsmaier has a taste for symbolism and surreal touches, which only add to the unsettling sense of insanity this movie conjures up so well. --Robert Horton
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Stalingrad follows a young Lieutenant who joins his new infantry unit at the height of Germany's World War II victories. As they drive deeper into the Soviet heartland with each fresh victory, our Lieutenant becomes more disillusioned with the war until his Army becomes hopelessly trapped by the Red Army's surprise Operation Uranus surrounding Stalingrad.
Like American movies, you have action packed battles with quite realistic details. Like the British, you have a philosophical and intellectual discussion of what war in general, and this in particular mean. Like the Russians, you have a visceral gut grinding point of view of war on a very personal level. But because it's a German film, you know your side is going to .... lose.
My Blu ray disc picture quality is crisp. It is like seeing it at a movie theater. I can see details I never noticed before. I'm very happy. There are no Special Features in the DVD, if I remember correctly. The Blu ray has one good documentary about the making of Stalingrad. I believe it's about 45 minutes. You get behind the scenes interviews with the actors and the director.
This is a fantastic movie if you're into WWII movies. "Come and See" is a russian made WWII movie I'd also recommend. I wish I had that one in Blu ray.