The Battle of Stalingrad (film)

The Battle of Stalingrad (Russian: Сталинградская битва) is a 1949 two-part Soviet epic war film about the Battle of Stalingrad, directed by Vladimir Petrov. The script was written by Nikolai Virta.

The Battle of Stalingrad
Stalingrad 1949.jpg
A poster of the film.
Directed byVladimir Petrov
Produced byNikolai Dostal
Screenplay byNikolai Virta
StarringAleksei Dikiy
Narrated byYuri Levitan
Music byAram Khachaturian
CinematographyYuri Yekelchik
Edited byKlavdiya Moskvina
Release date
  • Film I: 9 May 1949
  • Film II: 8 November 1949
Running time
192 minutes (combined)
  • Film I: 98 minutes
  • Film II: 94 minutes
CountrySoviet Union


Film IEdit

In the Kremlin, Stalin analyzes the Wehrmacht's movements and concludes that the Germans aim to capture Stalingrad. Hitler, who believes the city is the key to final victory, orders his generals take it at all costs.

As the enemy approaches Stalingrad, the Red Army and the local population rally to defend it in bitter house-to-house combat, stalling the German advance. In Moscow, Stalin plans the counter-offensive.

Film IIEdit

The Wehrmacht launches a last, massive assault, intended to overwhelm the defenders of Stalingrad. As the Red Army is pushed back to the Volga, Stalin orders the commencement of Operation Uranus. The German 6th Army is encircled, and efforts to relieve the Stalingrad pocket fail. General Friedrich Paulus, ordered by Hitler to hold to the end, refuses to surrender while his soldiers starve. The Soviets close on the city, battering the German forces as they advance. After Red Army soldiers enter his command post, Paulus orders his remaining troops to surrender. The Soviets hold a victory rally in liberated Stalingrad; In Moscow, Stalin looks at a map, setting his eyes on Berlin.


The film is the last of the 'Artistic Documentaries',[1] a series of propaganda epics that recreated the history of the Second World War with a Stalinist interpretation of the events.[2] Like all of the other films in the genre, The Battle of Stalingrad consists mainly of battle scenes and staff meetings, reconstructing the campaign from the point of view of the soldiers and the generals, in a heroic manner fitting the state's ideology.[3]


The movie won the Crystal Globe in the 1949 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.[4] Aleksei Dikiy, who portrayed Stalin, received the 1949 Gottwaldov Film Festival's prize, and director Vladimir Petrov won the Czechoslovak Workers' Film Festival Best Director Award. Petrov, cinematographer Yuri Yekelchik and four actors – Aleksei Dikiy, Nikolai Simonov, Yuri Shumski and Vladimir Gaidarov – were awarded the Stalin Prize at 1950 for their role in the film.[5]

French critic André Bazin wrote that the film portrayed Stalin as a super-human leader, showing him planning the Soviet war effort almost on his own: "Even if we grant Stalin a hyper-Napoleonic military genius... It would be childish to think that events in the Kremlin unfolded as they are seen here."[6] Richard Taylor listed The Battle of Stalingrad as "a personality cult film".[7]

Select castEdit


  1. ^ Mira and Antonin Liehm, The Most Important Art, ISBN 0-520-03157-1. Pages 58-61.
  2. ^ An essay by Michal Barrett.
  3. ^ An essay by James von Geldryn. Archived December 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The 4th Karlovy Vary Film Festival – 1949.
  5. ^ The Battle of Stalingrad in the Soviet Encyclopedia of Cinema. (in Russian)
  6. ^ Bazin at Work, ISBN 0415900174. Page 28.
  7. ^ Film Propaganda, ISBN 1860641679, page 48.

External linksEdit