The Unknown Soldier (Finnish: Tuntematon sotilas, Swedish: Okänd soldat) is a Finnish war film directed by Edvin Laine that premiered in December 1955. It is based on The Unknown Soldier, a novel by Väinö Linna. The story is about the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union as told from the viewpoint of ordinary Finnish soldiers. The film was and remains the most successful movie ever in Finland; about 2.8 million people, or more than half the Finnish population, saw it in theaters. Its portrayal of Linna's characters is widely accepted as canonical.
|The Unknown Soldier|
|Directed by||Edvin Laine|
|Written by||Juha Nevalainen|
|Produced by||T. J. Särkkä|
|Distributed by||Suomen Filmiteollisuus|
Set against the events of the Finnish Continuation War, the film follows a machine gun troop's journey into the Soviet Union. The troop includes the simple-minded Hietanen, the jokey Vanhala, the cynical Lahtinen, the cowardly Riitaoja and grumpy Lehto. The film also follows the commanding officers, such as the happy and slightly senile Captain Kaarna, the young and idealistic 2nd Lieutenant Kariluoto, the calm and modest 2nd Lieutenant Koskela and the strict and unsympathetic Lieutenant Lammio.
They face many struggles, such as seeing the supportive Kaarna die in their first battle, three of the soldiers refusing to leave their punishment post during an air-raid as well as defending the trenches after the Finns have taken back parts of Karelia. Part of the way, the troop is joined by Rokka, a Karelian veteran of the Winter War, who also clashes with Lammio due to having little respect for military discipline despite being an excellent and capable soldier.
Throughout the film several of the main characters die. Lehto is injured during night-patrol, left behind and shoots himself. Riitaoja dies the same night when he runs off frightened and gets lost in the woods. Lahtinen dies during the winter, defending his position as his fellow soldiers flee. Hietanen becomes blinded when he saves a young serviceman from being shot. His military ambulance crashes and the blinded Hietanen is gunned down by passing Russian planes while trying to save the other injured soldiers. Kariluoto dies while leading a counter-attack, and shortly afterwards Koskela gets shot while destroying a tank using a satchel charge.
- Kosti Klemelä as Lt. Koskela
- Heikki Savolainen as Sgt. Hietanen
- Reino Tolvanen as Cpl. Rokka
- Veikko Sinisalo as Cpl. Lahtinen
- Åke Lindman as Cpl. Lehto
- Pentti Siimes as PFC. Määttä
- Leo Riuttu as Pvt. Vanhala
- Kaarlo Halttunen as Pvt. Rahikainen
- Matti Ranin as Cpt. Kariluoto
- Jussi Jurkka as Lt. Lammio
- Tauno Palo as Maj. Sarastie
- Pentti Irjala as Cpt. Kaarna
- Vilho Siivola as Supply Cpl. Mäkilä
- Olavi Ahonen as Pvt. Riitaoja
- Tarmo Manni as Pvt. Honkajoki
- Veli-Matti Kaitala as Pvt. Hauhia
- Tapio Hämäläinen as Pvt. Salo
- Martti Romppanen as Pvt. Sihvonen
- Vili Auvinen as Pvt. Asumaniemi
- "Tuntematon sotilas". Elonet (in Finnish). Kansallinen audiovisuaalinen instituutti. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
- "Suomen Elokuva-arkisto: Katsotuimmat kotimaiset elokuvat kautta aikojen" (in Finnish). Retrieved December 23, 2021.
- Scores to settle – Finnish Music Quarterly
- Tainola, Rita. "Aku Louhimies valitsi Tuntemattoman sotilaan pääosat – Eero Ahosta Antti Rokka". IS. Ilta-Sanomat. Retrieved 4 November 2016.