Enemy at the Gates (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Enemy at the Gates (2001)



Critic Consensus: Atmospheric and thrilling, Enemy at the Gates gets the look and feel of war right. However, the love story seems out of place.

Enemy at the Gates Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A turning point in 20th century war history is the focus of this fact-based account of the 1942-1943 battle of Stalingrad, in which the Germans were finally defeated by Russian influence -- one of the bloodiest battles in World War II history. The film stars Jude Law as Vassili, a marksman from the Urals who is transported to Stalingrad in 1942, and a master German sniper, Major Koenig (Ed Harris). Koenig, an expert German sniper, is determined to eliminate his formidable opponent by any means necessary; meanwhile, Vassili has joined forces with Danilov (Joseph Fiennes), a young Russian political adversary, who is impressed by Vassili's skills and raises his profile in the Soviet Union. Both Vassili and Danilov become involved with Tanya (Rachel Weisz), whose Jewish parents have been captured by the Germans and have forced her to take up with the men on a sniper expedition. Koenig and Vassili begin to develop traps for each other, until fate inevitably must bring the two sharpshooters together. This large-scale production, financed mostly by Teuton companies, also features Bob Hoskins as Nikita Krushchev and Ron Perlman as an aging Russian sniper. ~ Jason Clark, Rovimore
Rating: R (for strong graphic war violence and some sexuality)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure
Directed By:
Written By: Alain Godard, Jean-Jacques Annaud
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 14, 2001
Box Office: $50.5M
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


Jude Law
as Zaitsev
Ed Harris
as Konig
Bob Hoskins
as Khrushchev
Ron Perlman
as Koulikov
Eva Mattes
as Mother Filipov
Matthias Habich
as Von Paulus
Sophie Rois
as Ludmilla
Ivan Shvedov
as Volodya
Hans Martin Stier
as Red Army General
Clemans Schick
as German Nomcom
Mikhail Matveev
as Grandfather
Alexander Schwan
as Young Vassili
Lenn Kudrjawizki
as Comrade in Train
Hendrik Arnst
as Fat Colonel
Claudius Freyer
as Aide de Camp
Dietmar Nieder
as Blond Captain
Bernd Lambrecht
as Captain with Lighter
Jim Dowdall
as Stubborn Feldwebel
Maxim Kovalevski
as Politruk/Sniper
Gennadiy Vengerov
as Russian Noncom
Dan van Husen
as Political Officer
Peter Silbereison
as Sweating Officer
Markus Majowski
as Stammering Officer
Gotthard Lange
as Corpse Robber
Anna Böttcher
as Female Russian Typis...
Holger Handtke
as Paulus' Aide de Camp
Marc Bischoff
as Stealing Photographe...
Mark Zak
as Captain at Headquart...
Thomas Petruo
as Russian Lieutenant
Dimitri Alexandrov
as Comrade in Shelter
David Pagel
as Pravda Interviewer
Galina Dobberstein
as Izvestija Interviewe...
Igor Rozinskij
as Kranaja Zvezda Inter...
Sergwei Tokarev
as Russian Reporter
Tom Wlaschiha
as Footsoldier
Marishcka Schubarth
as Woman Plucking Eyebr...
Natalja Bondar
as Woman Officer
Dana Cebulla
as Athletic Female Snip...
Piotr Papierz
as Politruk
as Politruk
Genia Makarov
as Politruk
Werner Dahn
as Politruk
Birol ??nel
as Politruk
Alexeji Volodin
as Junior Politruk
Gennadi Tselbiansky
as Senior Politruk
Andrej Kaminski
as Russian Trench Offic...
Michael Schenk
as Russian Officer
Jury Cooper
as Russian Noncom
Manfred Witt
as Russian Noncom
Arslan Kodirov
as Tchechen Sniper/Snip...
Axel Neumann
as Gaunt German Prisone...
Keta Burowa
as Female Russian Radio...
Gennadi Vengerov
as Russian Noncom
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Enemy at the Gates

Critic Reviews for Enemy at the Gates

All Critics (141) | Top Critics (34)

There's never much risk of reality intruding--just a lot of histrionic James Horner music nd plenty of designer stubble on the soldiers' faces.

Full Review… | February 9, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Set-pieces get you so far (and Annaud delights in blowing this set to pieces), but the script's shortcomings aren't camouflaged by the decision to adopt Home Counties' accents as the film's lingua franca.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's as if an obsessed movie nut had decided to collect every bad war-movie convention on one computer and program it to spit out a script.

Full Review… | September 26, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Thankfully, the actors are able to hold this story together despite some fairly big gaps in the script.

Full Review… | February 19, 2016

more character development and depth would vastly improve this

Full Review… | March 4, 2011
Old School Reviews

Tense and violent WWII movie.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for Enemy at the Gates


Well acted but grim, violent and depressing.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


I was unaware that this film was based loosely on real soldiers, I had an idea it was close to reality but didn't realise the main characters were real, well Law's character. The film is woven into the intense Battle of Stalingrad and is solely about the duel between one Russian sniper and one German sniper.

I think this films suffers in the same way as some other historic films in the way they add a mushy love story. I can understand why they do this but it really does drag the main premise of the plot down, especially here. The setup is perfect for a real tense nail biter, the setting is a war torn Stalingrad and the effects/location teams have really done their homework here. Creeping in n out of bombed out buildings, masses of rubble, skeletons of buildings adorn the landscapes, bodies strewn around, the whole city is a shell of a former existence, a former life.

Into this land of ruin we have Jude Law as real Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev who is pitted against German sniper (supposedly real) Major Erwin König. When you see either character on screen and lurking about it gets your heart racing, you wanna see what will happen, who will pick off who, predictably we know of course but the atmosphere is cracking. But my previous point, against this we have a droopy love tale which merely offers up sappy forced emotions to try and engage you further. Unfortunately all it does is kinda annoy you because you wanna see sniping action.

Being a film based on sniping and realism don't expect this to be chock full of explosions and mass action. What action there is is naturally slow but nicely nerve racking, well reasonably. It is a bit hokey because we all know damn well the main two won't possibly die until the end yet anyone else is fair game haha sniper fodder.

The film captures the propaganda of the time well, the way the Soviets made Zaitsev a national hero and tried to scare the Germans. Vice versa with the imposing threat of the older German marksman brought in to defeat the Soviet. All roles are played well in the visual sense, what I mean is all the cast look like they belong in this era, especially the drawn gaunt looking Harris. The only issue I had was the fact no one really tried for authentic accents bar Hoskins (looking like an angry Russian Hobbit). Law still has his cockney accent, Fiennes sounds English as does Weisz and Hoskins has a muddled cockney/Russian thing going on...but at least he tries.

I didn't really agree with one action that the director makes Harris's character (König) carry out in the film, a grim scene involving a young boy he trusts. Unsure how accurate that is suppose to be, I dare say its completely crap, they shouldn't really add things like that unless its accurate.

A well paced film that does show the realities of war to a degree if somewhat glorifying or romanticising it a touch. The Russians tend to drink and be generally rowdy when not fighting which doesn't seem too right. Not as epic as the films poster designs make out but still a decent war film focusing on a very good tale. The silent stern cold ruthlessness of Harris as the German sniper stands out for me here, but you still feel for him at the end. After all its war and every man simply does what he needs to do to survive.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Enemy at the Gates Quotes

Danilov: I've been such a fool, Vassili. Man will always be a man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.
– Submitted by Lea L (4 years ago)
Vassili Zaitsev: Sad to have a dream you know won't happen.
– Submitted by Lea L (4 years ago)
Khrushchev: You won't give up the river bank. I don't care if you lost half your men. Lose the other half. Lose yourself.
– Submitted by Lea L (4 years ago)
Khrushchev: You see, they're stubborn. That's the good thing about the Germans. Man, you got to admit, when they get an idea in their heads...
– Submitted by Lea L (4 years ago)

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