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Enemy at the Gates (2001)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 137
Fresh: 74 | Rotten: 63

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


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 17

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



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 222,475

My Rating

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

Aug 14, 2001


Paramount Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Enemy at the Gates

June 13, 2007:
Rachel Weisz to Star in Peter Jackson's "Lovely Bones
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All Critics (140) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (74) | Rotten (63) | DVD (30)

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.

February 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop 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.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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.

September 26, 2002 Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hackneyed material.

March 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Any flaws in execution pale against those moments when the film brings history to vital life.

March 22, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story hits and misses for more than two hours following its opening artillery bloodbath.

March 16, 2001 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

more character development and depth would vastly improve this

March 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Tense and violent WWII movie.

December 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

it could have held back on the parts featuring boredom because they did tend to drag the suspense down a bit

January 9, 2010 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Comments (2)
7M Pictures

While it does have some solid moments of action, the film as a whole is laughable.

May 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Enemy at the Gates won't find too many friends at the box office -- fans of war movies (and of Jude Law) will appreciate it, but there isn't much for everyone else in this mid-March downer.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source:

There's a decent movie buried in here somewhere, but the lousy love triangle and ultimate lack of focus make this WWII drama a bit hard to take.

August 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Flatulent hero-worship of a man played by a tired-looking actor who deserves funkier roles.

July 30, 2007 Full Review Source:

Annaud shows a real knack for suspense here, enough to make me hope he will do more action-adventure in the future.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

If only ambition was the bar at which to measure the quality of motion pictures, Enemy at the Gates could sit atop the best of the year.

November 23, 2004 Full Review Source:

There's ambition, and then there's pretense. It's a common mistake for both filmmakers and filmgoers to mistake the latter for the former.

May 22, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Blather | Comment (1)
Film Blather

Worth the trouble, but make sure to leave the history notes at home.

February 26, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland) | Comment (1)

It generally succeeds at telling a truly heroic story, providing yet another vehicle to showcase the talents of Law and Harris, and of their supporting cast.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

[It's] clearly meant to measure up to or reach past what Steven Spielberg did in Saving Private Ryan. But it is one of the poorest imitations I have seen so far.

January 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Hot Button
Hot Button

The central thriller element of the film more than compensates for these deficiencies as well as any of the dodgier script moments.

October 30, 2002 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

While Enemy at the Gates aims to do justice to history, it trips and falls on its own romantic pretense.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Enemy at the Gates is a good movie that could have been great, if not for the inflated running time.

October 11, 2002 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Time and again the movie feels like it's working toward a Hollywood moment but always retreats before succumbing to the opportunity.

August 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Lawrence Journal-World
Lawrence Journal-World

Audience Reviews for Enemy at the Gates

Well acted but grim, violent and depressing.
May 6, 2014
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

June 12, 2013
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.
March 21, 2013

Super Reviewer

An almost-too-thorough account of dueling snipers during the Battle of Stalingrad, Enemy at the Gates is a little on the plodding side by times, and the love story feels shoe-horned in (but if you've read my reviews before, you know that I'm particularly sick of the superfluous romantic subplot, and likely to complain about it...). This being said, I was drawn into it, and I think that it was largely the acting that did it - and thankfully, there wasn't one bad accent in the whole film, everyone just spoke in their normal English or American voices. In all, it's a capable and believable war movie with one of Ed Harris's best turns, (in a supporting role); not great, but definitely worth seeing once, especially for the military history buffs out there.
February 2, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. 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 (3 years ago)
    1. Vassili Zaitsev: Sad to have a dream you know won't happen.
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
    1. 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 (3 years ago)
    1. 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 (3 years ago)
    1. General von Paulus: My army is not designed for this kind of fighting. Yesterday, yet again I had to promote 25 sergeants to replace the officers shot down by the sharpshooters. Those snipers are demoralizing my people. This city is no more than a heap of ruins, but the Fuhrer's persisting. We should trust the fuhrer's instinct, he always managed to lead us to victory. We shall be at home for Christmas. How are you going to go about finding this young Russian?
    – Submitted by Lea L (3 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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