Enemy at the Gates

2001, Drama/War, 2h 11m

139 Reviews 100,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

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

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Movie Info

Vassili (Jude Law) is a young Russian sharpshooter who becomes a legend when a savvy polical officer (Joseph Fiennes) makes him the hero of his propaganda campaign. Their friendship is threatened when both men fall in love with a beautiful female soldier (Rachel Weisz). As the battle for the city rages, Vassili faces the ultimate challenge when the Nazi command dispatches its most elite marksman (Ed Harris) to hunt down and kill the man who has become the hope of all Russia.

Cast & Crew

Jude Law
Vasily Zaitsev
Rachel Weisz
Tania Chernova
Ed Harris
Major Konig
Eva Mattes
Mother Filipov
Matthias Habich
General Paulus
Alexander Schwan
Young Vassili
Alain Godard
Executive Producer
Alisa Tager
Executive Producer
Robert Fraisse
Cinematographer
Wolf Kroeger
Production Designer
Simon Wakefield
Set Decoration
Janty Yates
Costume Designer
Yvonne Yaconelli
Unit Production Manager
Gerry Gavigan
First Assistant Director
Caroline Veyssière
Second Assistant Director
Martin Müller
Production Sound Mixer
Martin Zillger
Sound Assistant
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Critic Reviews for Enemy at the Gates

Audience Reviews for Enemy at the Gates

  • Nov 11, 2013
    Based on true events, Enemy at the Gates is a thrilling and suspenseful World War II epic. The story follows a sniper duel between a Russian and a German during the Battle of Stalingrad. Featuring an all-star cast that includes Jude Law, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, and Ed Harris, the performances are quite good. Additionally, the directing is well-done, and brings a lot tension and suspense to the sniper scenes. The set designs are also very impressive; giving a realistic feel to city ruins and setting up interesting sniper positions. And, James Horner provides a remarkable score that captures the mood and tone of the film. A fascinating look at the intricacies of warfare, Enemy at the Gates is a powerful film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2013
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 21, 2013
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2011
    A very atmospheric as well as compelling war film that has enough action to keep it flowing and also equal doses of drama and thrills. Filled with solid performances by it's large and talented cast, "Enemy at the Gates" is a modern war film done right. The film focuses on a private named Vassili (Jude Law)who is a marksman freshly entering the hell of the war and he quickly makes a big name for himself with his sniper skills. Through a chance encounter with a political adversary (Ralph Fiennes) who uses Vassili as a public promotional figure while becoming friends with the man until a woman comes between them. Meanwhile, Germany has sent their master sniper into the fray in order to win a personal and monumental battle between the two warring countries. This is a great watch and one worth checking out whether you like war films or just good dramas!
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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