Stalingrad The Eastern Front experienced the viciousness of war on a scale of unimaginable horror and brutality. The bloodiest and most savage fighting took place in Stalingrad between August 1942 and February 1943. Stali... more »n's city on the Volga had military significance for Hitler. It carried the name of his enemy and therefore had to be destroyed. The ensuing battle sealed the fates of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians and marked the turning point of World War 11. It was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. In their 3 part 16:9 HDTV, documentary filmmakers Sebastian Dehnhardt, Christian Deick and Jorg Mullner reveal new historical facts while touching the emotions of their audience with new, moving eyewitness accounts and confessions from some of the last survivors. Filmed from both the German and Russian perspective, the series contains footage shot by soldiers during the siege. The Russian achives opened their doors to the filmmakers, granting them exclusive access to previously unreleased material. The series also contains digitally restored archive film as well as 3-D animation to recreate the city of Stalingrad and plot the course of its destruction. Originally broadcast in both Germany and Russia in slightly truncated editions, this Special Edition DVD contains all three Stalingrad documentaries including The ATTACK (54 min.), THE KESSEL (56 min.) and THE DOOM (55 min.) in their original uncut forms and a wealth of extra supplementary materials.« less
Admirable account of the Battle of Stalingrad... Terrible En
dooby | 09/12/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine 3-part documentary (3-hours long) on the Battle of Stalingrad. It is a German/Russian co-production made in 2003 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the battle that turned the tide of the war. It is a remarkable collaborative effort between the two former belligerents, with unprecedented access to their joint historical archives, both in terms of film footage and documentary records. The progress of the battle is told through the recollections of surviving veterans from both sides, as well as poignant letters home from those who perished. Alongside the better known footage from the German archives, there are rarer clips from the Russian vaults, of life in the city before, during and after the battle, and propaganda films of German POWs in Soviet concentration camps. From the NKVD (KGB/FSB) archives, we learn how, contrary to long accepted historical accounts, Field Marshall Paulus' surrender did not bring the battle to a close - over 10,000 German troops chose to fight on amidst the rubble, holding out against superior Soviet forces for another 2 months before finally being defeated. In all, over a quarter-million German soldiers (the mighty 6th Army) died at Stalingrad. The Russians suffered over half a million casualties.
The documentary is far from exhaustive. Only cursory mention is made of the Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian Armies (over half a million men) that took part in the assault and perished alongside the Germans. But on the whole, it is a balanced, moving and admirable account of a battle that has for too long, remained untold in the west. Its value lies not so much in the battle-footage unearthed but more in preserving the first-hand testimony of the last remaining survivors of this decisive moment in history.
My only criticism is of the irritating English dubbing of every spoken word in the documentary. This was originally shown in German and Russian with all the interviews conducted in those languages. It's fine to dub the main narration but dubbing over the veterans' and survivors' accounts was overkill and highly annoying. As the previous reviewer said, it was to appease the "subtitle-averse" crowd. Personally I thought the producer should have given his audience more credit. Many of the veterans interviewed were emotionally distraught as they recounted the trauma. Having American voice-actors trying to capture their distress with faked emotion made the whole exercise laughable. For me, the height of absurdity was when Hitler and Goebbels had their speeches dubbed over by some American voice-actor. Optional English subtitles should have been the way to go.
The documentary was shot in 1.78:1 widescreen and is presented as such on this DVD (Anamorphic). The recent footage, including the interviews, shots of the present-day city and the graphics used, all look excellent, with sharp images and strong, natural colours. The archive footage is understandably poorer in quality, unrestored and from the Russian side, significantly grainy. Sound is in Dolby 2.0. There are no subtitles. Extras include a 10-minute long interview with Prof. Guido Knopp who wrote and co-produced the documentary, 20 minutes worth of additional interviews with veterans (both in German with optional English subtitles) and a 5-minute modern-day tour of a pristine, snow-clad Volgograd (City on the Volga - the new name for Stalingrad)."
Fine film ruined by voice-overs on this DVD.
J. Cantor | 07/03/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A solid documentary with interesting new footage and invaluable testimony from participants in the battle and related events is ruined by loud voice-overs by poor actors. Both the narration and the voice-overs of interviewees are mediocre at best. If you are averse to dubbing of fictional films, you will understand that overdubbing of non-fictional work is particularly onerous. Clearly a decision was made to create a version that would be accessible to those averse to reading subtitles. But in the age of DVD it is fairly absurd not to include the original version of the film."
Beyond 5 Stars
DrBig | Laguna Niguel, CA United States | 06/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This doc does for Stalingrad what Ken Burns "Civil War" did to the ACW. Outstanding archival film research resulted in never before seen footage of Operation Blue & Stalingrad (especially life in the Kessel). 99% of the footage is genuine late 1942 vintage, and quite a bit in color. This is a MUST-SEE on HDTV. The doc also reveals a stunning secret regarding the Kessel, but I won't spoil it for you. I have $3K in English, Russian & German Stalingrad books/video, and I would buy this one again if I had the choice. You can't possibly regret this."
J. Buck | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this about 3 years ago when it was playing in a very limited release in NY city, this documentary was unbelievable, extremely moving and the best documentary ever made on Stalingrad. Told throughout by interviews with the people who were there (or sometimes the wife they left behind)it is so enlightening, even to someone like myself who has seen everything on the battle including even visiting Stalingrad(Volgograd) in 1998. I had been trying to find out how I could purchase this documentary in the three years since I saw it , to no avail, to see it finally on Amazon is great,I am ordering it today. Worth every penny!!!!!!"
The REAL truth about Stalingrad.
The Myth | U.S. | 10/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just finished watching this BRILLIANT ZDF and Co. production on the terrible battle for Stalingrad. After reading some of the B.S. complaints and reviews of others, I felt compelled to set the record straight. Unless you understand the Russian/German language, or if you enjoy those captions at the bottom of the screen, there is no other way to fully understand this movie. The scenes of death by fire, starvation, battle and the like bring the shear horror of this wasteful battle. A battle that was fought for Hitlers pathetic vision of German supremacy, and the unbelievable lunacy of leaving 250,000 men to starve and freeze to death for German glory. Apparently these other reviewers have never seen any of Ken Burns documentaries where voice overs are always used to great effect. I HIGHLY recommend this documentary. It will leave you utterly stunned. I feel sorry for anyone who MISSED THE MESSAGE, and chose to complain about something they obviously can't comprehend, or understand apparently. After recently retiring from the U.S. Army (2007) I am adding this to my military video collection today, and you should too."