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7 Great Foreign Language War Films You Should See: Stalingrad

Like many history buffs, I love it when films bring military history to life.

Of course, I prefer they do it in a believable way and with the support of an intriguing story such as Saving Private Ryan or Platoon.


Good war films can help supply the dramatics and realism of war to those of us who are already submersed in military history, but they also bring in a new generation of history lovers. In my case, films convinced me to read about events after viewing films like The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, and Stalag 17.



World War II films are perhaps the most popular and lauded of all war films and for good reason. Many non-English speaking countries have contributed significantly to the genre, but often get overlooked by even the stoutest of military history geeks.

Here are seven World War II films from various countries in no particular order that are worth your time to see if you haven’t already. I have narrowed the field to include only films with regular units; therefore, no partisan, resistance, or commando style films. Also, all these films are available with English subtitles.

1. Stalingrad (German – 1993)

2. Brest Fortress (Belorussian/Russian – 2010)

3. Unknown Soldier (Finland – 2017)

4. Days of Glory (Morocco – 2006)

5. Battle for Sevastopol (2015 – Russian)

6. Das Boot (German – 1981)

7. 1944 (Estonian – 2015)


(German – 1993)

This is the second German offering on the battle of Stalingrad and has persevered a few decades to cement itself on my list.

The “Dogs, do you want to live forever?” line, the familiar “Russian shoemaker boy” that has made its way into several war films, and many other stories appear here.

The film follows a veteran German platoon sent to the Eastern Front as the Axis forces push towards the southern USSR and the Caucasus. It opens with the unit on R&R in Italy following service in North Africa.

Many of the battle scenes are a bit unrealistic and German units clearly don’t follow their own tactical models. However, the viciousness of battle is captured well enough.

Of course, it has its fair share of the “evil, stupid commander” tropes. Interestingly, it paints the typical German soldier in a generally humane fashion, but gives a realistic sense of the good and evil in all men.

Stalingrad is a bit on the sentimental side and certainly an anti-war film at its heart and in its message. Despite some over-dramatization it gives a decent portrayal of the epic battle.