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7 Great Foreign Language War Films You Should See: Battle for Sevastopol

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.



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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)

Battle for Sevastopol

(2015 – Russian)

Based on real events, Sevastopol was a huge success in Russia, Ukraine, and other countries with Russian speaking audiences.

The main character is Lyudmilla Pavlichenko, and the movie follows her actions during the Great Patriotic War (Soviet name for World War II). Pavlichenko is one of the most accomplished snipers in history – male or female – with over 300 confirmed kills.

The film is narrated from the point of view of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who befriended Pavlichenko during the latter’s tour of the United States in the middle of the war.

It has good action sequences and features a well-paced story that follows Pavlichenko from the start as a Ukrainian student, to her enlistment into the army, and finally to the battles at Odessa and Sevastopol.

After escaping Crimea, she is sent to the U.S. to garner the support of the American people for the war effort, where she does a series of press conferences and meets several influential people.

During her U.S. tour, Pavlichenko’s gives her now famous quote in the film – “Don’t you think, gentlemen, that you have been hiding behind my back for too long?”