The Winter War

1989 [FINNISH]

Drama / History / War

IMDb Rating 7.6 10 8154

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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by gordonl56 9 / 10

Superb War Film


This is one of the best war films ever produced. This Finnish Film is about the Finnish-Soviet War of 1939-40.

The Soviets are threatening war if Finland does not give up some of its territory. The Soviets are flexing their muscles and have gobbled up part of Poland and the three Baltic countries, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Finland, once part of the Russian Empire had chased the Red Army out in 1919 and declared independence. They are not inclined to let the Soviets back in. The Red Army, which vastly outnumbered Finland in men and material, attacked on November 30, 1939.

The film follows a group of Finns from a rural area of the country. They have been called up to fill out the Finnish Army ranks. Finland had a well-trained reserve army at hand. Most men did several weeks of training every year. The men are sent to the frontier and assigned positions. Their orders are to hold the line.

The Soviets shell the area and launch several massive human wave attacks. The Soviets had expected the Finns to fold and sue for peace. They get a most rude surprise as the Finns stop them cold. The Soviets suffer large losses but still keep coming. Soviet tactics suffer due to the lack of trained Red Army officers. The Great Purge of 1937, ordered by Stalin, had killed off most of the better men.

The Finns stand fast for as long as they can, but the odds continue to grow. They finally have to ask for terms. However, the stubborn resistance by the Finns was quite the shock to Stalin and company. They settle for the small gain of 11% of Finland, and call it a day. Finland and the Soviets would clash again during the Continuation War of 1941-1944. Finland again would hold the Soviets to small gains and heavy losses.

Period detail and weapons are very good here. The action is also top notch with no over the top heroics done Hollywood style. Just war as it is, bloody, messy and deadly. The viewer watches as the men are killed off one by one over the course of the four month conflict.

The film is available in three different run-times. There is the chopped up 125 minutes version, the 195 min version and the complete 265 min version. The last two are the best. The 265 minute runtime version was padded out a bit to become a mini-series for Finnish television.

Reviewed by Petey-10 9 / 10

Finnish war film

This movie tells about the military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland.It was fought between 30 November 1939-13 March 1940.Talvisota (1989) is directed by Pekka Parikka.The script is based on Antti Tuuri's novel.The movie has got the finest actors playing their roles.Taneli Mäkelä plays Private Martti Hakala.Vesa Vierikko is 2nd Lieutenant Jussi Kantola.Timo Torikka portrays Private Pentti Saari.Heikki Paavilainen is Private Vilho Erkkilä.Antti Raivio is Corporal Erkki Somppi.Esko Kovero is Medical Corporal Juho Pernaa.Martti Suosalo plays Private Arvi Huhtala.Markku Huhtamo is Private Aatos Laitila.Samuli Edelmann is Private Mauri Haapasalo.Vesa Mäkelä is Lieutenant Yrjö Haavisto.Aarno Sulkanen plays Captain Sihvo.Esko Salminen portrays Lieutenant Colonel Matti Laurila.Kari Sorvali is Sergeant Major Hannu Jutila.Ari-Kyösti Seppo plays Private Ahti Saari.Esko Nikkari is Private Yrjö "Ylli" Alanen.Ville Virtanen is 2nd Lieutenant Jaakko Rajala.Eero Melasniemi is Private Eino Nisula.Pertti Sveholm plays Private Antti Jouppi.Kalevi Kahra is Mr. Ylinen.Leena Suomu is Liisa Hakala.Miitta Sorvali plays Karelian Woman.Leea Klemola is Aino.Ahti Kuoppala portrays Ship Captain.Ilkka Järvi-Laturi is Private by the River Bank.Santeri Kinnunen is Private.Mika Nuojua plays Fleeing Soldier in his debut.Eero Saarinen is 2nd Lieutenant Lehtinen.Martti Tschokkinen is Storekeeper.The movie is filled with great battle scenes and uses some cool slow motion.This movie really shows the reality of war.You see men going in pieces in bomb attacks, you see the fear on these men's faces.In this movie the war doesn't look pretty.

Reviewed by denis888 9 / 10

Severe Realism Of War Depiction

This is the first, so far, Finnish movie which I have ever seen, and this is about lesser depicted Sovier-Finnish winter war of 1939-1940, which claimed thousands of lives, brought immense suffering to both states and left unhealing scars. This is a long, 180-inute epic TV film which depicts a group of Finnish boys joining the army for the war. We see them at home, during military training, in the cold snowy trenches and dugouts, and after all, in the very horrid hell of bloody massacre. We witness immense harships of main heroes, their cold, miserable chores, constant battles, blood, deaths, wounds and shocking amount of realistic gore. I, as a Russian, have to admit that Russian troops are shown well, they speak excellent clear Russian, and they are brave, valiant boys. As well as Finnish soldiers on the other side of the trench. The movie is not devoid of weaker moments, at times, it drags, at times, it simply dwells on too much on gore and violence. What is more cruccial, is a very strong and visible anti-war message, and that stays well.

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