When US and USSR allied to defeat the Nazis, the US made this film in honor of Russia’s struggle

Award-winning documentary is still stirring


The Battle of Russia, free on youtube, would be grand way to celebrate Victory Day. The Wikipedia entry for it lists other ways to access the movie. If you cannot join an Immortal Regiment, why not hold a watch party?

Screen capture from film Battle of Russia
Screen capture, poster for the  film Battle of Russia

I’m watching it myself, and had a thought: “Most people don’t even know that this film exists! Well, we can DO something about that.” What to say about the film? Watch it. If you have already watched it, watch it again. A grand Victory Day ritual.

“We stayed a way from politics and made it a people’s battle. As a result, The Battle of Russia was one of the best episodes of the series and a true one.” — Frank Capra.

Though Dmitri Tiomkin is credited for the music, it was selections: The first half (it is in two parts)  has themes from the then brand-new Leningrad Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Here, from the IMDB, is a viewer’s take on the film:


Impressing American documentary of the Russian part of the war

29 October 2018
This is certainly not only one of the most singular documentaries ever made but also one of the best. Frank Capra and Anatole Litvak made it together, striking at the opportunity of documenting the fate of Russia in the war and catching an extensive and comprehensive picture of the Russian situation while it was fresh and still going on, concentrating on the siege of Leningrad and the battle of Stalingrad, ending with the definite turning point of the war.
The entire documentary is dominated by Russian music, 75-80% Tchaikovsky with some moments of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and folk music. The account is effective and intelligent all the way, the film rolls on like the war without mercy in tremendous overwhelming realism, while at the same time there is much vital information here that never came across to the west. The only objection against the film anyone could have is the aggressive tone of the speaker, which is as hard as the war, – but even that fits into the picture.
It’s a great classic documentary for all time without any Hollywood embellishments or tricks, everything is documentary and true, and although it IS a propaganda picture, made to gain support for the Russian cause in the war from the public in the west, it’s brilliantly done, and the glory of the victories and ordeals of Stalingrad and Leningrad WAS THERE and must never be forgotten.
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