Battle of Moscow


Bitva za Moskvu (1985)
Director: Yuri Ozerov
Actors: Yakov Tripolsky, Mikhail Ulyanov, Aleksandr Goloborodko
Runtime: 358 min

Since the preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union started, the capture of Moscow was one of the key military and political objectives of Germany. The invasion (Operation Barbarossa) began on the 22nd of June 1941, and the second phase was Operation Typhoon, the German offensive on Moscow, which was launched in the first days of October 1941. For this operation the Wehrmacht had concentrated over a million soldiers, 1700 tanks and 14,000 guns and mortars.

The soviet film “Battle for Moscow” was made in 1985, on the occasion of the forty year anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe. The opening sequence points out that the movie involves only historical facts, only real heroes who actually existed, and from the beginning of the movie it’s clear that it is conceived as a history lesson, indeed a film monument to the defenders of Moscow, their amazing efforts and enormous heroism.

The movie raises a very interesting question – about the difference between the tactical and strategic level of analysis and policy-making, the difference between winning a battle and winning the war. It is the fact that the Soviets deliberately sacrificed hundreds of thousands to wear out the German strategic initiative and buy time, the few weeks that they lacked, especially in October and November of 1941. This time, for which they paid with so much blood, was the time needed to prepare the defense, transport fresh troops from the east, evacuate the industry, and it played a very important role in the outcome of the war. However, this movie also presents lots of casualties that could have been avoided as conscious, necessary and inevitable, especially with regard to the disastrous Soviet defeats in the Battle of Kiev in September 1941, or the collapse of huge Red Army forces in Minsk in July 1941. Despite these disappointing rationalizations, the movie is very interesting, informative and educational. Based on actual events.

You can download this film or watch it online.

0 thoughts on “Battle of Moscow”

  1. A little gossip!

    Belgrade FEST 1986. opened with this movie. Ozerov was a general or something like that (I don’t know those ranks) and a vice president of the SSSR Olympic Committee. He appeared on the Belgrade airport in a uniform covered with many medals. Everybody was scared and was trying to praise him. He was an OK guy, he liked to joke, eat “čevapčići” and wanted to watch only American movies at the FEST. He even pulled a prank on Aca Bakočević, who, as a CEO of “Politika” daily, held a reception for the Russian delegation. Bakočević didn’t want to shake hands, and he didn’t want the girl who was a hostess and a translator claiming that he speaks Russian really well. Ozerov listened to him for a couple of minutes, then said that he didn’t understand a word, stood up, brought a chair himself and sat the girl who was a translator between him and Aca. Later he even talked more with a women who brought food than with Bakočević.

    The movie was then praised for its use of a lots of real tanks, weapons, and stunt people. There were no models used and the cost of making the movie was really high.

    Besides Ozerov there were also several movie directors and Galina, a movie critic. One of the directors was Elem Klimov, I think from Georgia, and, as far as I can remember, his movie was far better than this one (it would be useful to check the festival program for that year).
    With Ozerov there were two guys from the Russian embassy as “support” 🙂 While Elem Klimov was buying LP records for his son, the others were interested in crystal chandeliers and carpets 😀

    Comrade who then spent 8 or more days with Ozerov and others in CS, receptions, and shopping, didn’t think of taking notes because she thought that memories never fade 🙂

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