Enemy at the Gates

Enemy at the Gates (2001)

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Corrected entry: At the beginning of the film, when they show the map of Europe slowly being taken over by the Nazis, the Soviet Union in the map is actually modern day Russia. Their borders depict Ukraine as a separate country, when it was actually part of the Soviet Union. (00:05:00)

Correction: Its not modern day Russia because the Caucasus region is included. They don't show Ukraine as a separate country but they put a border across the Dnieper, which is right through the middle of the Ukraine. The pink part of the Ukraine is the region of the German reichskommissariat (roughly) they set up after occupation. Although the borders are confusing and inaccurate, it's not the borders of modern day Russia and Ukraine.


Corrected entry: When Jude Law and Ed Harris are playing cat and mouse in the scene where Harris is in the air duct, and Law is hiding behind the furniture, Harris end up getting hit in the arm by a bullet. This type of wound, created by a 7.62x54R, would have blown the section clean off, where it struck. Later in the movie, we see a slight bandage, but an otherwise functional appendage.


Correction: He was shot in the hand, which is thin enough that the bullet could have gone through and through without yawing and thus preventing severe damage, assuming that they were following the Geneva conventions and using FMJ bullets.

Steve Kozak

Corrected entry: Nearer the start of the film when Danilov is driving to escape the Germans through the city square he manages to roll his car. You can see the crash helmet of the stunt driver as the car begins to flip. (00:14:50)

Correction: What you see is the red band on the driver's hat. This makes it look like a crash helmet but none is visible.

A Demon Premium member

Corrected entry: When Kulikov is shot on the run, we know the bullet goes through his head, because the blood flies out the side of his head and splatters on the wall. However, there is no bullet hole in the wall. It's very unlikely that a soft-nosed bullet would be used by any military in WWII, as bullets that are designed to expand are specifically banned by the Hague Convention, which even the Soviets and Germans tended to stick to. See: http://www.thegunzone.com/hague.html.

Correction: German and Russian snipers began using explosive bullets in 1942, the specific round was called the B-Patrone 8mm in the case of German ammunition. Shortly after impact, a firing pin would be driven into a small capsule of High Explosive, detonating the entire slug and causing massive internal damage. These rounds were authorized by Hitler himself on Jan. 20, 1942 only for use on the Eastern Front because the Russians had not signed the Geneva Convention. Furthermore, these rounds had to be turned back in to the Supply Sergeants if the sniper was to be moved to the Western Front. It is very likely that an elite sniper such as Major Konig would have been equipped with such ammo given his role as a counter-sniper. Furthermore, there is reason to believe that the round itself may not have been sufficient mass to over penetrate through the skull, and would not have left a "bullet hole" in the wall. Sources: https://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=3&f=16&t=554902 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkRDhtx5AxM.

Corrected entry: In the very beginning when they show a close up of the young Vassili's rifle, it isn't cocked. The firing pin (on the back of the rifle) is not pulled out like on most standard bolt action rifles of that time and the trigger is too loose and too far back when he fiddles with it.

Correction: The knob piece comes back, and it is indeed back. The firing pin does not protrude from a Mosin. The trigger is back due to some apparent trigger work popular on these rifles.

Corrected entry: When the German sniper enters his bunker, he renders an American style salute. He should be rendering a loud and boisterous "Heil Hitler!" and a Nazi salute, complete with feet clapping together sharply.


Correction: The sniper's "American Style" salute is correct, as most armies saluted that way. Also, shouting "Heil Hitler" and giving the "Nazi" salute was not required in the German Army (required by those serving in the SS, however) until after the July 1944 bomb attempt to kill Adolf Hitler.


Corrected entry: The hierarchy in the Red Army was very strict. It is totally unthinkable that a political commissar and an infantryman (private) should publicly dance and wrestle each other like two adolescents.

Correction: Vassily Zaitsev was, at the time of his duel with the German sniper, not a private, but a Junior Lieutenant. This would put him just one rank below Danilov, who is pictured as a Lieutenant.


Corrected entry: When the camera looks through the scope of the Russian sniper it is visible that the scope is of the Gewerr '43, the German sniper rifle, not the MOS Russian sniper rifle.

Correction: The Russian scope shown is the standard issue PU scope, it utilized the triple post style. The Zielfernrohr 43 used by the GEW 43 is similar but not identical.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Vassili is taking cover behind an old oven, Major König could've easily killed him. König's rifle ammunition would've easily gone straight through the oven and into Vassili's body, which is something a skilled marksman such as König would've know

Correction: A: Vassily didn't know the specs of König's rifle or bullets. B: As an expert marksman, König would know that you don't shoot through multi-layered objects to reach a target. It disrupts the path of the bullet and likely wouldn't have hit Vassily.

Corrected entry: In the opening battle scene when the Russians are charging at the Germans, one Russian soldier is shot in the leg and then in the head. A few scenes later, the same clip is shown of the man being shot in the leg and then in the head.

Correction: First, as there are no inconsistencies between shots, this is not a continuity mistake. Second - already posted and corrected. Showing the same action from different angles during a frantic action montage is a common film technique.

Corrected entry: In the shot where Kulikov is jumping across the gap between the two buildings and gets plugged in the head, pay attention because you actually see him get shot twice. One shot from the side show him get hit, and then an immediate close-up shows the hole appear again.

Correction: Showing the same piece of dramatic action (eg explosions or gunshot hits) twice from slightly different aspects is not a film mistake - it is a very common film technique.

Corrected entry: When the young Vassili misses shooting the wolf at the start, I'm not surprised he missed, because the rifle's sights are actually obscured by the hessian (burlap) wrapped around the rifle to camouflage it.

Correction: Good observation,but it's only an observation, not a mistake.

Corrected entry: On the movie poster, the bolt handle to Vassili Zaitsev's rifle is on the wrong side.

Correction: This is a poster mistake rather than a movie mistake, and isn't part of the actual film.


Corrected entry: During the scene where Danilov is hiding under the corpses in the fountain, you can see one of the 'corpses' breathing. Just after the Germans have machine gunned the corpses, the shot cuts back to Danilov. A few seconds go by as he shifts the leg off his head. When the shot cuts to a view of Danilov from the side, watch the soldier who's coat flap is covering his mouth. As the camera starts to pan right, you can see the steam coming from this guy's mouth as he breaths. You may need slow motion. Watch for the steam on the jacket of the guy who's leg Danilov put over himself. (00:16:05)

Correction: This has already been corrected - not all of the men die immediately. They are grievously wounded and doubtless will die, but while still alive, they'll be breathing.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Danilov is showing Zaitsev the article, he says that it will appear on the front page and be read "by people in the Crimea". Since the Crimea was under German occupation at the time of Stalingrad, Danilov would have known this would be impossible.

Correction: Unless they had an underground distribution network into German-occupied Russian territory. Quite likely, since we're talking about propaganda exhorting Russians to resist the fascists. Who better to exhort than people in occupied areas?

Corrected entry: When Vassily is invited to the old lady and the boy's house, the lady hears something, and blows the candle, but it's still light in the room for about a second after the light's out.

Correction: The reason the room remains lit is that it takes that second for the flame to be extinguished. She's blowing into a lamp that's nearly a foot tall - the flame wouldn't be extinguished instantaneously.

Corrected entry: In real life Vassili Zaitsev killed Major Konig by having someone hold a helmet over his head in an open window and Major Konig shot the helmet and the person holding the helmet screamed as if he was hit. Vassili saw the muzzle flash of Konig's rifle and shot him where he was hiding under a piece of sheet metal. (I guess one of the oldest tricks in the book still works)


Correction: In real life, it's highly unlikely this duel ever happened, suggest you read Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor or check this link http://www.russian-mosin-nagant.com/Zaitsev_story.htm.

Corrected entry: It's doubtful that the car Danilov rolls in the beginning is equiped with seat belts, but somehow he emerges from the wreck with nothing but a few scratches and a broken lens in his glasses, which haven't even fallen off.


Correction: We never see the inside of the car, so we have no way of knowing what steps he took to protect himself, or whether he had seat belts or not. As for the glasses, some time passes before he crawls out. He could easily have lost them, then recovered them and climbed out.


Corrected entry: In the map sequence showing Germany's takeover of European countries, Norway is not invaded. Norway and Denmark were invaded the 9th of April 1940...

Correction: It does not show the German advancement in true historical order, but more like a red shadow that expands across Europe in a steady pace. And just as the camera starts zooming in on Stalingrad, you can see a small sliver of red starting to spread on the south-eastern coast of Norway.


Corrected entry: Joseph Fiennes' character exposes himself to the Major's fire in the end to help Jude Law locate the Major. The Major shoots Fiennes and leaves his position and gets shot by Jude Law. During the whole film both of the opponents were portrayed as very sensible characters. The Major should have been alerted when he saw the head appearing so rapidly. The Major would have known that Law would never expose himself in such a stupid way and would have been conscious of a trap.

Correction: Koning often shoots anyone he can (even without a perfect shot) throughout the entire movie. It's clear he's not the type to waste chances, and there's nothing to suggest that he knew Vassili was there. In real life, Danilov was shot (albeit in the shoulder) which allowed Vassili and Kulikov to spot him. Then they raised a helmet for him to "kill" (which he also fell for) and he was shot in turn.

Corrected entry: Kulikov was shot down while jumping the building's gap. He was obviously holding his rifle. So how could Vassili give Kulikov's rifle to the girl? He went down to get it? Not too reasonable, with a sniper after him.

Correction: Vassili wouldn't have been able to move until long after nightfall, when he could be certain Major Koning's visibility was far too low for him to see Vassili. Vassili could have gotten it then.

Corrected entry: In reality, the Russians made extensive use of wearing winter camouflage during battles, yet every Russian soldier we see in the movie lacks this outfit.

Correction: Camouflage suits were first used in the counterattack that trapped the Sixth Army. Major Koning died a few weeks before that happened.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes are going to meet Bob Hoskins' character, Law has a cut on his forehead. In one shot it has a plaster on it, then it is an open wound, then it has a plaster again.

Correction: If you look closely you can see the bandage there throughout the entire scene. The lighting just makes it hard to spot sometimes.

Corrected entry: When Vassily is ferried over the Volga into Stalingrad, the ships are being attacked by Ju-87D Stuka dive bombers. You can see one Stuka strafing the ships with wing-mounted machineguns. However, the Stuka's guns were mounted on top of the engine to fire through the propeller blades. The only exception would have been the Ju-87G with two wing-mounted 37mm cannons, but it entered service in 1944, 2 years too late. (00:07:45)

Correction: No variant of the JU87 STUKA ever had guns fitted above the engines. The guns were only ever wing mounted, or in the rear gunners position.

Corrected entry: The Russians were extremely notorious for destroying anything of value to the enemy during WW II, and major targets were train engines and railcars that couldn't be "saved." Those railcars in Stalingrad would be scrap by the time the Germans were within striking distance.

Correction: If you're referring to the beginning then they had only just arrived from miles away, so there's no reason for them to have been destroyed. And Stalingrad was being overrun fairly quickly at that point so the Russians might not have had time to destroy any railcars that appear later, especially since they were fighting to the death.

Corrected entry: In the beginning, when you see the people getting on and off the trains, there is a shot of a wagon with two gun turrets. You can clearly see the gun barrel bouncing up and down, revealing that it's made of plastic.

Correction: Putting aside that no one would build a gun turret (real or otherwise) out of plastic, they're on a train. Trains are not known for having a smooth ride.

Corrected entry: How come these supposedly "Russian" characters have British accents? Obviously it's because the actors are British, and for the sake of simplicity and American audiences, the majority of dialogue was written and performed in English. Even Bob Hoskins, a British actor, performs perfectly with a Russian accent; so why couldn't the others do this?


Correction: There have been umpteen incidents of 'wrong' accents in films (often involving Sean Connery), to the point where it cannot really be considered a film error - in many ways, it's better if an actor simply uses their natural accent rather than doing a really appalling version of the 'real' accent. Hoskins was obviously capable of pulling off a Russian accent - maybe the others weren't.

Tailkinker Premium member

Corrected entry: When Vassili and Ludmilla are searching for Major Konig's dog tags and Ludmilla gets shot in the head, there is no sound of a gun shot. There is only the sound of the bullet piercing her helmet.

Correction: The reason there is no gun shot is because in order to emphasize the sound of the bullet going through her helmet and skull the gun shot was muted. If there was a gun shot (close range) then the sound would be too intense and you wouldn't hear the bullet hit.

Corrected entry: During the sex scene, watch carefully the "Sleeping" soldier at the top of the screen. You can tell that he is desperately trying not to laugh and smile.

Correction: If two fully clothed people were making an obvious and clumsy attempt at having sex under a blanket amongst a crowd of sleeping people just yards away from me, I'd be laughing, too.

Corrected entry: Vassili appears to have a pierced left ear. Unusual for a Russian soldier in WW2.

Correction: It is unusual, but not impossible.

Corrected entry: In the scene where the Major arrives in Stalingrad, he sees a hospital train full of wounded ready to pull out. The cars all have red crosses on them. But Russian partisans, outraged by German atrocities, found the hospital trains easy pickings. So the Germans did not mark hospital trains with the red cross - they tried to camouflage them.

Correction: If they camouflaged the red cross trains then it might have been attacked by the Russian air force. It was the code of practice that all trains, trucks, and any transport carrying wounded must have a red cross on it.

Corrected entry: There's something wrong with the opening scene where boats full of Russian soldiers crossing the Volga are being attacked from the air by German Stuka dive-bombers. The bullets raining down on the boats were the large, heavy-caliber types used in aircraft guns; yet when they hit the soldiers they cause only small bullet wounds. They should have practically opened gaping holes in the soldiers' bodies.

Correction: German Stuka-bombers were not equipped with regular aircraft guns. They only used normal rifle-rounds.

Corrected entry: Take a look at Danilov's propaganda papers, the ones which fly out of his car as it is wrecked by German shellfire. They say "never shall the enemy put his foot on the soil of Stalingrad", correct? All right, we all know it's just propaganda, but it sure is misleading....at this point in the movie, the Germans were already all over Stalingrad!

Correction: Not a film mistake. The posters are reproductions of a genuine wartime Russian propaganda leaflet. When did wartime propaganda ever resemble the truth? Remember Comical Ali?

Corrected entry: One of the well known reasons the Germans were defeated in Stalingrad was - snow. But in this movie there is just mud on the ground, but no snow.

Correction: Most of the battle was fought in late summer and autumn. Historical photographs look just like the movie set.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Jude is in the fountain shooting the officer in the shower, he seems to be using a M1 Garand which was an AMERICAN rifle.

Correction: Not only is the rifle Vassili using not a Garand, it is bolt action, while the Garand is semi-automatic. Also, throughout the war, American and British equipment was sent to the Russians to help the war effort there.

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More for Enemy at the Gates


When the map of the German advance is shown, Switzerland is shown to be taken over. Switzerland was never invaded by the Germans.



The film is based upon William Craig's book of the same name, yet the entire movie is based upon a sniper duel that covers no more than two pages of the entire book. German army historical records never mention an elite sniper named "Major Koenig" hunting Vassili Zaitsev at Stalingrad.