Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 27, 2014
    75
    After a devastating opening, the movie gets sluggish here and there, but it remains interesting throughout, not just culturally, but as a piece of drama.
  2. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    Feb 25, 2014
    70
    It is a strange cross-breed between an old-fashioned WWII epic full of genre cliches and a modern update whose meticulous historical recreation is frighteningly real.
  3. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 25, 2014
    70
    Lush with feeling that could easily be mistaken for sentimentality, Stalingrad is more like a 19th-century novel than a 21st-century blockbuster. It's theatrical and intense, sometimes in an overbearing way, but it's never boring.
  4. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Feb 26, 2014
    67
    Stalingrad is a 3-D epic that's one-dimensional.
  5. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Feb 28, 2014
    63
    It's a mixed bag overall — hence my star rating — but it's worth seeing nonetheless, largely because of the explicitly Russian qualities its sustains.
  6. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Feb 25, 2014
    63
    In detail and combat spectacle, Stalingrad is hard to beat. And whatever its failings, one can’t help but be curious about a story as connected to national identity as this one, a film that like today’s Russia, feels more Soviet than Russian.
  7. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Feb 27, 2014
    60
    Though plenty of road-tested war truths about sacrifice, honor, grit and intimacy get trotted out, "Stalingrad" is deep down a spectacle campaign forged in operatic violence and a siege of the senses, and on those terms it has its moments.
  8. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Feb 25, 2014
    60
    Hollywood does this too; truth be told, Russia’s high-tech whitewash goes down smooth like vodka.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephen Kelly
    Feb 18, 2014
    60
    A solid enough war flick, but Spielberg doesn’t have too much to worry about yet.
  10. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Feb 28, 2014
    55
    If you're only going to see one film about the Battle of Stalingrad — and there are many — Stalingrad would be the wrong choice. Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk's treatment of the World War II turning point is shallow and contrived, if sometimes impressively staged.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 6, 2014
    50
    Viewed as cinema, it’s an unstable and almost surrealist combination of Soviet-style war propaganda film, Zack Snyder-style action flick and sentimental fairy tale.
  12. 50
    While the imagery in this retelling is impeccable, the story is strangely lifeless.
  13. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Feb 27, 2014
    50
    As quickly as the technical elements pull the audience in, the plot pushes us away.
  14. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Feb 27, 2014
    50
    Overall, Stalingrad is a bizarre concoction, part Putin-era patriotic chest-thumping and part creaky war melodrama, all set in a superbly recreated ruined city.
  15. Reviewed by: Jesse Hassenger
    Feb 27, 2014
    50
    The film calms down a bit in its second half, leaving more room for Bondarchuk’s striking wartime tableaux, making occasional use of its native 3-D cinematography. (The movie, a massive success in Russia last year, will screen primarily in IMAX 3D venues in the U.S.)
  16. Reviewed by: Tom Russo
    Feb 27, 2014
    50
    It’s a brutal bit of screen poetry that’s matched too infrequently by the aching human stories director Fedor Bondarchuk is so anxious to tell.
  17. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Feb 26, 2014
    50
    Unfortunately, as in Bay’s “Pearl Harbor,’’ much of the sometimes draggy 2 1/4 hours is given to clichéd inspirational drama.
  18. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    Feb 27, 2014
    40
    The movie’s few spectacles — particularly the composite image of Russian soldiers aflame after a fuel depot explodes — seem to consume the creative energies of the filmmakers, with their palpable pride in staging patriotic deaths from the safe distance of history.
  19. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 26, 2014
    40
    Bondarchuk mingles the you-are-there grittiness of close-quarters combat and constant assaults from above and below with war-movie clichés that haven’t been updated since before the real Battle Of Stalingrad. It’s history written with airbrush.
  20. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Feb 26, 2014
    40
    The macho showmanship of director Fyodor Bondarchuk, wedded to such a facile script, turns this undeniably impressive megaproduction into a behemoth you mainly want to cower from.
  21. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Feb 18, 2014
    40
    When the best one can say about a movie is that it’s pyrotechnically impressive, something important is missing. In this case it’s tension, originality and memorable characters.
  22. Reviewed by: Drew Hunt
    Feb 23, 2014
    38
    Its blind reverence toward the Russian mythos is so grandiose that it becomes impossible to rescue it from self-importance, and as such President Putin would likely give it two big thumbs up.
  23. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Feb 25, 2014
    30
    Assaults are filmed in ubiquitous slow-mo to better register the way bodies are thrown into the air. It’s all rather confusing, actually, since the monochromatic tonalities and weak script, lacking in any comprehensible battle strategy, tend to meld the two sides together.
User Score
5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 4
  2. Negative: 2 out of 4
  1. Mar 14, 2014
    3
    Anyone who has read in any detail about the battle of Stalingrad, on which this movie is based, and who comes to it expecting a realistic story line, will be extremely disappointed within a few minutes of the opening. The first battle scene, in which Russian soldiers charge uphill from the Volga through the remains of a burning oil dump, thereby turning themselves in to human torches who then storm and take a heavily defended German position, didn't happen and couldn't happen, The ongoing lack of understanding of the reality of the battle is epitomized by frequent shots of characters enjoying panoramic views of the city's ruins, or simply staring through unshattered windows, despite the known prevalence of snipers at Stalingrad. These snipers appear when needed, however, as when some particularly stupid German soldier, who hasn't heard about the snipers, pauses in the middle of a ruined square to take a quick wash. A Soviet just happens to be training his girlfriend in sniper techniques, not far away.

    Most of this film seems to be based on the story of Pavlov's House, a fortified apartment building held for two months by a small and determined group against enormous odds. Two hours of what must have been one of the grimmest struggles of a very grim war would probably be beyond the endurance limit of most people so it is understandable that the script writer invented a Hollywood-type narrative to replace what actually occurred. In which case, it should be called something else.

    This is the third major film to deal with the battle of Stalingrad. The first, German, version is still the best though seen mainly from a German soldier's point of view. The second, the Jude Law love epic, was a weak attempt but did have some very realistic battle scenes. This version doesn't come up to that standard.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 12, 2014
    5
    This honestly could 've been so much better. A film about Stalingrad would have you believe that it's about the battle itself. However, that is sadly not the case. Instead, it focuses more on a handful of Russian soldiers trying to protect this young woman whom they all happen to fall in love with. Also, it focuses WAY too much on slow motion action to the point where everything looks forced and ridiculous. It also felt a hair too long. Overall, it had a decent story and acting, but this movie really would've been better off detailing the actual war rather than just trying to come up with something new. Full Review »
  3. Mar 3, 2014
    1
    Don't bother wasting your time with this thinly-veiled Soviet propaganda movie. Aside from some good production values (which is the only reason this movie doesn't get a zero), there are very few redeeming qualities in this overly-long and plodding waste of celluloid. First and foremost, the title would have you think that this movie is about the epic Battle of Stalingrad, and nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the movie takes place in the days before the bulk of the battle and is confined to a few buildings near the banks of the Volga River. The opening sequence of the Russians crossing the Volga is perhaps the highpoint of a war movie that is strangely devoid of sweeping battle scenes, and even then, this opening pales in comparison to a similar sequence from "Enemy At The Gates" which, though it has its own issues, is vastly superior. The acting in "Stalingrad" is what you would expect from a B-grade movie although I'm not sure if part of the problem stems from the poorly-conceived script. The writing/screenplay is absolutely abysmal and rife with nearly every war movie cliche imaginable. All the characters are underdeveloped and little more than caricatures of your usual war movie stereotypes, and I found it difficult to care if any of them lived or died. The actions of some of the characters are also illogical at times which doesn't help the already shaky credibility of the movie. The pacing of the story has an unremarkable paint-by-the-numbers feel, and some of the editing cuts are downright atrocious. I rate this stinker as one of the worst movies of the year (2013 or 2014, take your pick) and feel ripped off for losing 2+ hours of my life that I will never get back. Full Review »