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A Russian sniper and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.
Danilov: I've been such a fool, Vassili. Man will always be a man. There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there'd be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there's always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don't have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.
Nikita Khrushchev: You won't give up the river bank. I don't care if you lost half your men. Lose the other half. Lose yourself.
Nikita Khrushchev: [addressing a roomful of Soviet political officers] My name... is Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev. I've come to take things in hand here. This city... is not Kursk, nor is it Kiev, nor Minsk. This city... is Stalingrad. *Stalingrad*! This city bears the name of the Boss. It's more than a city, it's a symbol. If the Germans... capture this city... the entire country will collapse. Now... I want our boys to raise their heads. I want them to act like they have *balls*! I want them to stop shitting their pants! That's your job. As political officers... I'm counting on you. [he looks at one man] Nikita Khrushchev: You. What's your suggestion? Sweating Officer: [visibly nervous] Sh-shoot all the other generals who have retreated, and their chiefs of staff, too. Stammering Officer: [Khrushchev moves down the line to another man] M-m-m-make some examples. D-d-d-d-d-d-deport the families of the d-d-d-deserters - Nikita Khrushchev: [turning away] Yes, that's all been done. Danilov: [from the back of the room] Give them hope! [Khrushchev turns around and strides down the line to Danilov] Danilov: Here, the men's only choice is between German bullets and ours. But there's another way. The way of courage. The way of love of the Motherland. We must publish the army newspaper again. We must tell magnificent stories, stories that extol sacrifice, bravery. We must make them believe in the victory. We must give them hope, pride, a desire to fight. Yes... we need to make examples. But examples to *follow*. What we need... [he glances quickly at Khrushchev] Danilov: ... are heroes. Nikita Khrushchev: [Khrushchev looks around, then leans in closer to Danilov] Do you know any heroes around here? Danilov: Yes, comrade. I know one.
[last lines] Title Card: Several times decorated with the Order of Lenin, Vassilli Zaitsev was lated elevated to the rank of Hero of the Soviet Union. His rifle can still be seen today at the Stalingrad History Museum, among the great symbols of the victory over Nazi Germany.
Nikita Khrushchev: Vodka is a luxury we have. Caviar is a luxury we have. Time is not.
Officer #1: [repeating through megaphone] The one with the rifle shoots! Officer #2: [handing out rifles] One out of two gets rifle. Officer #1: The one without, follows him! When the one with the rifle gets killed, the one who is following picks up the rifle and shoots!
Vassili: All these men here know they're going to die. So, each night when they make it back, it's a bonus. So, every cup of tea, every cigarette is like a little celebration. You just have to accept that.
Danilov: Do you know how to shoot? Vasilli: A little.
Major König: He isn't dead, and do you know why? Because I haven't killed him yet.
Nikita Khruschev: I have to report this to the Boss. [puts a gun on the table] Nikita Khruschev: Perhaps you'd prefer to avoid the red tape.
Vassili: On the train... coming here... we were in the same car. Tania: No... Vassili: I saw you. You were reading and you fell asleep. Oh, I didn't dare look at you, you were so beautiful. It was scary. Afterwards, I couldn't stop thinking about you. It made me smile. And then I thought of all the men who would get to hold you, who would make you laugh... how lucky they were. And now I'm the one lying next to you.
Vassili: Sad to have a dream you know won't happen.
Koulikov: [falling after being shot] Son of a bitch! These are new pants. I just took them off a captain from the 251st yesterday.
Danilov: I want to help you, Vassili. Let me do one last thing, something useful for a change. [Takes off his helmet] Danilov: Let me show you where the Major is.
Danilov: Where have you been? We've been looking all over for you. Vassili: Oh, did you hear? I was dead. At least, Noble Sniper Zeitsev, Vassili was dead.
General Paulus: My army is not designed for this kind of fighting. Yesterday, yet again I had to promote 25 sergeants to replace the officers shot down by the sharpshooters. Those snipers are demoralizing my people. This city is no more than a heap of ruins, but the Fuhrer's persisting. We should trust the fuhrer's instinct, he always managed to lead us to victory. We shall be at home for Christmas. How are you going to go about finding this young Russian? Major König: I'll fix it so that he's the one who finds me.
Nikita Khrushchev: Write it then - "Vasilli Zaitsev is *not* dead. This is what he had for breakfast this morning, here's a picture of him reading today's newspaper." You're the poet.
Vasilli: Ludmilla and Anton were killed today. And it was my fault. Danilov: No, I'm sure that's not true. Vasilli: It was a German sniper. I walked them right into his trap. Danilov: What else can you tell me? Vasilli: He didn't relocate. A sniper who doesn't relocate isn't normal. He was very good. It wasn't just his shooting, it was his instinct. He was a step ahead of me all the time. Danilov: That's because he knows everything about you. His name is Konig. Major Konig. They've sent them here to find you.
Vasilli: He shot him on the run. It was an impossible shot. Danilov: Vassili... Vasilli: You've promised people a victory I can't deliver. I don't stand a chance against this man.
Danilov: On this day, September 20th 1942, a young shepherd boy from the Urals arrived in the city of Stalingrad on the banks of the Volga. His name is Vassilij Zaitzev. Like thousands before him he came to answer comrade Stalin's call. Armed only with a rifle, he quickly made the fascist invader realise that from now on he would be punished for every step he took in the motherland, that from here on the only way was back.
Vasilli: He doesn't know you exist, but at that moment you're closer to him than anyone else on earth. You see his face through the sign. You see whether he shaved or not. You can see whether he's married if he's got a wedding ring. It's not like firing at a distant shape. It's not just a uniform. It's a man's face. Those faces don't go away. They come back and they get replaced by more faces.
Nikita Khruschev: Look at him with pride, because he's looking at you. The whole country is looking at you.
Vasilli: In the forest, the wolf lives for three years and the donkey for nine. Tania: That must be a proverb from the Urals, it makes no sense to me. Vasilli: The donkey lives longer because he's more useful. Tania: There aren't any donkeys in the forest, you made it up.
Koulikov: You see, they're stubborn. That's the good thing about the Germans. Man, you got to admin, when they get an idea in their heads...
Vassili Zaitsev: [Vassili sees his own picture while reading the Red Army newspaper as it is coming off the press] That's me. [he reads the caption] Vassili Zaitsev: "Vassili Zaitsev." That's me! Danilov: No, you're not dreaming! It's your name! We made the front page! They haven't changed a word! Do you have any idea what this means? It's not the back page. It's not the second page. It's the front page. Danilov, Vassili Zaitsev: [together] The front page! Danilov: They're going to reprint our article everywhere, in the Caucasus, in the Crimea... even in the Urals! [he laughs] Danilov: Tomorrow morning, Stalin himself will be sitting over breakfast, reading my words, memorizing your name. We're famous, Vassili. Khrushchev loved the article. He's promoted me to the General Staff... and you... to sniper division. Vassili Zaitsev: Well, that's good. Danilov: It's *very* good. Vassili Zaitsev: It's very good. It's great. Danilov: It's *very* great! Vassili Zaitsev: It's great! Danilov: It's great! Vassili Zaitsev: It's great! Danilov: For *both* of us, because we did it together. [Vassili laughs] Danilov: Together. Although, admittedly, I did all the hard work. Vassili Zaitsev: Oh, yeah? [he pushes Danilov playfully, then chases him around some desks] Danilov: You know, you're very lucky I can't fight back. Vassili Zaitsev: Why's that? Danilov: Because Khrushchev told me to make sure that nothing happens to you! You're too important! Vassili Zaitsev: I'm too valuable! [he keeps hitting Danilov playfully] Danilov: Yes! Careful of my - careful of my glasses, please. They're new. Vassili Zaitsev: [Vassili gives Danilov a salute and a smile] Sorry, sir. Danilov: [Danilov slaps Vassili playfully] I'm sorr - [they start laughing and wrestling around] Danilov: I'm famous! Vassili Zaitsev: *I'm* famous! Danilov: *We're* famous! Vassili Zaitsev: *I'm* famous! Danilov: We're famous! Vassili Zaitsev: We're famous!
[seeing Sacha hung from a girder, Tania begins to run outside] Vasilli: Tania, no! Tania: No, get off me. Get off me! Vasilli: It's what he wants. This is what he wants. Tania: Get off me! Let me go! Vasilli: No! He'll kill you. He'll kill you and then I'll run after you and he'll kill me too. This is what he wants. I'll get him. I promise I'll get him. I'll get his rifle for you, I promise, Tania.
Vasilli: [narrating] Autumn, 1942. Europe lies crushed beneath the Nazi jackboot. The German Third Reich is at the height of its power. Hitler's Armies are charging through the heart of the Soviet Union towards the oil fields of Asia. One last obstacle remains, a city on the Volga, where the fate of the world is being decided - Stalingrad.
[first lines] Grandfather: [whispering to boy aiming rifle] I am a stone. I do not move. Very slowly, I put snow in my mouth. Then he won't see my breath. I take my time. I let him come closer. I have only one bullet. I aim at his eye. Very gently, my finger presses on the trigger. I do not tremble. I have no fear. I'm a big boy now. Ready Vassili? Now, Vassili, fire!
Major König: Once again, he knew exactly where to find me. Don't you think that's strange? Apart from me, only you knew.
Koulikov: Nobody gives a shit about the telephone guys.
Vasilli: Shouldn't we try and make the point that I'm not the only one fighting? Danilov: That's an excellent idea. We can take it even further though. Your battle for the production of coal is as worthy as mine. There's no 'k' in coal. Just one 'l'. Tell me if I'm going too fast. Vasilli: No, you're not going too fast. Is there any other improvements? Mother Filipov: Why don't you get some rest? These letters can wait until tomorrow. Vasilli: We should carry on. We're not tired. Thank you, Mrs Filipov. These people took the trouble to write to us. Tomorrow we might not be around to write back.
Tania: I knew you weren't dead. Vasilli: How? Tania: Because we've only just met. I prayed for the first time since I was a little girl. When I opened my eyes Sacha was standing there waiting to give me the good news. I think he loves you even more than I do.
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