Tripti Joshi (Editor)

The Winter War (film)

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
8.2/101 Votes Alchetron
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Director  Pekka Parikka
Screenplay  Antti Tuuri
Country  Finland
8/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, War
Language  Finnish
The Winter War (film) movie poster
Release date  30 November 1989 (Finland)
Writer  Pekka Parikka, Antti Tuuri (novel), Antti Tuuri (screenplay)
Music director  Jukka Haavisto, Juha Tikka
Cast  Taneli Mäkelä (Private Martti Hakala), Vesa Vierikko (2nd Lieutenant Jussi Kantola), Timo Torikka (Private Pentti Saari)
Similar movies  Antti Tuuri wrote the screenplay for The Winter War and Ambush

The Winter War (original title in Finnish: Talvisota) is a 1989 Finnish war film directed by Pekka Parikka, based on The Winter War, a novel by Antti Tuuri. It tells the story of a Finnish infantry regiment "JR 23", which consists almost solely of men from Southern Ostrobothnia, focusing mainly on a platoon of reservists from Kauhava. The film was released in Finland and Sweden on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Winter War. The film was selected as the Finnish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 63rd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.


The Winter War (film) movie scenes


The Winter War (film) movie scenes

Talvisota (The Winter War) begins on the day of 1939 Oct 13, when reservists in the Finnish army were called to active duty. Two farmers, Martti Hakala and his younger brother Paavo, join other men from the municipality of Kauhava in a fictional half-platoon under the command of second lieutenant Jussi Kantola. After mustering at the local school, the men ride the train to Seinäjoki to join the rest of the Finnish Army’s 23rd Regiment, under the command of lieutenant-colonel Matti Laurila. After some practice, the regiment goes to the Karelian Isthmus, where Kantola’s men help civilians in the potential war zone evacuate their village.

The Winter War (film) movie scenes

After marching to the Taipale River, Kantola’s men help in building defenses in preparation for the anticipated Soviet attack. On December 6 the Battle of Taipale begins and rages for three weeks. Several times the Russians get into the Finnish trenches, but the Finns always push them back. On December 27 the Russians halt their attack on the Taipale front and Kantola’s men go to Yläjärvi for rest and recuperation. Martti manages to get home leave.

The Winter War (film) The Winter War DVD Amazoncouk Taneli Makela Pekka Parikka

When Martti returns from home, the unit goes to Vuosalmi on the Vuoksi River near the village of Äyräpää. There the men fend off Russian human-wave attacks. The film shows the ill-fated attack by the Men of Nurmo on March 5. The fighting stops at eleven o’clock in the morning of 1940 Mar 13, when the armistice takes effect.

In overall plan Talvisota is a standard war movie. It spends an hour acquainting the audience with about a dozen men and their endearing quirks. Then it kills the men off, one by one, leaving only a few survivors at the end.

Cast of Leading Characters

  • Taneli Mäkelä - private Martti Hakala: A farmer and a competent soldier. While the regiment is waiting near Taipale he plows the fields of a farmer who has gone to Rautu to build fortifications.
  • Vesa Vierikko - 2nd Lieutenant Jussi Kantola: Martti’s immediate superior. He puts Paavo into Martti’s squad at Martti’s request.
  • Timo Torikka - private Pentti Saari: He is usually eating something or playing his mandolin. He often complains about the lack of food.
  • Heikki Paavilainen - private Vilho Erkkilä: Looking like a college student, he quotes patriotic poetry on the train. He is Martti and Paavo’s half brother.
  • Antti Raivio - corporal Erkki Somppi: The shortest man and leader of the 1st squad in Kantola’s half-platoon, he first appears issuing belts and cockades to the men at Kauhava School.
  • Esko Kovero - medical corporal Juho “Jussi” Pernaa: The half-platoon’s medic.
  • Martti Suosalo - private Arvi Huhtala: A skirt-chaser who smokes cigarettes with built-in holders and combs his hair when he’s nervous.
  • Markku Huhtamo - private Aatos Laitila: An older and pious man, he finds humor in taking Soviet propaganda leaflets for “a little wipe”.
  • Matti Onnismaa - corporal Veikko Korpela: A skilled machine-gunner, he gets blasted by a flamethrower tank, but survives, only mildly singed.
  • Konsta Mäkelä - private Paavo Hakala: Martti’s younger brother.
  • Tomi Salmela - private Matti Ylinen: Anna Ylinen’s older brother. On the train he drinks liquor from a bottle Pentti claims is his. He carries a blue wind-up clock, whose ticking seems to calm his nerves.
  • Samuli Edelmann - private Mauri Haapaluoma: A replacement who is so unprepared that Aatos gives him his gloves.
  • Vesa Mäkelä - lieutenant Yrjö Haavisto: He is aide-de-camp to Col. Laurila.
  • Aarno Sulkanen - captain Kaarlo Sihvo: He comes to the dugout to chew Kantola out when Russians take an unattended bunker.
  • Kari Kihlström - lieutenant Jorma Potila: He stands with Colonel Laurila as Laurila inspires the troops.
  • Esko Salminen - lieutenant-colonel Matti Laurila: Commanding officer of the 23rd Regiment of the Finnish Army.
  • Ari-Kyösti Seppo - private Ahti Saari: Pentti Saari’s younger brother. He is naive and inexperienced, so the act of killing Russians distresses him.
  • Kari Sorvali - sergeant-major Hannu Jutila: As a logistics officer, his first act is to find a field kitchen that has gone missing.
  • Esko Nikkari - private Yrjö “Ylli” Alanen: An older, experienced soldier who is almost always whittling a piece of wood. His participation in Finland’s Civil War of 1918 gives him an insouciance regarding combat.
  • Ville Virtanen - 2nd lieutenant Jaakko Rajala: An arrogant officer who bears a grudge against Martti for a minor act of insubordination. He becomes more humble as he witnesses the true nature of war.
  • Pirkko Hämäläinen - Marjatta Hakala: Martti’s wife.
  • Leena Suomu - Liisa Hakala: Martti and Paavo’s mother. She has asked Martti to watch over Paavo.
  • Tarja Heinula - Anna Ylinen: Paavo’s fiancé and Matti Ylinen’s sister.
  • Awards

    Pekka Parikka was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival in 1990.

    At the Jussi Awards (Finland's premier film awards) the same year, Talvisota received six awards:

  • Best Actor: Taneli Mäkelä
  • Best Co-ordinator: Raimo Mikkola
  • Best Direction: Pekka Parikka
  • Best Music: Juha Tikka
  • Best Sound Recording: Paul Jyrälä and team
  • Best Supporting Actor: Vesa Vierikko
  • Taneli Mäkelä also won Best Actor, for his role in the film, at the Rouen Nordic Film Festival.

    TV series

    An extended TV version was also made, consisting of five episodes, each with a running time of over 50 minutes. The series has been aired four times on Finnish TV (in 1991, 1999, 2009 and 2015).

    Home media

    The abridged international cut was released on DVD by Belle & Blade Studios. The DVD includes hard-coded English subtitles. In addition to missing plot lines, several reviewers of the DVD complained about bad picture quality.

    The original theatrical version was released on DVD by Finnkino in 2001. The DVD includes English and Swedish subtitles.

    The original theatrical version was released on DVD by Atlantic Film in 2008. The DVD includes Danish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles.

    The original theatrical version was released on two DVDs by ICD Studio in 2009. The DVD includes English and Korean subtitles.

    The extended TV version was released on two DVDs by Finnkino in 2010. This release doesn't have any subtitles and it is only available in Finland.

    The international cut was released on DVD by Scanbox Entertainment in 2011. The DVD includes English subtitles.

    The original theatrical version and international cut were released on Blu-ray by Pandastorm Pictures on 6 November 2015. The Blu-ray includes English and German subtitles. These versions were digitally restored in Finland by National Audiovisual Institute.

    The original theatrical version was released on Blu-ray by VLMedia on 18 March 2016. The Blu-ray includes English and Swedish subtitles. This version was digitally restored in Finland by National Audiovisual Institute.


    The Winter War (film) Wikipedia
    The Winter War (film) IMDb The Winter War (film)