5.8/10
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1944: The Final Defence (2007)

Tali-Ihantala 1944 (original title)
The Soviet army breaks through the Finnish defences on the Karelian Isthmus in June 1944, advancing with overwhelming force. Somehow, the Finnish troops must find the strength to fight back... See full summary »

Directors:

Åke Lindman, Sakari Kirjavainen (co-director)
Reviews
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rauno Ahonen Rauno Ahonen ... Lieutenant Colonel
Mikkomarkus Ahtiainen Mikkomarkus Ahtiainen
Frank Biermann Frank Biermann
Jussi Brech Jussi Brech
Mikko Bredenberg Mikko Bredenberg ... Captain Carl-Birger Kvikant
Riko Eklundh Riko Eklundh ... Colonel Sven Björkman
Marc Gassot Marc Gassot ... Sergeant Reino Lehväslaiho
Marcus Groth Marcus Groth ... Major General Ruben Lagus
Johan Hallström Johan Hallström ... Second Lieutenant Thorbjörnsson
Kari Hevossaari Kari Hevossaari ... Lieutenant Puhakka
Aku Hirviniemi
Antti Holma Antti Holma
Jani Honkaselkä Jani Honkaselkä
Markku Hyvönen Markku Hyvönen ... Lance Corporal Ville Väisänen
Janne Hyytiäinen ... Major of Air-force
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Storyline

The Soviet army breaks through the Finnish defences on the Karelian Isthmus in June 1944, advancing with overwhelming force. Somehow, the Finnish troops must find the strength to fight back, with all odds against them. The Battle of Tali-Ihantala was the largest battle ever fought in the history of the Nordic countries. This film depicts the true events through five separate stories. Written by vake

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Duty, betrayal, sacrifice See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Finland

Language:

Finnish | Swedish | German

Release Date:

7 December 2007 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Battle for Finland: Tali-Ihantala 1944 See more »

Filming Locations:

Finland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR3,200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,477,250
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was made using a wide array of genuine wartime vehicles. Some of the tanks used were actual individual vehicles which had participated in the actual real life, including Stug Ausf III German assault gun and T-34-85's, Russian medium tank. Also used was a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 replica, made by the German company Flug Werk. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Mannerheim: Perhaps I should go to bed.
See more »

Soundtracks

Oi kallis Suomenmaa
Composed by Timo Hietala / Trad.
Lyrics by Heikki Klemetti
Arranged by Timo Hietala
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An unconventional movie for war buffs
4 October 2008 | by teppo-2See all my reviews

Tali-Ihantala 1944 isn't an ordinary movie in any sense, really. There's no continuation with the characters, as the movie is basically split into several parts, between which there is no direct correlation or continuation. The parts are only woven together lightly by some "narrative" cut-scenes between them, explaining some of the major movements and events in the battles, but even so most of the time the events portrayed don't really tie in to the "large scale events" explained by the cut-scenes.

As the different parts have different characters each time, there's no character development or any major social interaction. For a large part, the actors aren't really top notch either - an unfortunate side effect of this being a Finnish film, as there simply aren't many good Finnish actors. But it has to be said that there's not even that much "real" acting to be done the way this film is made.

The main feature of the movie is the documentary-like battle scenes. The events depicted are based on real occurrences during the Tali-Ihantala battles, taken from various sources.

Of particular interest to WW2 "hardware" buffs is the part about the Finnish Armored forces. It features many authentic WW2 armored vehicles. The depicted T-34 tanks are all authentic, and so are the StuG III G assault guns. That aside, the KV tanks shown are mock-ups if memory serves, since while the real KVs that took part in those events still exist in a museum, they are not in a running condition. There's some other details not spot on as well, but that's a topic for another time.

One thing to note is that it's obvious the movie makers didn't have access to all that many tanks, as it can clearly be seen the same tanks are reused to portray tanks on both sides. It's not a big issue given the authenticity of the tanks to begin with though, and someone not more familiar with it all probably wouldn't even notice.

Most of the other battle scenes are infantry-related, which comes as no surprise since not only are they the easiest and cheapest to make, but also because infantry was the main feature of the Finnish army, since armored and air forces were very limited in size. These infantry scenes are decently made, even if nothing spectacular. Still, for many battles I ended up wishing for more sheer manpower on the screen, both for the visuals of it as well as historical accuracy.

Overall it's clear this isn't a huge-budget production. The whole film was funded in a rather unconventional fashion to make it possible to begin with. It also has to be said that indeed for the Average Joe this movie might not offer much, but for war buffs it should certainly be worth watching. Even for the average viewer, perhaps more names and details would've helped with immersing into the events more, and for war buffs this could've helped with finding more information on the depicted events.

It's a mixed review, I know (it's my first), so to summarize I'll just say that even with the budget-imposed limitations and often less than stellar acting, it was well worth watching for someone familiar with the events and with a keen interest on the whole war era, and I'll certainly buy the DVD as well, hopefully soon. For those with no real interest in war history and somewhat plain depiction of events however, it's probably best to look elsewhere, or at least make sure you know what to expect.

I'll add as an afterthought that I would have wished for a depiction of the Finnish Air Force's operations, but sadly it was not really possible with the film's style and budget (even the small part about the German flight group Kuhlmey is rather crude). The FAF's part and actions in the war are not very widely known even within Finland, so they'd deserve some publicity.


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