The Unknown Soldier (1985 film)

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The Unknown Soldier
Unknown Soldier 1985 cover.jpg
A DVD cover for The Unknown Soldier.
Directed byRauni Mollberg
Produced byRauni Mollberg
Written byVeikko Aaltonen
Väinö Linna
StarringRisto Tuorila
Pirkka-Pekka Petelius
Paavo Liski
Mika Mäkelä
Pertti Koivula
Tero Niva
Ossi-Ensio Korvuo
Mikko Niskanen
Pauli Poranen
Distributed byArctic-Filmi
Release date
  • 1985 (1985)
Running time
Theatrical: 199 min
TV version: 227 min

The Unknown Soldier (Finnish: Tuntematon sotilas) is a Finnish film from 1985 directed by Rauni Mollberg. It is a remake of the 1955 film of the same title, directed by Edvin Laine and based on the best selling Finnish novel by the same name written by Väinö Linna.

It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival.[1] The film was selected as the Finnish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 59th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[2]


Set against the events of the Finnish Continuation war, the film follows a machine gun troop's journey into the Soviet Union. The troop includes the simple-minded Hietanen, the jokey Vanhala, the cynical Lahtinen, the cowardly Riitaoja and grumpy Lehto. The film also follows the command officers, such as the happy and slightly senile Captain Kaarna, the young and idealistic Captain Kariluoto and the strict and unsympathetic Lieutenant Lammio. They face many struggles, such as seeing the supportive Kaarna die in their first battle and three of the soldiers refusing to leave their punishment post during an air-raid, as well as defending the trenches after the Finns have taken back parts of Karelia. Partway through their journey, the troop is joined by Rokka, a Karelian veteran of the Winter War, who also clashes with Lammio due to having little respect for military discipline, despite being an excellent and capable soldier.



Mollberg used young and unknown actors, many of whom are now famous. The film was shot in color with much hand-held footage, attempting to portray the story more realistically than the prior Edvin Laine version. This has often led to unfavorable comparisons with the better-known 1955 adaption. Although a full musical score was composed for the movie, Mollberg released the finished film without it for stylistic reasons.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Unknown Soldier". Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  2. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

External links[edit]