The Winter War (film)

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The Winter War
Talvisota DVD cover.PNG
The Finnish DVD cover
Directed by Pekka Parikka
Produced by Marko Röhr
Written by Pekka Parikka,
Antti Tuuri
Starring Taneli Mäkelä,
Vesa Vierikko,
Timo Torikka,
Mika Heikki Paavilainen,
Antti Raivio,
Esko Kovero,
Martti Suosalo,
Markku Huhtamo,
Konsta Mäkelä
Distributed by National-Filmi
Release dates
30 November 1989 (Finland)
Running time
Original: 195 minutes
TV series: 265 minutes
Country Finland
Language Finnish

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 Winter War tells the story of two brothers Paavo and Martti Hakala in their experience during the war. Set during World War II after Germany invades Poland in September of 1939, the Soviet Union attacks Finland in November of the same year. Finnish reservists leave their homes to go to war. The film focuses on two farmers from the municipality of Kauhava in the province of Pohjanmaa/Ostrobothnia, brothers Martti and Paavo Hakala, serving in a Finnish platoon.


Production notes[edit]

The film depicts a wide array of genuine wartime vehicles and artillery; and when these were not available, replicas were used. These include the T-26 light tank, the Tupolev SB fast bomber, the Polikarpov I-16, and the 37 mm PstK/36 anti-tank gun. Animated special effects were used to simulate tracer projectiles.


Pekka Parikka was nominated for a Golden Bear in the category of Best Director at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival in 1990.[1]

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.[2]

TV series[edit]

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).

DVD releases[edit]

The original theatrical version was released on DVD by Finnkino in 2001. The DVD includes Swedish and English 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 abridged American version 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 abridged version was released on DVD by Scanbox Entertainment in 2011.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Programme". Retrieved 2011-03-20. 
  2. ^ "Palmares since 1988". Retrieved 2013-03-28. 

External links[edit]