The Battle of Russia (1943) is the fifth film of Frank Capra’s Why We Fight documentary series, and the longest film of the series, consisting of two parts. The film was made in collaboration with Russian-born Anatole Litvak as primary director under Capra’s supervision. Litvak gave the film its “shape and orientation,” and the film had seven writers with voice narration by Walter Huston. The score was done by Russian-born Hollywood composer, Dimitri Tiomkin, and drew heavily on Tchaikovsky along with traditional Russian folk songs and ballads.
Film historian Christopher Meir notes that the film’s popularity “extended beyond the military audience for it was initially intended, and was the second in the series to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia Part II
Directed by Frank Capra, Anatole Litvak
Produced by Office of War Information
Written by Julius Epstein, Philip Epstein
Narrated by Walter Huston
Cinematography Robert Flaherty
Edited by William Hornbeck
Distributed by War Activities Committee of the Motion Pictures Industry
Release dates November 11, 1943
Running time 46 minutes
Country United States