The Call Of Duty franchise has paid homage to gritty war movie Enemy At The Gates more than once. The original Call Of Duty arrived in 2003 at the height of the popularity of first-person shooters set during World War II. Call Of Duty would soon evolve into one of gaming's biggest franchises after its popularity exploded thanks to 2007's Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which featured fantastic single and multiplayer campaigns.
The franchise is practically a license to print money now and star names like Kit Harrington, Jeff Goldblum, and Idris Elba have popped up in various sequels. Even entries met with mixed reactions like Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare sold comfortably. The fourth game is still considered the peak of the series, so its little wonder the next title will be Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, a soft reboot featuring the return of fan-favorite Captain Price.
Time will tell how it compares to the 2007 original, but another thing the Call Of Duty series is famous for is referencing movies. Famous examples including a motorcycle chase from Call Of Duty: Black Ops mirroring the storm drain sequence from Terminator 2 - right down to the lever-action shotgun - and Modern Warfare 2 featuring Russian troops parachuting into the suburbs like in 1984's Red Dawn. The franchise is littered with these nods, but two major setpieces have been lifted wholesale from Enemy At The Gates.
Enemy At The Gates is a 2001 war film starring Jude Law as almost supernaturally gifted Russian sniper Vasily. The film charts his duel with German sniper Major Erwin (Ed Harris, Westworld). The film was a modest success but is remembered for its tense setpieces and great cast. It also has a memorable opening sequence, where Law's terrified soldier finds himself on the front line of the Battle Of Stalingrad. He's on a boat with countless other soldiers that are attacked by German planes, but those who attempt to flee are shot by Red Army commissars. When the boat lands, two men are only issued one rifle each, with orders for the second man to pick up the weapon if their comrade dies. Law's character isn't given a rifle and later barely survives a suicidal charge against German gunfire.
It's a harrowing sequence that rivals the opening of Saving Private Ryan and this setpiece was later adapted for the original 2003 Call Of Duty. From the river crossing through to exact lines of dialogue, the "Stalingrad" level may as well be a game version of Enemy At The Gates. Another scene in the film has Law and Commisar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's Tale) hiding among dead bodies in a fountain. Law is tasked with sniping some German officers and he uses the noise from nearby bombers to mask his shots.
Call Of Duty: World At War from 2008 would almost directly lift this sequence for the level "Vendetta." Like the movie, the player character Dimitri starts in a fountain filled with bodies and is later handed a rifle by fellow survivor Reznov (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight). Like Enemy At The Gates, players are instructed to wait for bombing before taking a shot. These setpieces are loving homages, though they stick a little too close to how things play out in the movie. Some blatant movie references are par for the course for the Call Of Duty series, and it at least proves Enemy At The Gates had some iconic moments worth homaging.