It is not uncommon for a person to start his study of a topic from a movie. In fact, a good movie is what can easily give that spark that is necessary for interest to be born. Here are top picks for the Soviet-Afghan movies. Warning - spoilers ahead!
This movie has very mixed reviews. On one hand, it is pretty well made, cinematically speaking. It has the visuals, the effects, decent acting and top-notch operator work. And many people start their journey in Soviet-Afghan reenactment with this movie, since it has some popularity in Europe and United States. However, after learning a bit more about the Soviet Army in general and the contingent in Afghanistan, you start picking up little and big details which are not just unrealistic, but pure phantasy or negligence.
That's not to say that the story was completely rewritten, apparently to copy the scenario of the "Platoon". In reality it wasn't "one man left behind", but instead most of the company making it till the end of the firefight. Neither was the fight taking place during the process of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, but instead at the very beginning of 1988.
Anyhow, with all it's cons, this movie is not bad. If only we would know what Russian cinematography prepared for us in the future, we would appreciate the "9th Company" way more back at the day.
4. "Cargo 300"
Unlike "Cargo 200" this movie never had any popularity. And for a reason - it is hard to say that this movie is great from the cinematic point from view. Anyone who has no deep interest in Soviet-Afghan war period is likely to turn this off after 10-15 minutes of watching. And for a reason - the movie is somewhat boring, slow and in bad quality. However, if you are a true fan of the period, this movie will offer you a lot. Starting from the general vibe of the time it will be using live weapons, well represented firefights and period-correct equipment.
This movie is not about the Afghan War, strictly speaking. It is about the aftermath. Soviet soldier miraculously surviving being a prisoner of war in Afghan village. In the process, he converts to Islam and follows the rules and traditions ever since. In a way it resembles "Homeland", to some extend, just without any action. Oh yeah, and the main character does not hide his new believes, which frustrates his relatives and neighbors in the village.
Overall it is somewhat naïve psychological movie, which does raise the aftermath questions about how complicated it might be for the veterans to rejoin their usual society.
A really heavy movie which depicts the everyday life of Soviet POWs taken by the mujahedeen fighters. Knowing that they have little chances to survive, prisoners decide to rebel against their guards. They capture some weapons, get rid of the guards and prepare for their final battle.
This movie does not have much of the usual Afghan war scenes and no equipment, so much desired by the reenactors and collectors. This movie is really different to your regular war action movie, thought it is still a must-watch for those who study Soviet Afghan war.
Best movie about Soviet-Afghan war, hands down. And one of the best war movies overall. Not being an Afghan veteran myself, I have read numerous memoirs of those who participated in the events. And this movie has just the same vibe like these books. The dialogues, hopes, feelings and overall atmosphere is very well presented in this movie. I guess filming straight after the end of the war in the very similar geographical region was helpful.
There are some small details to whine about, like soldiers using infamous Poyas-A chest-rig. But this definitely doesn't ruin the movie and you have to excuse the creators. At the time, there was no analysis of what webbings and pouches worked for what period of the war.
Overall, it is a brilliant movie and should be watched by anyone who is interested in the topic. Good acting, brilliant scenery, well choreographed firefights. And it doesn't look like there will ever be a better movie made about these events.