Kanal (1957)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  20 April 1957 (Poland)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 4,744 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 23 critic

In 1944, during the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis, Polish Lieutenant Zadra and his resistance fighters use Warsaw's sewer system to escape the German encirclement.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Teresa Izewska ...
Tadeusz Janczar ...
Ens. Jacek 'Korab'
Wienczyslaw Glinski ...
Lt. 'Zadra'
Tadeusz Gwiazdowski ...
Sgt. 'Kula'
Stanislaw Mikulski ...
Emil Karewicz ...
Lt. 'Madry'
Vladek Sheybal ...
Michal 'Ogromny', the composer (as Wladyslaw Sheybal)
Teresa Berezowska ...
Zofia Lindorf ...
Old woman looking for her daughter
Janina Jablonowska ...
Maria Kretz ...
Wounded Woman
Kazimierz Dejunowicz ...
Capt. 'Zabawa'
Zdzislaw Lesniak ...
Maciej Maciejewski ...
Lt. 'Gustaw'


A symbolic depiction of hell on Earth, set in the last days of the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Lieutenant Zadra is commanding a company of 43 men in a desperate battle amidst the ruins. Facing German offense and cut off from their comrades, Zadra is commanded to retreat his men through the sewer system ('kanal'). Zadra and his men are reluctant to do so, as it would indicate that they have lost the battle, but decide to obey the orders. However, as the men (and women) retreat, it becomes clear that their desperate attempt to flee from the hell of battle will result only in more death and suffering... Written by Heka A.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of the heroic Warsaw Rising.


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

20 April 1957 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Kanal  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


A lot of the film's crew members took part in the 1944 Warsaw uprising (e.g. cinematographer Jerzy Lipman or actor Tadeusz Janczar). Screenwriter Jerzy Stefan Stawinski used the sewers during the uprising in order to get from the southern district of Mokotów to the city center. As he said in an interview, each character in the film has at least one equivalent of a real-life insurgent he was acquainted with. See more »


Narrator: These are the tragic heroes: watch them closely in the remaining hours of their lives.
See more »


Referenced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

It is relentless
26 December 2005 | by (Ronn Ives/FUTURES Antiques, Norfolk, VA.) – See all my reviews

"Kanal" (Polish, 1957): This is the second of Andrzej Wajda's trilogy about WWII in Poland. I love the photography – the light, the angles, the flowing camera movements. "Kanal" is about a group of resistance fighters and civilians who, out of necessity, band together to fight (what appears to be a losing battle) against the oncoming Nazis. First set in an incredibly bleak ruin of Warsaw, the story and acting only intensify as they begrudgingly try to escape through the underground sewer system. This one will take it out of you. It is relentless. It is relentless. It is relentless. It is relentless. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless.

13 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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