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Kanal (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 20 April 1957 (Poland)
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.



(screenplay), (story)

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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:
Ens. Jacek 'Korab'
Lt. 'Zadra'
Tadeusz Gwiazdowski ...
Sgt. 'Kula'
Lt. 'Madry'
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?


The film is largely free of the usual overt Communist propaganda present in most films made by Communist Bloc nations. The toned-down film was made after the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, and after the fall of the Stalinist Polish regime of Boleslaw Bierut. This explains the more relaxed political censorship applied against this film. See more »


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


Featured in The Lesson of Polish Cinema (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Fatalism in Post-war Poland
27 March 2009 | by (Bangladesh) – See all my reviews

I saw this film in a film festival in Dhaka, in early sixties(Now Bangladesh, then East Pakistan). For me as a student, Sattayjit Ray's Apu trilogy was my only exposer to any kind of art film then. Visual realism was a new thing for us in Indian sub continent. Audience were so spellbound that they could smell sewage sitting in the cinema hall. I think like all great directors, Wajda had the cinematographic sense to create that environment where viewers reality could blend with creative fiction. In post war period of late forties and in early fifties like the School of Polish Posters, all creative mediums went through this fatalistic phase. It was grotesque but realistic.

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