The Cranes Are Flying (1957)
"Letyat zhuravli" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  21 March 1960 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 9,601 users  
Reviews: 63 user | 50 critic

Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.



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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Tatyana Samoylova ...
Veronika (as T. Samoylova)
Aleksey Batalov ...
Boris (as A. Batalov)
Vasiliy Merkurev ...
Fyodor Ivanovich (as V. Merkuryev)
Aleksandr Shvorin ...
Mark (as A. Shvorin)
Svetlana Kharitonova ...
Irina (as S. Kharitonova)
Konstantin Kadochnikov ...
Volodya (as K. Nikitin)
Valentin Zubkov ...
Stepan (as V. Zubkov)
Antonina Bogdanova ...
Babushka (as A. Bogdanova)
Boris Kokovkin ...
Chernov (as B. Kokovkin)
Ekaterina Kupriyanova ...
Anna Mikhajlovna (as Ye. Kupriyanova)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Valentina Ananina ...
(as V. Ananina)
Olga Dzisko ...
(as O. Dzisko)
Klarina Frolova-Vorontsova ...
(as K. Frolova)
Leonid Knyazev ...
(as L. Knyazev)
Georgiy Kulikov ...
(as Yu. Kulikov)


Veronica and Boris are walking in the streets of Moscow and they love each other. Veronica is laughing, cause they are happy together this morning. They see some cranes in the sky. When arriving to Veronica's house they talk about a rendezvous at the bank of the river. And the 2nd World War begins in Moscow. Boris works in a factory and he hasn't got time to speak with Veronica. He has to go to the war ... Written by Kornel Osvart <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


So Much to Love - So Little Time See more »


Drama | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

21 March 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cranes Are Flying  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the film was released in the Soviet Union, it caused a sensation amongst audiences weaned on propaganda fare. For the first time, audiences were able to weep at the pain of losing millions of their population in the war. It was also the first time that subjects like draft dodging, war profiteering and the black market had been expressed on film. See more »


[first lines]
Boris: Wait, squirrel! Here. Put it on.
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User Reviews

Exquisite romantic tale of bittersweet war romance...
16 May 2007 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Russian actress TATIANA SAMOILOVA reminds me so much of the young Audrey Hepburn and the camera in THE CRANES ARE FLYING seems to love her just as much. She is the focal point of a bittersweet war romance against the background of World War II in Moscow.

The film is almost poetic in its gorgeous B&W cinematography which was the main reason for watching the film in the first place, since I had never heard of it and decided to give it a try when it aired on TCM.

It's a very moving love story about a girl's deep love for a man who is suddenly swept away by his role as a soldier drafted in wartime Russia. She's unable to forget the memory of her romantic attachment to him, but inexplicably marries someone else who has forced himself on her, a pianist who soon realizes that she still loves the soldier she hopes to hear from. Their marriage is a troubled one because she can't let go of her remembrance of a happier time with her soldier sweetheart.

By the end of the story, she accepts the idea that he's never going to return and is able to face reality and cope with the situation. There's a very poignant final scene at a train station where arriving soldiers are greeting their loved ones and the tearful girl shares the joy of the returning soldiers by giving some flowers from her bouquet to the joyous families.

The stylish and striking camera-work is what carries the film, as well as the honestly played story.

Tastefully done, but perhaps the English subtitles didn't tell the whole tale because some of the plot elements seemed a bit blurred to me as if they had been glossed over.

Summing up: Easy to see why it won awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Reminded me, in style, of another great Russian film, BALLAD OF A SOLDIER.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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