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Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
"Popiól i diament" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  29 May 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,566 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 54 critic

During the German occupation noble, bourgeois and worker's partisan groups lived in peace with another. On the first day of freedom they start to fight each other. In these fights is weaved a most tender love story.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ewa Krzyzewska ...
Waclaw Zastrzezynski ...
Adam Pawlikowski ...
Jan Ciecierski ...
Stanislaw Milski ...
Artur Mlodnicki ...
Halina Kwiatkowska ...
Ignacy Machowski ...
Zbigniew Skowronski ...
Stefka (as Barbara Kraftówna)
Aleksander Sewruk ...
Zofia Czerwinska ...
Barmaid Lili
Wiktor Grotowicz ...
Franek Pawlicki (as W. Grotowicz)


Maciek, a young Resistance fighter, is ordered to kill Szczuka, a Communist district leader, on the last day of World War II. Though killing has been easy for him in the past, Szczuka was a fellow soldier, and Maciek must decide whether to follow his orders. Written by Kevin Dorner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 May 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ashes and Diamonds  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original: 108')

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title comes from a 19th century poem by Cyprian Kamil Norwid and references the manner in which diamonds are formed from heat and pressure acting upon coal. See more »


In the scene where Maciek is running away from Drewnowski and then the Russian soldiers, a train above them passes by. In one shot it is going to the left of the screen. Then in the next shot it is going to the right, then to the left again. See more »


Krystyna: So often, are you as a blazing torch with flames/ of burning rags falling about you flaming, /you know not if flames bring freedom or death. /Consuming all that you must cherish /if ashes only will be left, and want Chaos and tempest...
Maciek Chelmicki: ...Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond... /The Morning Star of everlasting triumph.
See more »


Referenced in Andrzej Wajda: On Ashes and Diamonds (2005) See more »


Czerwone maki
(Red Poppies) (uncredited)
Music by Alfred Schütz and lyrics by Feliks Konarski
Performed by Grazyna Staniszewska
See more »

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User Reviews

Modern and subtle
21 May 2007 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

The post-war years were a difficult time for much of Eastern Europe, and ended with that region being plunged into dictatorship; so in many ways, it's surprising to see a film about that era (made under the communists) whose heroes are a pair of anti-communist assassins. One might more accurately say "anti-heroes", but the truth is, Andrzej Wajda's film is a critically sympathetic account of the motives on those on all sides in the conflict. Also marking this film out as modern is the dry script and mordant humour; while a big improvement over Wajda's previous movie, 'Kanal' (which had a horrible score) is the clever use of background music as orchestration. Some things do remind you that this film is (by now) almost fifty years old: not all the acting reaches contemporary standards. Still, it's as good a movie as was made in the 1950s, and all the more telling for its relative proximity to the events it displays.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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