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

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, War  |  29 May 1961 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,669 users  
Reviews: 35 user | 55 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 »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Kanal (1957)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Teresa Izewska, Tadeusz Janczar, Wienczyslaw Glinski
A Generation (1955)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Story of youths during the German occupation of Poland in the World War II who come to adulthood through love and adversity.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Tadeusz Lomnicki, Urszula Modrzynska, Tadeusz Janczar
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

At the turn of the century, Lodz, Poland was a quick-paced manufacturing center for textiles, replete with cutthroat industrialists and unsafe working conditions. Three young friends, a ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Daniel Olbrychski, Wojciech Pszoniak, Andrzej Seweryn
Man of Marble (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 1976, a young woman in Krakow is making her diploma film, looking behind the scenes at the life of a 1950s bricklayer, Birkut, who was briefly a proletariat hero, at how that heroism was... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Krystyna Janda, Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Tadeusz Lomnicki
Night Train (1959)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man, Jerzy, enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something--and so does the strange woman with whom he must share a sleeping compartment.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Leon Niemczyk, Teresa Szmigielówna
Man of Iron (1981)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A worker becomes a "man of iron" forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Marian Opania
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young doctor is tired of being sought by women. One night he meets a young girl who all but forces herself into his room where they talk of morals and love. But he loses her when he goes ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Tadeusz Lomnicki, Krystyna Stypulkowska, Wanda Koczeska
Danton (1983)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Action opens in November of 1793, with Danton returning to Paris from his country retreat upon learning that the Committee for Public Safety, under Robespierre's incitement, has begun a ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Wojciech Pszoniak, Anne Alvaro
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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.

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov
Stars: Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasiliy Merkurev
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Upon finding a book that relates his grandfather's story, an officer ventures through Spain meeting a wide array of characters, most of whom have a story of their own to tell.

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Zbigniew Cybulski, Iga Cembrzynska, Elzbieta Czyzewska
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A priest is sent to a small parish in the Polish countryside which is believed to be under demonic possession and there he finds his own temptations awaiting.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Mieczyslaw Voit, Anna Ciepielewska
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz


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?


Citizen Kane (1941) - and Gregg Toland's cinematography in particular - was a huge influence on Andrzej Wajda at the time. Like Toland, the first thing the film's cinematographer Jerzy Wójcik did was convince production designer Roman Mann to include ceilings in all the sets. 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 Without Title (1980) See more »


Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53
[Performed by orchestra for celebratory war's end banquet. Name of performers not listed.]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

some people have to change roles
4 July 2007 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

At its most basic, Andrzej Wajda's "Popiol i diament" (called "Ashes and Diamonds" in English) may seem to be a look at where Poland would be going after WWII ended. The plot involves young Maciek Chelmicki (Zbigniew Cybulski), who has helped expel the Nazis from Poland. With the Soviet Union now taking over the country, he is ordered to shift his allegiance to them. Through Maciek's acquaintances with communist leader Szczuka and barmaid Krzystyna (Ewa Krzyzewska), a potentially explosive situation arises.

If you know nothing about how the movie got made, this seems to be the whole purpose. But there are other points. In a mini-documentary about the movie, Andrzej Wajda and his collaborators explain how the novel on which the movie is based had Szczuka as the main character. Wajda not only moved the focus to Maciek - and gave him sort of a James Dean look

  • but also stressed the scene where Maciek talks with the man who

fought in the Spanish Civil War. Apparently, fighting like the man did is a Polish tradition. Therefore, the film likely appeals to the Poles in almost every way; the perfect Polish movie, if you will.

Although I've never seen any of Andrzej Wajda's other movies - hell, I'd never heard of him until the Academy Awards gave him an honorary Oscar - I staunchly recommend this one. One can clearly see how he used the movie to subtly challenge the Soviet domination of his country (of course, they couldn't openly say anything against the USSR). Poland's pro-Soviet government had approved the movie, but didn't want to let it outside Poland. Wajda got some people to smuggle it out of the country, and it reached much of the world. Probably the most amazing scene is the end. I won't spoil the end, but I'll note that blood on a white sheet looks a bit like Poland's flag (a nationalistic statement).

All in all, a great movie. Andrzej Wajda has every reason to be proud of it.

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
early kubrick's love marianeta
Is Kieslowski's 'White' the sequel? jg1972
Song? jg1972
How do you pronounce his name? dotsetloops
Do I have to see them in order? altimetermanswo
White horse tama-12
Discuss Ashes and Diamonds (1958) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: