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Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

Popiól i diament (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 29 May 1961 (USA)
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:
Artur Mlodnicki ...
Halina Kwiatkowska ...
Zbigniew Skowronski ...
Stefka (as Barbara Kraftówna)
Aleksander Sewruk ...
Barmaid Lili (as Z. Czerwinska)
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 <mrkevvy@pathcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Drama of Political Assassination


Drama | Romance | 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
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Did You Know?


Zbigniew Cybulski came to be known as the Polish James Dean. A lot of this stemmed from Andrzej Wajda's direction of the actor, both having seen Dean on screen. Wajda wanted Cybulski to emulate Dean's air of diffidence and apparent "non-acting" for Ashes and Diamonds (1958). See more »


Glasses of vodka are set alight which burn for an unnaturally long length of time and with a bigger flame than expected, suggesting a purer fuel was used in the film, such as petrol. Moreover, when the final flame dies (c.41 minutes) no liquid remains in the glass. Only the alcohol content is flammable in any glass of spirit and a residue of water would be left behind with even the very strongest of Polish vodkas. 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 Pierscionek z orlem w koronie (1992) 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

Surely the most mature of the trilogy
21 October 1999 | by (toronto) – See all my reviews

Surely the most mature of the trilogy; it's certainly the most elliptical and stylistically audacious. At the start, Cybulski is a laidback, coldly cynical assassin who lolls on his back in a field waiting to carry out his latest hit; suffering a crisis of confidence in light of his awakening love for a woman, he flirts with desertion before resigning himself to the demands of his position. His personal journey speaks eloquently to the national trauma, and he's just the most prominent in a complex collection of transition figures, caught on the official last night of the war, now looking forward but not yet able to escape the ravages of war and the attendant moral and psychological confusion, not yet free of potential victimhood (like the mayor's assistant who on learning of his boss' promotion drinks excessively in celebration of his own presumed advancement, but in his disruptive drunkenness kills off what future he had). The ending, intercutting a personal tragedy with the dancers doing the elegant polannaise in the streaming light of dawn, like disembodied Felliniesque figures, perfectly encapsulates the film's mix of toughness and allusiveness.

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