IMDb > Knife in the Water (1962)
Nóz w wodzie
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Knife in the Water (1962) More at IMDbPro »Nóz w wodzie (original title)

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Knife in the Water -- When a young hitchhiker joins a couple on a weekend yacht trip, psychological warfare breaks out as the two men compete for the woman's attention. A storm forces the small crew below deck, and tension builds to a violent climax.


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7.6/10   14,114 votes »
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Down 25% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
28 October 1963 (USA) See more »
On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
One of the powerhouse debuts is a minimalist, existential suspense film See more (84 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Leon Niemczyk ... Andrzej

Jolanta Umecka ... Krystyna

Zygmunt Malanowicz ... Young Man
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Anna Ciepielewska ... Krystyna (voice) (uncredited)

Roman Polanski ... Young Man (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Roman Polanski 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jakub Goldberg 
Roman Polanski 
Jerzy Skolimowski  dialogue
Jerzy Skolimowski  screenplay

Produced by
Stanislaw Zylewicz .... producer
Original Music by
Krzysztof Komeda  (as Krzysztof T. Komeda)
Cinematography by
Jerzy Lipman 
Film Editing by
Halina Prugar-Ketling  (as Halina Prugar)
Production Design by
Boleslaw Kamykowski 
Makeup Department
Zdzislaw Papierz .... makeup artist
Production Management
Josef Krakowski .... production manager
Jerzy Laskowski .... assistant production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jakub Goldberg .... assistant director
Andrzej Kostenko .... assistant director
Maria Pietrzak .... assistant director
Art Department
Jerzy Bossak .... artistic director
Sound Department
Halina Paszkowska .... sound
Jerzy Szawlowski .... sound assistant
Camera and Electrical Department
Andrzej Gronau .... camera operator
Julian Magda .... assistant camera
Józef Nasiadka .... assistant camera
Jerzy Szurowski .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Maria Karpowicz .... assistant editor
Music Department
Bernt Rosengren .... musician: saxophone
Other crew
Jerzy Stefan Stawinski .... literary director (as Jerzy Stawinski)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Nóz w wodzie" - Poland (original title)
See more »
94 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Australia:PG | Finland:S | Iceland:L | Singapore:NC-16 | South Korea:12 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:PG (re-rating) (2004) | UK:PG (video rating) (1992) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

After the movie became known in US, Polanski was given a proposal to remake the film in English with some known Hollywood actors (rumors talk about Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor), but he turned it down as he didn't want to "repeat himself".See more »
Miscellaneous: Although the Peugeot 403 is seen in the first scenes and the last distant shot at the end, the car the couple get in to and drive away from the pier on their return from the trip is the elusive Mercedes 190 talked about as replaced in the trivia.See more »
[first lines]
Andrzej:[sees the boy for the first time] Hitching at this hour.
See more »


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29 out of 38 people found the following review useful.
One of the powerhouse debuts is a minimalist, existential suspense film, 18 November 2004
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

Knife in the Water is the kind of film that works beautifully at making so much out of seemingly so little. A little tale of a couple who ask a hitch-hiker they pick up to come along with them for a sail on the lakes is all the story there is. But within that story are little bits that keep the story pumping, alive. There's also a style that lends itself to a kind of film-making that was just budding with the new-wave movements of the 60's.

Roman Polanski, who co-wrote and directed the film (as well giving an entire voice-over to the hitch-hiker), is careful in reeling in the emotions out of little dialog, and is also granted two tremendous assets aside from the actors: 1) Jerzy Lipman's crisp, free-flowing, and usually tight (to get the tenseness of the three characters) b/w photography draws one in by it's deep focus and sometimes documentary feel.

2) Krzysztof Komeda's jazz soundtrack. Polanski uses the riffs of the soft, easy-going side of the weekend-out; the up-beat pacing when a humorous situation occurs when the hitch-hiker loses control of the boat; the variations that sometimes occur with the simple shots of a boat sailing fast and slow across the water. Komeda's score for the film is among one of the better ones I've ever heard, in regards to it being a great work on it's own, and to corresponding to the film (he would later provide the memorable theme to Polanski's Rosemary's Baby).

The acting itself is interesting in what is not said between them, what has to be said by their expressions. The fact that the three have distinct personalities adds to the tenseness- it would've been more conventional if the hitch-hiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz) wanted to come on and stay, but Andzrej (Leon Miemczyk) is the more insistent one. Krystyna (Jolanta Umecka), meanwhile, never says more than the other two, but is perhaps smarter as well. One thing that definitely shows the film breaking away from the attitudes of the 50's in the emphasis on the sexual tension, and the actors convey that very well when called upon - adding to this, Umecka is a total, natural knock-out, if not entirely in performance (though the quiet, inward quality is when she's at her best).

Simply, Knife in the Water is an observant, amusing, eye-widening experience, and it ranks as one of the premiere debuts of cinema. A+

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Polanski's Best? jackstraw901
Where's all the suspense + tension that everyone's talking about? yllennoc
A thriller about gender and sexuality radek-piskorski
15/250 Silver Screen Fiend mattleighkelly
Eerie Similarities to Natalie Wood kelkyl
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