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Man of Iron (1981)
"Czlowiek z zelaza" (original title)

 -  Drama | History  -  27 July 1981 (Poland)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,562 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 8 critic

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 »

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Title: Man of Iron (1981)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerzy Radziwilowicz ...
...
Marian Opania ...
Winkel
Wieslawa Kosmalska ...
Wieslawa Hulewicz
Irena Byrska ...
Matka Hulrwicz
Boguslaw Linda ...
Dzidek
...
Himself
Anna Walentynowicz ...
Herself
Jerzy Borowczak ...
Himself (as Stanislaw J. Borowczak)
Zbigniew Lis ...
Himself
Teodor Kudla ...
Himself
Franciszek Trzeciak ...
Badecki
Janusz Gajos ...
Z-Ca Szefa
Andrzej Seweryn ...
Kapt. Wirski
Marek Kondrat ...
Grzenda
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Storyline

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. In Warsaw in 1980, the Party sends Winkel, a weak, alcoholic TV hack, to Gdansk to dig up dirt on the shipyard strikers, particularly on Maciek Tomczyk, an articulate worker whose father was killed in the December 1970 protests. Posing as sympathetic, Winkel interviews people who know Tomczyk, including his detained wife, Agnieszka. Their narrations become flashbacks using actual news footage of 1968 and 1970 protests and of the later birth of free unions and Solidarity. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 July 1981 (Poland)  »

Also Known As:

Man of Iron  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the first, and so far only, sequel to win the Golden Palm at Cannes. See more »

Quotes

[to Maciek and Agnieszka at their wedding]
Lech Walesa: I trust you will be a democratic couple, so let me share these flowers democratically.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Walesa: Man of Hope (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Ballada o Janku Wisniewskim
Music by Andrzej Korzynski
Lyrics by M. Cholwa
Performed by Krystyna Janda (vocal), Jacek Kaczmarski (guitar), Przemyslaw Gintrowski (guitar)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An important but unknown film...
8 July 2012 | by (Salisbury, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Typing in a correctly spelt 'Man of Iron' into a DVD search-engine and immediately every conceivable configuration of Robert Downing Jnr's "Iron Man" comes up ....presuming that we are both illiterate morons AND couldn't possibly want a 1981 film about Poland - made in Poland.

Even the most news-shy hermit could fail to have heard something about Solidarity, Gdansk and Lech Walesa's rallying, admittedly 30 years ago but now is a time to reflect, with the dust settled.

Like many, I was already familiar with Poland's most well-known (at least in the "west") director Krzysztof Kieslowski but Andrzej Wajda was a name I'd heard but not seen his work. I'm always keen to see movies, especially long ones made about social issues by a native of that country and reviews were all favourable. Buying this Mr Bongo DVD, I was not disappointed.

Some other reviewers have gone into detail about the political ins & outs but it was the film itself I primarily wanted to see and I want to immediately commend both the casting and performance of Marian Opania, as Winkiel, who excellently conveys a very believable TV journalist whose lifestyle may be typical of the profession. We witness and share his hopes and anxieties, from squeezing out the cloth he used to mop up the vodka from the bottle he'd just broken into a toothbrush cup, his other mental and physical angsts and the very real situations of power- cuts and strikes that affect everything, such as the phones.

As Winkiel gets down to the task of reporting on the uprising from the inside, especially of the charismatic leader of the striking shipbuilders, Maciek Tomczyk, whose father was killed in the riots of 1970 and whose wife was detained. As the journalist interviews those around and who know Tomczyk scenes are recreated, including the occasional use of actual news footage which illustrate the various strands leading up to the strike.

Obviously, a lot more than this goes into a riveting two and a half hour film but hopefully, with your appetite whetted, you'll now want to try it yourself. There's a whole canvas here on which Poland is painted and it's an absolutely fascinating one, but still well enough made to be both informative and entertaining.

Highly recommended for those who, like me, want to expand their World Cinema repertoire beyond the easily available/popular but still want to play safe as this is a universal film that just happens to made in the Polish language. If the subject matter is of particular interest too, well, you know it's one for your online shopping cart!


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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