4 user 2 critic

The Heron and the Crane (1974)

Tsaplya i zhuravl (original title)
Animated short about a love between a heron and a crane.


Yuri Norstein (as Yu. Norstein)


Roman Kachanov (screenplay) (as R. Kachanov), Yuri Norstein (screenplay) (as Yu. Norstein) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview:
Innokentiy Smoktunovskiy ... Narrator (voice)


This animated film shows the fatalities of mutual relations, non-contacts and vanity. A film that says that living outside of time and living natural relationships is impossible, it is unacceptable that one should live in such a way that it does not hurt and hurt for lost opportunities, aimlessly lived years. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

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Animation | Short

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Did You Know?


X International Festival of Animated Films in Anessy - First Prize, 1975. See more »


Featured in Masters of Russian Animation - Volume 2 (2000) See more »

User Reviews

Birds in love
11 January 2020 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Soyuzmultfilm's vast output, lasting many decades and with a wide range of interesting visual styles, themes and how it has adapted famous literature (often Soviet, i.e. the work of Gogol) has given me great pleasure for almost a decade and much of their output is worthy of more credit than it has at the moment. Cannot recommend their work more highly enough. It is rare to find a studio where what has been seen of theirs, which is a vast majority in my case, has never been average or less.

With their best work being as close to perfect as Russian/Soviet animation gets. That's refreshing when one sees at least one misfire with most studios and some studios that don't even have a single good effort and their best being average at best. 'The Heron and the Crane's' director is the very talented Yuri Norstein and one of the few to of what has been seen of his not have anything bad, responsible for the masterpieces that are 'Hedgehog in the Fog' and 'Tale of Tales' (two amazing examples of classic Russian animation and animation overall) and also the sublime 'Seasons' where he shared a co-credit with Ivan Ivanov-Vano, another Russian animation maestro.

'The Heron and the Crane' in my view is not quite as good as 'Hedgehog in the Fog', 'Tale of Tales' and 'Seasons', which would actually have been a big ask. With it just lacking their amount of wide range of emotional power and not quite to the gut-wrenching extent of the first two (though it is certainly there, don't get me wrong) and complexity. It is still absolutely beautiful and anybody that loves Soyuzmultfilm and animation in general and hasn't seen it yet should do.

Like Soyuzmultfilm and Norstein overall, the animation is stunning and quite a unique visual style in this case. The backgrounds are especially good, the level of complex detail just astounds and the colours are rich and atmospheric. The music is similarly hauntingly beautiful and fits the memorable images like the best of red wine and cheese.

Although it was just said that other Norstein works had even more emotional impact, that doesn't stop 'The Heron and the Crane' from still being a moving experience. The titular characters are engaging and easy to relate to and the central relationship is not as odd as one fears before watching. Actually found it quite delicately handled and the bond resonates. The story is slight but poignant.

In a nutshell, great and well worth tracking down. 9/10

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Soviet Union



Release Date:

1974 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Heron and Crane See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Soyuzmultfilm See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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