7.8/10
5,932
27 user 27 critic

Kanal (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 20 April 1957 (Poland)
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

Writers:

Jerzy Stefan Stawinski (screenplay), Jerzy Stefan Stawinski (story)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

As WWII and the German occupation ends, the Polish resistance and the Russian forces turn on each other in an attempt to take over leadership in Communist Poland.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Zbigniew Cybulski, Ewa Krzyzewska, Waclaw Zastrzezynski
Man of Marble (1977)
Drama
    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
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
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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
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
Speed (1959)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Poland, during the World War. Lotna is a magnificent specimen of Arabian horse, the pride of her owner, too old to actually ride her but to whom she remains faithful nevertheless. The ... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Jerzy Pichelski, Adam Pawlikowski, Jerzy Moes
Eroica (1958)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two sketches covering episodes from the World War II. In the first novel, "Scherzo alla polacca", a shrewd son, trying to preserve his skin, ultimately becomes a hero and finds a reason for... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Munk
Stars: Edward Dziewonski, Barbara Polomska, Ignacy Machowski
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Film opens with the mad rush of haphazard freedom as the concentration camps are liberated. Men are trying to grab food, change clothes, bury their tormentors they find alive. Then they are... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Daniel Olbrychski, Stanislawa Celinska, Aleksander Bardini
The Ashes (1965)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set in the time of Napoleon wars, shows how the wars swept over the unfortunate Polish country at the beginning of the 19th century. Story revolves around the Polish legion under command of... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Daniel Olbrychski, Boguslaw Kierc, Piotr Wysocki
Wesele (1973)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set at the turn of the century, the story concerns a Polish poet living in Cracow who has decided to marry a peasant girl. The wedding is attended by a heterogenous group of people from all... See full summary »

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Marek Walczewski, Izabella Olszewska, Ewa Zietek
Night Train (1959)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Leon Niemczyk, Teresa Szmigielówna
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Teresa Izewska ... Stokrotka
Tadeusz Janczar ... Ens. Jacek 'Korab'
Wienczyslaw Glinski ... Lt. 'Zadra'
Tadeusz Gwiazdowski Tadeusz Gwiazdowski ... Sgt. 'Kula'
Stanislaw Mikulski ... Smukly
Emil Karewicz ... Lt. 'Madry'
Vladek Sheybal ... Michal 'Ogromny', the composer (as Wladyslaw Sheybal)
Teresa Berezowska Teresa Berezowska ... Halinka
Zofia Lindorf Zofia Lindorf ... Old woman looking for her daughter
Janina Jablonowska Janina Jablonowska ... Woman
Maria Kretz Maria Kretz ... Wounded Woman
Jan Englert ... Zefir
Kazimierz Dejunowicz ... Capt. 'Zabawa'
Zdzislaw Lesniak Zdzislaw Lesniak ... Maly
Maciej Maciejewski ... Lt. 'Gustaw'
Edit

Storyline

A symbolic depiction of hell on Earth, set in the last days of the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Lieutenant Zadra is commanding a company of 43 men in a desperate battle amidst the ruins. Facing German offense and cut off from their comrades, Zadra is commanded to retreat his men through the sewer system ('kanal'). Zadra and his men are reluctant to do so, as it would indicate that they have lost the battle, but decide to obey the orders. However, as the men (and women) retreat, it becomes clear that their desperate attempt to flee from the hell of battle will result only in more death and suffering... Written by Heka A.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"THE END of SEPTEMBER 1944 the Warsaw uprising was drawing to its tragic end." So begins the brilliant new Polish film about the men and women who took to the sewers of Warsaw in flight from the Nazis See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish | German

Release Date:

20 April 1957 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

Kanal See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zespól Filmowy "Kadr" See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A lot of the film's crew members took part in the 1944 Warsaw uprising (e.g. cinematographer Jerzy Lipman or actor Tadeusz Janczar). Screenwriter Jerzy Stefan Stawinski used the sewers during the uprising in order to get from the southern district of Mokotów to the city center. As he said in an interview, each character in the film has at least one equivalent of a real-life insurgent he was acquainted with. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: These are the tragic heroes: watch them closely in the remaining hours of their lives.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in In the Shadow of Hollywood (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Watch this film closely in the last hours of heroes lives...
8 September 2008 | by Goodbye_Ruby_TuesdaySee all my reviews

Did Andrzej Wajda predict the modern horror film? Or was he merely acting on--and manipulating--our fear of the big, scary monster? There are many shots in KANAL where the camera will simply stay on a passageway seconds after the survivors leave the shot. As a modern audience who has lived through horror films, we expect a Nazi or a monster to slip into the frame in the background, but it never does. KANAL truly is a horror film, but what's unbearable to us and the sturdy group of Resistance fighters isn't the Nazis above the sewers or the metaphorical monster, but it is the solitude and emptiness that drives them to insanity, death or a bitter end.

KANAL is Andrzej Wajda's dirty, bloody valentine to the heroes of the 1944 Warsaw Resistance as the film follows the last hours of a band of heroes in their ultimately futile attempt to escape the Nazis through the labyrinth of underground sewers. We are first introduced to them as strong, willful humans trying to survive in a world that's falling to ruins (One could also argue that Andrzej Wajda also created the first post-apocalypse film). They laugh, they love, they play music in the last happy moments of their lives. After they enter the sewers, we expect and want them to come out even more strong-willed than ever--how many people can face dead bodies floating in the water of a dirty sewer with the same calm defiance? But as time goes on and the group gets separated, it becomes more and more inevitable that these heroes are not meant for a Hollywood's movie's happy, redemptive ending.

Andrzej Wajda, like Roman Polanski, was a real survivor of the Nazi invasion of Poland during WWII, and both became filmmakers who brought their experiences to films, as Polanski did with Oscar-winning THE PIANIST. However, Polanski's film, though absolutely profound, doesn't have Wajda's eye for details--the scenes of ruined Warsaw, for example, seem almost CGI'ed and it's obvious that he's trying to go for more, while Wajda will focus solely on the dirty ground, the debris blowing in the wind, or the flames of a burning building in the background. With Wajda, less is much more effective. If there is a situation more dirty, awful, lonely, scary or haunting than these people making their way through the labyrinths, I have yet to see it.


23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed