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The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

Letyat zhuravli (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, War | 21 March 1960 (USA)
Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Veronika (as T. Samoylova)
... Boris (as A. Batalov)
Vasiliy Merkurev ... Fyodor Ivanovich (as V. Merkuryev)
Aleksandr Shvorin ... Mark (as A. Shvorin)
... Irina (as S. Kharitonova)
Konstantin Kadochnikov ... Volodya (as K. Nikitin)
... Stepan (as V. Zubkov)
Antonina Bogdanova ... Babushka (as A. Bogdanova)
... Chernov (as B. Kokovkin)
Ekaterina Kupriyanova ... Anna Mikhajlovna (as Ye. Kupriyanova)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
... (as V. Ananina)
Olga Dzisko ... (as O. Dzisko)
Klarina Frolova-Vorontsova ... (as K. Frolova)
Leonid Knyazev ... (as L. Knyazev)
Georgiy Kulikov ... (as Yu. Kulikov)
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Storyline

As the clouds of war spread over Russia during Germany's surprise invasion in 1941, the fervent young lovers, the sensitive Veronika and the stalwart Boris, are parted when the patriotic lad secretly volunteers for the war effort. During the following hard years, Veronika who serves her country as a wartime-nurse will lose communication with Boris, moreover, when a devastating air raid destroys her house and Boris' father takes her in to live with the family, unexpectedly, things will take a turn for the worse. Before long, the worried fiancée will find herself dealing not only with the dark thoughts of Boris' potential loss but also with the burden of an unwelcome decision. Once, the star-crossed lovers swore eternal devotion under a flock of flying cranes, still, a war is always cruel and eternally disastrous. Written by Nick Riganas

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The Grand Prize Winner - Cannes International Film Festival See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

21 March 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cranes Are Flying  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With the death of Stalin in 1953, the "cult of personality" that had infused many Soviet movies during his rule began to relax. "The Cranes are Flying" caused quite a stir upon its release as it deviated from that ruling. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Boris: Wait, squirrel! Here. Put it on.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Closer to the Moon (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exquisite romantic tale of bittersweet war romance...
16 May 2007 | by See all my reviews

Russian actress TATIANA SAMOILOVA reminds me so much of the young Audrey Hepburn and the camera in THE CRANES ARE FLYING seems to love her just as much. She is the focal point of a bittersweet war romance against the background of World War II in Moscow.

The film is almost poetic in its gorgeous B&W cinematography which was the main reason for watching the film in the first place, since I had never heard of it and decided to give it a try when it aired on TCM.

It's a very moving love story about a girl's deep love for a man who is suddenly swept away by his role as a soldier drafted in wartime Russia. She's unable to forget the memory of her romantic attachment to him, but inexplicably marries someone else who has forced himself on her, a pianist who soon realizes that she still loves the soldier she hopes to hear from. Their marriage is a troubled one because she can't let go of her remembrance of a happier time with her soldier sweetheart.

By the end of the story, she accepts the idea that he's never going to return and is able to face reality and cope with the situation. There's a very poignant final scene at a train station where arriving soldiers are greeting their loved ones and the tearful girl shares the joy of the returning soldiers by giving some flowers from her bouquet to the joyous families.

The stylish and striking camera-work is what carries the film, as well as the honestly played story.

Tastefully done, but perhaps the English subtitles didn't tell the whole tale because some of the plot elements seemed a bit blurred to me as if they had been glossed over.

Summing up: Easy to see why it won awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Reminded me, in style, of another great Russian film, BALLAD OF A SOLDIER.


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