7.9/10
8,823
39 user 63 critic

Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

Popiól i diament (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama , Romance , War | 29 May 1961 (USA)
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

Writers:

Jerzy Andrzejewski (novel), Jerzy Andrzejewski (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Kanal (1957)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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
Stars: Teresa Izewska, Tadeusz Janczar, Wienczyslaw Glinski
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
    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
    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
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
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
Pociag (1959)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 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
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
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Upon finding a book that relates his grandfather's story, an officer ventures through Spain meeting a wide array of characters, most of whom have a story of their own to tell.

Director: Wojciech Has
Stars: Zbigniew Cybulski, Iga Cembrzynska, Elzbieta Czyzewska
Salto (1965)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man hops off a train by the small town where he claims he was before. His presence allows to bring out the inner feelings and beliefs of the inhabitants. A man who has hidden through all ... See full summary »

Director: Tadeusz Konwicki
Stars: Zbigniew Cybulski, Jerzy Block, Marta Lipinska
Ukigumo (1955)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A tragic social drama set in post war Japan and concerns a lonely woman trying to find purpose and stability in a devastated Tokyo.

Director: Mikio Naruse
Stars: Hideko Takamine, Masayuki Mori, Mariko Okada
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The disappearance of the leading actor from the film's set worries its director Andrzej. He embarks on a journey to look out for the actor with a young actor and missing actor's wife and mistress.

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Stars: Beata Tyszkiewicz, Elzbieta Czyzewska, Andrzej Lapicki
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Zbigniew Cybulski ... Maciek Chelmicki
Ewa Krzyzewska ... Krystyna
Waclaw Zastrzezynski ... Szczuka
Adam Pawlikowski ... Andrzej
Bogumil Kobiela ... Drewnowski
Jan Ciecierski ... Portier
Stanislaw Milski ... Pieniazek
Artur Mlodnicki ... Kotowicz
Halina Kwiatkowska Halina Kwiatkowska ... Staniewiczowa
Ignacy Machowski ... Waga
Zbigniew Skowronski Zbigniew Skowronski ... Slomka
Barbara Krafftówna ... Stefka (as Barbara Kraftówna)
Aleksander Sewruk ... Swiecki
Zofia Czerwinska ... Barmaid Lili (as Z. Czerwinska)
Wiktor Grotowicz Wiktor Grotowicz ... Franek Pawlicki (as W. Grotowicz)
Edit

Storyline

Maciek, a young Resistance fighter, is ordered to kill Szczuka, a Communist district leader, on the last day of World War II. Though killing has been easy for him in the past, Szczuka was a fellow soldier, and Maciek must decide whether to follow his orders. Written by Kevin Dorner <mrkevvy@pathcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Drama of Political Assassination See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish

Release Date:

29 May 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ashes and Diamonds See more »

Filming Locations:

Wroclaw, Dolnoslaskie, Poland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original: 108')

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Favorite film of actor Scott Glenn. See more »

Goofs

Majek is shot in the back while running away from military, but in the following scenes his wounds are only in his chest and not in his back. See more »

Quotes

Krystyna: So often, are you as a blazing torch with flames/ of burning rags falling about you flaming, /you know not if flames bring freedom or death. /Consuming all that you must cherish /if ashes only will be left, and want Chaos and tempest...
Maciek Chelmicki: ...Or will the ashes hold the glory of a starlike diamond... /The Morning Star of everlasting triumph.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Zbyszek (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Si me quieres escribir
[Popular song from the Spanish Civil War]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A masterpiece that should never be forgotten
5 January 2006 | by maciosghSee all my reviews

First, I've read a book by Jerzy Andrzejewski and then I've seen the movie. After that, I never went back to the book. It was not because it was bad, quite the contrary - it was very good. But the movie by Andrzej Wajda is definitely a masterpiece of Polish movie-making. The main plot of the movie revolves around Maciek Chelmicki, a young idealist who fought against the Germans and then turned to fight against the Communists. He is sent to kill Szczuka, one of The Party's middle rank administrators, by the Polish underground.That's the plot. The movie itself is about a lot of important things, common to all people (but I believe the Polish people will find a few of them more emotionally binding):

1. Nothing is black or white, everything is just a shade of gray

2. Is death, no matter how you try to justify it, senseless?

3. Is it better to live, while on your knees or die standing straight? Or maybe it's better to try to live standing straight?

4. That sometimes it's not war that is hell, it's living through war and trying to live a normal life that is a lot harder (thank God I do not know if it is so)

Wajda's movie doesn't give direct answers to any of these questions - each person may watch the movie from a different point of view and get to a totally different conclusion. But even if you're not into psychological movies about war, or noir-movies (and Popiol i Diament is definitely a sort of a noir-movie) it's worth watching for just one scene - the burning vodka glasses at the bar - Cybulski at his best.

And lastly - the motto of the movie (and of the book as well):

"Will ash and chaos be left in the end, that follows a storm into abyss Or may a diamond be found in the ash, a dawn of an everlasting victory"

Cyprian Kamil Norwid

PS: I hope Mr Norwid will not turn in his grave at the quality of my translation but that part of a poem by CK Norwid sums up the movie really well.


61 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 39 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular 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