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Knife in the Water (1962)

Nóz w wodzie (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 28 October 1963 (USA)
A couple pick up a hitchhiker on the way to their yacht. The husband invites the young man to come along for their day's sailing. As the voyage progresses, the antagonism between the two men grows. A violent confrontation is inevitable.


Roman Polanski


Jakub Goldberg (scenario), Roman Polanski (scenario) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Leon Niemczyk ... Andrzej
Jolanta Umecka ... Krystyna
Zygmunt Malanowicz ... Young Man


Well off Andrzej and Krystyna's marriage is at a stage where familiarity breeds contempt, that contempt which is outwardly shown only behind closed doors and only when an incident of some sort sets off one or the other. While driving through the countryside on a Sunday on their way to the lake to embark on an overnight sailing excursion, they almost run over a young male hitchhiker. Despite the antagonism between Andrzej and the hitchhiker, Andrzej offers him a ride as far as the marina. By the time they reach the lake, their antagonism has dissipated enough that Andrzej asks if he would like to join them on their sailing trip. The hitchhiker accepts despite knowing nothing about sailing. As the sailing trip progresses, the antagonism between the two men begins to increase again, fueled on both sides as each strives to be the alpha male. Andrzej needs to show his superiority, while the hitchhiker needs to show that his young age and inexperience, not only with sailing but with life in... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Poland's Official Academy Award Entry See more »


Drama | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The first Polish theatrical film to show a woman stripping. See more »


After Young Boy takes out his knife to offer it to Krystyna to cut the radishes he gave her, he then leans back to play the knife game with his hand. As he leans back, the head of a light-haired fourth person can be seen sticking up from the cabin behind him. This is presumably a crew member, but the person is unidentifiable due to the briefness of the shot and the angle of the person's head. See more »


[first lines]
Andrzej: [sees the boy for the first time] Hitching at this hour.
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Referenced in 'El Chicko' - der Verdacht (1996) See more »


Heading Back
Composed by Krzysztof Komeda
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User Reviews

An astonishing directorial debut
22 May 2002 | by tbaybarsSee all my reviews

When I first saw this film on its release in London (1962) I was only too ready to dismiss it as a pastiche of Ingmar Bergman. I am therefore more than glad to have seen it again on tv a couple of nights ago. How totally mistaken I was! It is an original film through and through, and the young Polanski had already his artistic stamp ready to forge on his first work (Three men and a wardrobe was not directed by him, I don't think). Forty years on, what is so astonishing is that the film and therefore the social, emotional and psychological problems examined in it, has not aged at all. Communist Poland? What does it matter? A young student hiking his way? So what? A young woman "married ???" to an older man? Entirely timeless and placeless. What remains as solid as ever is the primordial conflict between two men, one weaker the other stronger, but you cannot be so sure about that, in the presence of a woman who is both a sex object and a recipient of the seed of one of the two men. Why is the couple without child? How can a woman whose "husband" is dangerously swimming ashore to summon help, can be so relaxed as to have sex with the young man when he is going to vanish from their lives within a few hours?

Louis Malle famously said that he prefers the filmgoers to leave the cinema with lots of questions in their heads, rather than answers to all the questions in the film. Polanski has never stopped doing that.

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Release Date:

28 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Knife in the Water See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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