Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds) 1958

Ashes and Diamonds

Critics Consensus

A stylish thriller flavored with post-war political subtext, Ashes and Diamonds is incendiary intellectual cinema that still delivers genre thrills.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 22

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,601

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Ashes and Diamonds Photos

Movie Info

It's May 1945, and Nazi Germany has just surrendered. The war is over, but not in Poland. As the German soldiers vacate, the remaining Russian forces and Polish resistance fighters must work out the hierarchies of power in "liberated" Communist Poland. A Polish assassin (Zbigniew Cybulski) is given orders to kill a Russian soldier (Waclaw Zastrzezynsky) whom he, days before, was fighting alongside, and this moral conflict makes him question the goals for which he has been fighting.

Cast & Crew

Zbigniew Cybulski
Maciek Chelmicki
Waclaw Zastrzezynsky
Szczuka
Andrzej Wajda
Screenwriter
Filip Nowak
Original Music
Jerzy Wójcik
Cinematographer
Halina Nawrocka
Film Editor
Roman Mann
Production Design
Katarzyna Chodorowicz
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1)

  • Honest, brutally powerful and often shocking.

    March 26, 2013 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Wajda's deeply romantic and personal vision, inspired by both Italian neo-realism and by the more baroque images of Expressionism, makes Ashes and Diamonds a gripping experience.

    March 26, 2013 | Full Review…

    Derek Malcolm

    Guardian
    Top Critic
  • When you watch Ashes And Diamonds, remember, you're not just seeing a film: you're looking at a manifesto that has found a voice and a face and speaks for a whole deceived generation.

    March 26, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Only Wajda, though, could muster such a mood, with everyone feeding on smoke and booze, and the assembled company, at the end, dancing to a cracked polonaise.

    March 26, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Taut thriller about immediate postwar Poland also has a heavier theme of the futility of killing and violence. Its technical knowhow, fine acting and directorial prowess make this an above average drama.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Wajda's way is the sweet smell of excess, but some scenes remain powerfully memorable -- the lighting of drinks on the bar, the upturned Christ in a bombed church, and Cybulski's prolonged death agonies at the close.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Popiól i diament (Ashes and Diamonds)

  • Oct 17, 2015
    A wicked intelligent and even hilarious political commentary with a sublime cinematography and a marvelous direction - which is noticeable from the applaudable way that Wajda never loses control of his material and the film's focus even with such a large gallery of characters.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2010
    The last installment of this stupendous trilogy draws some "Renoirish" technical aspects (the bourgeois balance of ridiculousness, dialogue-driven comedy, politics, the criticism of social stratums) resulting in what sometimes is wrongly considered as a pretentious focus. Wajda, of course, doesn't give a damn, and presents an unparalleled story of the power of decisions and their respective implications. All in all, Popiól i Diament has even achieved a high level of historical importance, and rightfully so, since few directors would be capable of directing a post-war vision of this fantastic caliber, including a couple of most obvious and spectacular highlights: the fireworks scene, the last dance sequence, the upside-down crucifix and the wonderfully conceived ending scenes. 100/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2009
    Part 3 of Wajda's War Trilogy. This one is considered the best, but I was a little disappointed. I really enjoyed it, but I was expecting to be blown away. It definitely looks the best and has some of the best acting of the three films. This film takes place the day the Nazi's surrendered and now the Polish are fighting each other for control of their war torn country.Cybulski is great as a man who is tired of fighting and ready to move on with the rest of his life. I think the problem I had was with the ending and how unnecessary it was or how it could have easily been done better. I also knew how the film ended and that took away from it also.This film is consistently better, but Kanal is a stronger film with a mediocre first half hour.
    cody f Super Reviewer
  • Aug 28, 2008
    Stupendous work from Wajda.Impressive and too much of art class,nevertheless the finale and the discussion scene with the "crucifixion" statue will haunt you.
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer

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