The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli) (1960) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli) (1960)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Based on a play by V. Rusov, this Russian film is a love story set during the early years of WWII. Widowed by the war, Tatyana Samoylova reluctantly marries her late husband's cousin, hoping that he'll be a surrogate for her fallen spouse.


Vasily Merkuryev
as Fyodor Ivanovich
Vasiliy Merkurev
as Fyodor Ivanovich
Antonina Bogdanova
as Grandmother
B. Kokobkin
as Tyernov
Ekaterina Kupriyanova
as Anna Mikhailovna
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News & Interviews for The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli)

Critic Reviews for The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

It's exactly what you'd expect: tepid, artsy, and grayish.

January 19, 2007 | Full Review…

Thanks to Mr. Kalatozov's direction and the excellent performance Tatyana Samoilova gives as the girl, one absorbs a tremendous feeling of sympathy from this film -- a feeling that has no awareness of geographical or political bounds.

December 8, 2003 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

A key post-war effort, both for its cinematic audacity and for its frank, moving depiction of families and lovers torn apart by violence.

June 11, 2002
Top Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] The visual simplicity that Kalatozov uses to establish the story allows the filmmaker to gradually - painstakingly - develop the film's thematic complexity toward a psychological and emotional crescendo...

May 21, 2014 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…

A film of thunderbolts, volcanic partings and reunions, eyes that flash at the viewer

November 22, 2010 | Full Review…


September 13, 2007 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for The Cranes are Flying (Letyat zhuravli)

The only Russian film to ever win the Palm'dor. A beautifully photographed love in the time of war movie that's well worth your time (if you're into that sort of thing).

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer


simple, melodramatic plot. this is one of the first films to venture beyond stalinist restrictions and is quite personal. amazing editing and hand-held camera shots adeptly express or underscore emotions of the characters.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer


SPOILER ALERT (I hate saying that, but I think that a lot of people should see this movie and I don't want to ruin it for anyone). The story was simple, but played out with great technique and a lot of cool surprises along the way that made it original. I love the lead actress, I thought she played the part extremely well and brought a great humanistic quality to the character. The cinematography was outstanding and there are some things done in this film that I have no idea how they did it. I guess my problem with it is (and it's a really petty one) is that if this girl was so in love with this guy who went off to war, why the fuck is she marrying his cousin? I mean, I understand it was a chaotic time, but come on! But like I said, really petty, but I highly recommend this film to everyone.

Tim Sigur
Tim Sigur

Super Reviewer

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