Ashes and Diamonds
Ashes and Diamonds

A milestone of Polish cinema, this electrifying international sensation by Andrzej Wajda—the final film in his celebrated war trilogy—entwines the story of one man’s moral crisis with the fate of a nation. In a small Polish town on the final day of World War II, Maciek (the coolly charismatic Zbigniew Cybulski), a fighter in the underground anti-Communist resistance movement, has orders to assassinate an incoming commissar. But when he meets and falls for a young barmaid (Ewa Krzyżewska), he begins to question his commitment to a cause that requires him to risk his life. Ashes and Diamonds’ lustrous monochrome cinematography—wreathed in shadows, smoke, and fog—and spectacularly choreographed set pieces lend a breathtaking visual dynamism to this urgent, incendiary vision of a country at a crossroads in its struggle for self-determination.


  • Poland
  • 1958
  • 103 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.66:1
  • Polish
  • Spine #285


  • On the Blu-ray: New 4K digital restoration, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • On the DVD: restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary from 2004 featuring film scholar Annette Insdorf
  • New video essay by Insdorf on the film’s legacy (Blu-ray only)
  • Andrzej Wajda: On “Ashes and Diamonds,” a 2005 program featuring director Andrzej Wajda, second director Janusz Morgenstern, and film critic Jerzy Plazewski
  • Archival newsreel footage on the making of the film
  • Rare behind-the-scenes production photos, publicity stills, and posters (DVD only)
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Paul Coates

    New cover illustrated by Danijel Zezelj, with lettering by Jillian Adel
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