Rent The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

4.1 of 5 from 116 ratings
1h 36min
Rent The Cranes Are Flying (aka Letyat Zhuravli) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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This landmark film by the virtuosic Mikhail Kalatozov was heralded as a revelation in the post-Stalin Soviet Union and the international cinema community alike. It tells the story of Veronica (Tatiana Samoilova) and Boris (Alexei Batalov), a couple who are blissfully in love until World War II tears them apart. With Boris at the front, Veronica must try to ward off spiritual numbness and defend herself from the increasingly forceful advances of her beau's draft-dodging cousin.
, , , Aleksandr Shvorin, , Konstantin Kadochnikov, , , , Ekaterina Kupriyanova, , , Olga Dzisko, Leonid Knyazev, Georgiy Kulikov, , Aleksandr Popov, Irina Preys, , Galina Stepanova
Mikhail Kalatozov
Viktor Rozov
Letyat Zhuravli
Nouveaux Pictures
Classics, Drama, Romance
Soviet Union, Classics, Drama, Romance

1958 Cannes Palme d'Or

Release Date:
Run Time:
97 minutes
Dubbed, English Dolby Digital 1.0, Russian Dolby Digital 1.0
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
  • Interview with Alexei Batalov
  • Tatiana Samoilava documentary
  • Chronicle
  • Filmographies
Release Date:
Run Time:
96 minutes
Russian LPCM Mono
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • New interview with scholar Ian Christie on why the film is a landmark of Soviet cinema
  • Audio interview from 1961 with director Mikhail Kalatozov
  • Hurricane Kalatozov, a documentary from 2009 on the Georgian director's complex relationship with the Soviet government
  • Segment from a 2008 program about the film's cinematography, featuring original storyboards and an interview with actor Alexei Batalov
  • Interview from 2001 with filmmaker Claude Lelouch on the film's French premiere at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival

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Reviews (5) of The Cranes Are Flying

One of Film's Brightest Gems - The Cranes Are Flying review by NC

Spoiler Alert

This is one of those films which stop the breath, make the hair tingle, and leave you powerless to move for an age after the last credit. So many scenes are worth a paean of glorious praise, but a woman's frantic ascent up a circular staircase of a bombed-out building, no walls around her, just the exterior wreckage of the air raid receding as she rushes higher and higher, only to reach a door and open it onto empty space, a clock hanging by a projecting piece of masonry, still ticking, has to rank as one of the most perfect pieces of cinema I've ever seen.

The story is hardly original: war separates two sweethearts, but Kalatozov hardly lets a few minutes go by before feasting the eyes with another sequence. The crowd scenes must be some of the greatest ever filmed. The script, too, is beautifully poignant - a good few classes above the usual weepie.

Tatyana Samoylova is a marvel. Flawless at being happy, sad, expectant, angry, distraught, numb - a screen performance to stand with the highest. There are fine showings by everybody else.

A timeless classic then, one which comes to mind when making a list of the best films ever made.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

A magnificent cornerstone of European cinema. - The Cranes Are Flying review by TE

Spoiler Alert

This is an extraordinary work of art, a beautifully constructed film-poem.

The themes are understandably influenced by the Russian experience of the Second World War, but the central importance of peace is thrillingly evoked at the end.

The events and the imagery are symmetrically arranged and the b/w photography is stunning throughout. Every frame could be frozen and presented as a balanced artwork.

The air of melodrama (witness the incredible air raid / sex scene around 40 minutes in) is very much of its time, but the sheer beauty of the images carries the viewer along.

3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.

Russian Romance - The Cranes Are Flying review by NO

Spoiler Alert

Tragic Love story beautifully photographed in realistic black & white.Russian cinema at its best.Every scene taken by a dramatic camera man.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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