The Cranes Are Flying (1957)

Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, Vasiliy Merkurev, Aleksandr Shvorin,
Letyat zhuravli is a movie starring Tatyana Samoylova, Aleksey Batalov, and Vasiliy Merkurev. Veronica plans a rendezvous with her lover, Boris, at the bank of river, only for him to be drafted into World War II shortly thereafter.
  • 8.3 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Viktor Rozov, Writer:
  • Mikhail Kalatozov, Director:
  • Producer:

All subtitles:



ratinglanguagereleaseotheruploaderdownload
0Greeksubtitle The.Cranes.Are.Flying.1957.720p.BluRay.x264.[YTS.AG] download
9 / 10

Visually inventive by any standards; inventive narrative by Soviet standards

The story told by The Cranes are Flying is not, admittedly, all that original. Young lovers are separated by war; bad things happen to both. We've seen it many times before.

Nonetheless, we haven't seen it filmed this well, with bold shots that take liberties to emphasize separation, or destruction, or hopelessness. All the more remarkable coming from the Soviet Union, and reason to conclude that Tarkovsky is not the last word in modern-era Soviet cinema.

I was reading Chekhov's "Three Sisters" the other day, and chanced upon what may be the meaning of the title of this film. In Act 2, Masha objects to the notion that we must live our lives without meaning or understanding:

"MASHA: Surely mankind must believe in something, or at least seek for the truth, otherwise life is just emptiness, emptiness. To live and not to know why the cranes are flying, why children are born, why there are stars in the sky. Either you must know why it is you live, or everything is trivial - mere pointless nonsense."

Likewise, Veronika has a hard time believing that the war, and her and others' sufferings, have been pointless. Better to assign a meaning, to live as if one's life is significant, and not to give in to despair. It is perhaps this thinking that prompts her to her final act in the film.

BTW as a minor correction to one other comment here--there may be a pattern of V's in the film, though I hadn't noticed them myself. But the first letter of Veronika's name is not a further instance of this; in the Cyrillic alphabet, her name begins with a letter which looks like an English "B".

10 / 10

truly magnificent

The plot of this movie is set against the most terrible war in history of mankind: the violent clash between Adolf Hitler's Germany and Soviet Russia, from 1941-'45.

With the western areas of their country thoroughly devastated, and 20 to 30 million Russian people killed, the vibes of this conflict can be felt in Russia up to the present day. Let alone back in 1957, when memories were still very fresh and painful.

This very black setting strongly contrasts with the fine and coherent style of 'Letjat zhuravli's' beautiful shots. Its simple story deals with human behaviour in times of war: bravery, love, patriotism, weakness, cowardice and corruption. All beautifully tied together by a toy-squirrel.

Add to this the truly magnificent acting, and it's easy to understand why this movie is so famous. Really, one of the very best ever made.

10 / 10

Very very very good.

If you're looking for a typical war movie, this is not it, so a note to all the testosterone-pumped carnage-craving war buffs out there, don't bother. Although the film is about Russian characters in WWII, don't expect to see any Nazis, cannons, blood, gore, etc. It's not a film about people who cause a war or who fight a war. It's a film about ordinary people who war happens to and the choices they make in dealing with it.

Acting, cinematography, writing: all perfect 10s here. You'll certainly appreciate it if you're Russian like me, but even if not, you'll probably love it. If you speak no Russian, look for the RUSCICO (Russian Cinema Council) DVD version. It's got subtitles in about 14 different languages, but the English dubbing on this one I'd say is just as good. It's of course not as good as the original Russian track (some stuff is lost in translation), but just as good as the English subtitles. So go check it out, especially if you're studying film in any aspect.

10 / 10

Masterpiece from Russia.

I would like to tell you just a few things before considering seeing this movie. If at one point or another you thought you've seen good camera work, be prepared to be amazed by this movie. For the record, this movie was made in 1957 in Russia, but the technique used here is probably something that we've seen much later in the western world...about 20 years later. The level of emotions through the film varies quite a lot: happiness -love-war- despair-joy, but in the end you remain with something quite unique: the joy of seeing one masterpiece of filmmaking. The young directors from our time should study more this kind of movies and maybe they will be able to create something similar..even though I think movies like this are very hard to come by... If you've seen "I am Cuba" , then this movie would appeal to you very much, but if not, be prepared for a unique experience. The Russian directors have something in common: very small budgets, great actors, and a joy of creating art...and yes, they are able to create more masterpieces than all the western world together. I am not a big fan of Russia, actually I hate everything that's communist, but the film making in that part of the world, manages to create such feelings that are hard to describe.

Enjoy it.

7 / 10

Exquisite romantic tale of bittersweet war romance...

Russian actress TATIANA SAMOILOVA reminds me so much of the young Audrey Hepburn and the camera in THE CRANES ARE FLYING seems to love her just as much. She is the focal point of a bittersweet war romance against the background of World War II in Moscow.

The film is almost poetic in its gorgeous B&W cinematography which was the main reason for watching the film in the first place, since I had never heard of it and decided to give it a try when it aired on TCM.

It's a very moving love story about a girl's deep love for a man who is suddenly swept away by his role as a soldier drafted in wartime Russia. She's unable to forget the memory of her romantic attachment to him, but inexplicably marries someone else who has forced himself on her, a pianist who soon realizes that she still loves the soldier she hopes to hear from. Their marriage is a troubled one because she can't let go of her remembrance of a happier time with her soldier sweetheart.

By the end of the story, she accepts the idea that he's never going to return and is able to face reality and cope with the situation. There's a very poignant final scene at a train station where arriving soldiers are greeting their loved ones and the tearful girl shares the joy of the returning soldiers by giving some flowers from her bouquet to the joyous families.

The stylish and striking camera-work is what carries the film, as well as the honestly played story.

Tastefully done, but perhaps the English subtitles didn't tell the whole tale because some of the plot elements seemed a bit blurred to me as if they had been glossed over.

Summing up: Easy to see why it won awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Reminded me, in style, of another great Russian film, BALLAD OF A SOLDIER.