The Cranes Are Flying

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Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Monday 21st March 1960

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Mosfilm

Reviews 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: Tatyana Samoylova as Veronika, Aleksey Batalov as Boris, Vasiliy Merkurev as Fyodor Ivanovich, as Mark

The Cranes Are Flying Review

The cranes are flying all right, right over two lovers in Moscow on the eve of WWII. But the war of course interrupts their idyll, and Boris (Aleksei Batalov) is sent to the front, leaving Veronica (Tatyana Samojlova) behind to fend off his cousin (and draft-exempted) Mark (Aleksandr Shvorin). Distraught, Veronica eventually marries Mark and enlists as a nurse, secretly hoping that despite the lack of communication, he's still alive.

But of course, Boris is dead, and the bulk of the film deals with Veronica's guilt over her abandonment of her sweetheart without actually knowing his fate.

Winner of the Palm d'Or at the 1958 Cannes film festival, Mikheil Kalatozishvili's The Cranes Are Flying is visual poetry, stunningly photographed with extreme close-ups, tracking crowd scenes, and gorgeous long shots in every sequence. The story is less fulfilling than the similar Russian war movie Ballad of a Soldier (which Criterion is also releasing on DVD on the same day), but its splendor is far greater. The WWII set recreations are ultra-realistic (and often remind the viewer of Schindler's List), even if Samojlova's attempts at "grief" fall a bit short.

The film is recommended, especially for anyone interested in WWII or Russian history.

Aka Letjat zhuravli.


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The Cranes Are Flying Rating

" Good "