Man of Iron

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For 1972 Hong Kong film, see Man of Iron (1972 film). For the racehorse, see Man of Iron (horse). For the superhero, see Steel (John Henry Irons).
Man of Iron
Człowiek z żelaza (film).jpg
Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Written by Aleksander Ścibor-Rylski
Starring Jerzy Radziwiłowicz
Krystyna Janda
Cinematography Edward Kłosiński
Distributed by United Artists Classics
Release dates
  • 27 July 1981 (1981-07-27)
Running time 153 minutes
Country Poland
Language Polish

Man of Iron (Polish: Człowiek z żelaza) is a 1981 film directed by Andrzej Wajda. It depicts the Solidarity labour movement and its first success in persuading the Polish government to recognize the workers' right to an independent union.

The film continues the story of Maciej Tomczyk, the son of Mateusz Birkut, the protagonist of Wajda's earlier film, Man of Marble. Here, Maciej is a young worker involved in the anti-Communist labour movement, described as "the man who started the Gdańsk Shipyard strike", and a journalist working for the Communist regime's radio station, who is given a task of slandering Maciej. The young man is clearly intended as a parallel to Lech Wałęsa (who appears as himself in the movie).

Man of Iron clarifies the ending of Man of Marble, which left the death of Mateusz Birkut ambiguous. Man of Iron explicitly states that Mateusz was killed in clashes at the shipyards in 1970.[1]

The film was made during the brief thaw in Communist censorship that appeared between the formation of Solidarity in August 1980 and its suppression in December 1981, and as such it is remarkably critical of the Communist regime. The film won the Palme d'Or and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival.[2] It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Man of Iron". University of California Cine Files. March 1982. Retrieved October 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Man of Iron". Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  3. ^ "The 54th Academy Awards (1982) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  4. ^ Anna Walentynowicz, whose sacking led to the rise of Solidarity. The Guardian.

External links[edit]