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121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film
Winner of the European Film Awards Prix d’Excellence
The critically-acclaimed film from Poland’s greatest living director, Andrzej Wajda

1940. After Germany’s invasion of Poland, Joseph Stalin ordered the liquidation of the Polish officer corps, slaughtering nearly 22,000 men in Katyn Forest. Based on this horrific, historical event, Katyn tells the affecting story of four fictional officers and their families as they struggle to uncover the truth. Based on the novel “Post Mortem” by Andrzej Mularczyk.

Interview with Andrzej Wajda
”Katyn: 60 Days on the Set” making-of featurette

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Artur Amijewski, Maja Ostaszewska, Andrzej Chyra
  • Directors: Andrzej Wajda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Polish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: August 11, 2009
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0028YW3CE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,043 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Katyn" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 102 people found the following review helpful By Paul E. Richardson VINE VOICE on June 12, 2009
Format: DVD
The 1940 Soviet massacre of over 20,000 Polish internees, including some 12,000 officers in Katyn forest, was, by any measure, a horrific war crime, yet one that has never been prosecuted, and one that has been shrouded and confused over the past half century by coverups, propaganda and a general desire to forget the past. (The Soviet government did not officially admit that the killings were ordered by Stalin until 1990.)

Wajda's masterful film centers on this dismal episode by revealing the webs of commitment and interaction that connect disparate lives - from an impetuous youth, to the staid wife of an executed general. Most all of the movie is an examination of these connections, of how lies and fabrications feed terror, of how in war there are seldom good choices between right and wrong. Only in the closing minutes, after all the victims have been deeply humanized, is the brutal, machine-like horror of the killings brought to center stage. The effect is powerful and profound.

The misty cinematography, in hues of brown and grey, evokes the mood and texture of wartime. Characters are richly drawn, and if at times the sudden introduction of new faces is confusing, it is only until one realizes Wajda's intent: these people could be any of us. (As reviewed in Russian Life)
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Format: DVD
If the Poles didn't have it bad enough by having by having nearly the entire German army blitzkrieg it's Western border on September 1, 1939, the Soviet army then invaded from the East sixteen days later. Katyn presents a history lesson that most people never heard about: the mass murder of tens of thousands of Polish officers by the Russians in 1940. While watching this film you may wonder if the Russians mistreated Poland worse than the Germans did during World War II (which is a debate in itself).

The Germans found the massacre site in 1943 and announced it to the Poles, hoping to use it for propaganda against Russia. The Russians denied the accusation and then staged it to appear the Germans were behind the butchery. Katyn doesn't tell the story in a chronological way, but we see it unfold slowly; we see both the men at war and the women at home who love them. The wives, mothers and daughters of the Polish officers spend so much time waiting and wondering what happened to them. Even when the war ends the problems of the war do not - they spill into the decades that follow.

Andrzej Wajda is Poland's best-known director and has been making films for over fifty years. I think it is great Wajda is still making films because his recent work is opening the door to younger audiences who primarily watch contemporary movies. He has long ago established himself as being a brilliant director and Katyn reflects his years of experience and talent.

Katyn is a story that is strongly based on history and is the first film about the Soviet massacre of nearly 22,000 Polish officers. I viewed Katyn with someone who lived through this time and he confirmed that even the smallest details were right on and the way it is presented is how it was.
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Goolsby on July 31, 2009
Format: DVD
This was probably the biggest national heartbreak suffered by a single country other than the Holocaust. It happened when Stalin ordered the NKVD to "liquidate" the captured Polish POW's who had the misfortune of being captured by Timoshenko's troops instead of Guderian's or Runstedt's. The "4th Partition Of Poland" created a problem for the western allies that would not resurface until 1942 when Stalin's government, who adamantly refused the recognized legitimate government-in-exile in London's request to send the Swiss and the Red Cross over to what the Germans discovered at Katyn. The Soviets told the world it was a German Atrocity while the Nazis were telling the world that it was a Soviet Atrocity. Only the Poles and Soviets knew the real truth and no Nazi forensics was going to tell anybody different. The Poles because it affected their families directly when they lost contact with their loved ones captured by the Red Army. The Soviets because they knew exactly who gave the orders as well as who carried those orders out--afterward, many of them who committed the executions themselves would be slaughtered by their co-workers on orders of their superiors. What few survivors there were from the executioners' side were either discredited because of their mental imbalances or they drunk themselves to their deaths. It was the lies of Katyn that compelled Stalin to break relations with the London Government as well as work to crush the Polish Home Army that was loyal to it. The Home Army fought and died with the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto against the Germans while Rokossovsky's troops were ordered to stand back and let the Germans take out the last vestige of Pilsudski's and Paderewski's Pre-War Poland.Read more ›
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on May 12, 2008
Format: DVD
Andrzej Wajda's masterpiece, KATYN, was recently nominated for the Oscar. It is a very moving, educational, and thought-provoking film.

The movie begins with the German-Soviet conquest of Poland in 1939. The viewer senses the actions of the aggressors through the eyes of the civilians.

But this is only the beginning of Poland's sufferings. Both enemies of Poland begin their genocide of Poles with the cream of Polish society. The Germans invite some professors to the university, only to promptly arrest them (for shooting, or slow deaths in concentration camps). The Soviets hold the captured officers and intellectuals at places such as Kozielsk, where the prisoners sing Christmas carols in December 1939. It will be their last Christmas. By spring 1940, the Soviets decide to shoot nearly all of the captive Polish officers.

The movie also shows the life of relatives of the Soviet-held men. First there are the letters, and hope for a speedy reunion. Then...silence. Finally, the Germans break the news of their discovery of the Katyn mass graves, and exploit it for propaganda purposes--hoping to divide the Allies. The relatives face the fact that their men will never return.

After the war, the suffering of the Katyn relatives continues. Information about the exact fate of the missing men is skimpy. The Soviet puppet state, using the Communist terror police (the UB), tries to force the grieving relatives to sign a statement blaming the Germans for the crime. The relatives also face pressure from others to "accept reality" that Poland will never again be free, and must align itself with Soviet dictates. They refuse. Then they have problems sending their son to the university because they won't bow to the Soviet lie about Katyn.
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