Directed by Andrzej Wajda
Written by Andrzej Wajda and Wojciech Żukrowski
Starring Jerzy Pichelski
Adam Pawlikowski
Jerzy Moes
Mieczysław Łoza
Bożena Kurowska
Bronisław Dardziński
Release dates
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time
90 minutes
Country Poland
Language Polish

Lotna is a 1959 Polish war film directed by Andrzej Wajda.


This highly symbolic film is both the director's tribute to the long and glorious history of the Polish cavalry, as well as a more ambiguous portrait of the passing of an era. Wajda was the son of a Polish Cavalry officer who was murdered by the Soviets during the Katyn massacre.

The horse Lotna represents the entire Romantic tradition in culture, a tradition that had a huge influence in the course of Polish history and the formation of Polish literature. Lotna is Wajda's meditation on the historical breaking point that was 1939, as well as a reflection on the ending of an entire era for literature and culture in Poland and in Europe as a whole. Writing of the film, Wajda states that it "held great hopes for him, perhaps more than any other." Sadly, Wajda came to think of Lotna "a failure as a film."

The film remains highly controversial, as Wajda includes a mythical scene in which Polish horsemen suicidally charge a unit of German tanks, an event that never actually happened.


Poland has been invaded by Nazi Germany. Lotna, a beautiful mare that belonged to a wealthy nobleman (Henryk Cudnowski) is given to Captain Chodakiewicz (Jerzy Pichelski), the commander of a Polish Cavalry squadron, and immediately becomes a bone of contention for everyone in the unit.

Lieutenant Wodnicki (Adam Pawlikowski), Cadet Grabowski (Jerzy Moes) and Sergeant Major Laton (Mieczysław Łoza) jealously scheme among themselves to get their hands on the horse. However, the war takes the lives of Captain Chodakiewicz and Cadet Grabowski, and Lotna falls is passed to Wodnicki. Laton feels he should get the animal and so he steals Lotna and flees amidst the abandoned supply wagons and equipment of the retreating Polish Army.


See also

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