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Workers '80

Andrzej Zajączkowski, Andrzej Chodakowski
Robotnicy '80
Poland 1980 / 102’

A unique record of the events of August 1980 on the Polish coast, when the firing of crane operator Anna Walentynowicz from the Gdansk Shipyard triggered a strike. Negotiations between the Interfactory Strike Committee and representatives of the Government Commission led to the signing of an agreement on the last day of August, which less than three weeks later resulted in the creation of the Solidarity trade union. Put together in a flash, the film captures history as it was playing out. In Workers '80, you can see some of the legends of era: Walentynowicz, Lech Wałęsa, Andrzej Gwiazda, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Bronisław Geremek, Bogdan Lis, and Father Henryk Jankowski. One of the most popular Polish documentaries in history is filled with a raw intensity. The images are not always of the highest quality, and the picture sometimes disappears altogether, but the filmmakers decided to include these fragments in the film in any case, as they explain it, to remain faithful to the truth.

Adam Kruk


IaDFF Lille 1981 – FIPRESCI Prize

Andrzej Chodakowski

Andrzej Chodakowski was born in Warsaw in 1936. His short documentary Napisz mi coś wesołego (Write Me Something Cheerful), a study of a lonely child, won a Silver Hobby-Horse at the Krakow Film Festival (1980), and he then co-wrote, along with Andrzej Zajączkowski, the famous documentary Workers '80, a record of the negotiations and signing of the August agreements that led to the formation of the Solidarity trade union. He also worked with Andrzej Wajda on Man of Iron and with Marcel Łoziński on The Touch and Matriculation.


1979 Napisz mi coś wesołego (short)

1980 Robotnicy ’80 (co-dir.) / Workers '80

1981 Na każde zawołanie (short)

Andrzej Zajączkowski

Andrzej Zajączkowski was born in Warsaw in 1936. As a child, he was a witness to the Warsaw Uprising; as a student at FAMU, to the Prague Spring, during which he was arrested in the so-called Case of the Tatra Mountaineers. He later witnessed the signing of the August agreements, which he and Andrzej Chodakowski recorded in their documentary Workers '80. He worked at the Documentary Film Studio until 1982, then edited sound cassettes at the NOWA underground publishing house. From 1990 to 1995, he was the director of the Polish Institute in Prague.

Selected filmography

1972 Szansa (short)

1978 Okruch lustra

1980 Robotnicy ’80 / Workers '80  (co-dir.)

1990 Pamiętny rok 1989 (co-dir.)

Cast & Crew

director Andrzej Zajączkowski, Andrzej Chodakowski
screenplay Andrzej Chodakowski, Andrzej Zajączkowski, Katarzyna Maciejko-Kowalczyk
cinematography Jacek Petrycki, Michał Bukojemski
editing Katarzyna Maciejko-Kowalczyk
music Krystyna Tunicka-Palluth
cast Lech Wałęsa, Anna Walentynowicz, Andrzej Gwiazda, Mieczysław Jagielski
producer Waldemar Tymoszuk
production Wytwórnia Filmów Dokumentalnych Warszawa
sales WFDIF
language Polish
colouration b&w