Prawo i pięść

Directed by Jerzy Hoffman and Krzysztof Skórzewski

Prawo i pięść/The Law and the Fis is a unique piece of cinema in the history of Polish film, directed in 1964, by Jerzy Hoffman and Krzysztof Skórzewski.    
It is commonly referred to as “the first Polish western.” The action in the film does resemble films about cowboys made in the USA, although it is not set in the Wild West, but takes place in the so-called “Recovered Territories” in Poland, in 1945.        
The main protagonist is portrayed by Gustaw Holoubek, who plays the “only just man”, which makes him the equivalent of a sheriff from the Wild West.

In addition to the excellent script based on a novel by Józef Hen, and a superb performance by Gustaw Holoubek, the film features a number of other outstanding Polish actors, for example Wiesław Gołas, Ryszard Pietruski, and Zdzisław Maklakiewicz.

In Toruń

Most of the shoots in the film were in the New-Town Market and the streets stretching away from it, especially ul. Ślusarska. The film was also shot on ul. Podmurna, Ciasna, and Mostowa.

In the New-Town Market, the municipal authorities in Toruń unveiled a special installation commemorating the film, i.e. the so-called “Pushcart of a Repatriate,” designed by Karol Furyk and Małgorzata Więcławska from Autorska Pracownia Form Przestrzennych (The Studio of Original Spatial Forms) in Poznań, and renovated an old poster pillar. The pillar was covered with full-size photos from The Law and the Fist. The pillar stands in the same place as the poster pillar we can see in the skirmish scene between “the sheriff” and looters.


  • The musical leitmotiv in the film – a song entitled “Zanim wstanie dzień” (Before the day rises)  – was sung by Edmund Fetting, to lyrics by Agnieszka Osiecka and music by Krzysztof Komeda. The song was later re-interpreted by Katarzyna Nosowska, the music groups Raz Dwa Trzy and Strachy na Lachy, and by Ryszard Rynkowski.
  • The film had its première in the Grunwald cinema on ul. Warszawska in Toruń, which is now defunct.
  • The film was also shot in Chełmża and Ciechocinek.
  • Back in 1964, The Law and the Fist represented Polish cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
  • The film became so popular that the “Świat Literacki” publishing house reissued the novel by Józef Hen in 1996, and the writer decided to change its title from “Toast” to “The Law and the Fist.”

Information on the film

Prawo i pięść / The Law and the Fist

Poland 1964, 92′

Directed by: Jerzy Hoffman, Edward Skórzewski

Screenplay: Józef Hen

Cinematography: Jerzy Lipman

Music: Krzysztof Komeda

Producer: Wilhelm Hollender

Produced by: Zespół Filmowy “Kamera”

Cast: Gustaw Holoubek, Zofia Mrozowska, Hanna Skarżanka, Wiesław Gołas, Zdzisław Maklakiewicz, and others.

Selected Awards

Nomination for the Golden Duck Award for the best song “Zanim wstanie dzień” (2007); nomination for the Golden Duck Award in the Best Polish Action Films and their Directors for Edward Skórzewski and Jerzy Hoffman (2012), and others.