The only Oscar-winning Slovak film that was almost not made at all

The Slovak film reminds people how easy it is for totalitarianism to take over, and it was only a conflict between communist leaders that allowed it even to be made. After the Prague Spring, the movie was banned.

Jozef Kroner in the role of carpenter Tóno Brtko in The Shop on Main Street film. It won an Oscar in 1966. Jozef Kroner in the role of carpenter Tóno Brtko in The Shop on Main Street film. It won an Oscar in 1966. (Source: MAGAZIN.REALFILM.CZ)

When he learned that The Shop on Main Street (Obchod na korze) received a nomination for a prestigious Oscar, he decided to travel to America and represent Czechoslovakia.

Legendary actor Jozef Kroner, who portrayed "Aryan overseer" and carpenter Tóno Brtko in the film, got four suits tailored for the Oscars. It cost him 17,000 Czechoslovak crowns, which was a huge amount of money in the sixties.

In the end, however, the Czechoslovak communists did not allow him to leave for America, and he was left behind at the airport, tailored suits all packed.

The only Oscar-winning film from Slovakia

The Shop on Main Street remains the only Slovak film awarded the prestigious statuette. The win in the best foreign language film category occurred over a half century ago, in 1966.

It was, however, a great success that the film was made at all, considering the conditions of the country at the time.

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

Sweden is a European leader in further education, with 34.3 percent of involved adults in 2019.

Further education gives hope, but not to people in Slovakia

Stepping up to world-class further education provision does not end with a strategy, examples from abroad show.

11. jún
An interactive statue by the Love Bank museum in Banská Štiavnica.

Instead of love, "garden gnomes" cause uproar in a Slovak UNESCO town

Your weekly dose of easy reads about Slovakia, including EURO 2020 and geoparks.

11. jún
Recent tax measuresmayhelp to fill state coffers.

Historic deal on minimum global tax of 15 percent. Will it become relevant?

The planned tax reforms are both ambitious and complex; it is already clear that not everything will be enforceable.

22 h