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

The processing of personal data is subject to our Privacy Policy and the Cookie Policy. Before submitting your e-mail address, please make sure to acquaint yourself with these documents.

Top stories

Kočner allegedly made a death threat against ex-general prosecutor Trnka

The recently published conversation concerns the Gorilla file, describing corruptive practices.

Marian Kočner in court.

Slovakia shoulders a heavier tax-levy burden than most, experts opine

The Slovak tax system is more generous to families than to single persons.

In the field of corporate taxation, Slovakia ranks among the most burdened of OECD countries.

First-aid kits in cars will not have to be replaced after expiration

The expiration will not be checked anymore, the Transport Ministry has decided.

Illustrative stock photo

Slovakia's best photo of 2019: Kočner hiding in a police car

Take a look at the best photos from the 2019 Slovak Press Photo contest.

The picture of controversial businessman Marián Kočner, taken by Denník N photographer Tomáš Benedikovič, wins the singles category in the News section of the 2019 Slovak Press Photo contest