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With its strong performances and striking location cinematography, Pelle the Conqueror earned Bille August international acclaim as a director. Max von Sydow was nominated for an Academy Award for his immensely moving performance as Lasse Karlsson, an aging farmhand and widower who emigrates from poverty-stricken Sweden to the Danish island of Bornholm with his young son Pelle (Pelle Hevenegaard) in search of a better life. Adapted from volume one, Boyhood, of the four-part novel Pelle Erobreren by the Danish proletarian writer Martin Andersen Nexø, this nineteenth-century epic deals with class inequities in rural society, where Lasse and Pelle live under impoverished conditions yet hold out some hope for the future. Story has it that Ingmar Bergman watched the film seven times before inviting August to direct The Best Intentions (written by Bergman). 


—Susan Oxtoby

  • Year
    1987
  • Runtime
    157 minutes
  • Language
    Scanian, Danish, Swedish
  • Country
    Denmark, Sweden
  • Director
    Bille August
  • Screenwriter
    Bille August, Per Olov Enquist, Bjarne Reuter, Max Lundgren
  • Cast
    Max von Sydow, Pelle Hvenegaard, Erik Paaske, Bjørn Granath
  • Cinematographer
    Jörgen Persson