Pelle the Conqueror

Directed by Bille August
Film Movement Classics
1987
150 Minutes
Denmark, Sweden
Danish, Swedish
Drama, Classics
PG-13

Lasse, an elderly and widowed farmer, and his young son Pelle, join a boat-load of immigrants to escape from impoverished rural Sweden to Denmark's Baltic island of Bornholm. They are employed at a large farm in Denmark, where they are treated as the lowest of the low. It is ultimately their loving relationship which sustains them through a difficult year.

Director & Cast

  • Director: Bille August
  • Starring: Pelle Hvenegaard
  • Starring: Max von Sydow
  • Starring: Björn Granath

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Reviews

  • "In Bille August's "Pelle the Conqueror," Max von Sydow is so astoundingly evocative that he makes your bones ache."
    Hal Hinson, The Washington Post
  • "CRITIC"S PICK. The von Sydow performance is in a category by itself. It is another highlight in an already extraordinary career, and quite unlike anything that American audiences have seen him do to date."
    Vincent Canby, The New York Times
  • "[T]he film is a towering achievement, grueling in its portrayal of a harsh existence yet ultimately an exhilarating experience unlikely to be forgotten."
    Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times