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Fanny and Alexander (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 130 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander, we witness the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Sweden. Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal) intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality. The Criterion Collection is proud to present both the theatrical release and the original five-hour television version of this great work. Also included in the box set is Bergman’s own feature-length documentary The Making of “Fanny and Alexander,” a unique glimpse into his creative process.

Special Features

High-definition digital restorations of the television and theatrical versions of Fanny and Alexander

High-definition digital restoration of Ingmar Bergman’s feature-length documentary The Making of Fanny and Alexander

Ingmar Bergman Bids Farewell to Film, a sixty-minute conversation between Bergman and film critic Nils Petter Sundgren recorded for Swedish television in 1984

Audio commentary on the theatrical version by film scholar Peter Cowie

A Bergman Tapestry, a documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew

Costume sketches and footage of the models for the film’s sets

Stills gallery

Theatrical trailer

Optional English-dubbed soundtrack for the theatrical version

PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by documentarian and film historian Stig Björkman, novelist Rick Moody, and film scholar Paul Arthur

Fanny and Alexander—The Television Version 1982

320 minutes



In Swedish with English subtitles

1.66:1 aspect ratio

Fanny and Alexander—The Theatrical Version 1982

188 minutes



In Swedish with English subtitles

1.66:1 aspect ratio

The Making of Fanny and Alexander 1983

110 minutes



In Swedish with English subtitles

133:1 aspect ratio

Product Details

  • Actors: Borje Ahlstedt, Allan Edwall, Ewa Froling, Jarl Kulle, Bertil Guve
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 618 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HK13PO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,851 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fanny and Alexander (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Fanny and Alexander is a feast of a film, bursting with characters, ideas and emotions. In it, Bergman celebrates sensation, imagination and the power of illusion, pitting them against his lifelong anxieties about religion and the difficulty of human connection.

Set in the early years of the twentieth century, the movie tracks the fortunes of an upper-middle-class Swedish family, headed by the widow Helena Ekdahl. We first meet the Ekdahls at the exuberant Christmas feast that opens the film. Her son Gustav is a restraunteur, a lusty, sentimental man who loves his wife and paws the maids. Karl, a professor is the weak son, drunk, chronically in debt, and abusive towards his German wife. The oldest son, Oskar, manages the family theater in which his young wife Emilie is one of the actresses. While rehearsing Hamlet one winter day, Oskar falls ill, and soon dies.

Emilie is left with two young children, ten-year- old Alexander and Fanny, eight. Bereaved Emilie, still in search of her identity outside the theater, falls under the hypnotic influence of Bishop Vergerus, a handsome, charismatic Lutheran minister whose charming exterior masks a cruel fanaticism. He proposes marriage, and, in a casual but chilling aside, requests that Emilie and the children bring nothing from their former lives when they move in with him. Emilie and the children transfer from the gay, affectionate Ekdahl world to the spare, rigid Vergerus household.

The Bishop takes a special dislike to Alexander, who lives for long stretches in worlds of his own making. We learn that the Bishop's first wife and two children drowned in the river that races past the house.
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Format: Blu-ray
We were stunned by the beauty of this transfer of the Fanny and Alexander restoration! I have had the DVD box set of this movie for 4 to 5 years, and have watched it every year as Christmas approaches. Having been quite familiar with that most recent version, I can safely say that the blu-ray is quite superior. The colors and clarity of detail are most definitely worth the upgrade. Most of the extras have also been transferred in HD from their original sources. Lastly, this is one of those discs that tells your Blu-ray player exactly where you last were watching the movie, and proceeds to find that place, and ask you if you wish to resume watching from that point. I love that feature, especially with the 5 hour version of the film. If you love this film, you really should not miss out on this Blu-Ray.
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Having very little basis for comparison (since my only prior exposure to Bergman has been The Seventh Seal), I don't feel qualified to judge this film against a "Bergman standard," but I do, however, doubt that he has directed another movie as perfect as Fanny and Alexander (F&A). It is more than worthy of the 4 Oscars, Golden Globe, Guldbagge and BAFTA awards it has received. Classic movies that are great on the whole may suffer from bad acting, directing, or even whole scenes that briefly go out of focus. That, however, is not the case with this film. It draws one in and keeps one alert and interested throughout. The directing and acting is surprisingly good. Mostly superb.
The story revolves around a wealthy Swedish family who run the local theater in Uppsala, and the severe upbringing of siblings F&A in the early 1900's (the story begins on Christmas, 1907).
Bergman seems to have a unique talent of combining drama with horror, fantasy, and comedy--this I also found to be the case with The Seventh Seal, but in F&A, this talent is more strongly presented; one minute you can find yourself laughing at humorous --sometimes obscene-- acts and remarks, and the next you may find yourself feeling choked up or horrified. The film is very strong, very real, and strongly recommended to anyone who wants to experience looking at film on a whole new level.
I cannot complete this review without giving affectionate appreciation to my friend Karen for recommending The Seventh Seal, thus inspiring me to watch this film--thank you.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've been meaning to comment on this film for a few days now, but I haven't had the time or the energy (been really busy lately) to do so. Maybe it was Sven Nykvist's recent passing (btw, his Oscar-winning work in this film is one of unparalleled magnificence and beauty) that inspired me to write about it. There are so many things I want to say about this film that I don't even know where to begin. I guess I'll start by saying that this has been the shortest 5 hours I've spent watching a film. At first I had planned to watch it in parts as the film is divided in acts, but I was so instantly taken, engrossed and fascinated, that I just felt like watching the whole thing in one sitting. I know that a 5-hour long film can sound very intimidating and exhausting, but the film is specifically divided in 5 distinguishable acts that make it more digestible, and believe me, it's so absorbing that you will barely notice you spent all that time watching it; it's that good. I've skimmed through the 3-hour theatrical version, and while it is a great film, some of my favorite parts are either shortened or completely cut from the film, which for me, lessens the impact the whole 5-hour extended TV version has. Both versions work, of course, but if you want to get a greater understanding of Bergman's vision, I totally recommend the extended version.

Now onto the film itself. What can I say? It's magnificent. A grand, rich and glorious tapestry of life, family, love, hate, imagination, art, fantasy, reality, religion, magic, death, faith, spirituality, God, despair, redemption, youth, innocence, maturity, old age and the supernatural. Fanny and Alexander is all of these things and even more.
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Fanny and Alexander (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
This item: Fanny and Alexander (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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