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Pelle the Conqueror (1988)

Pelle Hvenegaard , Max von Sydow , Bille August  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Price: $53.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Pelle the Conqueror + Fanny and Alexander (The Criterion Collecton Theatrical & Television Version)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Pelle Hvenegaard, Max von Sydow, Erik Paaske, Björn Granath, Astrid Villaume
  • Directors: Bille August
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Swedish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020HAXS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,183 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pelle the Conqueror" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Hailed as "wonderful" by Leonard Maltin, this winner of the 1987 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film follows the epic journey of a father and son who leave their native Sweden to try to find a better life in Denmark. But they soon discover even harsher conditions upon their arrival in the new land, as they can only find work on a large farm run by an unsympathetic philanderer. A remarkable tale of passion, pain and the extraordinary triumph of the human spirit.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly moving experience March 17, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Moving Academy Award winning film about a Swedish widower and his son who emigrate to Denmark in the late 1800s to find work and a better life. What they find, though, is something else entirely. Brilliant performances by Max Von Sydow (an Oscar nominee for perhaps his greatest role as the widower) and 12-year-old Pelle Hvenegaard. This VHS version is in danish with English subtitles. Max Von Sydow dubbed his own role in the English language version (an option on the DVD version). At turns heart-rending and uplifting. Outstanding cinematography, filmed on location on the Danish island of Bornholm. One gripe : the original European release of this film was 160 minutes long; 22 minutes were cut for US release. Why couldn't those 22 minutes have been restored on either the VHS or especially the DVD? Most highly recommended!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A movie for all children and adults February 21, 2005
By L. Cama
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a truly great movie. It demonstrates human emotions on a grand scale. It takes place around the turn of the century. A father (played by Von Sydow) and his son Pelle (played by Pelle Hvenegaard) are forced to travel from Sweden to Denmark in order to leave a life of poverty and despair (Pelle's mother died). Pelle is only 12, and his father is over 50. Only reluctantly does a farmer hire them (the father is too old, and the kid is too young). Little did they know that the life in Denmark was physically harsh and emotionally draining. Prejudice was common against the foreigners. Pelle is very dependent upon his emotionally weak father who will not defend his son and likes alcohol.

In the end, Pelle demonstates his strength beyond most adult men.

This movie is directed and produced so clearly and accurately that it draws you into the the harsh, physically filthy and emotionally draining life on the farm. Since it is filmed over the course of about one year, you need not doubt that the georgous scenery is real. The blizzard, the ice, and the fields are real. In fact, Pelle Hvenegaard was named 12 years before the production after Pelle from the novel. Pelle is an uncommon Swedish name. His acting was so good that one forgets this was a movie.

The ending put me in tears. Although it was somewhat predictable, it still packed an emotional punch. It took my breath away.

I can recommend this Academy Award winning movie to anyone.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best movie I have seen in a long time. August 31, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I stumbled into Pelle by accident in the Bravo Channel a few days ago. I have not been able to get Pelle out of my mind. It is a beautiful movie about the hopelessness of life as a worker in a farm in Sweden. Pelle, the stableman's son hears about America and it becomes his dream. The scenery, the actors, specially Pelle and his dad are excellent. I watched the English dubbed version. Dubbing was well done. I just found out this is an older movie which was just recently dubbed in English. The best movie I have seen in a long time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is really why our great grandparents came to the US February 29, 2000
By Dagny
Format:VHS Tape
I had the opportunity to watch this movie while I was in college earning a degree in Scandinavian Studies. It was part of a required course, along with Fanny and Alexander, Wild Strawberries, The Pathfinder, Babette's Feast, and My Life as a Dog (All of these are excellent movies).
My grandparents came to the US from Sweden and Denmark during the early part of the 20th century. Until I saw this movie, I did not understand why they chose to come here. Now I have a strong appreciation of what they went through to come to the US.
This movie is quite incredible. It is very difficult to watch, but not because of the direction/actors/story - but because it brings up multiple, complex topics that are dealt with in a way you probably have never seen before if you are used to watching movies with happy, tidy endings. Max Von Sydow, as usual, is excellent in this movie.
I am REALLY upset that this is not available! If you can get it, get the one without the dubbing - Dubbing is a very bad thing and you really do lose a lot in the translation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite; why out of print? December 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This is one of my favorite movies; why is it out of release? The plot, simple but involving; the characters, so clearly drawn you feel you know them; the mood and art of the film - Scandinavian in simplicity and directness, yet beautiful and sensuous; and the ending, which always makes me both cry and be happy, are an unforgettable mix of movie perfection. Max von Sydow is incredible, as is Pelle. Please re-release this! (It won an Oscar, I think). Vastly unknown by the public and
underappreciated (Unlike the similar and also great "Babette's Feast")
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Film August 5, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is an excellent example of why many European films are so superior to American movies! This brilliantly realized and at times haunting story is hard to forget. After the death of his wife, Lasse and his young son Pelle migrate from Sweden to Denmark in search of a better life for themselves. However, things don't go quite according to plan. I highly advise viewing this film to find out just what does happen to them. The cinematography is beautiful, the music evocative, and the acting is flawless. Add this to your film library - you won't be sorry!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Pelle the Conqueror is a great movie and can be seen as a movie that explains why Scandinavians migrated to the US. However the movie and the Martin Andersen Nexo books are really about the working class and what drove the Danes (and others) to set up the first labour unions. If you want to know what events made workers rebel, this is a movie that will show what went before labour rights in an inspiring and heart warming story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a moving movie!
Published 1 month ago by Daniel in DC
5.0 out of 5 stars An epic of life
Through the eyes of Pelle we'll watch the horrid facets of life; cruelty, hopeless, deception and the awful truth. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: BRAVO
Will always remain one of the best classics. We won't loan our DVD out!
Published 2 months ago by scutter
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see film
An intelligent movie which makes you thibk and it has it's entertaining spells!
Scar winner for best foreign movie.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Pelle The Conqueror
I thought the acting was great even the unknown actors,Max von Sydow is one of my favorite actors.I highly recommend this movie.The co star in the movie was excellent.
Published 8 months ago by Ernest
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth your time.
Well acted and interesting on many levels. Looks at another era when income inequalities and the privileges of landownership and
relative wealth determined how people were... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Siv Kenyon
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best male performances I've ever seen!
Fantastic piece of film making. Two of the best performances you'll ever see. I can't begin to imagine why Von Sydow didn't win an Academy Award for this movie. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Leopoldo Jahn
5.0 out of 5 stars Swedish Roots
This is the story of why 1/3 of the Swedish population left Sweden at the end of the 19th and begining of the 20th Centuries. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Molly Ciliberti
5.0 out of 5 stars A towering achievement...
This haunting look at the lives of a young son and his elder father as they embark on new lives outside of their native Sweden and into the foreign soil of Denmark took home the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Andrew Ellington
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Performances
This film was recommended to me for the performance of Max von Sydow. And the recommendation was spot on. Read more
Published 15 months ago by JAB51
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