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Pelle the Conqueror

4.7 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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(Jun 01, 2004)
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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.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Pelle Hvenegaard, Max von Sydow, Erik Paaske, Björn Granath, Astrid Villaume
  • Directors: Bille August
  • Writers: Bille August, Bjarne Reuter, Martin Andersen Nexø, Per Olov Enquist
  • Producers: Per Holst
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Swedish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • 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 (60 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00020HAXS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,793 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pelle the Conqueror" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Riis VINE VOICE on 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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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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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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
All 36 reviewers -- even the gentleman who awarded only 1-star -- agree, and deservedly so, that in its own right, this is an outstanding film at every level. Such arguments as have been generated relate only to how the DVD has been packaged. No extras, English language dubbing, subtitles that spell out each and every noise on the sound-track, and the absence of 22 minutes compared with the original Danish and European versions. As is so often the case, the 36 reviews seem to describe several different products, including even VHS versions, and Amazon lists at least two products with the same cover as the copy I purchased from them that is from Trinity Home Entertainment and dated 2006. It would have been nice to have had at least the option of seeing the restored footage, as well as some critical background to the literary origin of the movie and a synopsis of the 4-volume novel from which it is derived. But this is not a Criterion release, and is not priced as such. Everyone who buys it knows (or should know) what it provides and what it does not. The only genuine issue becomes how well does it present the actual movie that North American audiences actually saw in their cinemas? For my money, the only fair answer is "pretty darn well". Visually and acoustically, the quality is first rate. Generally, I hate dubbed films because everyone is made to speak with an American accent, but in this copy, more sensitivity has been employed; the accents all have a genuine Scandinavian inflexion and I did not experience a single moment of discomfort in that regard. True, the subtitles do announce the background noises for the hearing - impaired: at worst it was slightly amusing, but generally it did not cause me any irritation. Warts and all, this is a very satisfying presentation of a unique masterpiece, one of the very greatest from that part of our planet.
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