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Pelle the Conqueror

Pelle Hvenegaard , Max von Sydow , Bille August    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Product Description

From the Studio

The 1988 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language and The Grand Prix Award winner at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, Pelle the Conqueror is about the course each man must steer in following his dreams. Drunken and defiant laborer Lasse Karlsson (a transcendent Max Von Sydow) and his young son Pelle (Pelle Hevenegaard) migrate from Sweden to Denmark in search of farm work. They find it -- along with much more than they bargained for -- on the Kongstrup farm.

Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 5-star movie, 4-star DVD Jan. 23 2003
Pelle the Conqueror is an utterly flawless film with regards to acting, cinematography, score, storytelling, etc. It won Best Foreign Film honors at the Academy Awards and was even nominated for Best Picture. Of course, the politics of Hollywood could never have allowed it to claim that honor, otherwise a precedence would have been set of acknowledging that foreign films might be (gasp!) better than a lot of the [stuff] Tinseltown shovels out.
Personally, I watched the Oscars that year exclusively to cheer for Pelle the Conqueror and even more specifically for Max Von Sydow, who turned in the performance of a lifetime. From the moment I began watching the film to the moment it ended, I never lost my sense of absolute immersion. It was, in truth, a grueling experience... because like so many Scandinavian films, Pelle is not a "feel good" story and doesn't have a happy ending. It doesn't have a happy beginning or middle, either. I'm straining my memory to remember a full happy minute, actually. Max Von Sydow is so thoroughly convincing as the widower father of 12-year-old Pelle Hvenegaard that I couldn't help but bear his anguish as all his hopes for a better life for his son get trampled. Even though I was fairly young when the film came out, Von Sydow led me to understand a poor father's burden. When I saw this movie in the theater in 1988, I was told by a friend it was "part one" and that the subsequent film would give viewers a little more resolution as young Pelle escapes to try to reach America... I waited and waited for that sequel, because I believed in these characters and wanted a better life for them; that's how powerful the film was to me.
So why only 4 stars? Because the DVD (to date -- these things sometimes change) does not contain the whole film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Film Aug. 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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4.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent performance by Von Sydow July 16 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
A quite good movie, with a truly great performance by Max Von Sydow.

The film itself is overlong, and a bit too crowded with sub-plots that
don't get developed enough.

On the other hand, the intricate, specific details of the sad, Dickensian
world of this Danish farm in the late 19th century feel real, harsh, and
often fascinating.

The young boy playing Pelle is good, but not as great as the role calls for.

But Von Sydow is so subtle, so heartbreaking, so complex that he almost lifts
this into 'great film' territory just by himself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elend, elend, elend,... Nov. 11 2003
Max von Sydow magnificently plays a certain type of Scandinavian man, maybe his best film of the ones I've seen. I saw the movie when it came out, remembered it as fantastic but forgot the details, then watched the video again recently. Tried to watch it with my 7 and 12 year old sons, but the older one couldn't take it: too much sadness. The theme of the movie: unfathomable human cruelty, that 'happiness' is only an illusion. How to know that the movie was filmed on Bornholm? The Rundkirk in a burial scene.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moving Oct. 21 2003
The story behind this movie was very touching. My Great-Great Grandfather went AWOL and came to America about the time this movie is set. The movie helped reveal to me why my family carries some of the attitudes it has and why he stopped speaking Danish or speaking of Denmark the day he stepped on American soil. This movie is a must for anyone of Scandinavian ancestry.
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