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Pelle Erobreren (Pelle the Conqueror) Reviews

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Super Reviewer

July 22, 2014
A father and son move to a Denmark village where they try to make ends meet amid poverty and few opportunities for advancement.
Heart-breaking and stark, Pelle the Conquerer is a strong coming-of-age film featuring an incredible performance by the legendary Max von Sydow. Von Sydow captures his character's desperate search for hope and a future in his most vulnerable performance to date. The film is able to get its audience to believe in these characters' chances despite the fact that the film simultaneously creates a world in which hope seems ridiculous. The murder of peasants, the anti-Swede prejudice, and the domineering overseers all combine to add to cold, desolate milieu.
Overall, Max von Sydow and the atmosphere of this film make this film a remarkably compelling story.
June 11, 2013
Calm and slow paced but epic and very lively at the same time, this is a broad frescoe on one farm with richly drawn characters, all played with art. Max Von Sydow gets another great role in his magnificent carreer, and the child actor is definitely a good one. The scenery is poetic and beautifully shot, making the bleak grand, and the plot is very gripping, with very rewarding developments.
March 9, 2014
Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Starring one of my favourite actors, Max von Sydow.
John B

Super Reviewer

February 3, 2014
I remember Max Von Sydow at the Oscars as the afterthought as I'm sure most of the Academy had not taken in Pelle the Conquerer. It is an epic to sit through but it is fully deserving of recognition of the one of the better films to come out of the eighties.
October 26, 2013
Its odd to think that the reason I watched Pelle the Conqueror is solely because I became a fan of Max Von Sydow's work after seeing Flash Gordon.

Pelle the Conqueror is a powerful story, a touching tale about discrimination and a father and son faced with it in Bornholm at the end of the 19th century. It's a powerful piece which is historically educating and cleverly dramatised thanks to a strong script and powerful cast.
The production design gives off a very convincing feel in Pelle the Conqueror because it feels culturally enriching to witness the real state of civilisation that late 19th century Bornholm is really about, and it fails to fall into any hollywood clichés because it's a film straight out of Denmark, and is clearly one of the finest films Denmark has to offer. Director Bille August is the man to make sure of that, and he makes sure of it damn well. Pelle the Conqueror's success in terms of story structure, development and direction can all be largely attributed to him, as well as his clever script which is an insightful adaptation of the Martin Andersen Nexo text and an insightful film in general. It's well constructed, well shot, and well toned even if some of the story elements are inconsistent in maintaining interest or a consistent pace.
The technical highlight of Pelle the Conqueror is its Academy Award Worthy soundtrack which is incredibly emotionally powerful, mood setting and sets the scale up for viewers to understand before they watch Pelle the Conqueror.
Max Von Sydow's incredible performance ties everything together because he shows off the talent that a Swedish actor has through his mix of powerfully emotional line delivery and facial gestures which make it easy for viewers to tone into his character's soul as the story progresses. He is at some of his finest in Pelle the Conqueror.
Pelle Hvenegaard was also great as the titular Pelle and coincidentally named after the original character, and that just adds to the image of spirit that he importantly maintains as the story progresses and develops, and honestly Pelle Hvenegaard just resists whatever constraints may have existed and comes out shining.

So Pelle the Conqueror is a slow paced tale, but its emotionally gripping, well made and a fine example of Danish cinema.
December 14, 2007
A beautiful tale of a father and son. Danish filmmaker, Bille August, creates both an intimate and emotionally epic film with heartfelt and profound wisdom. The depth of emotion puts Hollywood melodramas to shame. Max Von Sydow continues to astonish late into his life. It's a coming-of-age story that is told through episodic vignettes, some of which are tragic, others touching. All of them are truly meaningful. (On a sidenote, it was filmed on the little Danish island of Bornholm, where my Mother was born).
February 8, 2013
Tiene algunos deux ex machina, pero es correctamente melodramática y muy dura y profunda. Aunque el final es muy insatisfactorio.
July 27, 2012
Amazing. Just amazing. A great and sad movie.
March 29, 2008
An immigrant movie to cherish -- becuase of the modesty of the hopes of the too-old father and the dreams of his too-young son.
June 10, 2012
It's a shame Bille August never made another good film, but this epic captures the landscapes, and the father-son relationship in an extremely tender and honest way.
November 11, 2010
Quite effective. I had some minor issues with the story structure, which loosens a bit too frequently to little effect, but the central dynamic between von Sydow and Pelle is great. The characters are very recognisable, very real, particularly the influence of the father on the son (although not in the typical way it is presented in films).
August 6, 2010
It's only a good movie, no a great movie. It's some times to safe and weak film, that features to many themes, it would be better on focus on only one theme, like how to get to america.
May 22, 2010
Fantastic movie directed by Bille August.
The Movie Guru
April 30, 2010
There is just nothing you can say about this film, but wonderful. A continually more depressing film (don´t take me wrong, those three hours you are absolutley glued to the screen) but I´m not one to cry at films. I may find them sad and all, but this film made me cry so heartbreaking the story of an old father who´s lost his life saving up to travel first to Denmark and then to America in search of a better life for himself and his young son. See this because this is a masterpiece, so epic and sad (actually I do admit the part where the landlady got back at her husband that one was uplifting).
July 4, 2009
Wonderful story, wonderful filming, directing, acting ... masterpiece !!
July 3, 2009
One of the greatest coming-of-age films of all time.
Byron B

Super Reviewer

February 19, 2007
want to see this because it won best foreign-language film at the oscars and at the golden globes, and was nominated for best foreign film by NBR
January 19, 2009

i never was a fan of this film...
but its not a bad one!
November 24, 2008
This film possesses a very rare sort of intelligence. One which gives it the power to create deeply touching moments and those of extreme tension (sometimes with the aid of fairly self-aware keep-em-guessing type of trickery) yet, all the while, the film never put its soul in jeopardy, never loses its grasp of life's harsh, beautiful greys. And then, of course, there are the numerous moments of full-on brilliance sprinkled throughout the piece. The "real Swedish raspberries" on top.
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