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Pelle the Conqueror details the plight of the immigrant using fine, empathetic strokes, brought to life through the efforts of an outstanding cast led by Max von Sydow. Read critic reviews

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Pelle the Conqueror Photos

Movie Info

When his wife dies, Lassefar (Max von Sydow) takes his 12-year-old son, Pelle (Pelle Hvenegaard), from their home in Sweden to Denmark in search of a better life. Signing on as laborers at a large farm, father and son undergo numerous trials, including prejudice against immigrants and run-ins with those more powerful than themselves in both the physical and the social sense. Over the course of a year, young Pelle learns what it takes to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Cast & Crew

Erik Paaske
Forvalter, Foreman
Astrid Villaume
Fru Kongstrup
Axel Strøbye
Kongstrup
Karen Wegener
Madam Olsen
Sofie Gråbøl
Miss Sine
Per Holst
Producer
Stefan Nilsson
Original Music
Jörgen Persson
Cinematographer
Anna Asp
Production Design
Kicki Ilander
Costume Designer
Martin Andersen Nexø
Writer (Novel)
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Critic Reviews for Pelle the Conqueror

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (3)

  • Director Bille August and ace Scandinavian cameraman Per Holst make the film a visual treat.

    February 27, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Pelle itself, rather surprisingly, is a natural, organic epic, and one that opens a window on a meticulously detailed bygone world that, by film's end, you might feel as though you've visited.

    February 27, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The film is a towering achievement, grueling in its portrayal of a harsh existence yet ultimately an exhilarating experience unlikely to be forgotten.

    February 27, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The movie -- ravishingly photographed by Jorgen (Elvira Madigan) Persson -- dazzles with incident but fails to find the human focus to validate a lasting claim on the heart.

    February 27, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Beneath the transparent, by-the-numbers schema there are potent elements at play in this work, but unfortunately they go unexplored.

    February 27, 2017 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • The chilly, oppressive Danish film Pelle the Conqueror has only one artistic aim: to wrench as much pity as possible from its audience.

    February 27, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pelle the Conqueror

  • Jul 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.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Feb 03, 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2009
    <a href="http://tinypic.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://i30.tinypic.com/hs3ss6.jpg" border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"></a> Pelle The Conqueror was another good movie I have seen during this week. Eventough it was 2.30 hours long it was a beautiful journey of a father Lasse played by Max Von Sydow, and his son, Pelle,after they moved from Sweden to have a better life in Denmark.But what they have found was a brutal and hard life.Working on a farm Pelle and his father struggled to survive. The movie was more than just their life on this farm. It was about the dreams of this young boy and his ambition to see America.The end was a little confusing for me, when Pelle needed to move on from his father to discover more from life. Amazing movie.
    Daisy M Super Reviewer

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