The Best Intentions

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Scripted (but not directed) by Ingmar Bergman, Best Intentions is a multilayered backwards glance at the courtship of Bergman's own parents. Henrik Bergman (Samuel Froler) is a struggling theology student in the year 1909. His intended, Anna Aakerbloom (Pernilla August, who married director Bille August while the film was in progress) is from a well-to-do family. Despite the expected class differences and personality clashes, love-or at least mutual understanding-prevails. But after a harsh, spare few years as the wife of a clergyman, Anna yearns for the more bountiful pleasures of her family home. Bergman writes himself into the proceedings as a mewling infant. The current three-hour theatrical version of Best Intentions (original title: Den Goda Viljan) was simultaneously prepared as a six-hour TV miniseries, which ran in Europe, Scandanavia, and Japan.


Samuel Fröler
as Henrik Bergman
Pernilla August
as Anna Bergman
Max von Sydow
as Johan Akerblom
Ghita Nørby
as Karin Akerblom
Mona Malm
as Alma Bergman
Lena Endre
as Frida Strandberg, Henrik's First Fiancee
Keve Hjelm
as Fredrik Bergman, Henrik's Paternal Grandfather
Björn Kjellman
as Ernst Akerblom, Anna's Brother
Börje Ahlstedt
as Carl Akerblom, Anna's Half-Brother
Björn Granath
as Oscar Akerblom, Anna's Half-Brother
Gunilla Nyroos
as Svea Akerblom, Oscar's Wife
Inga Ålenius
as Alva Nykvist
Eva Grondahl
as Martha Akerblom, Gustav's Wife
Irma Christensson
as Ebba Bergman, Henrik's Aunt
Sif Ruud
as Beda Bergman, Henrik's Aunt
Lena Brogren
as Miss Lisen
Dan Johansson
as Justus Bark, Henrik's Fellow Student
Niklas Hald
as Baltzar Kugelman, Henrik's Fellow Student
Ernst-Hugo Järegård
as Professor Sundelius
Hans Alfredson
as Reverend Gransjo
Lena T. Hansson
as Magda Sall
Marie Goranzon
as Elin Nordenson
Björn Gustafson
as Jesper Jakobsson
Roland Hedlund
as Herman Nagel, Works Manager
Elias Ringkvist
as Petrus Farg
Margaretha Krook
as Blenda Bergman, Henrik's Aunt
Leif Forstenberg
as Mr. Johansson
Sara Arnia
as Mrs. Johansson
Gun Jonsson
as Marta Lagerstam
Ernst Gunther
as Uncle Freddy
Gosta Prnzelius
as County Sheriff
Marie Rickardson
as Marta Werkelin
Mikael Segerström
as Gustov Akerblom--Anna's Half-Brother
Emy Storm
as Tekla Kronstrom
Barbro Kollberg
as Gertrud Tallroth
Inga Landgre
as Magna Flink
Inga Alenius
as Alva Nykvist
Tomas Bolme
as Jansson
Mikael Bengtsson
as Arvid Fredin
Pia Bergendahl
as Mrs. Fredin
Kare Santesson
as Mans Lagergren
Max Winderal
as Count Robert
Jan Blomberg
as Count Svante
Anita Björk
as Queen Viktoria
Ake Lagergren
as Chamberlain Segersward
Gaby Stenberg
as Matron Fanny
Gösta Prüzelius
as County Sheriff
Puck Ahlsell
as Clergyman Levander
Nils Eklund
as Churchwarden
Tord Peterson
as Coachman
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Critic Reviews for The Best Intentions

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (3)

  • Though the level of acting is uniformly quite high, the true star of The Best Intentions is Bergman's script.

    Nov 20, 2017 | Full Review…
  • August keeps a discreet distance from the harsher realities, making The Best Intentions must viewing only if you find diluted Bergman better than no Bergman at all.

    Nov 20, 2017 | Full Review…
  • The performances, though, are superbly understated-particularly the two leads, as well as Norby as Anna's commanding mother.

    Nov 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The Best Intentions is the most moving film I've seen this year.

    Sep 7, 2011 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Bergman's script succinctly weaves in refs to themes explored in his own earlier films, notably the destructive force of worship when used as a crutch for human weaknesses.

    Sep 9, 2008 | Full Review…

    Derek Elley

    Top Critic
  • With a running time of three hours, this weighty drama tests the most patient soul.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Colette Maude

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Best Intentions

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