The Emigrants (Utvandrarna) (1971)



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Director/writer Jan Troell's expansive saga deals with the Larsen family, who during the 19th century famine in Sweden emigrate to the more fertile fields of Minnesota. With painstaking detail, the director follows the Larsens as they make the perilous (and, to some of their fellow immigrants, fatal) journey by foot, steamer, train, and paddle boat. The film, which originally ran 190 minutes but was pared down to 150 by its director for American consumption, earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Direction, and Best Actress (Liv Ullmann). The Emigrants was followed by a sequel, Nybyggarna ("The New Land"); both films have been edited together for TV release under the title The Emigrant Saga. The subsequent American TV series The New Land (1974) starred Bonnie Bedelia in the role created in The Emigrants by Liv Ullmann, and Scott Thomas in the patriarch role originated by Max von Sydow. In 1991, Sven Nykvist directed a "prequel" to The Emigrants titled The Ox. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for The Emigrants (Utvandrarna)

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

It's very slow, subtly acted, and if you can last the course, quite moving

Jul 6, 2010 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The Emigrants is a stately, pictorially romantic chronicle of the lives of a small group of peasants for whom existence at home becomes so tenuous that emigration seems the only solution.

Jun 24, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

The acclaim for this 1971 151-minute revisionist epic on the settlement of America still mystifies me.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Infinitely absorbing and moving.

Jun 12, 2006 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Nowhere has the experience of European emigration to America been told so forcefully and definitively as in Swedish director Jan Troell's duo, The Emigrants and The New Land.

Jan 16, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

physical and sensory components are essential to the film's dramatic effectiveness, and Troell weaves them quiet masterfully into the fabric of his characters' lives

Feb 18, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Emigrants (Utvandrarna)

The Swedish "Little House" is aided by a European sensibility to be evenly paced and with great subtlety. A tale of a proud but not grandstanding people.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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