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The Virgin Spring (1960)
"Jungfrukällan" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama  |  14 November 1960 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 17,042 users  
Reviews: 75 user | 79 critic

A kind but pampered beautiful young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Birgitta Valberg ...
Märeta
Gunnel Lindblom ...
...
Karin
Axel Düberg ...
Thin Herdsman
Tor Isedal ...
Mute Herdsman
Allan Edwall ...
Beggar
Ove Porath ...
Boy
Axel Slangus ...
Gudrun Brost ...
Frida
Oscar Ljung ...
Simon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tor Borong ...
Farm-hand
Leif Forstenberg ...
Farm-hand
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Storyline

Set in beautiful 14th century Sweden, it is the sombre, powerful fable of wealthy land-owning parents whose daughter, a young virgin, is brutally raped and murdered by goat herders after her half sister has invoked a pagan curse. By a bizarre twist of fate, the murderers ask for food and shelter from the dead girl's parents, who, discovering the truth about their erstwhile lodgers, exact a chilling revenge. Written by L.H. Wong <as9401k56@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

virgin | church | farm | rape | candle | See All (112) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 November 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Virgin Spring  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wes Craven took inspiration in this film to make his horror film The Last House on the Left (1972). See more »

Goofs

If you look closely when the boy is placing dirt on Karin's body, you can see her torso move as the actress breathes (even though she was supposed to be dead). See more »

Quotes

Beggar: See the smoke trembling under the roof as if with fright? Yet when it gets out in the air, it has the whole sky to swirl about in. But it doesn't know that, so it huddles and trembles in the soot under the roof. It's the same with people. They quiver like a leaf in the storm, afraid of what they know and what they don't know.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Grindhouse (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Compelling and frightening
21 February 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A powerhouse piece of filmmaking from one of the all-time great directors. This 14th-century exploration of good and evil, morality and chaos, love and revenge is pretty much a faultless viewing experience and one which retains its ability to shock and provoke thought in the viewer even today. I can only imagine what it would have been like to see this on first release.

The story is deceptively simple and yet filled with harrowing imagery. The assault in the woods is difficult to watch, even in these jaded times, and of course Bergman wrings the maximum tension out of it right from the very beginning. The second half is, perhaps, even more tense, with the expectation of impending violence and the strong, subtle filmmaking techniques (think: lots of lurking shadow, religious iconography, haunted faces). The excellent use of black and white photography reminded me of Kurosawa's work on RASHOMON. Max von Sydow holds it all together as the brusque father and family man, but he heads a cast who can do no wrong.

Wes Craven went for a lurid, contemporary remake in LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, but despite the graphic nature of Craven's film I don't think it holds a candle to this one.


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