Winter Light (1963)
"Nattvardsgästerna" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  5 April 1963 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 13,096 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 44 critic

A small town priest struggles with his faith.



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Complete credited cast:
Gunnel Lindblom ...
Algot Frövik, Sexton
Kolbjörn Knudsen ...
Knut Aronsson, Warden
Olof Thunberg ...
Fredrik Blom, Organist
Elsa Ebbesen ...
Magdalena Ledfors, Widow


On a cold winter's Sunday, the pastor of a small rural church (Tomas Ericsson) performs service for a tiny congregation; though he is suffering from a cold and a severe crisis of faith. After the service, he attempts to console a fisherman (Jonas Persson) who is tormented by anxiety, but Tomas can only speak about his own troubled relationship with God. A school teacher (Maerta Lundberg) offers Tomas her love as consolation for his loss of faith. But Tomas resists her love as desperately as she offers it to him. This is the second in Bergman's trilogy of films dealing with man's relationship with God. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

faith | pastor | winter | priest | suicide | See All (9) »




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Release Date:

5 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les communiants  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


When she saw the completed film, Ingmar Bergman's then wife Kabi Laretei said, "Yes, Ingmar, it's a masterpiece. But it's a dreary masterpiece." See more »


When Thomas leaves to go to the suicide scene Marta's car is parked nearby. She follows him in her car. They leave the suicide scene in her car and his is never seen again. See more »


Märta Lundberg, Schoolteacher: God, why have you created me so eternally dissatisfied? So frightened, so bitter? Why must I realize how wretched I am? Why must I suffer so hellishly for my insignificance? If there is a purpose to my suffering, then tell me, so I can bear my pain without complaint. I'm strong. You made me so very strong in both body and soul, but you never give me a task worthy of my strength. Give my life meaning, and I'll be your obedient slave.
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Referenced in Man Exposed (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

20 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

possibly my absolute favorite Bergman film. Gorgeous, the way a fresh blanket of snow on a frigidly cold winter night is.

Brutally bleak, "Winter Light" may be about losing religious faith, but I don't think you have to have a religious faith to identity with Gunnar Bjornstrand's character, the pastor of a small town. His "faith" is as much a will to live as anything else.

Bjornstrand and Ingrid Thulin are amazingly good, and Max von Sydow does more with a few subtle expressions, and very little dialog, than most any actor is capable of.

Not a film to watch in the dead of winter if you suffer from SAD, unless you're like me and get a perverse type of therapy from confronting the hopelessness head first.

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