2 user

Dear John (1964)

Käre John (original title)
John is a shipmaster on a very small transportation boat which regularly attends a very small harbour to buy food, actually from Anna's father. She is a waitress and has a young daughter. ... See full summary »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In Greece, in the early part of the 20th century, two brothers from a wealthy landowning family have opposite views on how the poor workers who work on their land should be treated.

Director: Vasilis Georgiadis
Stars: Nikos Kourkoulos, Mairi Hronopoulou, Giannis Voglis
Phoenix II (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A disfigured Holocaust survivor sets out to determine if the man she loved betrayed her trust.

Director: Christian Petzold
Stars: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In Budapest, two rival gangs of young boys lay claim to a vacant lot. The hostilities escalate yet never quite boil over into actual violence. Just when things do get out of hand, however, ... See full summary »

Director: Zoltán Fábri
Stars: Mari Töröcsik, Sándor Pécsi, László Kozák
Pharaoh (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Young Pharaoh Ramses XIII clashes with Egypt's clergy over influence on the affairs of the state and its coffers.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz
Stars: Jerzy Zelnik, Wieslawa Mazurkiewicz, Barbara Brylska
First Love (1970)
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Based on Ivan Turgeyev's novella, Erste Liebe is about two young lovers in czarist Russia. One is a 21-year-old woman, the other a young man of sixteen. Things take a tragic turn as the ... See full summary »

Director: Maximilian Schell
Stars: John Moulder-Brown, Dominique Sanda, Maximilian Schell
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A violent man and a passionate man are dueling for the heart of the pretty young country girl.

Director: Francisco Rovira Beleta
Stars: Antonio Gades, La Polaca, Rafael de Córdoba
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Jewish ghetto in the east of Europe, 1944. By coincidence, Jakob Heym eavesdrops on a German radio broadcast announcing the Soviet Army is making slow by steady progress towards central ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Beyer
Stars: Vlastimil Brodský, Erwin Geschonneck, Henry Hübchen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Slovakia during WW2. Tono lives a poor life, but the authorities offer him to take over the Jewish widow Lautman's little shop for sewing material. She is old and confused and thinks that ... See full summary »

Directors: Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos
Stars: Ida Kaminska, Jozef Kroner, Hana Slivková
Live for Life (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Robert Colomb, a famous TV newscaster, is married to Catherine, but is continually unfaithful. He is about to replace his current mistress, Mireille, with Jacqueline when he meets, and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Lelouch
Stars: Yves Montand, Candice Bergen, Annie Girardot
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In order to save Jewish girl from the Nazis and their colaborators, Croatian family arranges her to be wed to their young son. Young man is displeased with sudden end to his careless youth ... See full summary »

Director: France Stiglic
Stars: Dusica Zegarac, Boris Dvornik, Branko Tatic
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two masters of chess duel each other not only in their game but also in their different ideologies. The veteran Akiva is a Soviet Jew and ferocious Communist, master of his game but also ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Dembo
Stars: Michel Piccoli, Alexandre Arbatt, Liv Ullmann
Koto (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two twin girls are separated at birth. One grows up in a loving family. The other one doesn't. They finally meat by complete accident on a town fair. No one ever told them about the other one so they begin familiarizing with each other.

Director: Noboru Nakamura
Stars: Shima Iwashita, Hiroyuki Nagato, Seiji Miyaguchi


Complete credited cast:
John Berndtsson
Christina Schollin ...
Helena Nilsson ...
Erik Hell ...
Yngve Lindgren
Emy Storm ...
Karin Lindgren
Morgan Anderson ...
Synnøve Liljebæck ...
Hans Wigren ...
Håkan Serner ...
Bo Wahlström ...
Bosse (as Bosse Wahlström)
Erland Nordenfalk ...


John is a shipmaster on a very small transportation boat which regularly attends a very small harbour to buy food, actually from Anna's father. She is a waitress and has a young daughter. She tells John that her name is Anita. They have met many times, but their first personal meeting is when both are swimming in early morning. John is asked to have morning coffee with Anna's family. He invites her and her child to a trip to Zoo in Copenhagen. Both have genuine feelings for each other. There are lovely three-some scenes when John is proud of "being" a father, and beautiful love scenes. Christina Schollin's naked body is cute but never obtrusive. But at that time girls were depreciated if they "gave in" too soon. So these scenes repeatedly alternate with hot misunderstandings, well-known exactly when two people with genuine feelings fear misunderstandings and try to preclude them. In the last minutes of the movie, when each has left the "harbour village" on the next day, and John has ... Written by Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »





Release Date:

23 November 1964 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Dear John  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Berndtsson: Jävla anständiga kyskhetsluder!
[after Anna refuses John's initial sexual advances]
See more »


Referenced in The Golden Box (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Romantic classic; not gimmicky enough for today's fans
19 April 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

After all these years (I remember the hub-bub when this was released in '66) I was thrilled to finally see DEAR JOHN, a great Swedish film which proved to be the "date movie" of its day here in America. And I also discovered why it has fallen into obscurity.

Writer-director Lars-Magnus Lindgren, a very talented & versatile filmmaker, brought impressive technique to telling a simple tale, of a wanderlust sailor and a single-parent waitress who fall in love. Nowadays there would have to be a hook, some fantastic or deus ex machina gimmickry to keep the audience's attention, as in the string of dreadful Nicholas Sparks soggy-romance adaptations, including coincidentally a new film called DEAR JOHN.

But Lindgren wisely keeps it simple, natural, believable and moving, his only trick being a very complicated time structure of flashbacks and flashbacks within flashbacks. There's method in this approach, as the film's final two twists take on a depth thanks to the careful foreshadowing (playing off and around the film's title implication of a farewell note).

Casting is in no small measure the secret of Lindgren's success here. Jarl Kulle is the 30-something hero, quite different from his archly played Bergman roles of the period like THE DEVIL'S EYE and ALL THESE WOMEN. Because they're Bergman works, though among his least favored, I used to see them all the time, but DEAR JOHN remained elusive all these years.

Kulle's sailor has a Billy Budd hairstyle which immediately gives Kulle the necessary youthful appearance. He seems self-centered and "one of the guys" for the early part of the film, leading the audience to believe he's only out for a sexual conquest to tell all his pals about. This adds wonderful panache when the tables seem to be turned in later reels, all leading to an even-handed and satisfying romantic conclusion.

As the leading lady we don't have a blonde bombshell but instead the very ordinary (but lovely) Christina Schollin, who reminded me strongly of America's Mary Stuart Masterson (they even have the same toothy smile). Like Schollin, Masterson was cast in many leading roles for about a decade starting in the mid-'80s but never broke out of the pack to achieve stardom. Even her BENNY & JOON opposite Johnny Depp didn't cement her in the pantheon.

With Schollin, the breaks were there, the performances too, but she's still too little known. Her Arne Mattsson film WOMAN OF DARKNESS is brilliant, and of course it doesn't get any better than Bergman's FANNY AND Alexander. Back in DEAR JOHN she is touching, so natural one never feels you're watching a star turn. The script's frank treatment of sex (there are many jokes later on about Kulle's "John Thomas", not the sort of thing you'd see or hear about in a Hollywood movie of the time) is its initial drawing card, with extremely tasteful nude scenes.

So flash-forward to the 21st Century and it is precisely the hokey films that fans (and grubby video distributors) have revived. Sex movies like Joe Sarno's INGA or a slew of Mac Ahlberg soft (and hard) porn titles are in circulation, but not DEAR JOHN.

Helena Nilsson is wonderful, again completely natural, as Schollin's cute child, and Kulle's impromptu spiriting them away to Copenhagen to see the zoo is a beautifully directed set-piece. And Rune Ericson's black & white visuals are evocative -I've always loved his work for Mai Zetterling and this movie explains why she made him her go-to d.p.

Now I'll have to hunt for even more obscure Schollin/Kulle pairings from the early '60s: Lindgren's LOVE MATES and Swedish WEDDING NIGHT; unsung quality cinema.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Finally available on DVD Buddy-51
How did this film become so unknown? Buddy-51
Discuss Dear John (1964) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: