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Hour of the Wolf (1968)
"Vargtimmen" (original title)

 |  Drama, Horror  |  9 April 1968 (USA)
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Reviews: 72 user | 56 critic

While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has a emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.



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Title: Hour of the Wolf (1968)

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Complete credited cast:
Johan Borg
Alma Borg
Gertrud Fridh ...
Corinne von Merkens
Georg Rydeberg ...
Lindhorst, archivist
Baron von Merkens
Naima Wifstrand ...
Old Lady with Hat
Ulf Johansson ...
Therapist Heerbrand
Gudrun Brost ...
Gamla Fru von Merkens
Bertil Anderberg ...
Ernst von Merkens
Veronica Vogler


An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film, which takes place on a windy island. During "the hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - he tells his wife about his most painful memories. Written by Fredrik Klasson <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"The Hour of the Wolf" is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.


Drama | Horror


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hour of the Wolf  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Bergman defines "The Hour of the Wolf" as "The time between midnight and dawn when most people die, when sleep is deepest, when nightmares are most palatable. It is the hour when the sleepless are pursued by their sharpest anxieties, when ghosts and demons hold sway. The hour of the wolf is also the hour when most children are born." According to "Films in Review" critic Henry Hart in the U.S. it's about 4 a.m. when the body's resistance is least. See more »


Baron von Merkens: Now you are yourself, but not yourself; an ideal state for a meeting between lovers.
See more »


Referenced in The Shining (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

A Bergman vampire movie, but without any vampires- pure, Gothic chills
26 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Much like F.W. Murnau, or even David Lynch for that matter, Ingmar Bergman can create horror in a film, such as his rarity in the genre of Hour of the Wolf (no, no werewolves boys and girls, the title refers to something else entirely regarding the middle of the night), by imposing images that are so unbelievable as to either frighten or annoy. Bergman is no stranger to the surreal (Persona his most notorious feat, but surrealism lurks in many Bergman works), and Hour of the Wolf displays his skills at it with a precision that is un-canny. We're given a couple of characters thrust (not entirely by accident) into a strange atmosphere of people, locations, shadows, the night. And with this film, the audience is given images and scenes that are very new, even for a modern audience, but most of the film brings one back to the most chilling of the silent-film horror classics. But that's not to say this is a relatively accessible Bergman film, unless you are very much into the genre.

Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman give strong performances as a couple (one an artist the other his pregnant wife) who arrive on an island to have some peace, where he can get some work done. But this is not the case as Von Sydow's character goes through a kind of deconstruction in the night- he can't sleep, he's shaken to intense uncomfort by neighbors, and a particular memory haunts him all the time (and once Bergman shows what it is, it becomes one of the most horrifying scenes I may have ever seen). If there is a climax to the film it's difficult to discern- the only flaw I had with the film, that sometimes it's almost TOO bizarre- however what leads up to it is a skillful work at experimental theatricality. Everything seems real enough to draw the audience in, and everything seems un-real enough for the audience to be disconnected enough to understand the surreal nature. To put it another way, it's a good film to scare the hell out of you as a midnight movie.

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