Autumn Sonata (1978)
"Höstsonaten" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama, Music  |  October 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 14,329 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 58 critic

A married daughter who longs for her mother's love gets visited by the latter, a successful concert pianist.



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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Lena Nyman ...
Halvar Björk ...
Marianne Aminoff ...
Charlotte's private secretary
Arne Bang-Hansen ...
Uncle Otto
Georg Løkkeberg ...
Mimi Pollak ...
Piano instructor
Linn Ullmann ...
Eva as a child


After having neglected her children for many years, world famous pianist Charlotte visits her daughter Eva in her home. To her surprise she finds her other daughter, Helena, there as well. Helena is mentally disabled, and Eva has taken Helena out of the institution where their mother had placed her. The tension between Charlotte and Eva only builds up slowly, until a nightly conversation releases all the things they have wanted to tell each other. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


PG | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

October 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Autumn Sonata  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 4,509,704 (Sweden)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ingmar Bergman later stated that when they first started shooting, Ingrid Bergman played her part horribly. But after they discussed it, she was "Brilliant, incredibly difficult, but brilliant". See more »


In the dialogue scene where Charlotte is lying on the floor and Eva is sitting on the sofa behind her, the shadow of the boom mic is visible on the curtains when the camera pans to Eva for a few seconds. See more »


Eva: There's no dividing line, no insurmountable wall. I know it can't be described. It's a world of liberated feelings. Do you know what I mean? To me, man is a tremendous creation, an inconceivable thought. In man is everything, from the highest to lowest. Everything exists side by side. Realities, not only the reality we perceive with our dull senses, but a tumult of realities arching above each other inside and outside. It's just fear and priggishness to believe in limits. There are no limits, ...
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Featured in Ljuset håller mig sällskap (2000) See more »


Sonat F-dur, Opus 1
Written by George Frideric Handel (as Händel)
Performed by Frans Brüggen, Gustav Leonhardt and Anner Bylsma
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User Reviews

One of the very, very best
21 January 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

This is one of the very best Ingmar Bergman films I have seen, and therefore one of the very best films.

Ingrid Bergman and Liv Ullman are simply amazing together as a mother and daughter combination from hell. Ingrid Bergman is terrific, despite a deliberately naff hairdo which makes her look like Queen Elizabeth II of the UK rather than the faded beauty she is. Liv Ullman also has visual nuances to enhance her character - the glasses, platted hair and jumpers enabling this beautiful woman to look frumpy.

The acting is simply amazing, even through the subtitles you can tell. Fortunately Scandinavian vocal nuance is similar enough to English to enable us non-Swedish speakers to appreciate the acting.

Of course, it has the Ingmar Bergman darkness to it. The sister with the horrible degenerative disease, the drowned toddler, the selfishness of the Ingrid Bergman character. If you get depressed along with the characters in films like this, you might be better off giving this one a miss.

But for those with a taste for this type of claustrophobic drama, this is one of the most powerful films you will ever see.

71 of 78 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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