The Sacrifice (1986)
"Offret" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  November 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 13,253 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 60 critic

At the dawn of World War III, a man searches for a way to restore peace to the world and finds he must give something in return.


(as Andrei Tarkovskij)


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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Guðrún Gísladóttir ...
Maria (as Guðrún S. Gísladóttir)
Sven Wollter ...
Valérie Mairesse ...
Filippa Franzén ...
Tommy Kjellqvist ...
Per Källman ...
Tommy Nordahl ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tintin Anderzon ...
Helena Brodin ...
Birgit Carlstén ...
Jane Friedmann ...
Martin Lindström ...


Alexander, a journalist and former actor and philosopher, tells his little son how worried he is about the lack of spirituality of modern mankind. In the night of his birthday, the third world war breaks out. In his despair Alexander turns himself in a prayer to God, offering him everything to have the war not happen at all. Written by Gert de Boer

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Sacrifice  »

Box Office


$300,653 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film uses long takes more often than in Tarkovsky's previous films. See more »


[first lines]
Alexander: Come here and give me a hand, my boy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before end credits: "This film is dedicated to my son Andriosha - with hope and confidence. Andrei Tarkovskij" See more »


Featured in Moskovskaya elegiya (1987) See more »


Performed by Watazumido-Shuso (Hotchiku flöjt)
The Everest Record Group 3289
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User Reviews

A perfect example of the difference between true cinema and the Big Macs that Hollywood feeds us.
8 May 2004 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Tarkovsky's death bed film certainly lacks some of the fire and energy of his earlier work, but the story of Alexander's search for faith amidst the worst kind of madness is by no means dull. The cinematography and editing are obviously Bergman influenced, but anyone who says that it bothers them to see Tarkovsky borrow the style of another needs to learn more about Eisenstein, Kuleshov, and perhaps Wajda.

This film serves as a stark example of the real difference between the work of the European authors and Hollywood. While viewing, keep an eye on the editing. Th film opens on a five minute long shot in which it is extremely difficult to even discern which character is speaking. The scenes are made up of as few shots as possible and the shortest shot of the entire film is about 10 seconds. There are less than a dozen close ups in the entire piece, which may be why American audiences with their limited attention spans, would reject the film. The Sacrifice might not sit well with Tarkovsky purists, but it's themes and philosophy, I feel, surpass in depth, any of the master's other works.

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Other 'visually beautiful' films? mmeerrtt
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Was Andrei Tarkovsky Catholic? vinnyd3000
this movie disappointed me miles-disney
Dedication (spolier maybe) gusand
This movie cuts corners. verdant4ce
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