Down 5,086 this week

The Best Intentions (1992)
"Den goda viljan" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,593 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 12 critic

The story of Ingmar Bergman's parents. In 1909, poor, idealistic theology student Henrik Bergman falls in love with Anna Åkerbloom, the intelligent, educated daughter of a rich family in ... See full summary »



Watch Trailer
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 31 titles
created 09 Apr 2011
a list of 38 titles
created 03 Jun 2012
a list of 31 titles
created 08 Jan 2013
a list of 31 titles
created 07 Apr 2013
a list of 49 titles
created 3 months ago

Search for "Den goda viljan" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Best Intentions (1992)

The Best Intentions (1992) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Best Intentions.
6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Carrington (1995)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Period piece. Very visually beautiful. The relationship dynamics are compelling and insightful.

Director: Christopher Hampton
Stars: Emma Thompson, Jonathan Pryce, Steven Waddington
Frida (2002)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work.

Director: Julie Taymor
Stars: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush
Iris I (2001)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

True story of a transatlantic business correspondence about used books that developed into a close friendship.

Director: David Hugh Jones
Stars: Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench
The Lover (1992)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jane March, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Frédérique Meininger
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two youths sent for a Maoist "re-education" in the mountains fall in love with the village tailor's granddaughter.

Director: Sijie Dai
Stars: Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, Ye Liu
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Poet looks back over his life and work, recalling his inspirations and obsessions.

Director: Jean Cocteau
Stars: Jean Cocteau, Françoise Arnoul, Claudine Auger
Shadowlands (1993)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

C.S. Lewis, a world-renowned Christian theologian, writer and professor, leads a passionless life until he meets a spirited poet from the U.S.

Director: Richard Attenborough
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger, Julian Fellowes
Julie & Julia (2009)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Julia Child's story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell's 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child's first book.

Director: Nora Ephron
Stars: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Chris Messina
The Best Intentions (TV Mini-Series 1991)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Stars: Samuel Fröler, Pernilla August, Ghita Nørby
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Inspired by real-life Elsa Andersson, this mostly fictional movie tells the story of her upbringing as a farmer's daughter, in the early 1900s, who dreams of getting away from the farm and becoming an aviatrix.

Director: Jan Troell
Stars: Amanda Ooms, Rikard Wolff, Björn Granath


Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel Fröler ...
Johan Åkerblom
Ghita Nørby ...
Karin Åkerblom
Lennart Hjulström ...
Disponent Nordenson
Mona Malm ...
Alma Bergman
Keve Hjelm ...
Fredrik Bergman
Björn Kjellman ...
Ernst Åkerblom
Börje Ahlstedt ...
Carl Åkerblom
Hans Alfredson ...
Kyrkoherde Gransjö
Lena T. Hansson ...
Magda Säll
Anita Björk ...
Drottning Victoria
Elias Ringquist ...
Ernst Günther ...
Freddy Paulin


The story of Ingmar Bergman's parents. In 1909, poor, idealistic theology student Henrik Bergman falls in love with Anna Åkerbloom, the intelligent, educated daughter of a rich family in Uppsala. After their wedding Henrik becomes a priest in the north of Sweden. After a few years Anna can't stand living in the rural county with the uncouth people. She returns to Uppsala, Henrik stays in the north. Written by Robert Stroetgen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ett filmepos av Bille August efter Ingmar Bergmans egna ord See more »


See all certifications »



Release Date:

10 July 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Best Intentions  »

Box Office


$1,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


The first time a husband and wife both won awards at the Cannes Film Festival in separate categories for the same film, Bille August winning the Palme d'Or for Best Film and his wife Pernilla winning for Best Actress. See more »


Edited from The Best Intentions (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

not just a revealing look at the psychologies of Bergman's parents, but a melodrama-free story of cold romance
23 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's always kind of staggering to think of other films that deal with love and marriage and the twisted ties that bind when compared to what Ingmar Bergman does in his scripts. Stripped away from the problems that come with such dangerous clichés like the old mother forbidding her daughter from being together with a man she just does not like, or with the marriage being strained by outside influences. Maybe the latter isn't much of a cliché as it might be a convention, but it's all dealt with by Bergman in his story of Henrik Bergman and Anna Bergman with complete, un-filtered honesty, even in the harsher moments. While it's not actually one of his very best scripts, with a couple of flaws here and there and it not being quite long enough (i.e. Scenes From a Marriage and Fanny & Alexander being five hours each), it has more emotionally shattering moments, and even under-stated ones, that would make most other dramas about a relationship in trouble meek in comparison.

That being said, it's also not technically a Bergman film, but directed through Billie August with maybe a slightly differed sensibility. Yet it's not by that much, aside from specific choices in the music (I don't think Bergman would have used the musical accompaniment, not that it's bad but it tells of what is usually different and less frequent for the material), and because of the nature of the material and the characters, it's not surprising if the Best Intentions feels more like a Bergman film than August. The rhythm of the acting, too, feels like it still is out of those vintage masterpieces of the 60s and 70s. Here we're given the story of how Henrik (Samuel Froler) and Anna (Pernilla August) came to be husband and wife. It's basically in two halves- the first dealing with Karin Akerblom (Ghita Nørby), Anna's mother, and her dire attempts to keep the two away from one another. And at first Anna agrees, but soon the attachment to one another can't be broken, even through an early affair Henrik has with a waitress and Anna's tuberculosis scare.

Many specific scenes, like a very harsh (though always under the surface) scene between Karin and Henrik, when she tells him point blank to leave and never come back to see Anna, or when Anna is told after the death of her father Johan (Max Von Sydow, always great to see him even in limited time) about how she destroyed a letter she found that she meant to sent to Henrik. So much of this is so powerful for how all of the dialog, all of the little notes and emotion in the action penetrate to the core elements of the drama. Sometimes I felt like I was seeing even deeper truths being reached about parents and children (not only Anna with her mother but Henrik with his family- both have tarnished relationships, but however much forgiveness is left off or ties severed shows also how the children become as they are), and a take on the free will vs. determinism of such a decision. So all of this is always fascinating, seeing this 'version' of Bergman's parents and their struggles to be together- Henrik the sort of cold yet compassionate loner parish/priest, and Anna the very warm and heartfelt soon-to-be-mother- as they both have head-strong tendencies.

I can't say how much of what unfolds in the 2nd act holds up as being totally true to what Bergman's parents lives were, but then who could? It's all made for dramatic sake, anyway, but what ends up sticking most is the friction in their marriage early on, when they move away to a small, working-class village where Henrik wants to work as the village pastor. It's in this section that the flaws arise, but not big ones, only enough to keep it odd yet intriguing. Like the character of Petrus, who is a weird little trouble-maker who is too sickly and frustrated to live with his parents, so Henrik and Anna take him in, which turns out disastrously. But there needs to be either more context with this character (and, indeed, a version of this film- a mini-series for Swedish TV- is double the length), or nothing at all, as everything that needs to be said about the strife in the two of them is actually there in the sub-plot with the angered villager Nordenson. And with the ending, it's satisfying, in a catharsis way though it's not as great, or even perfect, an ending it could have been had a certain decision been made on Henrik's part when he sees Anna outside.

I won't mention what, but it doesn't matter at any rate. What makes The Best Intentions a gem in the Bergman cannon is his trust in the audience to take these 'characters' as full-on human beings, who have the utmost trouble with one thing, compromise and the real meaning of love for one another- connection, which is what Bergman goes for in most of his films. And helping this greatly are the main actors, who elevate an argument mid-way through (regarding the location of the wedding) to the powerful terrain it's reaching for. August fits the requirements of her character just as Froler does, even if Froler ends up being slightly more constricted due to the nature of his own self-restrictive and hard-pressed priest. In the end, The Best Intentions makes wonderful use of autobiography for the stuff of an often gut-wrenching romantic drama where the personal goes into the theatrical, and the direction and acting brings out the best in Bergman's voice in his golden-age.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where Can i get this? ilda_lopes1
Oh, okay. I get it. bitemarked
Bump ilda_lopes1
Coming to DVD in the UK rnmboon
Question about Petrus jedicat1855
NTSC DVD at Amazon! donnatella
Discuss The Best Intentions (1992) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: