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Breaking the Waves (1996)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  13 November 1996 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 40,139 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 219 user | 103 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another.

Director:

(as Lars Von Trier)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 46 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Terry
...
Dr. Richardson
Jonathan Hackett ...
Priest
Sandra Voe ...
Mother
...
Mikkel Gaup ...
Pits
...
Pim
Phil McCall ...
Grandfather
Robert Robertson ...
Chairman
Desmond Reilly ...
An Elder
Sarah Gudgeon ...
Sybilla
Finlay Welsh ...
Coroner (as Finley Welsh)
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Storyline

Drama set in a repressed, deeply religious community in the north of Scotland, where a naive young woman named Bess McNeil meets and falls in love with Danish oil-rig worker Jan. Bess and Jan are deeply in love but, when Jan returns to his rig, Bess prays to God that he returns for good. Jan does return, his neck broken in an accident aboard the rig. Because of his condition, Jan and Bess are now unable to enjoy a sexual relationship and Jan urges Bess to take another lover and tell him the details. As Bess becomes more and more deviant in her sexual behavior, the more she comes to believe that her actions are guided by God and are helping Jan recover. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | accident | sex | scotland | oil rig | See more »

Taglines:

Love is a mighty power.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong graphic sexuality, nudity, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Language:

Release Date:

13 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Contra viento y marea  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$110,741 (USA) (22 November 1996)

Gross:

$4,040,691 (USA) (2 May 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The person being buried is called Anthony Dod Mantle. This is a reference to Lars von Trier's favorite cinematographer - Anthony Dod Mantle - who served as a location scout in the movie. See more »

Goofs

(at around 7 mins) When Bess is in bed with her sister-in-law, the blanket is on, then off, Bess' shoulder. See more »

Quotes

The Minister: I would say to you that if there is one of these commandments you do not love and do not obey, you have no business at the Lord's table.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Les amours perdues (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Blowin' in the Wind
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Tom Harboe, Jan Harboe and Ulrik Corlin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Perfect
9 March 2006 | by (Iceland) – See all my reviews

Life is complex in many ways yet so simple, emotions complicate especially if they are deep, you can go through life without pain but their will be a price to pay and that is no pleasure. Breaking the Waves is a roller-coaster ride and i feel for the characters in this movie i feel their pleasure and pain, bitter sweet. Emily Watson became one of my favorite actors after this movie, she is truly amazing in the role of Bess McNeill. Director Lars Von Trier gets everything right here and makes the movie all directors dream of and at the same time fear, how can you make better a movie. I went to the cinema ten years ago and knew nothing about this film and some guy was making a speech about this film before the movie started and only reason i was there was that i had nothing better to do. I had the perfect cinema experience of my life and only a handful of films have moved me like this one did. Lesson in life a lesson in human behavior and a lesson in hate. I cannot stress this enough all people should watch this film, gives you a bit of happiness and also a lot of pain just like when you love someone.


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