MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 568 this week

Breaking the Waves (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  13 November 1996 (USA)
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 44,178 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 220 user | 113 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)

Writers:

(as Lars Von Trier) , , 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 15 Sep 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 09 Oct 2012
 
a list of 38 titles
created 25 Apr 2014
 
a list of 41 titles
created 25 Apr 2014
 
a list of 34 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Breaking the Waves (1996)

Breaking the Waves (1996) on IMDb 7.9/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Breaking the Waves.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Björk, Catherine Deneuve, David Morse
The Idiots (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing
Dogville (2003)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman on the run from the mob is reluctantly accepted in a small Colorado town. In exchange, she agrees to work for them. As a search visits town, she finds out that their support has a price. Yet her dangerous secret is never far away...

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Paul Bettany, Lauren Bacall
Europa (1991)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Just after WW2, an American takes a railway job in Germany, but finds his position politically sensitive with various people trying to use him.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Barbara Sukowa, Jean-Marc Barr, Udo Kier
Manderlay (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A story of slavery, set in the southern U.S. in the 1930s.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Isaach De Bankolé, Danny Glover
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An IT company hires an actor to serve as the company's president in order to help the business get sold to a cranky Icelander.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Jens Albinus, Peter Gantzler, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson
Epidemic (1987)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A film director and a script writer (performed by Lars von Trier and Niels Vørsel themselves) write a screenplay, in which an epidemic spreads about the whole world. Like the protagonist ... See full summary »

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Allan De Waal, Ole Ernst, Michael Gelting
Antichrist (2009)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
Melancholia (2011)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with Earth.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A cop in a dystopian Europe investigates a serial killings suspect using controversial methods written by his now disgraced former mentor.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Michael Elphick, Esmond Knight, Me Me Lai
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

About a filmmaker not only revisiting, but also recreating (not in a conventional sense) one of his first films, The Perfect Human / Det perfekte menneske (1967)

Directors: Jørgen Leth, Lars von Trier
Stars: Claus Nissen, Majken Algren Nielsen, Daniel Hernandez Rodriguez
The Kingdom (1994–1997)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The Kingdom is the most technologically advanced hospital in Denmark, a gleaming bastion of medical science. A rash of uncanny occurrences, however, begins to weaken the staff's faith in ... See full summary »

Stars: Ernst-Hugo Järegård, Kirsten Rolffes, Ghita Nørby
Edit

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)
Edit

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 All (58) »

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In modern film editing, the original film footage is transferred to video where it is edited to its final cut, then used as a guide for a negative cutter going back to the original film footage. In the case of this film, however, they just recorded the video edit back to 35mm, resulting in its unique, highly grainy look. 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

[first lines]
Bess McNeill: His name is Jan.
The Minister: I do not know him.
Bess McNeill: [coyly] He's from the lake.
The Minister: You know we do not favor matrimony with outsiders.
An Elder: Can you even tell us what matrimony is?
Bess McNeill: It's when two people are joined in God.
See more »

Connections

References Solaris (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Lies Bleeding
Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
Performed by Elton John
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Left reeling, fascinated yet puzzled
5 August 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Although Lars von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" is undoubtedly one of the most impressive films of recent years, I have delayed commenting on it until now, as my feelings about it are far from clear. Certainly it has an arresting quality that held me in a vice-like grip for nearly three hours - no mean achievement as generally once over the two-hour threshold one is looking for the scissors. But, no, it has a mesmerising quality that reminds me of Dreyer's "Ordet" at times. Both are set in remote communities and deal with religious concepts which, even for a semi-believer, remain difficult to comprehend; in the case of Dreyer the miracle of a resurrection and here the hint at something similar in a final scene I will not reveal. Both films have a supposedly mentally unstable central character, a young man who talks as Christ in "Ordet" while Bess, the young woman in "Breaking the Waves" talks to God who answers her in her own voice's deepest register. Bess falls in lave with Jan, an oil-rig worker and the early scenes chart their wedding. When Jan has to return to the oil-rig the distraught Bess prays to God for his return, a prayer that is answered ironically when he returns paralysed from the neck down after an accident on the rig. How Bess lives with this situation is the subject of the second and third hours of the film. These have at times an almost unbearable intensity and at one point, where a group of children taunt Bess, we are in deepest "Mouchette" country. It is one of those very rare films where I feel the use of a hand-held camera to be completely justified as it gives extraordinarily emotional events a frenetic immediacy. However by punctuating the action with chapter headings set against long held landscape stills, moments of an almost trance-like repose are achieved between each onslaught on the senses. Whether the film is anything more than a quirky tale of sexual derangement bordering on morbidity is something that two viewings have left me uncertain about. That I have compared it to Dreyer and Bresson is evidence that it is not a work to be ignored, but at the moment I have a gut reaction that there is more than a hint of sensationalism here that somewhat diminishes its artistic integrity when set beside the work of the earlier masters.


27 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why so hard to purchase? MorganLee1988
Most overrated films peterrichard30
Panic Attack ilia_davidovich
An Absolute Nihilistic Garbage inbar_sh
Greatest Films Ever Made supernintendochalmers11
Can anybody identify the religion....? chesneym
Discuss Breaking the Waves (1996) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?