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Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Vargtimmen (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Horror | 9 April 1968 (USA)
While vacationing on a remote Scandanavian island with his younger pregnant wife, an artist has an emotional breakdown while confronting his repressed desires.


Ingmar Bergman


Ingmar Bergman
2 wins. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Max von Sydow ... Johan Borg
Liv Ullmann ... Alma Borg
Gertrud Fridh ... Corinne von Merkens
Georg Rydeberg ... Lindhorst
Erland Josephson ... Baron von Merkens
Naima Wifstrand ... Old Lady with Hat
Ulf Johansson ... Heerbrand
Gudrun Brost ... Gamla Fru von Merkens
Bertil Anderberg ... Ernst von Merkens
Ingrid Thulin ... Veronica Vogler


An artist in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film, which takes place on a windy island. During "the hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - he tells his wife about his most painful memories. Written by Fredrik Klasson <fredrik.klasson@boras.mail.telia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


"The Hour of the Wolf" is the hour between night and dawn. It is the hour when most people die. It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful.


Drama | Horror


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »


Johan Borg: A minute can seem like an eternity. It's beginning now... ten seconds... Oh, those seconds... how long they last... the minute isn't up yet... Now it has gone.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There exists an earlier version of the film with an additional, meta-cinematic framing device. In the prologue (lasting about 7 minutes), Bergman is seen on the set directing his actors. The epilogue (lasting about 1 minute) shows us the set being torn down and the crew leaving. These sequences are the only differences to the commonly seen version. Bergman has stated in an interview that he cut off these sequences himself before the general release of the film, as he came to the conclusion that they were just "self-deception". Despite this, a Swedish 35 mm print of the original, longer version does exist, although it's not available on home video in any format. See more »


Spoofed in SCTV Network: Southside Fracas (1981) See more »

User Reviews

Strange film about a tormented painter by the great maestro Ingmar Bergman , including surrealist and impressive images
17 November 2012 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

¨Hour of the wolf¨ is a spellbinding masterpiece by the genius Ingmar Bergman with brilliant acting by a Swedish all-star-cast . A disturbing artist named Johan Borg (Max Von Sidow) in crisis is haunted by nightmares from the past , which takes place on a thunderous , windy island in Sweden . It occurs during "the hour of the wolf" - between midnight and dawn - . It is the hour when most people die . It is the hour when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when ghosts and demons are most powerful. It is also the hour when most children are born . Johan tells his wife Alma Borg (Liv Ullman) about his most painful records . Strange hallucination create the artist's world , as he sees apparitions shaping a tormented vision of dreams and anxieties that seem at times utterly out of control .

This Swedish movie displays haunting and powerful scenes , it's plenty of bizarre images which stay forever in the mind . Interesting , claustrophobic and surrealist film about an artist retreated to deserted island , being splendidly performed by Max Von Sidow , in Ingmar Bergman's only horror film . Weird , rare look into the personality of a depressed artist who suffers amazing nightmares . Although sometimes is slow moving , however the thoughtful and eerie screenplay is narrated with intelligence and coldness but are developed strange and moral issues as anxieties , painful memories and guiltiness . Ingmar Bergman originally penned the script in 1964 under the title "The Cannibals" . A serious bout of pneumonia led him to reconsider the project whilst lying in hospital; he deemed it to be potentially too expensive in concept and execution . Bergman revised the script idea into a more low budget piece to accompany Persona . The movie realizes an excellent Sweden reunion actors with usual Bergman's players as Max Von Sidow , Liv Ullman , Ingrid Thulin and special mention to Erland Josephson as Baron Von Merkens , showing perfectly the different characters and exploring their apprehensions , ambitions , fears and circumstances . Glimmer and riveting cinematography in white and black by Sven Nykvist plenty of lights and shades (won an Oscar for Fanny and Alexander) , he's deemed by many to be one of the world's greatest cameraman , he achieved to give the movies on the most natural and simplest look imaginable , he replaced to Gunner Fischer (The seventh seal) as Bergman's cinematographer . He continued an American career working for Louis Malle (Pretty baby) , Bob Fosse (Star 80) , Philip Kaufman (The unbearable lightness of being) and Woody Allen (Another woman , Crimen and misdemeanors) . ¨Hour of the Wolf¨ or "Vargtimmen" is wonderfully directed by Bergman , it's a real masterpiece who made his major impact gaining international acclaim . His realization was during an impressive golden period from 1957-1968 when Bergman made stunning masterpieces : The seventh seal , Persona , The communicants , The silence , Virgin spring . Rating : Magnificent , it is considered by many (along with The seventh seal) to be Bergman's one of the best and probably the closest Ingmar has ever come to creating a terror movie . This surreal , nightmarish film will appeal to Ingmar Berman and Max Von Sidow enthusiasts .

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Swedish | Norwegian

Release Date:

9 April 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hour of the Wolf See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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