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The Passion of Anna (1969)

En passion (original title)
R | | Drama | 28 May 1970 (USA)
A recently divorced man meets an emotionally devastated widow and they begin a love affair.


Ingmar Bergman


Ingmar Bergman

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Complete credited cast:
Max von Sydow ... Andreas Winkelman / Himself
Liv Ullmann ... Anna Fromm / Herself
Bibi Andersson ... Eva Vergérus / Herself
Erland Josephson ... Elis Vergérus / Himself
Erik Hell ... Johan Andersson
Sigge Fürst ... Verner
m. fl. m. fl.


Andreas, a man struggling with the recent demise of his marriage and his own emotional isolation, befriends a married couple also in the midst of psychological turmoil. In turn he meets Anna, who is grieving the recent deaths of her husband and son. She appears zealous in her faith and steadfast in her search for truth, but gradually her delusions surface. Andreas and Anna pursue a love affair, but he is unable to overcome his feelings of deep humiliation and remains disconnected. Meanwhile, the island community is victimized by an unknown person committing acts of animal cruelty. Written by Nancy Dowling <nad@skypoint.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


man is the king of beasts...




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

28 May 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Passion of Anna See more »

Filming Locations:

Fårö, Gotlands län, Sweden

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White (dream sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The alternate title "L 182" is the production number, also seen written on the clapperboard before the interview scenes. See more »


Anna Fromm: Andreas, we should travel somewhere. We should get away from here. I know it would be good for us both.
Andreas Winkelman: When you speak of traveling, I really want to say yes.
Anna Fromm: What are you thinking?
Andreas Winkelman: That we can speak to Elis. He can lend us money. But at the same time a wall appears. I can't speak. I can't show that I'm happy. I can see your face, I know you're you, but I can't reach you. Do you understand what I mean?
Anna Fromm: I understand what you mean. I understand very well, Andreas.
Andreas Winkelman: I'm on the outside of this wall....
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version is cut by 25 seconds to remove the sight of a dog hanging by its neck, in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »


Featured in Premio Donostia a Max Von Sydow (2006) See more »


Always Romantic
Performed by Allan Gray
See more »

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User Reviews

A Bergman film not entirely sure of itself, though never in perilous hands
28 April 2004 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

The Passion of Anna (or The Passion, as it might've been more appropriately titled in Sweden), is Ingmar Bergman with a cast of some of his most recognizable faces- Max Von Sydow (Seventh Seal), Liv Ullman (Persona), Erland Josephsson (Scenes from a Marriage), and Bibi Anderson (Cries and Whispers) - and with a script he's written that shows him not entirely sure, or rather confident, as he usually is as a filmmaker.

He uses improvisation with his actors in some scenes, experiments with what's in the story and what's outside of the story (it's self-conscious but good self-conscious, similar in tune with Persona's self-consciousness of a film being made outside of what's in the story), and deals away with his classic themes of despair, self-drought, and inner-maelstroms. And, indeed, the theme of deconstruction of the soul is in focus. For a couple of moments some of the self-consciousness could come off as distracting, or at most dangerous boring, but there are counter-weights to balance out whatever troubles Bergman must've had that he's pouring out onto the celluloid.

While I thought the Passion of Anna wasn't one of Bergman's very best works, it has a story and characters (and with a cast that doesn't do wrong within any given scene) that remain as potent as in his masterpieces. The sub-plot involving the slaying of the animals on the island maybe could've been developed more, but that too brings a thought-provoking backbone to the central characters. At the core, Bergman's presenting the audiences with people who are in a hell-ish situation, with fires and blood being spread along the fields, and that these people feel more or less stuck here.

The relationship between Andreas (Von Sydow) and Anna (Ullman) is the strongest asset to the film, and for their performances it's nearly worth it enough to rush out to buy the DVD. But beneath that, this is a Bergman film that could grow on a particular viewer over time. Maybe upon a first viewing, at least for what I came away with, the style may be trying to one-up over the substance, and that could be what hinders this from being a magnificent work of art on the level of Persona or The Seventh Seal. However, it's also holds subtleties to the craft, to the compositions by Sven Nykvist, and in the emotions conveyed by the principles of the cast.

Pretty haunting, evocative, though not entirely perfect, this is definitely an intriguing Bergman entry. Grade: (strong) A-

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