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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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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Max von Sydow ... Andreas Winkelman
Liv Ullmann ... Anna Fromm
Bibi Andersson ... Eva Vergérus
Erland Josephson ... Elis Vergérus
Erik Hell ... Johan Andersson
Sigge Fürst ... Verner


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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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 »


Andreas Winkelman: People think they have the right to tell you what to do. That brief desire to trample on something living.
See more »


Referenced in No Regrets (2004) See more »


Always Romantic
Performed by Allan Gray
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User Reviews

Not Bergman's best; morbid and rather aimless
10 May 2006 | by fwmurnauSee all my reviews

Ingmar Bergman's talent and importance are not in question, but now that we can look back on his career as a whole, it's clear that not all his films are equally inspired.

THE PASSION OF ANNA is so beautifully acted and photographed, it almost disguises the emptiness at the center. Not only the characters, but the filmmaker himself seems tired, discouraged, uncertain of what he wants to say.

It's hard to be bored watching such fine actors work, but the story they're acting doesn't add up to much. Lacking inspiration, Bergman falls back on his customary verbosity and adds morbid touches, such as the unpleasant scenes of animal cruelty here, or Andreas and Anna watching on television a filmed execution in Viet Nam or somewhere, that seem to have no purpose other than arousing revulsion in the viewer.

Bergman's concentration on the cruel and the depressing almost to the exclusion of every other aspect of life must have seemed fresh and daring in the 1960s and 1970s, but now he can seem almost adolescent in his obsession with the morbid. Samuel Beckett's plays, chic during the same era, have not dated well either. There's a lot more to life, and to art, than cruelty, suffering, and death, but you'd never know it from Beckett or from Bergman films such as this one.

In an interview excerpted in the special features, Bergman says art must be useful, otherwise "we can all go to hell". It's very hard to say what the use of a film like this might be, except to make audiences weary and depressed.

Dark works which illuminate the human spirit can be valuable (O'Neill's incredibly depressing, but richly rewarding LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is an example) but sometimes Bergman seems to have had a contract to make a film and not a lot to say. Still, everyone was being paid, the distributor required a film to be made and delivered, and it was.

One can feel Bergman using a variety of techniques in this film to find meaning in his story -- voice-over narration, improvisation, breaking the fourth wall to interview the actors about their roles -- but one senses he never really does. The film is obviously the work of a highly intelligent and talented writer/filmmaker, but it never really pays off. Viewing it is sometimes painful, sometimes boring, but rarely illuminating.

I feel the same way about CRIES AND WHISPERS, an unpleasant and, to my mind, pointless film rated very highly by others. Both CRIES and ANNA are cruel films, cold at the center. Bergman's lack of compassion seemed terribly modern, honest, and "truthful" in 1969, but now it looks more and more like a deficiency in the filmmaker's own sensibility.

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