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The Emigrants (1971)

Utvandrarna (original title)
In the middle of the 19th century, Kristina and Karl-Oskar live in a small rural village in Smaaland (southern Sweden). They get married and try to make a living on a small spot of land. ... See full summary »

Director:

Jan Troell

Writers:

Bengt Forslund (screenplay), Jan Troell (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max von Sydow ... Karl Oskar
Liv Ullmann ... Kristina
Eddie Axberg ... Robert
Sven-Olof Bern Sven-Olof Bern ... Nils (as Svenolof Bern)
Aina Alfredsson Aina Alfredsson ... Märta
Allan Edwall ... Danjel
Monica Zetterlund ... Ulrika
Pierre Lindstedt ... Arvid
Hans Alfredson ... Jonas Petter
Ulla Smidje ... Inga-Lena, Danjels hustru
Eva-Lena Zetterlund Eva-Lena Zetterlund ... Elin, Ulrikas dotter
Gustaf Färingborg Gustaf Färingborg ... Prosten Brusander
Åke Fridell ... Aron på Nybacken
Agneta Prytz ... Fina-Kajsa
Halvar Björk ... Anders Månsson, hennes son
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Storyline

In the middle of the 19th century, Kristina and Karl-Oskar live in a small rural village in Smaaland (southern Sweden). They get married and try to make a living on a small spot of land. However, the small size of their land, the infertile soil, and some bad harvests make it tough. One of their children even starves to death. Thus, they decide to emigrate to the U.S. They meet a group of farmers with their families planning the emigration under the leadership of a banned priest. They sell everything and embark for the U.S. The journey on the sailing ship is long and tedious. Some of the emigrants will never reach the New World. Written by Gerhard Windecker <g.wind@mbox300.swipnet.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

a new land...a new hope...a new dream

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | English

Release Date:

8 March 1971 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Emigrants See more »

Filming Locations:

Copenhagen, Denmark See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jan Troell and Bengt Forslund went location scouting in the United States in September 1968, but found many of the lands were too developed or could not accommodate film equipment. See more »

Goofs

Black slaves are shown chained to the Lake Erie steamboat leaving Buffalo, New York, circa 1850. Slavery had been abolished in the State of New York since 1827. See more »

Quotes

Robert: There are two kinds of folk in America. There are those who become rich because they've been here so long and there are some who have come so recently they haven't had time to get rich.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original release in Sweden ran 191 minutes; cut to 151 minutes for the North American theatrical release. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A realistic look at the pursuit of the American dream
20 August 2001 | by Oblomov_81See all my reviews

When Jan Troell's "The Emigrants" was released in the U.S. in 1972, it opened to excellent reviews and received the honor of being one of the few foreign-language films to receive a Best Picture nomination. It didn't win anything, though, and seems to have been forgotten over the years. Perhaps this is because the public has since found other Swedish films to be more noteworthy, in particular the works of Bille August and the later works of Ingmar Bergman.

Sad to say, because "The Emigrants" is a film that closely examines two very different cultures in an effective and insightful way. A diverse group of Swedish peasants (among them a married couple, a priest, a prostitute, and a young upstart) endure back-breaking labor in their homeland to little profit. They decide to move to the states after being influenced by the exaggerated stories spread abroad (everyone has more than enough food, everyone is filthy rich, etc.). The audience sympathizes with them not just because they endure so much in Sweden, but also because they believe the stories they hear about frontier life in America. Yes, they will obviously have to strive and struggle to survive in their new home, but they are all the more admirable because of their adherence to the American dream.

"The Emigrants" is harsh and often unrelenting in the straightforward way it depicts the realities encountered by the Swedish settlers. The scenes where they travel across the ocean in a small, cramped, and diseased ship are appropriately claustrophobic and terrifying. Later, the family at the center of the story threatens to break up when Liv Ullmann's character, a fragile young mother, loses track of her daughter while hurrying to board a steamboat.

Although most of the characters were better developed in the sequel to this film, "The New Land," Troell's story is very moving in its sincere depiction of how outsiders came to this country to pursue their hopes and dreams.


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