6.7/10
4,712
31 user 41 critic

The Serpent's Egg (1977)

Berlin, 1923. Following the suicide of his brother, American circus acrobat Abel Rosenberg attempts to survive while facing unemployment, depression, alcoholism and the social decay of Germany during the Weimar Republic.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman (a film by)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Face to Face (1976)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A married couple of psychiatrists has their relationship tested when one suffers a mental breakdown.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Aino Taube
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recently divorced man meets an emotionally devastated widow and they begin a love affair.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow
The Touch (1971)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A seemingly happy Swedish housewife and mother begins an adulterous affair with a foreign archaeologist who is working near her home. But he is an emotionally scarred man, a Jewish survivor... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Elliott Gould, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An account of the events before and after a murder committed by Peter Egermann, a disturbed businessman in a strained marriage, and what led Peter to perform such a shocking act.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Robert Atzorn, Christine Buchegger, Martin Benrath
Shame (1968)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the midst of a civil war, former violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg, who have a tempestuous marriage, run a farm on a rural island. In spite of their best efforts to escape their homeland, the war impinges on every aspect of their lives.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow, Sigge Fürst
Saraband (TV Movie 2003)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Marianne, some thirty years after divorcing Johan, decides to visit her ex-husband at his summer home. She arrives in the middle of a family drama between Johan's son from another marriage and his granddaughter.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Börje Ahlstedt
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Don Juan is sent from Hell to Earth with a highly important mission - to seduce a 20-years virgin for spoiling her pure wedding. The mission becomes crazy when Don Juan falls in love for the first time in his centuries-old lover's career.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Jarl Kulle, Bibi Andersson, Stig Järrel
The Magic Flute (TV Movie 1975)
Comedy | Fantasy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The Queen of the Night offers her daughter Pamina to Tamino, but he has to bring her back from her father and priest Sarastro. She gives a magic flute to Tamino and magic bells to the bird ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ulrik Cold, Josef Köstlinger, Irma Urrila
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A critic blackmails a famous musician with his biography filled with the revelations of many of his women.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Eva Dahlbeck
The Rite (TV Movie 1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A judge in an unnamed country interviews three actors, together and singly, provoking them while investigating a pornographic performance for which they may face a fine. Their relationships... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Anders Ek, Gunnar Björnstrand
After the Rehearsal (TV Movie 1984)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rational, exacting, and self-controlled theater director, Henrik Vogler, often stays after rehearsal to think and plan. On this day, Anna comes back, ostensibly looking for a bracelet. She ... See full summary »

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin, Lena Olin
The Magician (1958)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A traveling magician and his assistants are persecuted by authorities in Sweden of the 19th century. Their captures, however, didn't bring victory to those in power.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Liv Ullmann ... Manuela Rosenberg
David Carradine ... Abel Rosenberg
Gert Fröbe ... Inspector Bauer (as Gert Froebe)
Heinz Bennent ... Hans Vergerus
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Toni Berger ... Mr. Rosenberg
Christian Berkel ... Student
Paula Braend Paula Braend ... Mrs. Hemse
Erna Brünell Erna Brünell ... Mrs. Rosenberg (as Erna Bruenell)
Paul Bürks Paul Bürks ... Cabaret Comedian (as Paul Buerks)
Gaby Dohm Gaby Dohm ... Woman with baby
Emil Feist Emil Feist ... Miser
Kai Fischer ... Prostitute
Georg Hartmann Georg Hartmann ... Hollinger
Edith Heerdegen Edith Heerdegen ... Mrs. Holle
Klaus Hoffmann Klaus Hoffmann ... Commando Announcer
Edit

Storyline

Ingmar Bergman's 'The Serpent's Egg' follows a week in the life of Abel Rosenberg, an out-of-work American-Jewish circus acrobat living in poverty-stricken Berlin in November of 1923. When his brother commits suicide, Abel seeks refuge in the apartment of his former sister-in-law Manuela, who works in a cabaret at night and in a brothel in the morning. Desperate to make ends meet in a city struggling with mass unemployment, Abel takes a job in Veregus' clinic, where he discovers the horrific truth behind the work of the professor and unlocks the chilling mystery that drove his brother to kill himself. Written by Leigh Thomas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Berlin. The Twenties. Inside the cabarets. The green hair. The painted skin. Outside, the murders no one can explain. The puzzle no one can solve. The trap no one can escape. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Schlangenei See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 12,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Though set in 1923 in pre-Nazi Germany, the film was still selected for inclusion for discussion in Annette Insdorf's book, "Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust" (1982), as the film reflects the rise of Fascism / Nazism in 20th Century Germany. See more »

Goofs

The Nazi-looking thugs that are beating up people are wearing Model 1943 German army caps and 1940s style clothing. This film is supposed to take place in the 1920s. See more »

Quotes

Hans Vergerus: [explains the upcoming social and political developments in Germany to Abel Rosenberg] It's like a serpent's egg. Through the thin membranes, you can clearly discern the already perfect reptile.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Searching for Ingmar Bergman (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Das Lied vom süssen Bonbon
(uncredited)
Music by Rolf A. Wilhelm
Lyrics by Rolf A. Wilhelm and Kurt Wilhelm
Performed by Liv Ullmann
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Better than it's reputation
13 May 2012 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

While not a masterpiece, this is also far from the mess most critics took it for. An intelligent failure (or modest success) Bergman looks at Germany in the 20s as laying the groundwork for Hitler and the Nazis.

Liv Ullman is terrific, as always. And if David Carradine is only good, not great, he certainly didn't deserve the critical attacks he received. The nature of his character is a man so locked in passivity as to be enigmatic. You might not like that kind of character, but it's certainly not the actor's fault for carrying it out well!

Yes, some of it is slow, and some a bit obvious, but those charges could also be leveled against some Bergman films labeled masterpieces. As a cautionary tale of where we were once before, and could end up again, I've certainly seen far worse. It has some truly chilling moments. And I think seeing it again may reveal even more…


3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 31 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse all our free movies and TV series

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed