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The Best Intentions (1992)

Den goda viljan (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Romance | 10 July 1992 (USA)
2:19 | Trailer
In 1909, poor theology student Henrik falls in love with Anna, the intelligent daughter of a rich family in Uppsala. After marrying Henrik becomes a priest in northern Sweden. Urbane Anna hates living in the county, growing restless.


Bille August


Ingmar Bergman
4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Samuel Fröler ... Henrik Bergman
Pernilla August ... Anna Bergman
Max von Sydow ... Johan Åkerblom
Ghita Nørby ... Karin Åkerblom
Lennart Hjulström ... Disponent Nordenson
Mona Malm ... Alma Bergman
Lena Endre ... Frida Strandberg
Keve Hjelm ... Fredrik Bergman
Björn Kjellman ... Ernst Åkerblom
Börje Ahlstedt ... Carl Åkerblom
Hans Alfredson ... Kyrkoherde Gransjö
Lena T. Hansson ... Magda Säll
Anita Björk ... Drottning Victoria
Elias Ringquist ... Petrus Farg
Ernst Günther ... Freddy Paulin


The story of Ingmar Bergman's parents. In 1909, poor, idealistic theology student Henrik Bergman falls in love with Anna Åkerbloom, the intelligent, educated daughter of a rich family in Uppsala. After their wedding Henrik becomes a priest in the north of Sweden. After a few years Anna can't stand living in the rural county with the uncouth people. She returns to Uppsala, Henrik stays in the north. Written by Robert Stroetgen <stroetgen@rrz.uni-hamburg.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1983 after completing the Oscar winning "Fanny And Alexander", Ingmar Bergman retired from international cinema. Now, after 10 years of writing and reflection, he finds he has "one last story to tell" See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Considered by many to be a spiritual sequel to Fanny och Alexander (1982). Furthermore in a press conference in August 1989, Ingmar Bergman said the film could be seen as related to The Magic Lantern and his semi-autobiographical film Fanny och Alexander. See more »


Karin Åkerblom is wearing her glasses while reading out the letter from her daughter to her husband. When the camera zooms to a head shot of Karin, the glasses are gone. See more »


[last lines]
Henrik Bergman: So, you don't want us to go on?
Anna Bergman: You know I do. I want nothing else. That is all I want.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Theatrical release is edited down from a six-hours miniseries developed for Swedish television. See more »


Featured in Bergman: A Year in the Life (2018) See more »

User Reviews

how much you like this film will strongly depend on whether or not you've seen many Bergman films
13 November 2005 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Having seen at least a couple dozen Bergman films, this biographical movie made a lot more sense to me than if I hadn't. I could see bits and pieces of his other films, particularly parallels with Fanny and Alexander. This movie was written by but not directed by Ingmar Bergman and tells about a portion of his father and mother's lives (with particular focus on the father). However, unlike the cruel and over-zealous preacher from Fanny and Alexander, Bergman's father is a flawed man full of dichotomies. A very pious and severe man with little sense of humor, he also apparently has no problem with premarital sex (with two different women) and is an advocate for the working poor. I think these inconsistencies and his father's difficulty with expressing normal human emotions lead to Bergman's earlier works (such as the professor in Wild Strawberries and the persistent theme of living in the barren wilds in movies such as The Passion of Anna and Shame).

So, why didn't I score the movie higher? Well despite the insights, the movie was very long and occasionally tedious--particularly for the Bergman novices. Plus, although the movie gave us some insights, the actual span of time covered in the film was rather limited. It was like a glimpse but an incomplete glimpse of the man.

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Release Date:

10 July 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Best Intentions See more »

Filming Locations:

Agrigento, Sicily, Italy See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,186, 12 July 1992

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



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