The Best Intentions

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The Best Intentions
File:Den goda viljan.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bille August
Produced by Ingrid Dahlberg
Written by Ingmar Bergman
Starring Pernilla August
Samuel Fröler
Max von Sydow
Cinematography Jörgen Persson
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company (US)
Artificial Eye (UK)
Release dates
  • May 1992 (1992-05) (Cannes)
  • 2 October 1992 (1992-10-02) (Sweden)
Running time
323 minutes (television)
174 minutes (theatrical)
Country Sweden
Language Swedish

The Best Intentions (Swedish: Den goda viljan) is a 1992 Swedish drama film directed by Bille August and written by Ingmar Bergman. It is semi-autobiographical and tells the story of the complex courtship of Bergman's parents, Erik and Karin (who are renamed Henrik and Anna in the film but retain the "real" surnames), and the difficult early years of their marriage, up to the point where Anna is pregnant with their second son, effectively Bergman himself. The film won the Palme d'Or at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.

The film is a cut-down version of a four-part Swedish television series. The theatrical version was released as a Region 2 DVD in April 2010 and as a Region 1 DVD in 2011.


Henrik Bergman is a student of theology who comes from a poor family. On the other hand, the family of his best friend Ernst Åkerblom is wealthy. Although Henrik is in a relationship with Frida, a waitress, he falls in love with Ernst's sister Anna Åkerblom. Anna's family doesn't consider him fit to join the family, so he stays with Frida. Some years later, Anna's father is deceased, Anna suffers from tuberculosis and Henrik has finished his studies. Now the wedding can take place. Anna follows her husband to a small village in the north of Sweden. Their different characters and his low income cause constant tensions between them. When he turns down a job offer for a prestigious position in Uppsala, the situation exacerbates.



The film won the Palme d'Or at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival.[1] Pernilla August won the award for Best Actress at the same festival.[1]

At the 28th Guldbagge Awards Pernilla August won the award for Best Actress and Ingmar Bergman won the award for Best Screenplay.[2] It was also nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Jörgen Persson) and Samuel Fröler was nominated for Best Actor.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Festival de Cannes: The Best Intentions". Retrieved 14 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Den goda viljan (1992)". Swedish Film Institute. 22 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links