The Serpent's Egg (film)

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The Serpent's Egg
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Written by Ingmar Bergman
Starring David Carradine
Isolde Barth
Heinz Bennent
Toni Berger
Christian Berkel
Liv Ullmann
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
MGM Home Entertainment (DVD)
Release dates
  • 28 October 1977 (1977-10-28)
Running time
120 min.
Language English

The Serpent's Egg is a 1977 American-West German drama film directed by Ingmar Bergman and starring David Carradine and Liv Ullmann. The story is set in 1920s Berlin and features English and German dialogue. This was Bergman's one and only Hollywood film. The title is taken from a line spoken by Brutus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: And therefore think him as a serpent's egg / Which hatch'd, would, as his kind grow mischievous; / And kill him in the shell.


Abel Rosenberg is an American Jew in Berlin after World War I. Poverty and inflation have destroyed the German economy at the time. He lives with his sister-in-law Manuela, a prostitute and cabaret performer. The story takes place in the week following his brother's death. Abel takes a job offered by an acquaintance, Professor Hans Vergerus.



The film was made one year after Ingmar Bergman left Sweden for Germany following a tax evasion charge. The film opened to mostly negative reviews by critics. Many felt David Carradine was terribly miscast and that the movie was not like Bergman's past films.[citation needed]


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