Starring Max von Sydow

Starring Max von Sydow

16 Episodes

In celebration of the life of Max von Sydow, the Criterion Channel presents a series of highlights from his legendary career. One of the greatest actors of the twentieth century, von Sydow is best known for his long creative partnership with director Ingmar Bergman, whose psychologically probing dramas—including their most famous collaboration, THE SEVENTH SEAL—gave the actor freedom to bare his soul and showcase his unfailingly commanding screen presence. In addition to the string of masterpieces he made with the Swedish auteur, von Sydow embodied a wide range of characters in films by art-house titans such as Jan Troell, Lars von Trier, and Wim Wenders, leaving behind a body of work that spans more than six decades and a dozen different countries.

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Starring Max von Sydow
  • Peter Cowie on Max von Sydow

    Episode 1

    Bergman scholar Peter Cowie on the late Max von Sydow, one of the greatest actors of all time.

  • Wild Strawberries

    Episode 2

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1957 • Sweden

    Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg, masterfully played by veteran director Victor Sjöström, is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make peace with the inevitability of his approaching death. Through fla...

  • The Seventh Seal

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1957 • Sweden

    Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman's st...

  • The Magician

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1958 • Sweden

    Ingmar Bergman's THE MAGICIAN (Ansiktet) is an engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of deceit from one of cinema's premier illusionists. Max von Sydow stars as Dr. Vogler, a nineteenth-century traveling mesmerist and peddler of potions whose magic is pu...

  • Brink of Life

    Episode 5

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1958 • Sweden
    Starring Ingrid Thulin, Eva Dahlbeck, Bibi Andersson

    At the height of his international acclaim, Ingmar Bergman followed two meditations on death, THE SEVENTH SEAL and WILD STRAWBERRIES, with an examination of the mystery and pain of birth. This intimat...

  • The Virgin Spring

    Episode 6

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1960 • Sweden

    Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Ingmar Bergman's THE VIRGIN SPRING is a harrowing tale of faith, revenge, and savagery in medieval Sweden. Starring frequent Bergman collaborator and screen icon Max von Sydow, the film is both...

  • Through a Glass Darkly

    Episode 7

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1961 • Sweden

    While vacationing on a remote island retreat, a family's already fragile ties are tested when daughter Karin (Harriet Andersson) discovers her father has been using her schizophrenia for his own literary means. As she drifts in and out of lucidity, the ...

  • Winter Light

    Episode 8

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1963 • Sweden

    "God, why did you desert me?" With Winter Light, master craftsman Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence. In this stark depiction of spiritual crisis, small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Björnstrand) performs h...

  • Interlude in the Marshland

    Episode 9

    Directed by Jan Troell • 1965 • Sweden

    In 1965, director Jan Troell took part in the film 4 X 4, which comprises four shorts, each from a different Nordic country. Troell’s Swedish entry, INTERLUDE IN THE MARSHLAND, starring Max von Sydow and produced and cowritten by Bengt Forslund, is based on...

  • Here Is Your Life

    Episode 10

    Directed by Jan Troell • 1966 • Sweden

    This mesmerizing debut by the great Swedish director Jan Troell is an epic bildungsroman and a multilayered representation of early twentieth-century Sweden. Based on a series of autobiographical novels by Nobel Prize winner Eyvind Johnson, HERE IS YOUR L...

  • Hour of the Wolf

    Episode 11

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1968 • Sweden

    The strangest and most disturbing of the films Ingmar Bergman shot on the island of Fårö, HOUR OF THE WOLF stars Max von Sydow as a haunted painter living in voluntary exile with his wife (Liv Ullmann). When the couple are invited to a nearby castle f...

  • Shame
    Episode 12


    Episode 12

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1968 • Sweden

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman, SHAME (Skammen) is at once an examination of the violent legacy of World War II and a scathing response to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as musicians living in quiet retreat o...

  • The Passion of Anna

    Episode 13

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1969 • Sweden

    When Andreas (Max von Sydow) meets Anna (Liv Ullmann) he is a man struggling with the collapse of both his marriage and his emotional state. Subsequently, Anna is grieving the recent loss of her husband and son, and the two enter into a relationship. As...

  • The Touch
    Episode 14

    The Touch

    Episode 14

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1971 • Sweden
    Starring Elliott Gould, Bibi Andersson, Max von Sydow

    With his first English-language film, a critical and box-office disaster, Ingmar Bergman delivered a compelling portrait of conflicting desires. In THE TOUCH, a chance encounter between seemingly con...

  • Europa
    Episode 15


    Episode 15

    Directed by Lars von Trier • 1991 • Spain, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland

    "You will now listen to my voice . . . On the count of ten you will be in EUROPA . . ." So begins Max von Sydow's opening narration to Lars von Trier's hypnotic EUROPA (known in the U.S. as ZENTROPA), a feve...

  • Until the End of the World

    Episode 16

    Directed by Wim Wenders • 1991 • Germany, France, Australia
    Starring William Hurt, Solveig Dommartin, Sam Neill

    Conceived as the ultimate road movie, this decades-in-the-making science-fiction epic from Wim Wenders follows the restless Claire Tourneur (Solveig Dommartin) across continents as she...