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
    Starring Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin

    Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg—masterfully played by the veteran filmmaker and actor Victor Sjöström—is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make...

  • The Seventh Seal

    Episode 3

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1957 • Sweden
    Starring Max von Sydow, Inga Landgré, Gunnar Björnstrand

    Returning exhausted from the Crusades to find medieval Sweden gripped by the Plague, a knight (Max von Sydow) suddenly comes face-to-face with the hooded figure of Death, and challenges him to a g...

  • The Magician

    Episode 4

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1958 • Sweden
    Starring Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand

    With THE MAGICIAN, an engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of chicanery that doubles as a symbolic portrait of the artist as a deceiver, Ingmar Bergman proved himself to be one of cinema’s premier illusionists....

  • 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
    Starring Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom

    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. With austere simplicity, the...

  • Through a Glass Darkly

    Episode 7

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1961 • Sweden
    Starring Harriet Andersson, Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand

    While vacationing on a remote island retreat, a family finds its fragile ties tested when daughter Karin (an astonishing Harriet Andersson) discovers her father (Gunnar Björnstrand) has been ...

  • Winter Light

    Episode 8

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1963 • Sweden
    Starring Gunnar Björnstrand, Ingrid Thulin, Max von Sydow

    “God, why hast thou forsaken me?” With WINTER LIGHT, Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence. 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
    Starring Eddie Axberg, Ulla Sjöblom, Gunnar Björnstrand

    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 novel...

  • 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

    Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1968 • Sweden
    Starring Liv Ullmann, Max von Sydow

    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 m...

  • 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

    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

    Directed by Lars von Trier • 1991 • Spain, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland
    Starring Jean-Marc Barr, Barbara Sukowa, Udo Kier

    “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 hypno...

  • 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...