Film

48 Ingmar Bergman Films Ranked

Film Forum’s retrospective marking the centennial of the Swedish auteur’s birth includes 48 of his films, which we’ve dutifully ranked from best to worst.

Kristina Adolphson, Bertil Guve, and Pernilla Allwin in Ingmar Bergman’s <em>Fanny and Alexander</em> (1982) (courtesy Janus Films)
Kristina Adolphson, Bertil Guve, and Pernilla Allwin in Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander (1982) (courtesy Janus Films)

Ingmar Bergman made a lot of films, 48 of which are included in Film Forum’s centennial retrospective, which begins today. The Swedish director’s bleak worldview, marred by questions of moral erosion and spiritual crisis, was popular among the metropolitan art-house crowds of the 1960s and ’70s, when he was at the height of his influence.

Ingmar Bergman (courtesy Film Forum)
Ingmar Bergman (courtesy Film Forum)

Bergman, who died in 2007, was nominated for nine Oscars over his lifetime — though the Academy only ever gave him one prize, a memorial award in 1971. His stature has fallen somewhat since then, although not enough credit is given for his frequent experimentation with the episodic television format, which he explored during the final decades of his life along with a reinvigorated interest in the theater.

Watching the films I had never seen (and rewatching a few favorites) over the last three weeks was often frustrating and only sometimes revelatory; some of the canonized work does not hold up, while whole periods of his career I had written off were suddenly more interesting. His comedies can often feel like he is discovering the concept for the first time, and he has a tendency to repeat himself. But even when they are at their worst, all 48* of the films here are worth seeing.

1. Fanny and Alexander (1982), 312-minute television version in 5 parts
2. Persona (1966)
3. Shame (1968)
4. The Silence (1963)
5. Scenes From a Marriage (1973), 168-minute theatrical cut
6. Dreams (1955)
7. Summer with Monika (1953)
8. Hour of the Wolf (1968)
9. Thirst (1949)
10. Wild Strawberries (1957)
11. Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

Harriet Andersson and Lars Passgård in Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly (1961) (courtesy Janus Films)
Harriet Andersson and Lars Passgård in Ingmar Bergman’s Through a Glass Darkly (1961) (courtesy Janus Films)

12. The Fårö-document 1979 (1979)
13. The Touch (1971)
14. Frenzy (1944), written by Bergman, directed by Alf Sjöberg
15. Winter Light (1963)
16. Music in the Dark (1948)
17. To Joy (1950)
18. The Rite (1969)
19. Port of Call (1948)
20. From the Life of the Marionettes (1980)
21. After the Rehearsal (1984)
22. The Fårö Document (1970)
23. Summer Interlude (1950)

Maj-Britt Nilsson and Birger Malmsten in Ingmar Bergman’s Summer Interlude (1951) (courtesy Film Forum)
Maj-Britt Nilsson and Birger Malmsten in Ingmar Bergman’s Summer Interlude (1951) (courtesy Film Forum)

24. Autumn Sonata (1978)
25. Crisis (1945)
26. Face to Face (1976)
27. The Seventh Seal (1957)
28. Private Confessions (1997), written by Bergman, directed by Liv Ullmann
29. Brink of Life (1958)
30. The Passion of Anna (1969)
31. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
32. Cries and Whispers (1972)
33. Prison (1949)
34. Saraband (2003)

Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman’s <em>Saraband</em> (2003) (courtesy Film Forum)
Erland Josephson and Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman’s Saraband (2003) (courtesy Film Forum)

35. Secrets of Women (1952)
36. It Rains on Our Love (1946)
37. Karin’s Face (1984), short television film
38. The Magician (1958)
39. A Lesson in Love (1954)
40. Sawdust and Tinsel (1953)
41. A Ship to India (1947)
42. The Serpent’s Egg (1977)

Liv Ullmann and David Carradine in Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent's Egg (1977) (courtesy Film Forum via Photofest)
Liv Ullmann and David Carradine in Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg (1977) (courtesy Film Forum via Photofest)

43. Sunday’s Children (1992), written by Bergman, directed by his son Daniel Bergman
44. The Devil’s Eye (1960)
45. The Best Intentions (1992), written Bergman, directed by Bille August
46. The Magic Flute (1975)
47. The Virgin Spring (1960)
48. All These Women (1964)

Harriet Andersson and Jarl Kulle in Ingmar Bergman’s All These Women (1964) (courtesy Film Forum)
Harriet Andersson and Jarl Kulle in Ingmar Bergman’s All These Women (1964) (courtesy Film Forum)

Ingmar Bergman: Centennial Retrospective” continues at Film Forum (209 West Houston Street, West Village, Manhattan) through March 15.

* The Blessed Ones (1986) and In the Presence of a Clown (1997), both made for television, along with a number of shorts, are not included in the Film Forum series and thus not ranked.

comments (0)