Fanny and Alexander

1982 R 3h 8m DVD

Fanny and Alexander

1982 R 3h 8m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Director Ingmar Bergman's autobiographical drama, the 1984 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner, depicts a family in crisis after its lively patriarch (Allan Edwall) dies unexpectedly, leaving his grieving wife (Ewa Froling) desperate to provide stability for her children. The widow marries a minister, but their new life proves to be foreboding and lonesome, so it's up to the children's grandmother (Gunn Wallgren) to infuse joy into their existence.
Kristina Adolphson, Pernilla Allwin, Bertil Guve, Gunn Wallgren, Börje Ahlstedt, Allan Edwall, Ewa Fröling, Pernilla August, Christina Schollin, Mats Bergman, Anna Bergman, Gunnar Björnstrand, Harriet Andersson, Kristian Almgren, Stina Ekblad, Siv Ericks, Majlis Granlund, Maria Granlund
Ingmar Bergman
Widescreen 1.66:1
Swedish: Dolby Digital Mono, English: Dolby Digital Mono
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 17+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 17+
age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that while this subtitled Swedish film is about two children, ages 10 and 8, its themes and events are weighty and sophisticated, appropriate only for adults and mature teens. The movie contains several disturbing, intense sequences in which the young brother and sister are front and center in the aftermath of their father's death, or being treated cruelly by a villainous step-father. Both children are threatened and Alexander is emotionally tormented by the man, then beaten with a cane until his backside is bloody. In addition, there are fantasy sequences in which one or both children see ghosts, imagine the deaths of their step-father's first wife and his two daughters, and get lost in an exotic, maze-like household in which puppets and other inanimate objects come to life. During fits of anger, Alexander uses harsh profanity, including "f--k," "c--k," "piss," and more. Milder swearing occurs intermittently, and there are some anti-Semitic slurs. Characters drink alcohol frequently, become drunk, and smoke cigars and pipes.

Sexual Content

There are several scenes with explicit sexual activity between adults with partial nudity (fondling of bare breasts, undressing). A constantly lecherous man playfully makes love to his wife, and seduces a young servant, carrying on an open affair with her with his wife's knowledge; all live in the same household. Some of the classical artwork displayed in the family home includes nudity. Alexander is seen from behind as he urinates.


Numerous frightening and intense scenes. A young boy is severely beaten by his step-father; while the actual blows from the cane are not shown, the bloody aftermath on the child's bare bottom is seen. When Fanny's and Alexander's father dies, the children witness their mother's uncontrollable grief in a lengthy sequence. In dark, suspense-filled fantasy scenes puppets come to life, scary masks and faces fill the screen, the ghosts of dead loved ones appear, and a strange household becomes a mysterious maze. A diseased woman (shown in closeup) catches fire, runs through a house and sets it and another occupant ablaze.


In two scenes the enraged 10-year-old Alexander utters strings of profanities in Swedish (subtitled in English), including: "s--t," "c--k," "f--k," "p---y," "c--t," "crap," "butt," "piss." Other words heard occasionally: "fart," "damn," "hell," "bastard." A raucous family game shows an inebriated uncle playing chase with the assembled children and lighting his own farts. There is one outpouring of anti-Semitic rhetoric from the movie's darkest villain.

Social Behavior

Family, as well as life itself, is mysterious, complicated, and filled with both joy and sorrow; accepting that will help even the young make their way in the world. Trust is fragile and easily abused.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages, including wine, cognac, and beer are consumed by adults often at family celebrations, dinners, social get-togethers, and in moments of stress. Inebriated uncles provide comic relief in a number of scenes, including one in which a servant is seduced. Members of the family smoke pipes and cigars.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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