The Sacrifice | Opfer
Former actor Alexander has withdrawn to live on a Swedish island. He is celebrating his 50th birthday there with his wife, two children and a few guests. When the Earth begins to tremble, the group hears that nuclear war has broken out. To appease God, Alexander is prepared to offer himself up as a sacrifice by sleeping with the maid, Maria, called a “witch”… This was the last film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, who was already sick when it was made. It premiered just a few weeks after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown and was hailed as the graphic admonition of a “visionary” (Ingmar Bergman). And indeed, in poetic images and philosophical-religious dialogue, The Sacrifice marries the merciless précis of its protagonist’s life with a powerful plea for modern humans to engage in self-reflection and self-restraint.
The 4K restoration faithfully retains the masterful lighting design and colour composition, including the sepia and black-and-white passages. Cinematographer Sven Nykvist won a special prize at the Cannes festival for his outstanding work on the film.
by Andrei Tarkovsky
with Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Valérie Mairesse, Allan Edwall, Guðrún Gísladóttir, Sven Wollter, Filippa Franzén, Tommy Kjellqvist
Sweden / France 1986 Swedish 148’ Colour World premiere of the digitally restored version | DCP: Svenska Filminstitutet, Stockholm Rating R 12


  • Erland Josephson
  • Susan Fleetwood
  • Valérie Mairesse
  • Allan Edwall
  • Guðrún Gísladóttir
  • Sven Wollter
  • Filippa Franzén
  • Tommy Kjellqvist


Director Andrei Tarkovsky
Screenplay Andrei Tarkovsky
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Editing Andrei Tarkovsky, Michal Leszczylowski
Music W. Gönnen Swedish and Japanese folk music, Johann Sebastian Bach
Sound Design Owe Svensson
Sound Owe Svensson, Bo Persson
Art Director Anna Asp
Costumes Inger Pehrsson
Make-Up Florence Fouquier
Casting Priscilla John
Producer Anna-Lena Wibom

World sales

Svenska Filminstitutet

Additional information

DCP: Svenska Filminstitutet, Stockholm