The Emigrants

The Emigrants is a 1971 Swedish film directed and co-written by Jan Troell and starring Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann, Eddie Axberg, Allan Edwall, Monica Zetterlund, and Pierre Lindstedt. It and its 1972 sequel, The New Land (Nybyggarna), which were produced concurrently, are based on Vilhelm Moberg's The Emigrants, a series of novels about poor Swedes who emigrate from Småland, Sweden, in the mid-19th century and make their home in Minnesota. This film adapts the first two of the four novels (The Emigrants (1949) and Unto a Good Land (1952)), which depict the hardships the emigrants experience in Sweden and on their journey to America.


In 1844, the Nilsson family lives on a small farm in the woods at Korpamoen in Ljuder Parish in the Swedish province of Småland. The eldest son, Karl Oskar, takes charge of the farm after his father, Nils, is injured when moving a large rock. Karl Oskar marries Kristina Johansdotter, and she moves to Korpamoen to live with him and his parents. In the following years, Karl Oskar and Kristina start a family, starting with Anna, who is followed by Johan, Märta and Harald. The family struggles with rock filled fields, poor weather, and bad harvests, leaving them hungry and in debt. Kristina rebukes Karl Oskar for his irreligious attitude, which she thinks is the cause of some of their troubles.