Elvira Madigan
Elvira poster.jpg
Directed byBo Widerberg
Written byScreenplay:
Bo Widerberg
Johan Lindström Saxon
Produced byWaldemar Bergendahl
StarringPia Degermark
Thommy Berggren
CinematographyJörgen Persson
Release date
24 April 1967
Running time
91 minutes
Box office$2,100,000 (US/ Canada) (rentals)[1]
$9,000,000 (US/ Canada) [2]

Elvira Madigan is a 1967 Swedish film directed by Bo Widerberg, based on the tragedy of the Danish slackrope dancer Hedvig Jensen (born 1867), working under the stage name of Elvira Madigan at her stepfather's travelling circus, who runs away with the Swedish nobleman lieutenant Sixten Sparre (born 1854).


Elvira Madigan and Sixten Sparre are together in the Danish countryside, having run away together and abandoned their past lives. Sparre has renounced the military and now claims to be "on the women's side." Elvira, who was the main attraction at her circus, has got her identity back and starts to refer to herself with her real name Hedvig.

A friend from Sparre's regiment tries to persuade him to come back, but fails. They have no money or future and try to fish and earn money the best they can. Hedvig sells a picture of herself drawn by Toulouse-Lautrec and is paid to entertain a party with her dancing. Eventually, Sparre shot her to death and then took his own life.



The soundtrack features Géza Anda[3] playing the Andante from Piano Concerto No. 21 in C by Mozart,[4] which is now sometimes referred to as the "Elvira Madigan" Concerto, as well as Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Anda's Deutsche Grammophon LP of Concerto No. 21 was re-issued with a cover showing Pia Degermark in costume in a still from the film.[5]

Awards and nominations

Critical responses

According to the Time Out Film Guide: "Candidate for the prettiest pic ever award. ... you may be enchanted by it if you don't laugh yourself sick."[7] Describing it as breathing the "hippie mid-sixties", Edgardo Cozarinsky writes: "Though the lovers are there as early instances of drop-outs, and several contemporary readings effortlessly emerge, Widerberg's real concern is with the sensuous presence of cream and berry juice on lips and fingertips". For Widerberg, "this affirmation in the face of death carries ... the weight of a modest but combative ideological point".[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969 p 15. Please note this figure is a rental accruing to distributors.
  2. ^ "Top foreign films in U.S." (PDF). Variety. Penske Business Media. 31 August 1992. p. 54. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  3. ^ IMDb: Elvira Madigan (1967)
  4. ^ Small, Allan (1996). Alfred's Basic Piano Library: Classic Themes Level 5. Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. pp. 12, 13. ISBN 0-7390-0356-9.
  5. ^ Géza Anda, Mozart, Piano Concertos 17 & 21
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Elvira Madigan". festival-cannes.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  7. ^ Time Out Film Guide 2009, 2008, Time Out Guides, p312; Time Out Chicago website Archived 2011-06-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Edgardo Cozarinsky "Bo Widerberg and Swedish Cinema since 1960", in Richard Roud (ed) Cinema: A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film-Makers, Volume Two, Kinugasa to Zanussi, 1980, London: Secker & Warburg, p1077
  9. ^ "Elvira Madigan". IMDb.