best film:  The Seventh Seal. Wild Strawberries is a film many critics argue is superior to The Seventh Seal but I on team Seventh Seal for the time being at least. The Exorcist is also clearly a masterpiece and that would be hard to rigorously argue. Winer Light is superb and a contender (and his scene is brief- but crucial and von Sydow knocks it out of the park). He’s not in much of it but the second film (Seventh Seal) that von Sydow is in that I have in my all-time top 100 is actually Woody’s Hannah and Her Sisters. Von Sydow makes the most of his two scenes playing Hershey’s boyfriend Frederick who is comically morose and dour.

best performance: The Seventh Seal.  I adore Max von Sydow and admire his work. There’s a rich depth of quality in his filmography and he’s had a long and varied career. However, the knock on him with this list is that his second best performance doesn’t measure up with everyone in front of him and more than a few behind him. Now—his 9th best performance is better than your guy’s 9th, but there’s nothing here from him that compares with his work in The Seventh Seal as Antonius Block dueling with Death. It’s probably not always good to peak in your late 20’s as an actor but when it’s playing lead in one of the best films of all-time with Bergman—you take it.

stylistic innovations/traits: Von Sydow is A or IA (with Liv Ullman) when it comes to Bergman acting collaborators. I have Bergman as a top 5 all-time auteur so this would be enough to warrant a very high slot on this list. But, unlike the rest of the Bergman stable of players— Von Sydow flourished outside of Sweden. How about this? The go-to Bergman male actor, in the best horror film of all-time (or second), a Bond villain, and worked with Spielberg, Woody Allen and Scorsese. Can I interest you in that resume? Haha. Von Sydow is a tour-de-force in the 45th best film of all-time (Seventh Seal).  In Hollywood he often played villains (Never Say Never Again, Condor, Minority Report) intellectuals (Hannah and Her Sisters) or doctors (Awakenings) or villain doctors (Shutter Island). His trademark was that voice—equally impactful in his native Swedish or in English with that distinct accent.

directors worked with:   Bergman (9 films from 57-69) obviously this is incredibly important and once with Woody Allen, Spielberg, Friedkin, Pollock, and Scorsese

Top 10 Performances:

  1. The Seventh Seal
  2. Hour of the Wolf
  3. Pelle The Conqueror
  4. The Virgin Spring
  5. The Exorcist
  6. Through a Glass Darkly
  7. The Emigrants
  8. Shame
  9. Winter Light
  10. Three Days of the Condor

Archiveable films

1957- The Seventh Seal
1957- Wild Strawberries
1958- The Magician
1960 – The Virgin Spring
1961- Through a Glass Darkly
1963- Winter’s Light
1968- Howl of the Wolf
1968- Shame
1969- The Passion of Anna
1971- The Emigrants
1973- The Exorcist
1975- Three Days of the Condor
1983- Never Say Never Again
1986- Hannah and Her Sisters
1988- Pelle The Conqueror
1990- Awakenings
2002- Minority Report
2007- Diving Bell and Butterfly
2010- Shutter Island
2015- Star Wars: The Force Awakens