The Sacrifice

Watch The Sacrifice

"The final film of Andrei Tarkovsky"
  • PG
  • 1986
  • 2 hr 22 min
  • 7.9  (30,851)

The Sacrifice is a powerful and thought-provoking film directed by the legendary Russian filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky, and was released in 1986. The story revolves around the central character Alexander, played by Erland Josephson, a retired actor who lives with his wife and children on a secluded island near Sweden. The idyllic life Alexander had built comes crashing down when he learns that a nuclear war has broken out, threatening the whole world.

With a sense of impending doom, Alexander wanders through the fog-shrouded island contemplating the nature of existence and the choices that he has made in life. In a panic, he decides to offer up all he has built-in sacrifice to prevent the world from falling into nuclear holocaust. He then delivers a heartfelt monologue where he pleads with God, offering his life as a sacrifice in exchange for the world's salvation.

The film progresses with a surreal twist, involving ritualistic acts that are part of Alexander's sacrifice. The acts are not mere abridged in timeline but have an intense impact on the viewer as the culmination of the poignant journey of Alexander takes place. This leads to a surprising and poignant climax that will linger in the viewer's mind long after the credits have rolled. Even though the ending is ambiguous, the film doesn't fail to deliver a profound message that leaves viewers questioning the true meaning of life.

The Sacrifice is an exceptional piece of cinema, with the signature Tarkovsky poeticism that is both bleak yet beautiful. The cinematography of the film is awe-inspiring and symbolic, with its rich, densely layered visuals that enhance the sense of isolation, despair, and the passing of time. The gorgeous island location makes for a mystical setting that adds to the film's dreamlike quality.

The acting in the film is stellar, and all the actors deliver impressive performances. Erland Josephson, the lead actor, gives a remarkable portrayal of the central character Alexander, making the audience feel every intense emotion he is experiencing in his journey. He convincingly brings out the anxiety, desperation, and the longing for the silence of death that Alexander endures.

Susan Fleetwood, who plays Alexander's wife Adelaide, delivers an impressive performance as well, bringing out the film's most poignant moments. Allan Edwall, who plays Victor, the family's retainer, delivers a powerful and touching portrayal.

The film's themes of sacrifice and spiritual transcendence can be interpreted in many different ways, making it an enigmatic work of art. It is a profound exploration of a man's struggle as he tries to accept the harsh realities of life and confront his deepest fears of mortality.

The Sacrifice is a slow-burning film, and the pace may not be everyone's cup of tea. Nonetheless, its excellent direction, impressive acting, and stunning cinematography more than make up for its length. The film provides a deeply moving and thought-provoking experience that will have an impact long after the final credits have rolled.

In conclusion, The Sacrifice is a masterpiece of cinema that belongs to the pantheon of great films. It offers a unique perspective on human existence and is one of those rare films that rewards repeated viewings. With its timeless themes and thoughtful direction, it is a film that leaves an indelible impression, leaving viewers questioning the true meaning of life.

The Sacrifice is a 1986 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 22 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.9.

The Sacrifice
Where to Watch The Sacrifice
The Sacrifice is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent The Sacrifice for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 22 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.9  (30,851)