The Brothers Lionheart (1977 film)

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The Brothers Lionheart
Bröderna Lejonhjärta.jpg
Swedish DVD cover
Directed by Olle Hellbom
Produced by Olle Nordemar
Olle Hellbom
Written by Astrid Lindgren
Starring Staffan Götestam
Lars Söderdahl
Allan Edwall
Gunn Wållgren
Folke Hjort
Per Oscarsson
Music by Björn Isfält
Lasse Dahlberg
Distributed by Svensk Filmindustri
Release dates
  • 23 September 1977 (1977-09-23) (Sweden)
Running time
102 minutes
Country Sweden
Language Swedish

The Brothers Lionheart (Swedish: Bröderna Lejonhjärta) is a Swedish fantasy film which was released to cinemas in Sweden on 23 September 1977,[1] directed by Olle Hellbom and based on the book with the same name, written by Astrid Lindgren. It won Sweden's Guldbagge Award for Best Director in 1978.[2]

Selected cast[edit]


The film was shot in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. Filming locations included Stockholm and Skåne County in Sweden, Århus in Jutland, and Þingvellir in Iceland.[3]


Box office[edit]

In Sweden, the film grossed SEK 8,963,000 at the box office.[4] Its screenings were attended by 553,000 people.[4]

Differences from the novel[edit]

Although the film mostly stays true to the book some notable differences can be seen.

  • In the film, Karl is shown succumbing to his illness before he wakes up in Nangijala, a scene which is not featured in the novel.
  • In the novel Hubert is described having long, curly red hair and a big, bristly beard, while actor Tommy Johnson had short, normal red hair and a moustache.
  • In the novel, Jonatan rescues one of Tengil's soldiers who is later killed in the battle. This soldier does not appear in the film.
  • In the book when Karl tries to find Jonatan one night, he stays in a cave where he suddenly gets surrounded by angry wolves but is quickly saved by Hubert. This is omitted in the film.
  • In the book Jossi tells Veder and Kader about Karl after getting the "Katla mark" on his chest. In the film when he arrives, he tells them before getting labeled with the mark.
  • In the novel the "Katla mark" is a dragonhead. It was a flame in the film.
  • Veder and Kader's fate is not shown. In the book they are killed by Orvar and Sofia.
  • In the film, Mattias dies at some point during the final battle against Tengil's forces. In the film, he is killed by a thrown spear before the battle starts after one of Tengil's men sees him release a white dove carrying a message to Orvar.
  • Karm, the lindworm is omitted completely. Karm is described in the novel as Katla's enemy and that he has been around since the dawn of time awaiting the moment he will get to kill Katla. As he is restricted to water and Katla to land, this has been impossible until Jonathan pushes a rock onto Katla, making her fall into the Karma Falls. In the film, Katla is simply knocked over a ledge by the rock dislodged by Jonatan and perishes in a pool of lava.
  • The ending is softened a bit and does not explicitly show the brothers committing suicide.

Critical response[edit]

The film was well received by Swedish critics.[5] Often interpreting the film in contemporary terms, they compared Staffan Götestam's portrayal of Jonatan to Che Guevara,[5] and Georg Årlin's portrayal of Tengil to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Augusto Pinochet, Richard Nixon and Saddam Hussein.[5]



  1. ^ "Bröderna Lejonhjärta". Swedish Film Database. 23 September 1977. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Awards for Bröderna Lejonhjärta (1977)". Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  3. ^ "Filming locations for Bröderna Lejonhjärta (1977)". Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  4. ^ a b "Box office / business for Bröderna Lejonhjärta (1977)". Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c Holmlund, Christine (2003). "Pippi and Her Pals". Cinema Journal. 42.2 (Winter 2003): 14. 

External links[edit]