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Breaking the Waves

A Feature film by Lars Von Trier

Release in France : 09/10/1996

  • Contents

Actors (5)

Production and distribution (4)

Foreign production companies :

Zentropa Entertainment, Trust Film Svenska, Argus Film

French distribution :

Les Films du Losange

Box Office: Total results

Box office: Timeline

International releases (40)

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In the early 1970s a naive girl, Bess, living in a small community on the northwest coast of Scotland, falls in love with oil rig worker and man-of-the-world Jan. Despite local opposition they marry. Jan returns to the rig, while Bess counts the days to his homecoming, sure that their love is made in heaven, especially as she is convinced that she can mentally communicate with God. When an accident renders Jan paralysed, he is worried that Bess will cut herself off from normal life. Realizing that he will be bedridden, he persuades her that she will aid his recovery by giving herself to other men.


"The international success of "Breaking the Waves" is mainly due to its own outstanding qualities. You can't manufacture a hit if the film doesn't have it. This amazing love story deeply touched its audiences, thanks of course to Lars Von Trier's directing and Emily Watson's superb performance. The 1996 Cannes Festival was a major factor in the film's career. The press and the public were knocked out by it, and it became an event that everyone felt strongly about - they either adored it or slammed it. The buzz saw to it that the film was sold worldwide, and with support from Media 2 we were able to help all the European distributors (paying for prints, etc.). The movie has made 600,000 admissions in France."
(Régine Vial - Les Films du Losange)



Breaking the Waves

Trailer (VOSTFR)

Full credits (9)

Screenwriter :

Lars Von Trier

Sound Recordist :

Per Streit

Editor :

Anders Refn

Music Composer :

Joachim Holbek

Still Photographer :

Rolf Konow

Director of Photography :

Robby Muller

Press Attachés (film) :

Eva Simonet, Isabelle de la Baume

Production Designer :

Karl Juliusson

Costume designer :

Manon Rasmussen

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Sub-genre :

Psychological drama

Production language :


Coproducer countries :

Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, France

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Minority French (Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, France)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

2 h 38 min

Current status :


Visa number :


Visa issue date :


Approval :


Production formats :


Color type :


Aspect ratio :


Audio format :

Dolby SRD


Festival Selections (4)

European Film Awards - 1996

European Film Awards (Germany, 1996)


Best European Film

Cannes International Film Festival - 1996

Cannes International Film Festival (France, 1996)


Official Competition - Feature Films


Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 1997

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 1997)


César Award for Best Foreign Feature