Lars von Trier

Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves

Lars von Trier became an international sensation with this galvanizing realist fable about sex and spiritual transcendence. In an Oscar-nominated performance, Emily Watson stuns as Bess, a simple, pious newlywed in a tiny Scottish village who gives herself up to a shocking form of martyrdom after her husband (Stellan Skarsgård) is paralyzed in an oil rig accident. Breaking the Waves, both brazen and tender, profane and pure, is an examination of the expansiveness of faith and of its limits.

Film Info

  • Lars von Trier
  • Denmark
  • 1996
  • 159 minutes
  • Color
  • 2.35:1
  • English
  • Spine #705

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Lars von Trier, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Selected-scene audio commentary featuring von Trier, editor Anders Refn, and location scout Anthony Dod Mantle
  • New interview with filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman
  • New interviews with actors Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård
  • Interview from 2004 with actor Adrian Rawlins
  • Excerpts from Watson’s audition tape, with commentary by von Trier
  • Deleted and extended scenes, with commentary by von Trier
  • Deleted scene featuring the late actor Katrin Cartlidge
  • Cannes Film Festival promotional clip
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt and an excerpt from the 1999 book Trier on von Trier

New cover by Fred Davis

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director Lars von Trier, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Selected-scene audio commentary featuring von Trier, editor Anders Refn, and location scout Anthony Dod Mantle
  • New interview with filmmaker and critic Stig Björkman
  • New interviews with actors Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård
  • Interview from 2004 with actor Adrian Rawlins
  • Excerpts from Watson’s audition tape, with commentary by von Trier
  • Deleted and extended scenes, with commentary by von Trier
  • Deleted scene featuring the late actor Katrin Cartlidge
  • Cannes Film Festival promotional clip
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic David Sterritt and an excerpt from the 1999 book Trier on von Trier

New cover by Fred Davis

Breaking the Waves
Cast
Emily Watson
Bess McNeill
Stellan Skarsgård
Jan Nyman
Katrin Cartlidge
Dodo McNeill
Jean-Marc Barr
Terry
Adrian Rawlins
Dr. Richardson
Sandra Voe
Mother
Jonathan Hackett
Priest
Udo Kier
Sailor
Credits
Director
Lars von Trier
Written by
Lars von Trier
Director of photography
Robby Müller
Produced by
Vibeke Windelov
Produced by
Peter Aalbaek Jensen
Executive producer
Lars Jönsson
Executive music producer
Ray Williams
First assistant director
Morten Arnfred
Casting
Joyce Nettles
Art director
Karl Júlíusson
Costume design
Manon Rasmussen
Sound designer
Per Streit
Editor
Anders Refn
Music
Joachim Holbek
Chapter sequences by
Per Kirkeby

From The Current

Breaking the Waves and Emotional Editing
Breaking the Waves and Emotional Editing

Breaking the Waves is the kind of film that elicits strong emotional responses. And as its director Lars von Trier, editor Anders Refn, and location scout Anthony Dod Mantle discuss in this excerpt from our new edition’s scene-specific audio com…

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Emily Watson on Her Big Breaking Break
Emily Watson on Her Big Breaking Break

As Emily Watson told us in an interview for our release of Breaking the Waves, which comes out next week, she had “hardly been in front of a camera ever before” when she shot Lars von Trier’s devastasting and explicit drama of faith and sex. …

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Breaking the Waves: Breaking the Rules
Breaking the Waves: Breaking the Rules

Lars von Trier brought his brand of provocation to his widest audience yet with this inquiry into faith and human goodness.

By David Sterritt

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Mira Nair’s Guide to the Collection
Mira Nair’s Guide to the Collection

The writer-director of Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay! takes us through an eclectic mix of favorite films, including works by Jane Campion, Lars von Trier, and Satyajit Ray.

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An Experiment in Handheld CinemaScope
An Experiment in Handheld CinemaScope

“Master of light” Robby Müller, who passed away earlier this month, delivered some of his most daringly stylized work in Lars von Trier’s Breaking the Waves.

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Sebastián Lelio’s Top 10

The Oscar-winning Chilean filmmaker picks favorites that highlight his love of intense performances, extreme stylization, and explosive emotions.


Mike Portnoy’s Top 10

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A Robby Müller Retrospective
A Robby Müller Retrospective

Dutch cinematographer Robby Müller has given us some of the most transcendent images ever captured on-screen. Since beginning his career in the late sixties, he has lensed a wealth of indelible moments—from Harry Dean Stanton wandering alone throu…

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Sean Baker’s Top 10

Sean Baker is a writer/director and cocreator of the television show Greg the Bunny. His movies include Prince of Broadway (2008), Starlet (2012), and Tangerine (2015).


Lars von Trier on Breaking the Waves
Lars von Trier on Breaking the Waves

The following interview, conducted by Stig Björkman, originally appeared in Björkman’s 1999 book Trier on von Trier.

By Stig Björkman

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