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Summary

  • Ingrid Bergman shone as a versatile actress in acclaimed movies like Stromboli and Murder on the Orient Express.
  • Bergman portrayed iconic roles like Joan of Arc and Sister Mary Benedict with passion and depth.
  • Known for her luminous beauty, Bergman delivered powerful performances in classics like Casablanca and Anastasia.

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The Swedish actress turning Hollywood icon Ingrid Bergman starred in some of the greatest movies ever produced. From historical epics to intimate family dramas and everything in between, Bergman’s career was one categorized by acclaimed directors, compelling performances, and the occasional Hollywood scandal. With three Academy Awards to her name, Bergman stood as one of the most successful actresses of all time and her name has become synonymous with luminous radiating beauty, strong and enduring characters, and a range that saw her excel in comedy, drama, film noirs, and period pieces.

With a willingness to step outside her comfort zone, Bergman starred in Alfred Hitchcock psychological thrillers opposite major names such as Gregory Peck and Cary Grant. While primarily known as an unmatchable leading lady, Bergman was also a team player who delivered memorable supporting roles in movies such as the star-studded mystery ensembled Murder on the Orient Express. As one of the greatest female screen legends of Classic Hollywood Cinema, the career of Bergman was full of incredible and memorable movies and performances.

10 Stromboli (1950)

Ingrid Bergman as Karin

Stromboli (1950) Ingrid Bergman as Karin

The Italian American production Stromboli was shrouded in controversy due to the scandalous affair between its director Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman which became public knowledge before the film’s premiere. However, this behind-the-scenes drama should not overshadow what was a compelling performance from Bergman as Karin, the young Baltic woman struggling to assimilate into small village life after escaping a prison camp and marrying an ex-POV fisherman. A classic example of Italian neorealism, Stromboli was a fascinating study of desperation, suffering, and faith.

9 Joan of Arc (1948)

Ingrid Bergman as Jeanne d’Arc

Joan of Arc (1948) Ingrid Bergman as Jeanne d'Arc

While Victor Fleming’s 1948 retelling of the 15th-century French heroine Joan of Arc was not as acclaimed as the 1928 classic silent movieThe Passion of Joan of Arc, it was propped up by Ingrid Bergman’s passionate performance in the challenging title role. Joan of Arc followed the young revolutionary from the time she was convinced God had chosen her to save France to her ultimate burning at the stake by the English. A valid criticism of Joan of Arc related to its slow pace and over-reliance on dialogue, yet it remained an essential addition to Bergman’s impressive filmography.

8 Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Ingrid Bergman as Greta Ohlsson

Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Ingrid Bergman as Greta Ohlsson

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Director
Sidney Lumet

Release Date
November 24, 1974

Cast
Albert Finney , Lauren Bacall , Ingrid Bergman , Sean Connery , Martin Balsam , Jacqueline Bisset , Michael York , Anthony Perkins

Runtime
128 Minutes

As one of many major stars to appear in Sidney Lumet’s mystery Murder on the Orient Express, Ingrid Bergman was joined by impressive names including Lauren Bacall, Sean Connery, and Anthony Perkins. Bergman played Greta Ohlsson, a Swedish missionary on her way to Europe from Africa, and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the part. Bergman had a small role in this Agatha Christie adaptation as a devoted religious woman whose life’s mission was to help the poorest children in Africa, which made it even more shocking when her role in the murder was revealed.

7 Autumn Sonata (1978)

Ingrid Bergman as Charlotte Andergast

Autumn Sonata (1978) Ingrid Bergman as Charlotte Andergast Ingmar Bergman movie

In her final theatrical role, Ingrid Bergman was paired with her fellow Swedish director whose name was strikingly similar to her own, Ingmar Bergman, in the mother-daughter drama Autumn Sonata. A brooding psychological study of a celebrated pianist reuniting with her neglected and estranged daughter, Autumn Sonata painfully examined what tore them apart in the first place and was categorized by the emotional heft that could be expected from an Ingmar Bergman film. While it may rank as a minor entry in both of their filmographies, to witness the pairing of Sweden’s most famous Bergmans was a historical collaboration.

To witness the pairing of Sweden’s most famous Bergmans was a historical collaboration.

6 The Bells of St. Mary (1945)

Ingrid Bergman as Sister Mary Benedict

Father O'Malley in front of a Christmas Tree in The Bells of St Marys The Bells of St. Mary (1945) Ingrid Bergman as Sister Mary Benedict

The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)

The Bells of St. Mary’s is a musical comedy-drama that centers on a priest and a nun who must face off with a wealthy businessman to keep their school from being torn down.

Director
Leo McCarey

Release Date
December 6, 1945

Cast
Bing Crosby , Ingrid Bergman , Henry Travers , William Gargan , Ruth Donnelly , Joan Carroll , Martha Sleeper , Rhys Williams , Dick Tyler , Una O’Connor

Runtime
126 Minutes

Ingrid Bergman with musical superstar Bing Crosby proved to be a match made in heaven in the comedy-drama The Bells of St. Mary. The story of Sister Mary Benedict and Father Chuck O’Malley, two religious figures overseeing a run-down school, the pair butted heads in a light-hearted rivalry full of heartfelt moments, quiet beauty, and Christmas cheer. As a sequel to Going My Way, which also starred Crosby as Father O’Malley, The Bells of St. Mary stood as the better of the two as Bergman shone in the role of the good-natured nun with a heart of gold.

5 Anastasia (1956)

Ingrid Bergman as Anna Koreff

Anastasia (1956) Ingrid Bergman as Anna Koreff

Anastasia was a fascinating true story that, at its core, was essentially about the art of acting itself as Ingrid Bergman played a mysterious woman named Anna Koreff who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, an heiress to the Romanov fortune. A fascinating historical drama, Bergman won the Academy Award for Best Actress as she convinced even her biggest skeptics that she was the relative of the last Tsar. The power of Anastasia was in the performance itself as Bergman seamlessly exhibited the multiple layers of what Anna said, meant, perceived, and believed, all at once.

4 Spellbound (1945)

Ingrid Bergman as Dr. Constance Petersen

A thrilling Alfred Hitchcock psychological thriller, Spellbound was a suspenseful melodrama that featured Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck at the absolute pinnacle of their careers. Bergman starred as the psychologist Dr. Constance Petersen and Peck was the amnesia-ridden man who stole his doctor’s identity, and some suspect may have even killed him. Bergman brought a touching tenderness tinged with terror to the part of Dr. Petersen as she fell in love with this deeply troubled man. An enjoyable and underrated Hitchcock film, Spellbound delivered on all fronts.

3 Gaslight (1944)

Ingrid Bergman as Paula Alquist Anton

Gregory looks intently at a scared Paula in Gaslight

Gaslight

Director
Pavan Kirpalani

Release Date
March 31, 2023

Writers
Ian Fried

Cast
Rahul Dev, Chitrangda Singh, Vikrant Massey, Sara Ali Khan

Many may not be aware that the term gaslighting actually had its origins in this 1944 film and the 1938 play that it was based on both titled Gaslight. With Ingrid Bergman as Paula Alquist Anton, the young woman whose husband slowly manipulated her into believing her had gone insane, Gaslight was an unusually dark story for its era that was bursting with paranoia and a film noir aesthetic. The success of Gaslight was down to Bergman’s performance as her believable slip into mental anguish and tortured realization of her husband’s manipulative behavior was an acting marvel.

Gaslight was an unusually dark story for its era that was bursting with paranoia and a film noir aesthetic

2 Notorious (1946)

Ingrid Bergman as Alicia Huberman

Notorious (1946)

Release Date
August 15, 1946

Cast
Cary Grant , Ingrid Bergman , Claude Rains , Louis Calhern , Leopoldine Konstantin

Runtime
101 Minutes

With Cary Grant and Claude Rains, Ingrid Bergman starred in one of the greatest love triangles ever committed to the big screen in Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling espionage film noir Notorious. With strong character depth, emotional resonance, and heartfelt humanity, Bergman played Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a Nazi spy, embroiled in a complex conspiracy of love, jealousy, and conflicts of duty. As one of Hitchcock’s most complex and mature films, it stood as Hitchcock’s best collaboration with Grant and Bergman.

1 Casablanca (1942)

Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund

Casablanca

Set in Morocco against the backdrop of the Second World War, Casablanca stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, a nightclub owner whose past comes back to haunt him when an old lover comes to ask for his help in smuggling her and her current husband out of the Nazi-occupied city. Ingrid Bergman stars alongside Bogart as Ilsa, with a further cast that includes Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, and Dooley Wilson. 

Director
Michael Curtiz

Release Date
November 26, 1942

Cast
Humphrey Bogart , Ingrid Bergman , Paul Henreid , Claude Rains , Conrad Veidt , Sydney Greenstreet

Runtime
102 minutes

Of all the movies in all the theaters in all the world, Ingrid Bergman’s best film has to be the best romantic drama of all time Casablanca. Endlessly quotable, insanely enduring, and captivating more than 80 years since it was released, Bergman played the adventurous and beautiful love interest Ilsa Lund opposite Humphrey Bogart in this classic story of love, loyalty, and lost opportunity. With a luminescent presence, there was ambiguity and strong power in Bergman’s performance in Casablanca, and it was this role, more than any other, that has solidified Ingrid Bergman’s reputation as one of Hollywood’s all-time greats.



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