Ronia, the Robber's Daughter (film)

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Ronia, the Robber's Daughter
Ronia german poster.jpg
German film poster
Directed by Tage Danielsson
Produced by Waldemar Bergendahl
Written by Astrid Lindgren
Based on Ronia the Robber's Daughter
by Astrid Lindgren
Starring Hanna Zetterberg
Dan Håfström
Börje Ahlstedt
Lena Nyman
Music by Björn Isfält
Cinematography Rune Ericson
Mischa Gavrjusjov
Ole Fredrik Haug
Edited byJan Persson
Release date
  • 14 December 1984 (1984-12-14)(Sweden)
Running time
126 minutes
BudgetSEK 18,000,000 (estimated)
Box officeSEK 49,396,838 (Sweden)

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter (in the UK, Ronja Rövardotter in Sweden, Ronja Robbersdaughter in the USA) is a Swedish fantasy film which was released to cinemas in Sweden on 14 December 1984, [1] directed by Tage Danielsson, based on the 1981 novel of the same title by Astrid Lindgren, and adapted for the screen by Lindgren herself.


When the film was broadcast on television two years after its cinema premiere, the film was twenty minutes longer and uncensored (the cinema release allowed viewing from 7 years and older). This spurred a debate where critics asked if film was more harmful in cinemas than on television. [2] The film was selected as the Swedish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 58th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. [3]

Apart from the original version of the film, there is also a cartoon version that was produced by Goro Miyazaki at the Studio Ghibli. [4] The storyline in the animation is similar to that in the original film. [5]


Ronja, daughter of robber-chief Mattis becomes friends with Birk Borkasson. His father, robber-chief Borka, is the main rival and fiercest enemy of Ronja's father.

The film opens at the castle of Mattis (Börje Ahlstedt, Ronia’s father) and Lovis (Lena Nyman, Ronia’s mother). The weather is unfriendly, as there is heavy lightning outside. Lovis is expectant and about to give birth to a baby, Ronia (Hanna Zetterberg). The movie is then fast forwarded to ten years later when Ronia is old enough to explore the wilderness. Mattis is the head of a band of good-natured robbers, and he warns his daughter of the dangers that she is likely to meet in the wilderness. Nonetheless, Ronia sets out on the adventure and encounters the various dangers as already told by her father.

Meanwhile, there is another group of robbers that lives nearby, and they are led by Borka (Per Oscarsson). Mattis believes that the woodland around his home is his territory, and therefore, the other gang should not operate there. His frustration worsens when he realises that Borka has moved his people into the castle to live alongside Mattis’ people. Consequently, Mattis hatches a plan to drive Borka’s people away from the woodland.

Borka has a son, Birk (Dan Håfström) who happens to share a birthday with Ronia. There is some eminent enmity between Birk and Ronia at first, but the two eventually become friends. Though separated by the constantly unfriendly weather and the hatred between their parents, the dual reunites a couple of times. Mattis kidnaps Birk to force Borka’s group away, but Ronia comes out openly in support of Birk. That act forces Birk and Ronia to run away from their families, as their parents refuse to get over their enmity.



The film was a major success, becoming the highest-grossing 1984 film in Sweden, [6] More than 1.5 million people attended its screenings in Sweden. [7]

Particularly, it was viewed as a children's film owing to the fact that various media houses made it appear as a children's piece. The New York Times, for instance, wrote, “ALL those kids in New York who have been longing to see a movie in the original Swedish can now throng to the 23d Street Triplex, where ''Ronja Robbersdaughter'' opens today”. [8] To increase the audience size, the film was reproduced as a cartoon. [9] Espeland noted, "The story has also been made into musicals, stage plays, and an animated TV series". [10] That shows that the film was not just appealing to the ordinary viewers, it equally impressed artists who say it as an opportunity to catch more viewers.

Adaptions in other Mediums

The film has been adapted as a cartoon with a similar title, “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter”. [11] Further, there is an English dub and a lullaby, each adapted from the same film. There is also a play written by Allison Gregory that goes by the same title. [12]

Awards and honours

The film won Reader's Jury prize of the Berliner Morgenpost . It was in competition for a Golden Bear at the 35th Berlin International Film Festival in 1985, where it was awarded a Silver Berlin Bear for outstanding artistic contribution. [13] Additionally, the film was considered for the 58th Academy Awards as one of the best in the category of Foreign Language Films. Though it was disputed and eliminated from the list of contestants, its proposal shows that it merited to some extent.

See also

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  3. Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
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  10. "Exquisite 'The Band's Visit' is about things that matter". MinnPost. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
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  12. "Ronia, the Robber's Daughter". Allison Gregory. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  13. Berlinale. Archive. Prizes and Honours. 1985. Retrieved 26 January 2019