Sweden, 1983, 109 min.

director.gif (905 bytes)Hans Alfredson


Stellan Skarsgård - Pettersson
Allan Edwall - Bendel
Lena Nyman - Mia/Ingegerd
Lill Lindfors - Agda
Björn Gustafson - Nilsson

Jan Blomberg - Vreding
Jim Hughes - Rodney
Eva Dahlman - Angelica
Åsa Bjerkerot - Eva Velin
Tomas ALfredson - Jonas


December 10, 1983


Two rogues in Stockholm named Pettersson (Skarsgård) and Bendel (Edwall) are both worn, run-down and broke. Despite this, they get together in the big city to see what they can skim off the top. They begin a business in which they tamper, scam and exploit loopholes that exist. At first success comes their way  and they get rich. However, their luck eventually runs out and the two men are back in the bottom of the barrel.


This film is based on Waldemar Hammenhög's controversial 1931 novel "Pettersson & Bendel" and has previously been adapted for the screen in 1933 and in 1945. Filming took place in Stockholm in 1983. The film is a comedy of contemporary manners, not a serious commentary on the situation of immigrants in present-day Sweden. The songs "It's So Nice to Be Rich" and the title melody were performed by Agnetha Fältskog who also released them on single that year. In both production photos, you can see Stellan on the right.



The outlaw Carl-Johan Pettersson (Stellan Skarsgård) accidentally meets the illegal (and likewise poor) immigrant Joseph Bendel (Allan Edwall). Together, they start a business that is based on illegal deals and scams.

They have distinctly different personalities; Bendel is street-smart and smart, while Pettersson is charming and has a feminine feel. Slowly but surely they build up a large capital and start the company group "P&B". As their financial successes grow, however, Pettersson gradually begins to feel worse and worse. He feels inferior to the sophisticated Bendel and has difficulty moving in the "finer" circles of society. He lies compulsively and presents himself by a false name to almost every person he meets.

In addition, Pettersson lives in an unhappy relationship with girlfriend Mia (Lena Nyman). When he then meets the teacher Ingegerd (paradoxically she's also played by Lena Nyman) he falls in love and he is torn between Mia's vulgar style and Ingegerd's sophisticated style.

Bendel, for his part, has problems with illegally immigrating to Sweden and being detained by police. Bendel's background and past are shrouded in obscurity and nothing he wants to discuss with anyone, but Pettersson thinks that Bendel carries a secret of some sort.

Over time, business for P&B begins to deteriorate and the original friendship between Pettersson and Bendel is put to the test.

The film's message is simple and clear; Making a lot of money is not a guarantee of a happy life but can often lead a person to ruin.