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Crotchety retired doctor Isak Borg (Sjöström) travels from Stockholm to Lund, Sweden, with his pregnant and unhappy daughter-in-law, Marianne (Thulin), in order to receive an honorary degree from his alma mater. Along the way, they encounter a series of hitchhikers, each of whom causes the elderly doctor to muse upon the pleasures and failures of his own life. These include the vivacious young Sara (Andersson), a dead ringer for the doctor’s own first love.

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