The Phantom Carriage (Swedish: Körkarlen) is a 1921 Swedish film generally considered to be one of the central works in the history of Swedish cinema. Released on New Year’s Day 1921, it was directed by and starred Victor Sjöström, alongside Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg and Astrid Holm. It is based on the novel Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! (Körkarlen; 1912), by Nobel prize-winning Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf.
The film is notable for its special effects, its advanced (for the time) narrative structure with flashbacks within flashbacks, and for having been a major influence on Ingmar Bergman.
It is also known as The Phantom Chariot, Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness! and The Stroke of Midnight.
On New Year’s Eve, the dying Salvation Army girl Edit has one last wish: to speak with David Holm. David, an alcoholic, is sitting in a graveyard with two drinking buddies, talking about his old friend Georges who told him about Death’s carriage—the legend that the last person to die each year has to work under the “strict master” Death and collect the souls of everybody who dies the following year. Georges himself died on New Year’s Eve last year.