The big question among ABBA fans is: "is ABBA - THE MOVIE available on video or DVD?"
On 26 September 2005, ABBA - THE MOVIE was finally released on DVD!
Two versions have been released - a single disc version of THE MOVIE, in surround sound and with subtitles, and a "Limited Special Edition" double disc version with an addition disc of bonus feature, including an interview with Björn, Benny and director Lasse Hallström, movie trailers and TV spots, memorabilia gallery, and a gallery of the original tour programme.
In Australia, the double disc version was released on 3 October, the single disc version on 10 October. This is the first ever release of THE MOVIE in any home video format in Australia.
THE MOVIE has been available on video in the past.
It was released on VHS in the UK on three separate occasions in 1982, 1987 and 1989 by MGM/UA. The first two releases had similar yet different covers, featuring the famous shot from the 1979 tour - the cover of the first version was silver, the second pink. The third release used the original artwork from THE MOVIE/THE ALBUM/THE FOLIO.
It was released on laserdisc in the UK in 1983 by MGM/UA, and also in this format in the USA. It was also released in the short-lived CED Videodisc format.
It was released on VHS in Sweden in the late 80s by Polar Bonnier Video, with a photo of ABBA from 1982 on the front cover. The Swedish video was letterboxed (aka widescreen), with Swedish subtitles, but the sound was mono.
The last of these to be available, the third UK VHS release, was deleted in 1999.
Strangely, though THE MOVIE was filmed in Australia, it has never been released on video here, and has only been screened on television twice - in late 1979 (in capital cities and some regional stations), and in June 2001.
Second hand and dubbed copies of THE MOVIE frequently appear on internet auction sites. Beware any NTSC copies on VHS - it has never been commercially released in this format, so any copies on offer will be dubbed from PAL tapes or the laserdisc or taped from television and are not original. It's quite likely that the majority of PAL tapes will also be copies. THE MOVIE has never been officially released on DVD or VCD, so any copies in these formats will be pirated.
During 2003, the Swedish Film Institute restored the film. A gala premiere of the restored version took place in Stockholm in December, with Frida and Benny in attendance. There have been several special screenings of this restored version since.
In June 2005, Warner Bros. USA announced a DVD release of ABBA - THE MOVIE for 16 August. However, it was later proven that Warner Bros. did not in fact have the rights to release this DVD, and the release was cancelled in early July. This version was to have included commentary by director Lasse Hallström, and was possibly also going to be released with a French-dubbed soundtrack.
© 2003, 2004, 2005 by Ian Cole, Sydney Australia