1 user 1 critic

Life's Hardy Men (1986)

Elämän vonkamies (original title)
A curious and stubborn boy Kalle has to grow up fast in northern Finland in the 1920s. When his lumberjack father gets ill, Kalle has to take his place as a provider for the family.


Mikko Niskanen


Maija-Leena Ervasti (screenplay), Eero Marttinen (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Lumberjacking (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Lumberjacking is a second part of saga about young author, Kalle Päätalo. It's a story about growing up and becoming a storyteller in hard times when their father was in the forced labour camp. He was a lunatic.

Director: Mikko Niskanen
Stars: Ari-Kyösti Seppo, Pirjo Leppänen, Martti Kainulainen
Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Summer 1941, soon after the Finnish Winter War. Wist and Anttala are young war veterans whose homes ended up on the wrong side of the new border after the Soviet Union claimed ownership of ... See full summary »

Director: Mikko Niskanen
Stars: Jaakko Pakkasvirta, Spede Pasanen, Veikko Kerttula
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The life and death of Vikke Nilo, a lumberjack from the good old times.

Director: Edvin Laine
Stars: Jyrki Kovaleff, Olavi Ahonen, Leni Katajakoski
Eight Deadly Shots (TV Mini-Series 1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Small-farmer Pasi shoots four policemen who have come to arrest him for raged drunkenness. The movie is a flashback examining the events that finally lead to the tragic shooting. As time ... See full summary »

Stars: Tarja-Tuulikki Tarsala, Mikko Niskanen, Paavo Pentikäinen
Sissit (1963)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Lieutenant Takala joins a group of war veterans who gather in a restaurant to reminisce their unit's operations on the Finnish-Soviet front. A flashback takes us back to summer 1944 where ... See full summary »

Director: Mikko Niskanen
Stars: Matti Oravisto, Kauko Laurikainen, Paul Budsko
The Boys (1962)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A group of mischievous Finnish boys experience the ups and downs of life during World War 2.

Director: Mikko Niskanen
Stars: Pentti Tarkiainen, Vesa-Matti Loiri, Uti Saurio
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An earthy, naturalistically erotic and blood-soaked tale of young Martta's ill-fated affair with Oula, a womanizing reindeer herdsman in the Finnish Lapland of the late 1940s. When the 19-... See full summary »

Director: Rauni Mollberg
Stars: Maritta Viitamäki, Pauli Jauhojärvi, Aimo Saukko
Purge (2012)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A tormented young woman is given a hiding place by an elderly lady and soon they are reminded of their mutual horrendous past.

Director: Antti Jokinen
Stars: Laura Birn, Liisi Tandefelt, Amanda Pilke
The Storage 2 (2018)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Sequel to the 2011 film 'Varasto' following the adventures of Rousku and Raninen as they set up their own construction company.

Director: Taru Mäkelä
Stars: Kari-Pekka Toivonen, Aku Hirviniemi, Minttu Mustakallio
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

With few options, newly pardoned convict Leila agrees to work as an assistant to a blind pastor. Father Jacob spends his days answering the letters of the needy, which Leila finds pointless... See full summary »

Director: Klaus Härö
Stars: Kaarina Hazard, Heikki Nousiainen, Jukka Keinonen
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

This film is the second silver screen adaption of the Finnish war book by Väinö Linna with the same name as the film. The story is based on Linna's experiences as an infantry man in the ... See full summary »

Director: Rauni Mollberg
Stars: Risto Tuorila, Pirkka-Pekka Petelius, Paavo Liski
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During World War II, more than 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to neutral Sweden to avoid the conflict. From the award-winning Klaus Härö (Elina: As If I Wasn't There (2002)), "... See full summary »

Director: Klaus Härö
Stars: Topi Majaniemi, Marjaana Maijala, Maria Lundqvist


Credited cast:
Martti Kainulainen Martti Kainulainen ... Hermanni Päätalo
Pirjo Leppänen Pirjo Leppänen ... Riitu Päätalo
Teuvo Remes Teuvo Remes ... Kalle, 7
Tapio Remes Tapio Remes ... Kalle - 13
Jenni Tyni Jenni Tyni ... Little-Martta
Mirjami Ahonen Mirjami Ahonen ... Teenage-MarttaEeti
Juho Väisänen Juho Väisänen ... Eeti
Matti Tuominen Matti Tuominen ... Hiltu-Jakki
Timo Pylkkänen Timo Pylkkänen ... Arvi
Veikko Tiitinen Veikko Tiitinen ... Vääräniemi
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vera Jankin Vera Jankin ... Apteekkarin vaimo
Soli Labbart Soli Labbart ... Lahti-Vappu
Aale Mantila Aale Mantila
Jarkko Peuraniemi Jarkko Peuraniemi
Heikki Sova Heikki Sova


A curious and stubborn boy Kalle has to grow up fast in northern Finland in the 1920s. When his lumberjack father gets ill, Kalle has to take his place as a provider for the family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis









Release Date:

31 October 1986 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Juuret Iijoen törmässä See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Päätalo scholar Paula Virras finalized the screenplay and served as an assistant director for the film until her death in a car accident in 1985 when the film was still in production. See more »


Täällä usein korpimaata kulkeissain (kokoelmasta Siionin laulut ja virret)
Lyrics by Heikki Mielonen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Kalle Päätalo: the childhood years
28 December 2010 | by Petey-10See all my reviews

This movie takes us to 1920's in Northern Finland.There a boy called Kalle Päätalo, who grew up to be a writer, lives with his family.They spend their lives in total poverty, so Kalle has to start working at a young age.Elämän Vonkamies (1986) is the second last movie of Mikko Niskanen (1929-1990).It's based on the novel series Juuret Iijoen Törmässä by Kalle Päätalo.Niskanen knew a lot about the life Kalle describes in his books.Mikko, who also grew in the country, had to work hard.Kalle Päätalo is played by two boys.Teuvo Remes plays Kalle at age 7 and Tapio Remes is Kalle at 13.Very good job from both of them.Martti Kainulainen does excellent work as Hermanni Päätalo.Pirjo Leppänen is terrific as Riitu Päätalo.Matti Tuominen is amazing as Hiltu-Jakki.Timo Pylkkänen is great as Arvi.Great job by Aale Mantila, who plays Korpelan Isäntä, or Satusetä.I just saw this movie on Christmas Eve.Before that I had seen it in early 2008 and sometime in the 90's.It's a very well made movie of Päätalo's life as a child.It can be funny at some points.I especially liked the oven building episode.The oven man's slowness makes Hermanni Päätalo curse quite a bit.And listening to Hiltu-Jakki makes you chuckle.And it can be also dramatic, which comes up in the poverty of this family, the hardship in life.And also the approaching mental illness of father Herkko.This is a very realistic portrayal of one boy's life.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See one user review »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed