Based upon the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Eugene O'Neill, Anna Christie opens in Johnny-the-Priest's saloon in New York's South Street Seaport. Among the denizens of the bar is Chris Christopherson, a good-natured middle-aged Swedish bargeman who enjoys his whiskey a little too much. Chris is involved with Marthy, a good-hearted but rather slatternly barfly. The apple of Chris's eye is his daughter, Anna (Diane Cilento), whom he has not seen since she was a five-year-old girl in Sweden, fifteen years ago. Since that time, she has been sent to live with relatives in Minnesota, and has written letters to her father about her seemingly happy life. The latest letter tells Chris that Anna is coming for a visit, which makes Chris both happy and anxious. After he leaves the bar, Anna arrives, and it is obvious that the life she has created in her letters is a sham. Marthy spots her for a prostitute, and is worried that Chris might realize this, too. Anna does her best to keep it from her father, and from Mat Burke (Sean Connery), a handsome young sailor whom she and Chris rescue and who takes a shine to Anna. Chris wants Anna to have a better husband than Mat; when the two men argue about this, it forces Anna to reveal the truth about her past - after which the characters must struggle with what kind of relationship, if any, they can have with each other.
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