The Ultimate Introduction to the Cinema of Norway

by Bifrost_NOR | created - 29 Aug 2015 | updated - 22 Sep 2016 | Public

I am Norwegian my self and have therefore watched a lot of Norwegian films and since getting into the Cinema of Norway can be a hard task (it's difficult even if you are an Norwegian) i have made this list of Norwegian films i would recommend to people who want's to get into Norwegian cinema and culture or to people who just wants to see some good movies they probably never have seen before.

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1. Trollhunter (2010)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

61 Metascore

A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.

Director: André Øvredal | Stars: Otto Jespersen, Robert Stoltenberg, Knut Nærum, Glenn Erland Tosterud

Votes: 68,080 | Gross: $0.25M

Probably one of the most successful films Norwegian films outside of Norway. The film has a nice bit of dark Norwegian humor and classic Norwegian fairy tales, but the film is made in a documentary style about a film crew following a man who calls him self a troll-hunter

2. Troubled Water (2008)

Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Music

A man convicted in his teens for killing a child is released on parole. He struggles to build a new life, but his past is uncovered.

Director: Erik Poppe | Stars: Pål Sverre Hagen, Trine Dyrholm, Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Fredrik Grøndahl

Votes: 5,636

A very strong drama film.

3. Den brysomme mannen (2006)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

In a strange city where every person seems content beyond reason a new man arrives in town and stirs up trouble by asking too many questions.

Director: Jens Lien | Stars: Trond Fausa, Petronella Barker, Per Schaanning, Birgitte Larsen

Votes: 16,272

One of the funniest Norwegian movies ever made

4. Kitchen Stories (2003)

PG | 95 min | Comedy, Drama

75 Metascore

A scientific observer's job of observing an old cantankerous single man's kitchen habits is complicated by his growing friendship with him.

Director: Bent Hamer | Stars: Tomas Norström, Joachim Calmeyer, Bjørn Floberg, Reine Brynolfsson

Votes: 7,965 | Gross: $0.35M

A film about observing the average lonely man in Norway, is a fitting theme for you who want to understand Norwegian culture a bit more.

5. Elling (2001)

R | 89 min | Comedy, Drama

70 Metascore

When his mother, who has sheltered him his entire 40 years, dies, Elling, a sensitive, would-be poet, is sent to live in a state institution. There he meets Kjell Bjarne, a gentle giant and... See full summary »

Director: Petter Næss | Stars: Per Christian Ellefsen, Sven Nordin, Marit Pia Jacobsen, Jørgen Langhelle

Votes: 13,928 | Gross: $0.31M

Elling is a funny, weird character. There is a whole trilogy of films made about the character Elling, but the first one is definitely the best one.

Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film — Nominated (2002)

6. Insomnia (1997)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

In a Norwegian city with a 24-hour daylight cycle a Swedish murder investigator has been brought in on a special case. Sleep deprived, he makes a horrible mistake which is discovered by the killer he has been hunting.

Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg | Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Maria Mathiesen, Gisken Armand

Votes: 13,023 | Gross: $0.22M

A good start to begin your journey into Norwegian cinema. This Neo-Noir crime-drama is typical Norwegian (It is very similar to Norwegian literature like that of Jo Nesbø Etc.)

The film greatly inspired directors like Christopher Nolan, so much so that he made his own version of the film in 2002, but you can really see the influence this film made on Nolan already in Nolan's film Memento.

7. La elva leve! (1980)

110 min | Drama

On the background of a hunger strike to save a famous salmon river from being dammed up for electrical power development, the Sami Ole Raino believes in his own protests. He plans a sabotage.

Director: Bredo Greve | Stars: Nils Utsi, Christian Vennerød, Sissel Kleven, Ravdna Anti

Votes: 15

This is a very controversial film by a controversial underground film-rebel Bredo Greve.

A satirical film rebelling against the building of an hydro-power plant in northern Norway where they have to destroy a very vital area for the Sami people and their reindeer's.

8. Den fine pelskåpa di (1977)

16 min | Documentary, Short

"That Fancy Furcoat of Yours" is a Norwegian anti-fur movie made by Bredo Greve and Svein Krøvel back in 1977. Greve was hired to make the movie by the Swiss company "European Committee for... See full summary »

Director: Bredo Greve

Votes: 14

This is a very controversial film by a controversial underground film-rebel Bredo Greve.

This film is a documentary of a pelt farm where a commentator blames the suffering and mistreatment of the animals on you.

9. Heksene fra den forstenede skog (1976)

92 min | Drama

Anarkistic fable where we follow the teaching of a modern witch, reconstructed by historical and anthropological knowledge, inspired by the books by Carlos Castaneda.

Director: Bredo Greve | Stars: Edith Roger, Ulrikke Greve, Berit Schelderup, Kjersti Roald

Votes: 14

This is a very controversial film by a controversial underground film-rebel Bredo Greve.

The film is rebelling against Christianity and property

The film is an Anarchistic fable where we follow the teaching of a modern witch, reconstructed by historical and anthropological knowledge, inspired by the books by Carlos Castaneda.

10. The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (1975)

G | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

Reodor Felgen decides that he will enter a car race to defeat his former friend who has stolen his plans for a car.

Director: Ivo Caprino | Stars: Wenche Foss, Per Theodor Haugen, Harald Heide-Steen Jr., Leif Juster

Votes: 12,314

Probably the most successful movie in Norway, this movie will give you a feel of the Norwegian culture. This animated family classic is essential for every Norwegian and therefore i would think it would be essential for everyone who would wan't to explore Norwegian cinema.

This is a very controversial film by a controversial underground film-rebel Bredo Greve.

The film is rebelling against modern development and technology, since this makes us move away from nature

12. Remonstrance (1972)

97 min | Crime, Drama

A meta-film about a film and the common man in our own political reality. A reality that is just scenes of a film without any cinematic development, but which might be plain reality tomorrow.

Director: Erik Løchen | Stars: Espen Skjønberg, Per Theodor Haugen, Kari Rasmussen, Knut Husebø

Votes: 118

The second and last film by Erik Løchen, Norway's most experimental director, this movie is even more experimental then his first film. Motforestilleng directly translates to "objection" and the movie consists of 5 parts, and the premise of the movie is that you can watch any of the parts in the order you want to and the movie will still make sense, that means there is 120 different ways to watch the film.

13. Kristoball (1967)

11 min | Short

Kristoball can be seen as a unique expression of the time; 1960 heading towards 1968 - individuality and playful modernism, the Vietnam war and awakening political consciousness .. ... See full summary »

Director: Arild Kristo | Stars: Kjell Billing, Ed Epstein, Bredo Greve, Arild Kristo

Votes: 30

Kristoball can be seen as a unique expression of the time; 1960 heading towards 1968 - individuality and playful modernism, the Vietnam war and awakening political consciousness .. Kristoball was in 1995 named one of the 100 best short films made under the short film festival in Clermont- Ferrand.

14. The Ashlad and the Hungry Troll (1967)

12 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

An exuberant story about Askeladden, the hero of Norwegian traditional fairy tales, outwitting the good-natured troll.

Director: Ivo Caprino | Stars: Claes Gill, Harald Heide-Steen Jr., Henki Kolstad

Votes: 821

Before Flåklypa: Grand Prix (Pinchcliff) Ivo Caprino made a bunch of animated short films about old Norwegian fairy tales i have included my favourite ones on this list but i would suggest watching them all.

15. The Seventh Master of the House (1966)

12 min | Short, Animation, Family

A Norwegian fairy-tale about a young man trying to find shelter for the night.

Director: Ivo Caprino | Stars: Harald Heide Steen, Rolf Just Nilsen

Votes: 928

Before Flåklypa: Grand Prix (Pinchcliff) Ivo Caprino made a bunch of animated short films about old Norwegian fairy tales i have included my favourite ones on this list but i would suggest watching them all.

16. Undergrunnen (1966)

12 min | Short

"The Underground" - A strong visual depiction of people and the environment on Kolsåsbanen and at the same time an exciting time frame with political overtones.

Director: Arild Kristo

Votes: 19

The film is no more than a beautifully shot depiction of the Norwegian metro in the 60's

17. Hunger (1966)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama

In 1890, Pontus, the starving writer, wanders the streets of Christiania, in search of love and a chance to get his work published. All he meets is defeat and suffering while his sense of ... See full summary »

Director: Henning Carlsen | Stars: Per Oscarsson, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitte Federspiel, Knud Rex

Votes: 2,788

The story Sult by Knut Hamsun is one of the best Norwegian stories ever written and the film of the book is probably one of the best Norwegian films ever made too.

18. The Ashlad and His Good Helpers (1961)

15 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

A young man named Ashlad is getting out on a journey in which he attempts to win both the king's daughter and half the kingdom. But it shall be more difficult than he had imagined.

Director: Ivo Caprino | Stars: Harald Heide Steen, Anniken Kolstad, Even Rognlien

Votes: 945

Before Flåklypa: Grand Prix (Pinchcliff) Ivo Caprino made a bunch of animated short films about old Norwegian fairy tales i have included my favourite ones on this list but i would suggest watching them all.

19. The Chasers (1959)

94 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

Two men attracted to the same woman are attending a trip with her in the Mountains during the bird hunting season. A triangular love drama ending with tragedy. Or is it, really?

Director: Erik Løchen | Stars: Rolf Søder, Bente Børsum, Tor Stokke, Harald Aimarsen

Votes: 370

A movie like that of the French new-wave, it is almost like if Erik Løchen (the director of the film) where a part of the French new-wave movement with this surreal and experimental film.

20. Nine Lives (1957)

96 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

During World War II, nine members of the Norwegian Resistance trapped into a deadly Nazi ambush. Only one escapes on foot, and a fierce hunt through the ice desert has begun.

Director: Arne Skouen | Stars: Jack Fjeldstad, Henny Moan, Alf Malland, Joachim Holst-Jensen

Votes: 1,609

In 1958 the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and was entered into the Cannes Film Fesitival. In 1991 Norwegian television audiences voted it the greatest Norwegian film ever made

21. Veslefrikk med fela (1951)

18 min | Animation, Short, Adventure

Add a Plot

Director: Ivo Caprino

Votes: 487

Before Flåklypa: Grand Prix (Pinchcliff) Ivo Caprino made a bunch of animated short films about old Norwegian fairy tales i have included my favourite ones on this list but i would suggest watching them all.

22. Kon-Tiki (1950)

Approved | 77 min | Documentary

A documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition of the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl.

Director: Thor Heyerdahl | Stars: Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg, Knut Haugland

Votes: 2,316

This is the original documentary about the Kon-tiki expedition led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947.

I would highly recommend this over the fictional re-make from (2012)

23. Gjest Baardsen (1939)

99 min | Comedy, Drama, Crime

In the poor Norway in the early 1800s Gjest Baardsen starts off like a Robin Hood, stealing from the rich, giving to the poor. Based on the real character which became the poor mans hero, and got lots of help to get away from the law.

Director: Tancred Ibsen | Stars: Alfred Maurstad, Vibeke Falk, Joachim Holst-Jensen, Lauritz Falk

Votes: 244

This comedy drama is based on the famous real Norwegian thief called Gjest Bårdsen, he was a local Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, he became a legend since he tricked and stole from the authorities while the authorities stole from the poor.

24. Troll-Elgen (1927)

95 min | Drama, Mystery

The motherless moose calf acts like a cow, and the strange animal is the start of a lot of stories. Hunter's aren't interesting in hunting him down, except one. He has decided to do it in, the troll-moose.

Director: Walter Fyrst | Stars: Tryggve Larssen, Bengt Djurberg, Julie Lampe, Tove Tellback

Votes: 55

An early Norwegian film about a hunter who is the only one who dares to hunt the troll-elk

25. Pan (1922)

96 min | Drama

Lieutenant Thomas Glahn, a hunter and ex-military man, lives alone in a forest hut with his faithful dog. Meeting Edvarda, the daughter of a merchant, they feel strongly attracted to each other, but neither understands the other's love.

Director: Harald Schwenzen | Stars: Hjalmar Fries, Hans Bille, Gerd Egede-Nissen, Rolf Christensen

Votes: 36

Another film based on a book by Knut Hamsun, almost all of Hamsun's work has made it into film now, and these are only two, but I would more or less recommend checking out all of them.

26. Fiskerlivets farer (1907)

4 min | Short, Drama

A story about how dangerous the life of a fisherman is. The film as believed to be lost, but was found. The oldest known Norwegian movie.

Director: Hugo Hermansen | Stars: Alma Lund, Henry Hagerup

Votes: 14

The first Norwegian film ever made, about a wife witnessing from land that her son is drowning and her husband is unable to save him.



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