Denmark has a rich cinematic tradition and has produced several critically acclaimed films that have gained international recognition. Danish movies are known for their compelling storytelling, strong performances, and unique artistic vision. Here are some notable Danish films that have made a significant impact.
Best Danish Movies
These are just a few examples of the many exceptional Danish films. Danish cinema continues to produce compelling stories that captivate audiences worldwide with their unique perspectives and artistic approaches.
1. Ordet (1955)
“Ordet” is a Danish film directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer. It was released in 1955 and is considered one of Dreyer’s most acclaimed works. The film is based on a play by Kaj Munk and tells the story of a devoutly religious family in rural Denmark.
The narrative of “Ordet” revolves around the Borgen family, who live on a farm. The family’s patriarch, Morten Borgen, is a devout Christian who strongly believes in the power of prayer. His three sons, Mikkel, Anders, and Johannes, each have different views on religion and spirituality.
The film explores themes of faith, doubt, and the power of miracles. Johannes, the eldest son, believes that he is Jesus Christ and is constantly at odds with his family due to his unconventional beliefs.
Mikkel, the middle son, is a skeptic who does not share his family’s religious fervor. Anders, the youngest son, is in love with the daughter of a tailor, but their differing religious backgrounds create obstacles for their relationship.
Throughout the film, the characters grapple with their beliefs and face various challenges. Dreyer’s direction is known for its slow pacing, intense close-ups, and use of long takes, creating a contemplative and introspective atmosphere.
“Ordet” received critical acclaim upon its release and has since gained a reputation as a cinematic masterpiece.
It won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 1955 and has been praised for its powerful performances, thought-provoking themes, and Dreyer’s meticulous filmmaking style.
The film’s exploration of faith, spirituality, and the complexities of human relationships continues to resonate with audiences and has secured its place as a significant work in the history of cinema.
2. The Hunt (2012)
“The Hunt” is a Danish drama film released in 2012. The original title of the film is “Jagten” in Danish. It was directed by Thomas Vinterberg and written by Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm. The film stars Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role.
“The Hunt” tells the story of Lucas, a kindergarten teacher living in a small Danish town. Lucas is falsely accused of child abuse by one of his students, a young girl named Klara. The accusation spreads quickly, and the entire community turns against Lucas, believing him to be guilty.
Despite his innocence, Lucas faces tremendous social stigma and ostracism as his life unravels. He becomes the target of harassment, threats, and physical violence from his former friends and neighbors.
Lucas’s relationships with his son, colleagues, and romantic interest also suffer as a result of the accusations.
The film explores themes of mob mentality, mass hysteria, and the consequences of false accusations. It delves into the damaging effects of rumors and the devastating impact they can have on individuals’ lives.
“The Hunt” offers a thought-provoking examination of human nature, highlighting the destructive power of unfounded accusations and the vulnerability of individuals caught in the midst of a collective frenzy.
“The Hunt” received critical acclaim upon its release and was nominated for numerous awards. Mads Mikkelsen’s performance, in particular, was widely praised, and he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of Lucas.
The film’s realistic and emotionally charged storytelling captivated audiences and prompted discussions about the nature of justice, community dynamics, and the importance of due process.
Please note that my knowledge cutoff is in September 2021, so there may have been further developments or releases related to “The Hunt” that I am unaware of.
3. Pelle the Conqueror (1987)
“Pelle the Conqueror” is a Danish-Swedish drama film directed by Bille August. It was released in 1987 and is based on the 1910 novel of the same name by Martin Andersen Nexø. The film stars Max von Sydow, Pelle Hvenegaard, Erik Paaske, and Björn Granath.
The story is set in the late 19th century and follows the life of a young boy named Pelle Karlsson (played by Pelle Hvenegaard).
Pelle and his father, Lasse (played by Max von Sydow), move from Sweden to Denmark in search of a better life. They find work as laborers on a large farm owned by the Kongstrup family.
The film portrays the harsh realities of the working class during that time, with Pelle and his father facing difficult living and working conditions.
Pelle, a bright and resilient boy, adapts to his circumstances and faces various challenges, including class discrimination and exploitation.
“Pelle the Conqueror” explores themes of poverty, social inequality, and the struggle for dignity. It depicts the bond between Pelle and his father, their dreams of a better life, and the obstacles they encounter along the way.
Max von Sydow’s performance as Lasse earned him critical acclaim, and the film itself received widespread recognition.
“Pelle the Conqueror” won numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1989.
It is considered a classic of Scandinavian cinema and is known for its compelling storytelling and powerful performances.
4. The Celebration (1998)
“The Celebration” (Danish title: “Festen”) is a Danish film directed by Thomas Vinterberg and released in 1998.
It is part of the Dogme 95 movement, a filmmaking style characterized by its adherence to strict rules, including the use of handheld cameras, natural lighting, and a focus on realistic storytelling.
The film follows the story of the wealthy and dysfunctional Klingenfeldt family, gathered together to celebrate the 60th birthday of Helge, the family patriarch.
The celebration takes place at a lavish country estate, and the atmosphere seems festive at first. However, during a toast, Helge’s eldest son, Christian, makes a shocking revelation about his deceased twin sister, Linda.
He accuses Helge of sexually abusing both him and Linda when they were children.
Christian’s revelation throws the family into turmoil, and the film explores the reactions of various family members as they struggle to come to terms with the truth.
The celebration becomes chaotic, with emotional outbursts, confrontations, and long-held family secrets being exposed.
“The Celebration” is a raw and intense exploration of family dynamics, hypocrisy, and the impact of abuse.
It delves into the themes of truth, denial, and the destructive power of buried secrets. The film received critical acclaim for its powerful performances, gripping narrative, and the raw authenticity of its presentation.
“The Celebration” is considered a significant contribution to Danish cinema and played a pivotal role in popularizing the Dogme 95 movement.
It has been praised for its ability to provoke thought and discussion about uncomfortable subjects while maintaining a strong emotional impact.
5. Babette’s Feast (1987)
“Babette’s Feast” is a Danish film released in 1987. Directed by Gabriel Axel, the movie is based on a short story by Danish author Karen Blixen (who wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen).
The film received critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988.
“Babette’s Feast” is set in a remote village on the coast of Denmark during the late 19th century.
The story revolves around two elderly sisters, Martine and Philippa, who are the daughters of a strict Protestant minister. They lead a simple and austere life, dedicated to their father’s religious teachings.
Babette, a French refugee, arrives in the village and seeks shelter with the sisters. Babette agrees to work as their housekeeper and cook, preparing simple and plain meals for them.
However, the story takes a turn when Babette wins a large sum of money in a lottery and decides to use it to prepare an extravagant French feast for the villagers.
The feast, which includes various gourmet dishes and fine wines, brings together the members of the village community, who have their own personal struggles and conflicts.
As they partake in the extraordinary meal, their reservations and resentments slowly melt away, and they experience a profound sense of joy and togetherness.
“Babette’s Feast” explores themes of sacrifice, redemption, and the power of art and food to transcend cultural and social barriers. It is a visually stunning film that celebrates the pleasures of food and the transformative nature of generosity and love.
The movie is known for its exquisite cinematography, the rich portrayal of characters, and its ability to evoke a sense of enchantment and spirituality. “Babette’s Feast” is often regarded as a masterpiece of Danish cinema and a classic in the realm of food-related films.
6. Day of Wrath (1943)
“Day of Wrath” (Danish: “Vredens dag”) is a Danish film released in 1943. It is directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, a renowned Danish filmmaker known for his contributions to the art of cinema.
The film is considered a masterpiece of Danish cinema and one of Dreyer’s most significant works.
“Day of Wrath” is set in the 17th century in a small Danish village and explores themes of religious intolerance, guilt, and repression.
The story revolves around Anne, a young woman married to an older pastor named Absalon. Anne’s life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes the subject of suspicion and accusation of witchcraft.
The film delves into the oppressive nature of the religious society at the time and the fear that pervades the community. As the film progresses, Anne’s fate becomes intertwined with her stepson, Martin, who harbors a secret desire for her.
The narrative explores the conflict between desire, morality, and the consequences of repression.
“Day of Wrath” is known for its atmospheric cinematography and stark visual style, which enhance the film’s somber and intense atmosphere.
Dreyer’s meticulous attention to detail and his use of chiaroscuro lighting create a haunting and austere ambiance, emphasizing the emotional turmoil of the characters.
The film was released during World War II, a time when Denmark was under German occupation. Despite this, “Day of Wrath” gained critical acclaim both domestically and internationally.
Its exploration of timeless themes and its powerful storytelling have contributed to its status as a classic of world cinema.
“Day of Wrath” showcases Carl Theodor Dreyer’s mastery of cinematic language and his ability to explore profound human emotions. It remains a significant work in the history of Danish cinema and a testament to Dreyer’s artistic vision and skill as a filmmaker.
7. Another Round (2020)
“Another Round” is a Danish film released in 2020. The original title is “Druk,” which translates to “Drunk” in English.
The film was directed by Thomas Vinterberg and stars Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role. It explores the theme of alcohol consumption and its effects on individuals’ lives.
The story revolves around four high school teachers who embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of alcohol in their blood throughout the day.
They believe that this experiment will enhance their creativity, happiness, and overall performance.
Initially, the experiment seems to have positive effects on their lives, as they become more confident and experience an improvement in their personal and professional relationships.
However, as the experiment progresses, they face the consequences of their excessive drinking. Their lives start to spiral out of control, and they must confront the negative effects of alcohol addiction.
The film delves into the complexities of alcoholism and the impact it can have on individuals and their relationships.
“Another Round” received critical acclaim for its performances, direction, and exploration of alcohol consumption.
Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of the lead character was particularly praised, earning him the Best Actor award at the European Film Awards.
The film also received an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.
It’s worth noting that the film is a work of fiction and aims to depict the characters’ experiences rather than promoting or endorsing excessive drinking.
It serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the role of alcohol in society and the potential dangers of its abuse.
8. Land of Mine (2015)
“Land of Mine” is a Danish-German war drama film directed by Martin Zandvliet. It was released in 2015 and is based on true events that occurred in post-World War II Denmark.
The film explores the aftermath of the war and the dangerous task of clearing landmines from the Danish coastline.
The story of “Land of Mine” takes place in 1945, shortly after the end of World War II. The film follows a group of young German prisoners of war who are assigned the hazardous duty of defusing landmines buried along the Danish coast.
These mines were laid by the German military to deter an Allied invasion that never occurred.
Led by Danish sergeant Carl Rasmussen, the prisoners are initially treated with hostility by the Danish locals due to their German nationality.
Rasmussen, however, gradually develops empathy towards the young soldiers as he witnesses their fear and vulnerability in the face of the deadly task.
The film portrays the complex dynamics between captor and captive as Rasmussen tries to balance his duty with his growing compassion for the prisoners.
“Land of Mine” examines themes of guilt, forgiveness, and the devastating consequences of war. It delves into the ethical dilemmas faced by both the Danish sergeant and the German prisoners as they confront the remnants of war and its toll on humanity.
The film also highlights the physical and emotional dangers involved in demining operations.
The performances in “Land of Mine” are widely praised for their authenticity and emotional depth. The film’s cinematography captures the bleak and desolate landscapes, emphasizing the harsh realities faced by the characters.
It received critical acclaim for its thought-provoking narrative, nuanced portrayal of characters, and its exploration of the lasting scars left by war.
“Land of Mine” was nominated for several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of post-war history and serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of conflict.
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9. Pusher (1996)
“Pusher” is a Danish crime thriller film released in 1996. It was directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and serves as the first installment in the “Pusher” trilogy.
The film follows the story of Frank, a small-time drug dealer operating in the criminal underworld of Copenhagen.
In “Pusher,” Frank finds himself in a desperate situation when a drug deal goes wrong, and he ends up owing a significant amount of money to a ruthless Serbian drug lord named Milo.
As Frank struggles to come up with the money, he gets involved in a series of violent and chaotic events.
The film depicts the gritty and brutal reality of the criminal world, showing the impact of drugs, money, and violence on the lives of its characters.
It explores themes of desperation, loyalty, and the consequences of one’s actions. As Frank’s situation worsens, he becomes increasingly entangled in a downward spiral, leading to a tense and suspenseful climax.
“Pusher” gained critical acclaim for its raw and realistic portrayal of the criminal underworld. It was praised for its intense performances, gritty atmosphere, and the director’s skill in capturing the seedy underbelly of Copenhagen.
The film’s success led to the creation of two sequels, “Pusher II” (2004) and “Pusher III” (2005), which further explored the interconnected lives of characters within the criminal world.
It’s worth noting that the “Pusher” trilogy has garnered a cult following and is regarded as one of the notable works in Danish cinema. The films are known for their stylized visuals, compelling storytelling, and a visceral depiction of the criminal milieu.
Please bear in mind that my training data only goes up until September 2021, so there may have been subsequent developments or adaptations related to “Pusher” that I am unaware of.
10. Adam’s Apples (2005)
“Adam’s Apples” is a Danish black comedy film directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. It was released in 2005 and stars Mads Mikkelsen, Ulrich Thomsen, and Nicolas Bro.
The film explores themes of faith, redemption, and the nature of evil through a darkly humorous lens.
The story revolves around Ivan (played by Mads Mikkelsen), a neo-Nazi who is released from prison and assigned to a remote church in the Danish countryside as part of his rehabilitation program.
The church is led by Pastor Ivan (played by Ulrich Thomsen), a devoutly optimistic and idealistic man who believes in the inherent goodness of people.
As Ivan settles into the church, Pastor Ivan challenges him with a seemingly impossible task—to bake an apple pie with a perfect apple for the church’s apple tree.
However, Ivan’s attempts are constantly thwarted by a series of absurd and increasingly tragic events. Despite his best efforts, Ivan remains determined to fulfill the task assigned to him.
Throughout the film, “Adam’s Apples” delves into the clash between Ivan’s extreme nihilism and Pastor Ivan’s unwavering faith. The characters in the film are presented as flawed and complex, with their beliefs and actions often subverting expectations.
The film combines dark humor with moments of poignant reflection, exploring the nature of good and evil and the capacity for redemption. It addresses profound existential questions while employing a surreal and satirical narrative style.
“Adam’s Apples” received critical acclaim for its unconventional approach and strong performances. It won several awards at international film festivals and gained recognition for its exploration of moral dilemmas and the complexities of human nature.
11. In a Better World (2010)
“In a Better World” (Danish title: “Hævnen”) is a Danish drama film directed by Susanne Bier and released in 2010. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011 and explores themes of revenge, forgiveness, and the cycle of violence.
The story revolves around two parallel narratives that eventually intertwine. Anton is a Swedish doctor who divides his time between Denmark and a refugee camp in Africa.
In Denmark, he becomes friends with a troubled boy named Christian, who is dealing with the recent loss of his mother and the bullying he experiences at school.
Christian befriends another boy named Elias, who is constantly bullied by a classmate named Sofus. Fueled by their anger and frustration, Christian and Elias decide to take matters into their own hands and seek revenge against Sofus.
Their actions have unexpected consequences and set off a chain of events that challenge the notions of justice, morality, and the nature of violence.
Meanwhile, Anton is dealing with his own personal struggles in Africa, where he witnesses the brutal consequences of tribal conflicts and the devastating impact of violence on individuals and communities.
As the stories progress, the characters in both Denmark and Africa are faced with choices that will test their principles and force them to confront the complexities of revenge and forgiveness.
“In a Better World” explores the consequences of violence and the power of forgiveness to break the cycle of hatred and vengeance. It delves into the moral ambiguity of seeking justice and the challenges of maintaining empathy and compassion in a world filled with conflict.
The film received critical acclaim for its thought-provoking narrative, strong performances, and its ability to raise profound questions about human nature and the choices we make in the face of adversity. “In a Better World” showcases Susanne Bier’s adept storytelling and her exploration of complex emotional landscapes.
12. Flame & Citron (2008)
“Flame & Citron” is a Danish historical drama film released in 2008. Directed by Ole Christian Madsen, the movie is based on true events and follows the story of two Danish resistance fighters during World War II.
The film is set in German-occupied Denmark in 1944 and revolves around the characters of Bent Faurschou-Hviid (Flame) and Jørgen Haagen Schmith (Citron).
They are members of a Danish resistance group known as Holger Danske, which carries out acts of sabotage against the Nazis.
Flame and Citron are tasked with assassinating collaborators and German officers. As they carry out their operations, they face moral dilemmas, internal conflicts, and the constant threat of betrayal.
They become increasingly suspicious of a double agent within their ranks, which adds to their challenges and the risks they face.
The film explores the psychological toll of their resistance work, as Flame and Citron grapple with questions of loyalty, trust, and the blurred lines between heroism and villainy.
It also delves into the complexity of their personal lives, including their relationships with women and their own doubts about the righteousness of their actions.
“Flame & Citron” is known for its intense atmosphere, gritty realism, and strong performances by its lead actors, Thure Lindhardt as Flame and Mads Mikkelsen as Citron.
The film provides a dark and nuanced portrayal of the Danish resistance movement during World War II and sheds light on the dilemmas faced by those who fought against the Nazi occupation.
It’s worth noting that while “Flame & Citron” is a fictionalized account based on historical events, the film takes some liberties with the actual facts and events surrounding the two resistance fighters.
Nonetheless, it offers a compelling and thought-provoking perspective on a lesser-known aspect of Danish history during World War II.
13. A Royal Affair (2012)
“A Royal Affair” (Danish: “En kongelig affære”) is a Danish historical drama film released in 2012. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, the film is based on the true story of a complex love triangle that unfolds in 18th-century Denmark.
It received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards.
The film is set in the late 18th century when Denmark is under the rule of the mentally unstable King Christian VII.
The story follows the young Queen Caroline Mathilde, who is married off to Christian VII but finds herself in a loveless and tumultuous marriage. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when she falls in love with the king’s physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee.
Johann Struensee, an intellectual and advocate of Enlightenment ideas, becomes the king’s trusted advisor and exerts significant influence over him, implementing progressive reforms that challenge the established order and aristocratic power.
Together, Caroline and Struensee strive to improve the lives of the Danish people and modernize the country’s governance.
The film explores the political and personal ramifications of this affair and the consequences of their actions. It delves into themes of love, duty, power, and the clash between Enlightenment ideals and the conservative forces at play in Danish society.
“A Royal Affair” garnered praise for its strong performances, particularly by Mads Mikkelsen as Johann Struensee, Alicia Vikander as Queen Caroline Mathilde, and Mikkel Følsgaard as King Christian VII.
The film’s production design, costumes, and period authenticity were also widely acclaimed.
The historical backdrop of the film provides insight into the Age of Enlightenment and the struggles for social and political change during that era. It showcases the influence of Enlightenment philosophy and its impact on the monarchy and society in Denmark.
“A Royal Affair” is a compelling historical drama that intertwines a personal love story with political intrigue. It sheds light on a fascinating chapter in Danish history and offers a nuanced exploration of the complexities of love and power.
The film’s strong performances, captivating storytelling, and lush period setting make it a noteworthy entry in Danish cinema.
14. Klown (2010)
“Klown” is a Danish comedy film released in 2010. The original title is “Klovn,” which translates to “Clown” in English.
The film was directed by Mikkel Nørgaard and is based on the Danish TV series of the same name.
The series and the film were created by Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam, who also star as the main characters.
The story follows Frank (played by Frank Hvam) and Casper (played by Casper Christensen), who embark on a canoe trip to participate in a famous German “Gentlemen’s Tour” where they engage in various debaucherous activities.
Unbeknownst to Casper, Frank has plans to use the trip as an opportunity to prove his fatherhood skills to his pregnant girlfriend.
However, their trip takes an unexpected turn when they decide to bring along Frank’s 12-year-old nephew Bo (played by Marcuz Jess Petersen) without the knowledge or consent of Bo’s parents.
Throughout the film, Frank and Casper find themselves in a series of outrageous and inappropriate situations, often involving explicit humor and uncomfortable social interactions.
As they navigate their misadventures, they face numerous challenges and tests of their maturity and responsibility.
“Klown” gained a reputation for its boundary-pushing and politically incorrect humor. It was well-received in Denmark and has since gained an international following.
The film spawned two sequels: “Klown: The Movie 2” in 2015 and “Klown Forever” in 2016.
It’s worth noting that “Klown” is intended for mature audiences due to its explicit content and humor.
It pushes the boundaries of comedy and often explores uncomfortable and taboo subjects. It’s recommended for viewers who appreciate dark humor and are comfortable with adult-oriented content.
15. Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)
“Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes” is a Danish crime thriller film released in 2013. It is based on the first novel in the “Department Q” series written by Jussi Adler-Olsen.
The film is directed by Mikkel Nørgaard and stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Fares Fares in the lead roles.
The story revolves around Carl Mørck, a detective with the Copenhagen Police Department who is demoted to the newly formed Department Q, responsible for investigating cold cases.
Mørck is paired with his new partner, Assad, and together they delve into a mysterious case involving the disappearance of a prominent politician, Merete Lynggaard.
As Mørck and Assad dig deeper into the investigation, they uncover a series of disturbing clues that suggest Lynggaard may still be alive and held captive.
They follow a trail of evidence that leads them to a dark and intricate web of secrets and conspiracies.
The film combines elements of a procedural crime drama with psychological suspense as the detectives race against time to unravel the truth and save Lynggaard.
“Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes” explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the pursuit of justice.
It highlights the personal struggles and motivations of the main characters, particularly Mørck, who is haunted by his past and seeks a sense of purpose in solving cold cases. The film also delves into the corrupt and flawed aspects of the Danish political system.
The performances in the film, particularly by Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Fares Fares, are widely praised for their chemistry and portrayal of complex characters. The cinematography and atmospheric visuals contribute to the overall tension and mood of the story.
The success of “Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes” led to the adaptation of subsequent novels in the “Department Q” series into films.
The film’s gripping narrative and well-crafted suspense have garnered a strong following among fans of Nordic noir and crime thrillers.
16. A Hijacking (2012)
“A Hijacking” is a Danish thriller film released in 2012. The original title of the film is “Kapringen” in Danish. It was written and directed by Tobias Lindholm, known for his work on various Danish TV series and films.
The film revolves around the hijacking of a Danish cargo ship by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.
The story unfolds in parallel narratives, focusing on the perspectives of the ship’s cook, Mikkel, who is taken hostage, and the CEO of the shipping company, Peter, who is responsible for negotiating with the pirates.
As the hijacking unfolds, the crew members aboard the ship face a harrowing ordeal as they are subjected to the demands and violence of the pirates. Meanwhile, Peter navigates the intense and high-stakes negotiations with the pirates from the company’s headquarters in Denmark.
The film explores the psychological toll, moral dilemmas, and power dynamics that arise during a hostage situation.
“A Hijacking” is known for its realistic portrayal of the hijacking and negotiation processes, opting for a tense and subdued approach rather than relying on sensationalism.
The film captures the sense of helplessness, fear, and uncertainty experienced by the hostages and their families, as well as the pressure faced by those responsible for securing their release.
The film received critical acclaim for its gripping storytelling, authentic performances, and its ability to generate suspense without relying on action-packed sequences.
“A Hijacking” was praised for its realism and attention to detail, depicting the psychological and emotional impact of the hijacking on both the hostages and the negotiators.
Please note that my knowledge cutoff is in September 2021, so there may have been further developments or releases related to “A Hijacking” that I am unaware of.
17. The Green Butchers (2003)
“The Green Butchers” is a Danish black comedy film directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. It was released in 2003 and stars Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Line Kruse.
The film presents a darkly humorous take on the themes of friendship, ambition, and the consequences of one’s actions.
The story follows two friends, Svend (played by Mads Mikkelsen) and Bjarne (played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas), who work at a butcher shop that is struggling to stay in business.
Frustrated with their mundane lives, they decide to open their own butcher shop, “The Green Butchers,” with a unique selling point—they will only sell organic meat.
However, a series of mishaps and misunderstandings leads Svend to inadvertently serve human flesh to the customers, causing them to develop a taste for it. Instead of rejecting the idea, the customers embrace the new menu item, and “The Green Butchers” becomes a thriving business.
As the duo becomes more successful, Svend and Bjarne are faced with moral and ethical dilemmas.
They must grapple with their newfound success and the consequences of their actions. The film explores the dark and absurd consequences of their choices while examining themes of greed, morality, and the price of fame.
“The Green Butchers” combines elements of black comedy, satire, and surrealism to create a unique and offbeat narrative. It utilizes humor to highlight the characters’ flawed nature and the societal obsession with organic and sustainable lifestyles.
The film received positive reviews for its dark humor, performances, and social commentary. It showcases Anders Thomas Jensen’s distinct style of storytelling, which often tackles taboo subjects in an unconventional and thought-provoking manner.
“The Green Butchers” offers an exploration of human nature and the lengths people are willing to go to achieve their dreams.
18. A Funny Man (2011)
“A Funny Man” (Danish title: “Dirch”) is a Danish biographical drama film directed by Martin Zandvliet and released in 2011.
The film tells the story of Dirch Passer, one of Denmark’s most beloved and iconic comedians, and explores both his professional success and personal struggles.
Dirch Passer, portrayed by Nikolaj Lie Kaas, was a Danish actor and comedian who rose to fame in the 1950s and ’60s.
He was known for his unique comedic style, which blended physical humor, witty wordplay, and a talent for impersonations. Passer became a national treasure in Denmark and brought joy to millions of people with his performances.
The film takes the audience through the various stages of Passer’s life, from his early career breakthrough to his struggles with personal demons and self-doubt.
It explores his rise to stardom, the pressures of fame, and the toll it takes on his relationships, particularly with his wife and children.
“A Funny Man” delves into the complexities of Passer’s personality, showcasing the contrast between his public persona as a funny and charismatic entertainer and his private battles with alcoholism, depression, and insecurities.
The film explores the price of success and the emotional cost it can have on an individual.
Through its exploration of Dirch Passer’s life, “A Funny Man” offers insights into the challenges faced by artists in the entertainment industry and the sacrifices they often make for their craft. It also reflects on the universal themes of identity, self-discovery, and the pursuit of happiness.
The film received critical acclaim for Nikolaj Lie Kaas’ captivating performance as Dirch Passer, effectively capturing both his comedic brilliance and internal struggles.
“A Funny Man” offers a poignant and intimate portrait of a complex individual who brought laughter to many but struggled to find happiness within himself.
19. Enforcement (2020)
“Enforcement” is a Danish action-thriller film released in 2020. Directed by Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Ølholm, the movie is set in Copenhagen and takes place over the course of a single night.
The story revolves around two police officers, Jens (Simon Sears) and Mike (Jacob Lohmann), who are assigned to a routine patrol duty in the city.
However, their shift takes a dark and intense turn when they find themselves caught in a violent and chaotic situation during a mass demonstration.
As the officers try to maintain order and protect the citizens, they encounter a group of aggressive and heavily armed anarchists who escalate the situation into a full-blown riot.
Jens and Mike become separated from their unit and find themselves outnumbered and in grave danger.
Throughout the night, the officers are pushed to their physical and emotional limits as they fight for survival and attempt to bring the situation under control.
The film explores themes of loyalty, courage, and the moral dilemmas faced by law enforcement officers in volatile and high-pressure situations.
“Enforcement” is known for its tense and immersive atmosphere, capturing the chaos and adrenaline of the unfolding events. The film employs a gritty and realistic visual style, utilizing handheld camera work and a dark color palette to enhance the sense of urgency and danger.
While “Enforcement” is primarily an action-thriller, it also touches upon social and political issues, examining the tensions between the police and the public, as well as the challenges faced by law enforcement in maintaining order during periods of civil unrest.
The film received positive reviews for its gripping narrative, strong performances, and its ability to create a sense of claustrophobia and intensity. “Enforcement” offers an intense and harrowing cinematic experience that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout its runtime.
20. Brotherhood (2009)
“Brotherhood” is a Danish drama film released in 2009. Directed by Nicolo Donato, the film explores themes of identity, loyalty, and forbidden love. It is based on true events and delves into the world of neo-Nazism and right-wing extremism in contemporary Denmark.
The story revolves around Lars, a young Danish soldier who is stationed at an army base. Lars becomes entangled with a group of neo-Nazi extremists led by Michael, a charismatic and influential figure within the group.
As Lars becomes more involved with the organization, he develops a close bond with Michael, which gradually evolves into a romantic relationship.
Through Lars’ journey, the film delves into the psychological and emotional complexities of belonging to a hate-driven group and the struggle to reconcile his personal feelings with his ideological beliefs.
It explores the manipulative tactics used by extremist groups to recruit and indoctrinate vulnerable individuals.
As the narrative unfolds, Lars finds himself torn between his loyalty to the group and his growing love for a fellow soldier, Jimmy, who represents an alternative path and challenges his extremist beliefs.
This internal conflict forces Lars to confront his own identity and make difficult choices that could have far-reaching consequences.
“Brotherhood” examines the allure and dangers of extremist ideologies and the ways in which individuals can be seduced by hate groups. The film offers a thought-provoking exploration of the human capacity for change, redemption, and the search for personal identity.
The performances in “Brotherhood” are notable, with Thure Lindhardt delivering a powerful portrayal of Lars, and David Dencik bringing depth to the character of Michael.
The film received critical acclaim for its sensitive handling of the subject matter and its ability to humanize its characters, showcasing the complex motivations behind their actions.
“Brotherhood” serves as a cautionary tale, shedding light on the allure of extremism and the destructive power of hate.
By exploring the internal struggles of its characters, the film encourages reflection on the importance of empathy, understanding, and the potential for personal transformation in the face of prejudice and intolerance.
21. Pusher II (2004)
“Pusher II” is a Danish crime drama film released in 2004. It is the second installment in the “Pusher” trilogy, with the first film released in 1996 and the third in 2005. All three films were directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
The film follows the character Tonny (played by Mads Mikkelsen), who is the best friend of Frank, the protagonist of the first “Pusher” film.
Tonny is recently released from prison and struggles to reintegrate into society. He attempts to reconnect with his estranged father, the Duke (played by Leif Sylvester Petersen), who is a prominent criminal and drug lord in Copenhagen.
As Tonny tries to find his place in the criminal underworld, he faces numerous challenges, including his own insecurities and his father’s dismissive attitude towards him.
He becomes involved in drug deals, violent confrontations, and strained relationships. Throughout the film, Tonny’s desperation to prove himself and gain his father’s approval leads him down a destructive path.
“Pusher II” is known for its gritty portrayal of the criminal underworld and its realistic depiction of characters caught in a cycle of violence and desperation. Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as Tonny received critical acclaim, showcasing his talent and versatility as an actor.
The film, like the rest of the “Pusher” trilogy, explores themes of crime, loyalty, and the consequences of one’s actions. It offers a raw and unflinching look at the harsh realities of criminal life and the toll it takes on individuals and their relationships.
It’s important to note that the “Pusher” trilogy contains graphic violence, explicit language, and adult content. It is recommended for mature audiences who appreciate intense and gritty crime dramas.
22. Pusher III (2005)
“Pusher III” is a Danish crime thriller film released in 2005 and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
It is the third installment in the “Pusher” trilogy, following “Pusher” (1996) and “Pusher II” (2004). The film continues the gritty and intense portrayal of the criminal underworld in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The story centers around Milo, a middle-aged Serbian drug lord, as he navigates through a challenging day in his life. Milo is struggling to balance his responsibilities as a father, a business owner, and a respected criminal figure.
Throughout the film, he deals with the pressures of his criminal empire, familial issues, and encounters with other dangerous characters.
“Pusher III” provides a character-driven exploration of the consequences and hardships of a life entrenched in crime. The film delves into Milo’s personal demons, his attempts to maintain control over his business, and the moral dilemmas he faces as he confronts his own mortality.
It presents a bleak and realistic portrayal of the criminal underworld, highlighting the violence, addiction, and desperation that permeate the lives of its characters.
Like the previous films in the trilogy, “Pusher III” features a raw and gritty visual style, capturing the seedy atmosphere of the criminal milieu.
The performances, particularly by Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Milo, are lauded for their intensity and authenticity, adding depth to the film’s portrayal of its flawed characters.
While “Pusher III” can be viewed as a standalone film, it is enriched by its connections to the earlier installments in the trilogy.
Together, the three films offer a comprehensive depiction of the criminal underbelly in Copenhagen, each focusing on different characters and aspects of the criminal world.
“Pusher III” has garnered critical acclaim for its unflinching portrayal of crime and its exploration of the human condition within that environment.
It is recognized as a significant contribution to Danish cinema and solidified Nicolas Winding Refn’s reputation as a director known for his visceral and uncompromising storytelling.
23. The Trouble with Terkel (2004)
“The Trouble with Terkel” (originally “Terkel i knibe” in Danish) is a Danish animated comedy film released in 2004. It is directed by Stefan Fjeldmark and Kresten Vestbjerg Andersen and is based on a popular Danish comic strip called “Terkel i knibe” by Anders Matthesen.
The film follows the misadventures of Terkel, a socially awkward 6th-grade boy who is constantly bullied at school.
Terkel’s life takes a dark turn when his cruel and abusive uncle comes to live with his family. To make matters worse, his best friend Sten tries to steal his girlfriend, Doris.
“The Trouble with Terkel” is known for its irreverent and dark humor. It explores themes of bullying, dysfunctional family dynamics, and the challenges of adolescence.
The film uses crude animation and exaggerated characters to create a satirical and exaggerated portrayal of the characters’ lives.
The comedy often pushes boundaries with its humor, incorporating elements of black comedy, shock value, and offensive jokes. It is important to note that the film’s humor may not be suitable for all audiences, as it contains explicit language and controversial content.
“The Trouble with Terkel” gained a cult following in Denmark and was appreciated for its unique animation style and its ability to tackle serious themes through comedy.
It was praised for its biting satire and willingness to take risks with its humor.
It’s worth mentioning that “The Trouble with Terkel” was later remade into an English-language version titled “Terkel in Trouble” in 2006, featuring the voice talents of British and American actors.
Please bear in mind that my training data only goes up until September 2021, so there may have been subsequent developments or adaptations related to “The Trouble with Terkel” that I am unaware of.
24. Northwest (2013)
“Northwest” (Danish title: “Nordvest”) is a Danish crime drama film directed by Michael Noer and released in 2013. The film takes place in the crime-ridden neighborhood of Nordvest in Copenhagen and follows the story of a young man caught up in a life of crime.
The protagonist, Casper (played by Gustav Dyekjær Giese), is a teenage boy who lives with his mother and younger brother in Nordvest.
He is drawn into a world of organized crime when he starts working for a powerful gang leader named Jamal (played by Dulfi Al-Jabouri).
As Casper becomes more involved in criminal activities, he experiences the allure of money, power, and status.
However, he soon realizes the dangers and consequences that come with his choices. The film explores the complex dynamics of loyalty, family, and survival as Casper navigates the treacherous criminal underworld.
Casper’s relationship with his younger brother, Andy, is a central focus of the film. He feels a responsibility to protect Andy from the harsh realities of their neighborhood, but struggles to balance his criminal activities with his desire to keep his brother safe.
“Northwest” portrays the gritty and violent aspects of life in a crime-ridden neighborhood, depicting the challenges faced by individuals caught in the cycle of poverty and crime.
The film offers a raw and realistic portrayal of the characters’ struggles, their aspirations, and the difficult choices they must make to survive.
The performances in “Northwest” are praised for their authenticity, particularly Gustav Dyekjær Giese’s portrayal of Casper, capturing the character’s vulnerability, desperation, and conflicting emotions.
The film received critical acclaim for its gritty atmosphere, gripping narrative, and its exploration of themes such as identity, loyalty, and the consequences of one’s actions.
“Northwest” offers an intense and thought-provoking examination of the impact of crime on individuals and communities, highlighting the challenges faced by those trapped in desperate circumstances.
3 Characteristics of Danish Movies Movies
While Danish movies encompass a wide range of genres and styles, there are certain characteristics that often define the Danish film industry. Here are three notable characteristics of Danish movies:
Realism: Danish movies are often characterized by their emphasis on realism and naturalistic storytelling. They tend to explore everyday life, social issues, and human relationships in a nuanced and authentic manner.
Danish filmmakers strive for a sense of believability, often employing natural lighting, minimalistic sets, and grounded performances to create an immersive and relatable cinematic experience.
Dark and Provocative Themes: Danish cinema has gained recognition for its exploration of dark, gritty, and thought-provoking subject matter.
Many Danish movies tackle challenging themes such as family dysfunction, psychological turmoil, social injustice, and moral ambiguity.
This willingness to delve into uncomfortable and complex narratives has contributed to the reputation of Danish films as being intellectually engaging and emotionally impactful.Strong Performances and Character Development: Danish movies are known for their focus on well-developed characters and compelling performances.
Danish actors are often praised for their ability to bring authenticity, depth, and nuance to their roles. The emphasis on character-driven storytelling allows Danish films to delve into the intricacies of human nature, creating rich and memorable cinematic experiences.
These characteristics have contributed to the international acclaim and success of Danish movies, with several Danish films receiving critical acclaim and winning awards at prestigious film festivals around the world.
3 Reasons To Watch Danish Movies Movies
Unique storytelling: Danish movies often bring a fresh and unique perspective to storytelling. They are known for their distinctive approach to filmmaking, which often combines elements of realism, dark humor, and introspection.
Danish filmmakers are not afraid to tackle challenging subjects and delve into complex emotions, resulting in thought-provoking and engaging narratives.
High-quality productions: Danish cinema has gained international recognition for its high production values and strong technical execution.
Danish filmmakers prioritize attention to detail, captivating cinematography, and compelling performances.
Whether it’s a drama, comedy, or thriller, Danish movies are known for their excellent craftsmanship, contributing to a visually stunning and immersive cinematic experience.
Talented actors and directors: Denmark has produced numerous talented actors and directors who have achieved global acclaim.
From renowned actors like Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Alicia Vikander to visionary directors such as Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, and Susanne Bier, Danish cinema showcases a wealth of talent.
Watching Danish movies allows you to witness the skill and artistry of these gifted individuals, making for captivating performances and thought-provoking storytelling.
Overall, Danish movies offer a fresh and distinct cinematic experience. They combine unique storytelling, high-quality productions, and talented actors and directors, creating a compelling and enriching viewing experience.
Whether you enjoy thought-provoking dramas, dark comedies, or thrilling narratives, Danish cinema has something to offer for every film lover.
Best Danish Movies Movies – Wrap Up
Denmark has a rich cinematic tradition, producing many outstanding films across various genres. While it is challenging to narrow down the best Danish movies, here are some notable ones that have garnered critical acclaim and left a lasting impact:
- “Ordet” (1955) – Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer, this film explores faith, doubt, and miracles within a devoutly religious Danish family.
- “The Celebration” (1998) – Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, this drama delves into family dynamics and dark secrets during a celebratory gathering.
- “Babette’s Feast” (1987) – Directed by Gabriel Axel, this Academy Award-winning film tells the story of a French refugee who prepares a lavish feast for a Danish religious community.
- “Pelle the Conqueror” (1987) – Directed by Bille August, this coming-of-age drama follows a young Swedish boy and his father as they immigrate to Denmark in search of a better life.
- “Breaking the Waves” (1996) – Directed by Lars von Trier, this emotionally intense film portrays a woman’s sacrifices and struggles for love in a strict religious community.
- “In a Better World” (2010) – Directed by Susanne Bier, this Academy Award-winning drama intertwines the lives of Danish and African families, exploring themes of revenge and forgiveness.
- “A Royal Affair” (2012) – Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, this historical drama chronicles a love affair between the mentally unstable Danish King Christian VII and his British queen’s physician.
- “The Hunt” (2012) – Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, this psychological drama follows a man falsely accused of child molestation, exploring themes of mob mentality and prejudice.
- “The Guilty” (2018) – Directed by Gustav Möller, this suspenseful thriller takes place entirely within an emergency call center, as a police officer tries to save a kidnapped woman.
- “Riders of Justice” (2020) – Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen, this dark comedy-drama follows a military veteran seeking revenge for his wife’s death.
These films represent a diverse range of storytelling styles and themes, showcasing the talent and creativity of Danish filmmakers.
They have received international recognition and have contributed significantly to the country’s cinematic legacy.