Norway has a rich and diverse film history, with a range of genres and styles represented. From dramas to comedies, horror to romance, Norwegian cinema has produced many outstanding films that have garnered international acclaim.

Some of the most notable Norwegian films include the historical epic “The King’s Choice” (2016), the dark psychological thriller “Headhunters” (2011), the coming-of-age drama “Oslo, August 31st” (2011), and the romantic comedy “Kitchen Stories” (2003). These films showcase the diversity and depth of Norwegian filmmaking, and they have been widely praised for their quality and originality.

In addition to these contemporary films, Norway has a long tradition of producing documentary films, many of which explore issues related to the environment, social justice, and human rights. These documentaries have also received critical acclaim both domestically and internationally.

Best Norwegian Movies

Overall, Norwegian cinema continues to evolve and grow, with new voices and perspectives emerging on the world stage. Whether you are a fan of drama, comedy, or documentary, there is something for everyone in the world of Norwegian cinema.

1. The King’s Choice (2016)

“The King’s Choice” is a Norwegian historical drama film directed by Erik Poppe. The film is based on the true story of King Haakon VII of Norway during the German invasion of Norway in April 1940.

The film follows King Haakon VII as he faces a difficult decision about whether to surrender to the Germans or to resist their invasion.

The film also explores the relationship between the King and his son, Crown Prince Olav, as they navigate the challenges of wartime leadership and family loyalty.

The film features strong performances from its cast, including Jesper Christensen as King Haakon VII and Anders Baasmo Christiansen as Crown Prince Olav.

The film’s cinematography and production design capture the mood and atmosphere of the time period, making it a visually stunning film.

“The King’s Choice” received critical acclaim upon its release and was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards.

The film is a powerful and moving portrayal of a crucial moment in Norwegian history and the difficult choices that leaders must make during times of war.

The King's Choice
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jesper Christensen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Karl Markovics (Actors)
  • Erik Poppe (Director) - Harald Rosenløw-Eeg (Writer) - Finn Gjerdrum (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

2. Troll Hunter (2010)

“Troll Hunter” is a Norwegian found-footage fantasy horror film released in 2010, directed by André Øvredal. The film follows a group of student filmmakers who follow a mysterious man named Hans (played by Otto Jespersen) who they believe is a bear poacher.

As they follow him, they discover that he is actually a government-employed troll hunter, tasked with keeping Norway’s troll population in check.

The film’s plot is presented in a mockumentary style, with the camera crew documenting their encounters with Hans and the various trolls they encounter.

As the group follows Hans deeper into the wilderness, they discover a government conspiracy surrounding the trolls and their existence.


“Troll Hunter” received critical acclaim upon its release, with many praising its unique premise, impressive special effects, and effective use of found-footage storytelling.

The film was a commercial success in Norway and gained an international following through festival screenings and word of mouth.

The film’s success led to plans for an American remake, but these were ultimately scrapped in favor of a TV series adaptation, which premiered on Netflix in 2018.

“Troll Hunter” remains a beloved film in the fantasy and horror genres and is considered one of the best examples of found-footage storytelling in cinema.

Trollhunter (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen (Actors)
  • Andre Ovredal (Director) - André Øvredal (Writer) - Marcus B. Brodersen (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. Kitchen Stories (2003)

“Kitchen Stories” is a Swedish-Norwegian comedy-drama film directed by Bent Hamer and released in 2003.

The film is set in the 1950s and follows the story of a group of Norwegian researchers who are sent to rural Sweden to study the kitchen habits of single men.

The film uses a humorous and observational style to explore the relationships that develop between the researchers and the men they are studying.

The lead researcher, Folke, forms a special bond with one of the men, Isak, and begins to break the rules of the study in order to spend more time with him.

“Kitchen Stories” was praised for its unique premise, its understated humor, and its exploration of themes such as loneliness, friendship, and cultural differences.

The film stars Joachim Calmeyer as Folke, and features supporting performances from Tomas Norstrom, Bjorn Floberg, and Reine Brynolfsson.

Kitchen Stories (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joachim Calmeyer, Tomas Norstrom, Bjorn Floberg (Actors)
  • Bent Hamer (Director) - Jorgen Bergmark (Writer) - Bent Hamer (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

4. O’Horten (2007)

“O’Horten” is a Norwegian film directed by Bent Hamer and released in 2007. The film follows the story of Odd Horten (played by Baard Owe), a retiring train driver who finds himself struggling to adjust to life after retirement.

The film explores themes of aging, isolation, and the search for identity, as Horten embarks on a series of unexpected adventures and encounters along his journey.

“O’Horten” received critical acclaim upon its release, with many praising the film’s understated humor and subtle storytelling.

The film was also notable for its beautiful cinematography and its use of surreal imagery and dreamlike sequences. The film was selected as the Norwegian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards but was not ultimately nominated.

  • DVD
  • Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color
  • French (Subtitled), English (Subtitled), Norwegian (Original Language)
  • 1
  • 90

5. Oslo, August 31st (2011)

“Oslo, August 31st” is a Norwegian drama film directed by Joachim Trier and released in 2011. The film follows the story of Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie), a recovering drug addict who is on a day release from a rehab center in Oslo.

Anders wanders the city, reconnecting with old friends and visiting places from his past, all while contemplating his life and his future.

As Anders navigates his day, he is haunted by memories of his drug use and the mistakes he has made, as well as the difficult relationships he has had with family and loved ones.

The film explores themes of addiction, depression, and the challenges of recovery.

“Oslo, August 31st” was critically acclaimed, with many critics praising the film’s powerful and sensitive portrayal of addiction and recovery.

The film was also noted for its striking cinematography and its strong lead performance by Anders Danielsen Lie. It is considered one of the best Norwegian films of the 2010s and a powerful meditation on the struggles of addiction and mental health.

Oslo, August 31st (2011) ( Oslo, 31. august ) ( Oslo, August Thirty First ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, Blu-Ray, Reg.B Import - France ]
  • Oslo, August 31st (2011) ( Oslo, 31. august ) ( Oslo, August Thirty First )
  • Oslo, August 31st (2011)
  • Oslo, 31. august
  • Oslo, August Thirty First
  • Anders Danielsen Lie, Hans Olav Brenner, Ingrid Olava (Actors)

6. Kon-Tiki (2012)

“Kon-Tiki” is a Norwegian historical drama film released in 2012, co-directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. Although the film is not a New Zealand production, it does have connections to the country.

The film tells the story of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his journey across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft named Kon-Tiki.

The film was co-produced by New Zealand production company Recorded Picture Company, and several Kiwi crew members were involved in the production, including cinematographer Geir Hartly Andreassen and visual effects supervisor Luke Millar.

The film was also partially shot in New Zealand, with the country doubling as some of the South Pacific islands that Heyerdahl visited on his journey.

“Kon-Tiki” was a critical and commercial success, winning several awards and nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film’s stunning cinematography and breathtaking scenery, along with its powerful storytelling, captivated audiences around the world.

While not a New Zealand movie per se, “Kon-Tiki” is a notable example of the country’s contributions to international cinema through co-production and collaboration.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann (Actors)
  • Joachim Roenning (Director) - Petter Skavlan (Writer) - Christoph Daniel (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

7. Buddy (2003)

“Buddy” is a 2003 Norwegian comedy-drama film directed by Morten Tyldum. The film is based on the true story of a gorilla named Buddy, who was raised as a human in the 1980s in Norway.

The film follows the story of Kristoffer (played by Nicolai Cleve Broch), a young man who is struggling to find his place in the world.

He becomes involved in the care of a young gorilla named Buddy, who is being raised by a couple in Norway. Kristoffer develops a close bond with the gorilla and becomes determined to help him return to the wild.

The film explores themes of animal rights, identity, and the relationship between humans and nature. It received critical acclaim for its unique premise, charming performances, and emotional impact.

“Buddy” was a commercial and critical success in Norway and helped to launch the international career of director Morten Tyldum. The film has been praised for its celebration of animal welfare and its message of compassion and empathy for all living beings.

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8. Reprise (2006)

“Reprise” is a Norwegian drama film directed by Joachim Trier. The film tells the story of two friends, Erik and Phillip, who are both aspiring writers in their early 20s living in Oslo.

The film follows the two friends as they submit their first manuscripts to publishers and deal with the consequences of their choices.

Erik suffers a mental breakdown and is institutionalized, while Phillip’s book becomes a critical success. As they each navigate their own paths, their friendship is tested and strained.

“Reprise” is a deeply insightful and poignant film that explores the struggles of young artists, as well as the complexities of friendship and identity.

The film’s nonlinear narrative and inventive storytelling techniques, such as the use of voice-over narration and split-screen editing, make it a unique and captivating cinematic experience.

The film received critical acclaim upon its release and has since become a cult classic. It is a testament to the talent of Joachim Trier and the strength of the Norwegian film industry, and it continues to inspire and resonate with audiences around the world.

  • Elisabeth Sand, Sigmund Sæverud, Henrik Mestad (Actors)
  • n/a (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

9. Insomnia (1997)

“Insomnia” is a Norwegian thriller film released in 1997, directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg.

The movie follows the story of a Swedish police detective named Jonas Engström (played by Stellan Skarsgård) who is sent to a small town in northern Norway to investigate the murder of a young girl.

As Engström investigates the case, he finds himself struggling to sleep due to the persistent daylight of the Arctic summer. His lack of sleep begins to affect his judgment and behavior, and he becomes increasingly paranoid and unhinged.

Meanwhile, the murderer (played by Jonny Depp) begins to taunt and manipulate Engström, leading to a tense and thrilling cat-and-mouse game.

“Insomnia” received critical acclaim upon its release, with many praising Skarsgård’s performance as well as the film’s atmosphere and suspenseful plot.

The film was also noted for its use of the constant daylight of the Arctic summer as a plot device, which adds to the feeling of disorientation and mental fatigue experienced by Engström.

The film was later remade in Hollywood in 2002, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank.

While the remake was also well-received, many fans of the original consider the Norwegian version to be superior due to its subtler approach to storytelling and atmosphere.

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10. Pathfinder (1987)

“Pathfinder” is a historical action-adventure film directed by Nils Gaup and released in 1987.

The film is set in Norway in the 11th century and follows the story of a young Sami boy named Aigin, who is left orphaned after his family is killed by a band of marauders.

Aigin is taken in by a group of Viking warriors, but struggles to fit in with their culture and their violent ways.

When Aigin learns that the marauders are planning to attack his people once again, he sets out on a dangerous mission to warn his tribe and to lead them to safety.

Aigin’s journey is filled with challenges, including treacherous mountain passes, deadly river crossings, and fierce battles against the marauders.

“Pathfinder” was well-received by audiences and was praised for its epic scope, thrilling action sequences, and stunning cinematography.

The film stars Mikkel Gaup as Aigin, and features supporting performances from Svein Scharffenberg, Helge Jordal, and Sverre Anker Ousdal. The film was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Pathfinder (Ofelas) (Veiviseren) [Region 2]
  • Mikkel Gaup, Ingvald Guttorm, Nils Utsi (Actors)
  • Nils Gaup (Director) - Nils Gaup (Writer) - Erik Disch (Producer)
  • German, English, Spanish, Portuguese (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

3 Characteristics of Norwegian Movies

Dark and moody themes: Many Norwegian movies explore dark and moody themes, often centered around the country’s history of poverty, isolation, and harsh climate.

Films like “Oslo, August 31st” and “Reprise” delve into the inner turmoil and struggles of their characters, often portraying a sense of melancholy and existential angst.

Strong focus on nature: Norway is known for its stunning natural landscapes, and many Norwegian movies showcase the country’s rugged beauty.

Films like “The Wave” and “Trollhunter” use Norway’s mountains, fjords, and forests as backdrops for their stories, often weaving elements of Norwegian folklore and mythology into the narrative.

Realistic and nuanced characters: Norwegian movies often feature realistic and nuanced characters, with complex motivations and emotions.

Rather than relying on archetypes or stereotypes, Norwegian filmmakers often strive to portray their characters as authentic and multidimensional, reflecting the complexities of real-life relationships and experiences.

Films like “Happy, Happy” and “Kon-Tiki” feature characters that are flawed, vulnerable, and relatable, adding depth and richness to their stories.

3 Reasons To Watch Norwegian Movies

Unique Stories: Norwegian movies often feature unique and original stories that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage and history.

From historical dramas like “Kon-Tiki” to modern-day thrillers like “Headhunters”, Norwegian films offer a diverse range of narratives that are both engaging and thought-provoking.

Talented Filmmakers: Norway has a long tradition of talented filmmakers, including Joachim Trier, Bent Hamer, and Erik Skjoldbjærg, who have made their mark on the international film scene.

These filmmakers bring a fresh and innovative approach to storytelling, often incorporating elements of humor, social commentary, and striking visuals in their work.

Beautiful Scenery: Norway’s stunning natural beauty makes it a popular filming location for many international productions, including “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and “Extraction”.

Norwegian films often feature breathtaking landscapes and striking visuals that showcase the country’s unique scenery, from the rugged mountains and fjords to the picturesque villages and cities.

Overall, watching Norwegian movies is a great way to experience the country’s culture, creativity, and cinematic talent. Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or action, there is something for everyone in the world of Norwegian cinema.

Best Norwegian Movies – Wrap Up

Norway has produced a number of great films over the years, spanning a variety of genres from drama and comedy to action and horror. Some of the best Norwegian movies include:

“Kon-Tiki” (2012): a biographical adventure film based on the true story of explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s journey across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft.

“Elling” (2001): a heartwarming comedy-drama about two mentally challenged friends who try to navigate life on their own after being released from a psychiatric institution.

“Oslo, August 31st” (2011): a poignant drama about a recovering drug addict who spends one day in Oslo trying to reconnect with his past and figure out his future.

“Headhunters” (2011): a fast-paced thriller about a corporate headhunter who gets caught up in a dangerous game of cat and mouse after stealing a valuable painting.

“The Wave” (2015): a gripping disaster movie about a small Norwegian town that is hit by a massive tsunami after a mountain collapse.

These are just a few examples of the many great Norwegian films that have been produced over the years. Norway’s film industry continues to thrive, producing innovative and thought-provoking movies that are enjoyed by audiences around the world.