From historical epics to high-octane disaster flicks, Norway has plenty of movies that would put Hollywood blockbusters to shame. But where do you even start your search? Here are just a few of the best Norwegian movies that are worth streaming and bingeing.
Based on a true story, Den Største Forbrytelsen follows a Jewish family, the Braudes, living in Norway in the 1940s. Initially spared the brutality faced by Jews all across Europe, the Nazis eventually land on their shores as well, and the entire family is shipped to Auschwitz with nothing but a desperate hope to survive. Den Største Forbrytelsen literally translates to “The Greatest Crime.”
What would you do if a 260-foot tsunami was coming to crash over everything that you loved? This is the dilemma faced by Dr. Kristian Eikjord, the protagonist of Bølgen, who realizes that a rock slide in the mountains is going to cause apocalyptic ripple effects throughout the region.
Hailed as the first disaster flick to come out of Scandinavia, Bølgen is one of the most famous Norwegian movies of all time; it was even submitted to the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film.
22 July tells the true and devastating story about a right-wing terror attack on a Norwegian youth camp. Notably, however, it doesn’t just cover the tragedy itself; it also follows both victims and perpetrators in the aftermath, chronicling everything from traumas to legal battles. It’s one of the hardest-hitting films to come out of Norway in the past decade, and it’s already established itself a place in cinematic history.
Two young girls are thrust into the unlikely role of protectors when their father gets injured on a hiking trip. Initially worried about trekking through the wilderness to find help, they discover courage and strength as they travel, drawing on their imaginations and their unbreakable bonds of sisterhood to see them through. Tottori! is a sweet and family-friendly film for all ages.
Released in 1975, Flåklypa Grand Prix is considered a classic of Norwegian cinema. Some accounts even have it as the most-watched Norwegian film in existence.
It utilizes bright colors and stop-motion animation to tell the story of an inventor and his animal friends who discover that a rival has stolen his blueprints and built an F1 race car with them. To take back control of his work, he’ll have to enter the Grand Prix himself with an even better vehicle.
This comedic film centers around a ski resort owner who finds himself unexpectedly housing more than 50 refugees from all around the world. Asylum seekers are something of a contentious subject in Scandinavia, but Welcome to Norway tackles it with heart, humor, and aplomb. The end result is a multicultural film that truly explores the Nordic spirit and celebrates the Nordic way of life.
A sequel to the smash hit Bølgen, this follow-up film brings back Dr. Kristian Eikjord as a man wracked with survivor’s guilt and obsessed with predicting the next disaster. He gets his wish when he realizes that seismic activity has spiked around Oslo, but can he convince everyone that a deadly earthquake is coming? With familiar faces and spectacular special effects, Skjelvet is one of those rare sequels worth watching.
Another blockbuster based on a true story, Kon-Tiki is about the 1947 expedition of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. He was determined to prove that pre-Columbians could’ve crossed the ocean to settle in Polynesia, so he set off to re-create their 4,300 mile voyage. Kon-Tiki was a massive success for the Norwegian film industry, eventually bagging both an Oscar and a Golden Globe nomination. To date, it’s also the most expensive Norwegian movie ever filmed.
Darkness hides behind bright lights and glittery makeup in Disco. It follows the story of a young female dancer who is also part of an evangelist religious group, and as pressure mounts in her personal life, she begins to question everything about her choices, her faith, and her future. Disco isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re interested in foreign avant-garde cinema, it’s a prime pick.
Shot in a found footage “mockumentary” style, Trolljegeren is a dark fantasy film about three university students who set off into the wilderness to investigate the deaths of local bears.
They get much more than they bargained for, however, when they realize that there are even worse predators than the bears out in the snow. Despite its somewhat humorous premise, Trolljegeren will deliver thrills and chills on par with any horror movie.
Learn more about Norwegian Troll Folklore
Literally translated to “The King’s No,” Kongens Nei follows the true story of King Haakon VII. He was the leader of Norway in 1940 when the Germans landed in Oslo and demanded the unconditional surrender of the country. As you might have guessed from the movie’s title, the king made a fateful decision that cemented him in the history books forever.
Kongens Nei was notable both for its immense success and its status as a co-production between Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland. Fans of historical dramas should like learning about this lesser-known moment in European history.
If you’re looking for the best Norwegian movies of all time, these are just a few to get you started. There are many other award-winning films to have come from this country, so don’t feel limited by the suggestions here. Keep exploring! Lykke til!
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.