Norwegian Films

Norwegian Films: 10 Films set in Norway

Norwegian films and films about Norway , set in this wonderful Scandinavian country, are the fruit of the history of local cinema, but also of international productions. Thanks to its magnificent landscapes , in fact, Norway is perfect as a film location . Here, we find unique landscapes where historical, fantasy or love films can be set. Between the charm of the fjords , the Great North or its cities. A perfect backdrop for cinema, leaving the viewer breathless. Let’s discover the best films set here, getting inspired for our next trip to Norway!

Top 10 Films Norway

The films shot here are the result of the wonderful places , the history of Norway and its traditions . Norwegian cinema has a recent but fascinating history, having only achieved independence in 1905 following unions with Denmark and Sweden . The Scandinavian heritage has undoubtedly also shaped its culture and cinema. The development of the nation and self-determination played a fundamental role. The national-romantic style went from influencing literature to cinema in the 1920s . When the works of authors like Biørnson and Hamsun become screenplays. The first cinemas in the country opened towards the beginning of the 1900s with many objections. In 1913 , a law gave the right to the Municipalities to control production.

Not many films were produced until the 1930s , favoring Swedish and Danish productions. Norsk Film A/S was founded in 1932 , making the first films shot in Norway. State financing of films only began after World War II. But Norway was also the first country which, in 1950 , saw the economic participation of the state in film production. Thus Norwegian directors, such as Arne Skouene and Nils R. Müller began to make themselves known to the world with war films. Since 1968 , thanks to the distribution of rights by the Municipalities, a new wave of radical directors was born . Today, Norwegian cinema always has a dramatic element and its wonderful nature at its core , with films that are acclaimed worldwide.

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1. The song of the Earth

Among the first famous Norwegian films set in Norway that we want to recommend to you, not only to discover local cinema, but also its wonderful landscapes, we find Fedrelandet . Translated The Song of the Earth , is a Norwegian documentary directed and written by Margreth Olin . During the film we follow the 85-year-old father for a full year in the wonderful natural setting of the Oldedalen river valley in Vestland, the place where he was born and grew up. This poetic work of Norwegian cinema represents a spiritual and existential journey for Olin and her elderly parent, introducing us to the beautiful mountain landscapes of her birthplace.

A film shot in Norway and about the country, but also about death, life and nature, about man’s sense of this world, about loyalty and love towards parents. In fact, the protagonists we see in the film are only silent witnesses of the surrounding environment and the way it is reflected in people and between them. A metaphor on the smallness of life and humanity, compared with the immensity of Nature and its great history. A story perfectly set in a wonderful natural setting.

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The Song of the Earth

2. The worst person in the world

Acclaimed 2021 Norwegian film and third of Joachim Trier ‘s Oslo Trilogy . The Worst Person in the World is a film set in Norway that we recommend. Divided into 12 chapters , the protagonist is Julie and the work talks about her sentimental education . She is an unpredictable, free woman, but also contradictory and in constant conflict with the problems of her generation, finding herself undecided between two men. Eivind , a stranger she meets at a party who turns her life upside down, and Aksel, a successful comic book author.

Julie is 30 years old and is always looking for her place in the world, trying to escape from routine by leaving her relationship and starting a love story with a man who however doesn’t feel understood. Furthermore, among the various topics covered, we also find the right to choose, the MeToo debates and sexuality. A romantic comedy interspersed with the protagonist’s voiceover and with an often fairy-tale effect for a national cinema training film that we recommend. Furthermore, this film was mainly shot in Oslo and Trollhättan; in Sweden.

the worst person in the world
The worst person in the world

3. Narvik

We discover a war film in Norwegian cinema , based on real events. By Erik Skjoldbjaerg , Narvik observes the events of a family from the town of the same name, where in 1940 the battle took place which saw the first defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II. This defeat, however, did not prevent the complete destruction of the city and the occupation of the country. Narvik was a valuable trading point for minerals mined in the north and, in this film about Norway, we see the country take a neutral position at the start of the war and the port of Narvik ends up at the center of international attention. At the hotel where Ingrid works as a waitress and translator, they meet to negotiate with the German and English consuls.

Gunnar , Ingrid’s husband, obtains leave and, returning to the camp, discovers that the Germans have begun the invasion. The Norwegians offer no resistance, but Gunnar’s platoon marches inland to collapse a bridge and interrupt traffic to Narvik. The Germans capture Gunnar, Ingrid and their son. Ingrid returns to work at the hotel, while her husband is forced to serve the Germans and is later freed by the French, while the English attack the city and shoot down the German vehicles. Narvik is bombed , also affecting civilians. Ingrid, to help her son, reveals the hiding place of the English to the German consul, who is in love with her. The Germans are nevertheless defeated and the city liberated. The celebrations, however, are short-lived, as Germany attacks Narvik…

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© – Narvik

4. Sick of Myself

Among the latest successes of Norwegian cinema at a global level, we find Sick of Myself , a dark comedy by Kristoffer Borgli . A truly particular film set in Norway, especially in Oslo , which deals with the theme of narcissism in a unique way. When being the center of attention becomes a real obsession, what are you willing to do? The protagonists of this film and set here are Signe and Thomas ; a dysfunctional couple of liars and egocentrics . He is obsessed with success and she with her attentions, arriving at increasingly absurd behaviors, starting with kleptomaniac gestures, arriving at extreme victimizing actions to be able to attract attention, such as getting bitten by a dog.

Finally, in order to have the attention not only of her boyfriend, but of the whole country, Signe begins a non-legal drug therapy which, due to the side effects , will disfigure her face forever. Furthermore, this acclaimed work also deals with unrealistic and satirical depictions of the media and fashion , in a world where there is no place for feelings and everything becomes an end in appearance. A crude but also ironic film , with a typical style of Scandinavian cinema that delivers harsh moral sentences without too many problems.

sick of myself
Sick Of Myself

5. The Wave

Bølgen , released internationally as The Wave , is a disaster genre film set in Norway. In this work, the story develops around a disastrous tsunami that hits the town of Geiranger , in Sunnmøre, where the Geirangerfjord is also located . This fictional event, caused by the Åkerneset landslide falling into the fjord, is a possible event for scholars. In fact, the events of the film are loosely based on the 1934 story in the village of Tafjord .

Here, a landslide that fell from Mount Langhamaren generated a wave in the Tafjorden fjord , killing many people. Furthermore, director Roar Uthaug is a big fan of disaster movies and with this Norwegian film he wanted to combine Hollywood elements with the reality of his country. The protagonist is Kristian , a Norwegian geologist who is with his family in Geiranger. Just at that moment, the mountain collapses, causing a wave of over 80 meters and the tsunami hits the city. The geologist will have to fight a game between life and death to save himself and his family, finding a solution as soon as possible to what is happening.

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© – The wave

6. Troll

From disaster movies, we move on to monster movies with Troll (2022) by Roar Uthaug . Classified by lovers of the genre as a b-movie , this film set in Norway also represents an environmentalist metaphor . A film that combines fantasy elements of local folklore , with others of science fiction and horror, it is a Norwegian film that seeks to renew a genre with an entertainment product. In remote Northern Norway, where man and the environment still live in symbiosis, with an ambitious project they are trying to build a tunnel in the mountain. The works, however, will wake up a powerful, enormous and monstrous troll .

Creature very present in Norse legends, everyone thought it didn’t really exist. Even though old Tobias Tidemann had always warned his daughter Nora how dangerous these creatures actually were. Divided for some time due to conspiracy theories and their father’s lifestyle, the two unite again when Nora, who has meanwhile become a paleobotanist , must help the Special Forces and the government to fight the troll. In fact, the enormous creature is not hurt by normal weapons and heads towards Oslo , sowing destruction. Furthermore, the troll is aggressive if attacked, but also has a lot of empathy towards the weak. So what will be the best thing to do? Protect a unique creature or kill it?

© – Troll

7. Ex Machina

Among the best films set in Norway and Norwegian cinema that we want to recommend to you, especially for science fiction lovers , we find Ex Machina (2015), Alex Garland ‘s first work . Furthermore, this Norwegian film is set mainly between Valldal and the Sognefjord fjord . The protagonist is Caleb Smith , a young programmer who wins the chance to spend a week with the CEO of the company he works for, Nathan Bateman . The living room is in his house in the mountains and Nathan reveals to him upon his arrival that the house, in truth, is his laboratory . Here he is designing a machine equipped with artificial intelligence and with a human appearance: Ava .

Also found in the laboratory is the mute maid Kyoko , whom the inventor abuses. In addition to being an intelligent person, obsessed with health and physical activity, Nathan drinks often. A story about the relationship between man and machine and the desire to overcome the border that divides man from God the creator . A clash between three types of intelligence, between lies and strategy, analog and digital, in which no one can be trusted. Furthermore, it is a story that takes some elements of Frankenstein ‘s monster , such as the theme of who deserves to be called human.

ex machina - norwegian cinema - films set in norway
© – Ex Machina

8. The Snowman

Psychological thriller from Norwegian cinema by Tomas Alfredson , The Snowman (2017) is a film set in Norway that we recommend for crime thriller lovers. Based on the novel by Jo Nesbø , we follow the story of Inspector Harry Hole on the trail of a serial killer. The killer’s hallmark is that he builds snowmen where he commits crimes. Hole is part of a special team of the Oslo police charged with investigating local murders and, after yet another disappearance at the first snowfall, he discovers many connections to old cases unsolved over 20 years. The connection between the first snowfall, snowmen and victims.

With the help of a young recruit, he will find himself solving various puzzles to find the solution before the killer acts again. The film opens in the Norwegian countryside , in the vast desolate and white expanses with melancholic music, interrupted only by the arrival of the police. A couple of lovers argue to recognize the paternity of their child, but the woman flees with the child in the car, then allows herself to die in the frozen lake and the son escapes to safety. Many years later, we see Detective Hole waking up drunk in a park. Despite being among the most famous investigators in Norway, he has many family problems . Bored by the few crimes to solve, Harry will find the first letter signed by the Snowman in his correspondence , thus starting the investigation.

snowman - films set in norway
© – The Snowman

9. Frozen

Despite being a cartoon , if we talk about the best Norway films set in this wonderful country we cannot fail to mention Frozen ! In fact, the Norwegian landscapes also inspired animated cinema for the story of Elsa and Anna. Between fjords, Northern Lights and the North Cape. In fact, most of the places we see in this animated masterpiece are not fictional, but Arendelle really exists in Norway.

Furthermore, the first Frozen film was based on fairy tales from Norwegian folklore and shot locations such as the Royal Residence in Trondheim , Sognefjord , the Bryggen site in Bergen and the Akershus Fortress in Oslo . In the second chapter of the cartoon, however, there are more references to Sami culture , as well as references to the Hurtigruten mail ship . Furthermore, the production worked together with the Saami Council to create a version of the film also in the native language and the composer of the songs of the first Frozen is Sami.


10. Dagmar: The soul of the Vikings

Finally, among the Norwegian films that we want to recommend, let’s discover the country’s Viking past with an action film. Dagmar – The Soul of the Vikings (2012), by Roar Uthaug is set in 14th century Norway . The young Signe , her little brother and her parents cross dangerous lands following the Black Death which plagued the country for 10 years. Suddenly, a group of bandits led by Dagmar , a woman, attacks them. Signe’s family is killed and she is taken hostage, after seeing her family exterminated.

Brought to the camp she meets Frigg , a little girl adopted by Dagmar and Arvid, Dagmar’s lover, defends Signe from a rape and, taking advantage of the chaos, tries to escape. Dagmar reveals to Signe that she kidnapped her to give Frigg a sister and, later, the two girls flee together into the forest. Taking refuge from a hunter, they will discover the reason for Dagmar’s cruelty. A classic story, a well-structured adventure among the harsh landscape of Norway, which becomes the true protagonist in the Scandinavian Middle Ages.

Dagmar: The soul of the Vikings
© – Dagmar: Soul of the Vikings

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