Our overview of the best older Danish movies from the 2000’s and the 1990’s. You should be here for the best new Danish movies.
1. The Celebration – Festen (1998)
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Henning Moritzen and Thomas Bo Larsen
IMDb Rating 8.1
When a very wealthy family’s patriarch turns sixty, everyone gets together for a party. It is celebrated at the family castle. His son shall make a speech at the dinner. He has two speeches prepared: a yellow one and a green one. He leaves the choice up to his dad. If he picks the green paper, his son will tell the room his father’s darkest secret.
Festen is filmed in the Dogma 95 Style with a handheld camera. This might take some getting used to in the beginning, but you will soon realise it only strengthens the atmosphere of the movie. Festen is a pleasure to watch. It offers a variety of funny, painful and juicy moments. The Golden Globe nomination was well deserved. We argue this Danish movie should have won a whole lot more.
2. Adam’s apples – Adams æbler (2005)
Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Mads Mikkelsen and Nicolas Bro
IMDb Rating 7.8
Neo-nazi adam gets sentenced to 12 weeks community service. It is under the supervision of a priest called Ivan. Ivan runs a remote village’s church in the countryside of Denmark. Ivan gives Adam one task. He has to bake an apple pie from the apples of the appletree in the church yard. Adam is stunned by the constant and weird optimism of Ivan and he sets himself a entirely different goal. Breaking Ivan’s spirit. This turns out to be rather difficult. ‘Adam’s Apples’ is one of the most original Scandinavian and European movies ever made. The characters are remarkably divers and fascinating. Anders Thomas Jensen is an expert in making incredibly absurd developments appear to be very ordinary. This of course results in a lot of enjoyment for the viewer
3. After the Wedding – Efter bryluppet (2006)
Director: Susanne Bier
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Sidse Babett Knudsen and Rolf Lassgård
IMDb Rating: 7.8
An orphanage and school in India is on the urge of having to shut down due to financials problems. The Danish Supervisor Jacob Peterson, receives a donation that can make all the problems go away. The only condition, however, is that he returns home to Denmark and visits the wedding of the daughter of the donor. Quickly after arrival he finds out secrets about his past life in Denmark.
This Danish Movie is one of the most heartbreaking and recognizable personal drama’s. Even though the film manages to go straight to your heart, it remains pleasant throughout. The use of color and the setting make you feel very comfortable while watching the movie. After the Wedding received a nomination for best foreign language film.
4. Melancholia (2011)
Director: Lars von Trier
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Kiefer Sutherland
IMDb Rating: 7.8
Two sisters from a well-to-do family are two completely different individuals. When one of the sisters is getting married her depressions are starting to play up again. The other sister is always there for here, and also now she is taking care of here. The relationship of the two sisters gets tested even more when a planet called Melancholia threatens to hit and destroy earth. The way they deal with the unavoidable danger is demonstrative for their different personalities.
Despite that it is more an American production than a Danish one, we could not resist including this great film by the Danish Director Lars von Trier. Even though there is no Danish spoken, it feels like a Danish film. It is an extremely breathtaking and estranging movie that will remain inside your head for days. The suffocating atmosphere is truly remarkably well crafted. The fact that ‘Melancholia’ won the best Film Award at the Cannes Festival despite controversial statements made by Lars von Trier demonstrates it really is a great movie.
5. Open Hearts – Elsker dig for evigt (2002)
Director: Susanne Bier
Cast: Sonja Richter, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Mads Mikkelsen
IMDb Rating: 7.7
When Cecille’s fiancé gets paralyzed after a car accident her world is upside down. She starts an affair with a doctor in the hospital where her fiancé is committed. To make matters even more complicated it turns out that the doctor’s wife was involved in the accident.
Elsker Dig for evigt is another pearl by Susanna Bier. This Danish movie manages to go surprisingly deep. The characters are very credibly, and especially Sonja Richter plays her role magnificently.
6. In a Better World – Hævnen (2011)
Director: Susanne Bier
Cast: Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm and Markus Rygaard
IMDb Rating: 7.7.
A Danish Feature film about two family’s that are connected by their two sons. Both families are damaged in their own way. The boys explore the powerful concepts of loss, betrayal, and above all revenge.
The newest film by Susanna Bier who is becoming one of Europe’s biggest directors. In a Better World has won the Oscar for best foreign language film. And it has without a doubt deserved this title. In a subtle way the viewer gets to the essence of the complex concept of revenge. Indeed, Susanne Bier’s most acclaimed works, but in our opinion not necessarily her best movie so far. We would still give preference to After the Wedding (2006).
7. Brothers – Brødre (2004)
Director: Susanne Bier
Cast: Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Connie Nielsen
IMDb Rating: 7.6.
Two brothers. Michael, a soldier how has everything under control. And the other, Jannik, who is has completely gotten of the right track. When Michael ends up missing during a mission in Afghanistan, Jannik is forced to man-up and take care of Michael’s wife. Soon it become apparent that Jannik and Michael’s wife are developing feelings for each other. And then Michael returns.
The brothers’ relationship feel very realistic and makes to story come to life. The movie was very successful. Even an American remake has been produced with Toby Maguire en Jack Gyllenhaal. But in all honesty, the remake cannot compete with the original Danish version.
8. Flickering Lights – Blinkende lygter (2000)
- Director: Anders Thomas Jensen
- Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Ulrich Thomsen and Søren Pilmark.
- IMDb Rating: 7.5
Four small-time crooks decide to flee Copenhagen with the money they were supposed to deliver to a gangster boss in Barcelona. However, due to unforeseen circumstances they are forced to hide nearby Copenhagen at the countryside. As a coverup they renovate an old farm and turn it into a restaurant. Slowly they start to realise how pleasant country life is, but unfortunately the past will always catch up on you. Although the plot seems a little meagre, it really is a fascinating and original movie filled with inc black and surrealist humour. The group of thieves has a great dynamic which results in a great Danish movie.
9. The Bench – Baenken (2000)
Director: Per Fly
Cast: Jesper Christensen, Marius Sonne Janischefska and Stine Holm Joensen
IMBd Rating: 7.5
In Copenhagen alcoholic Kaj spends his days on a certain little bench. The only thing he is waiting for is his own death. This all changes when he takes notice of a young woman who comes to live in the neighbourhood. Slowly he builds a relationship with her and his perspective on life alters significantly.
A very touching film that instead of judging alcoholism reveals the misery that goes behind it. It is not an easy movie to watch, but it will definitely be worth your while.
10. In China they eat Dogs – I Kina spiser de hunde (1999)
Directed by Lasse Spang Olsen
Cast: Kim Bodnia, Dejan Cukic and Nikolaj Lie Kaas
IMDb Rating: 7.4
The life of Arvid, a simple bank clerk, takes a drastic turn when he hits a bankrobber to the ground with a squash racket. Strangely enough, the bank robber’s wife gets him so far to feel guilty about his heroic act. The money he prevented from being stolen was meant for a surgery that would make the women be able to have children. When he hears this Arvid decides to gather the money himself.A crazy and funny comedy is born. Surprising due to the violent scenes, but especially funny because of the hilarious dialogues. It is a comedy movie, no more no less. Just a very good Danish Movie.
The final modern classic from Denmark in our best Danish movies top 10. For more excellent gems of Danish cinema browse through the rest of our website!