Looking for films that will stay with you, long after you’ve seen them? Then try these classic Danish films, all of which have won major international awards. Our Danish films guide brings together famous directors like Lars von Trier and Nicolas Winding Refn and award-winning Danish films like The Hunt and A Royal Affair, both starring Mads Mikkelsen. It also highlights the best Danish films set outside Denmark, such as Melancholia and Drive, to give you a taste of Denmark's unique film-making traditions. Use our Danish films guide as a playlist and get inspired to see Denmark for real!
Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper used over a dozen Copenhagen locations during the filming of The Danish Girl. Based on the true story of Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander), the film invites viewers to follow Einar's transformation into Lili Elbe – the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery.
Oscar-nominated A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære) is a sweeping romance set in the 18th century court of King Christian VII. Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale) plays a royal physician involved in a doomed love affair with the Queen. A Royal Affair won two Silver Bears at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.
Babette’s Feast (Babettes gæstebud) was Denmark’s first film to win Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars! Set on the remote West Coast of Jutland in the 19th century, Babette’s Feast is a heartwarming tale of kindness repaid. Babette’s Feast was written by Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa.
Melancholia is a visually stunning drama by famous director Lars von Trier and starring Kirsten Dunst. Melancholia tells the story of two sisters at a wedding, as the Earth prepares for a collision with a rogue planet. Melancholia was nominated for several Oscars and Kirsten Dunst won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Hunt, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, is a disturbing tale of a wrongly-accused schoolteacher, a role for which Mads Mikkelsen won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. The Hunt won Best Screenplay at the European Film Awards 2012 and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2014 Oscars.
Drive is an action-packed crime drama, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Set in America, Drive follows a Hollywood stunt driver and his underground life as a getaway driver for criminal gangs. Drive won Nicolas Winding Refn Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photo: Xakirzat/Flickr)
Nightwatch (Nattevagten) is a Danish thriller from 1994, starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones and Sophie Gråbøl from The Killing. It was such a success that an American remake was made starring Ewan McGregor. Watch this film to see a very young Nikolaj Coster-Waldau! (Photo by Rolf Kronow/Obel Film)
In a Better World (Hævnen), directed by Susanne Bier, is another one of our Oscar-winning Danish films! In a Better World follows a Swedish doctor, split between his home-life in Denmark and his work in a Sudanese refugee camp, and the conflicts and choices his family are forced to face in these two worlds.
Oscar-winning director Bille August's Silent Heart (Stille hjerte) is a gripping family drama which takes place on the beautiful island of Fyn (Funen). Actress Paprika Steen won Best Actress at the San Sebastian Film Festival for her role as a daughter struggling with a mother's tough decision in Silent Heart.
The Celebration (Festen) was the first Dogme 95 film and is now a cult Danish film. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, The Celebration (Festen) tells the story of a family gathering where accusations of abuse rip the family apart. The Celebration won awards at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival and European Film Awards. Famous Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen (The World Is Not Enough) stars in The Celebration.
Pelle the Conqueror (Pelle Erobreren) won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998 and the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Co-written and directed by Bille August, Pelle the Conqueror tells the emotional story a father and son who emigrate from Sweden to Denmark and their struggle to build a new life.
Mads Mikkelsen stars in After the Wedding (Efter brylluppet), a Danish film about dark family secrets that come to light at a wedding in Copenhagen. After The Wedding, directed by Susanne Bier, follows a long tradition of strong Danish films and has received critical acclaim, awards and Oscar nominations.