Cinema from Denmark: 20 best Danish films of recent years

Films from Denmark, where not even six million people live, win not only Oscars with Palme d’Or, but more importantly, the hearts of viewers around the world. A small country has put forward directors who know how to make original, fearless and sincere films that catch the eye. In this selection, we present to your attention Danish films in various genres – from comedies and fantasy to crime and strong realistic dramas.

Mysterium: The Marco Effect (2021)

The novelty of the movie is the continuation of the popular franchise based on the novels by the Danish writer Jussi Adler-Olsen. Teenager Marco, the chick of a mafia clan , becomes a witness to a murder committed by his own uncle. The boy escapes to permanently sever ties with the criminal family. And the police commissioner Karl Merck, to whom the boy came after his arrest at border control, will help him escape from the persecution of his relative’s people .

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Marco effekten

Genre:
Thriller, crime

Actors:
Ulrich Thomsen, Zaki Youssef, Sophie Thorpe …

Country:
Denmark, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.6, IMDb – 5.2

Age restrictions:
18+


One More (2020)

One of the best Danish films of recent years tells about a group of teachers – middle-aged men who decided on a risky experiment. Gathered at a restaurant on the occasion of a friend’s birthday, the characters discuss the theory that being a little “dirty” makes a person more productive at work and happier. And these are not some speculations of drunkards, but a scientific theory that men decide to test for themselves.

Original title:
Druk

Genre:
Drama, comedy

Actors:
Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang…

Country:
Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.8

Age restrictions:
18+


Justice Knights (2020)

In the center of the plot of the Danish film, the brutal Markus is a soldier to the marrow of his bones. His wife dies in a train accident, and after a while, three strange types appear on the threshold of the house, claiming that the accident was not an accident. Therefore, a stern widower sees for himself the only way to survive the loss – revenge . Together with strangers – a chubby computer scientist , a disabled analyst and a mentally unstable uncle – Marcus goes on the path of retribution.

Original title:
Retfærdighedens ryttere

Genre:
Drama, comedy, action movie, crime

Actors:
Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolai Lie Kaas, Andrea Heik Gadeberg …

Country:
Denmark, Sweden, Finland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Valhalla: Ragnarok (2019)

An epic film made in Denmark will immerse the viewer in the world of Scandinavian legends and the atmosphere of impending horrors. The world of the gods is in danger – Ragnarok is approaching. On the eve of the decisive battle, two ordinary people arrive in Asgard. Together with the gods, they will have to face in the last great battle with real evil, and maybe it is these mortals who will be able to turn the tide of events and change what was destined in the prophecy.

Original title:
Valhalla

Genre:
Fantasy, thriller, adventure

Actors:
Roland Muller, Dulfi Al-Jaburi, Cecilia Loffredo…

Country:
Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.4, IMDb – 5.3

Age restrictions:
12+


Queen of Hearts (2019)

The plot of the film introduces the viewer to the average Danish family – mom, dad and two daughters. Anna is a successful lawyer who specializes in protecting the rights of juvenile victims of violence. By coincidence, the 17-year-old son of her husband from his first marriage moves to their family. Between a mature woman and an ardent young man, a forbidden relationship is established.

Original title:
Dronningen

Genre:
Thriller, romance

Actors:
Trine Dyurholm, Gustav Lind, Magnus Krepper…

Country:
Denmark, Sweden

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
18+


Being Astrid Lindgren (2018)

It is one of the best biopics in the list of Danish cinemas , receiving high ratings and accolades from audiences and critics alike. The psychological drama will tell about that period in the life of the writer Astrid Lindgren, when many trials fell to her lot. The difficult situation in the family, connection with a married man, pregnancy , public condemnation – all this could not break the young genius and did not prevent her from creating, loving and bringing the light of her cheerful stories to the world.

Original title:
Unga Astrid

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Alba August, Maria Bonnevi, Trine Dyurholm…

Country:
Sweden, Denmark

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
16+


At the Edge of Worlds (2018)

In this film, detective, mysticism, Danish mythology, social subtext and love drama merge into a single, creating something unusual and amazing. An unattractive woman works at customs and has the ability to literally smell lies, shame and lust. In addition to being able to smell evil among thousands of people, Tina inexplicably attracts animals and insects. She prefers a hermit lifestyle, because she is constantly ridiculed. However, everything changes when the girl meets Vore, a man who looks like her.

Original title:
Gräns

​​Genre :
Fantasy, thriller, drama, melodrama, crime

Actors:
Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Jorgen Thorsson …

Country:
Sweden, Denmark

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
18+


Guilty (2017)

This movie from Denmark is worth watching for fans of dramatic plots and chamber thrillers. Asger Holm is suspended from the police and temporarily transferred to the rescue service as a dispatcher. The man is not satisfied with this alignment, so he refers to work carelessly. However, an unusual call changes his mood. At the other end of the line is a frightened woman. She is locked in someone’s car – she was kidnapped and taken in an unknown direction.

Original title:
Den skyldige

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Jacob Sedergren, Jessica Dinnage, Omar Shargavi …

Country:
Denmark

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Winter Brothers (2017)

The plot of the film takes the viewer to a small Danish village in the cold wilderness, where the everyday life of the population is hard work in a limestone mine. Two brothers live here who are in love with the same girl – Emil, a loner who makes moonshine from stolen chemicals, and Johan, a stern and correct northern man. One day, Emil is blamed for the illness of one of the workers, and this makes him defend himself from attacks. His anger is capable of sweeping everyone out of the way, including his own brother.

Original title:
Vinterbrødre

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Elliott Crosset Hov, Simon Sears, Victoria Carmen Sonn…

Country:
Denmark, Iceland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.4

Age limit:
18+


Underworld (2017)

Top best films in Denmark will continue the thriller with a criminal component and social drama. Said lives in Denmark but was born in Iraq. He managed to fully assimilate in a new country – to find a successful job, get married and have a child. However, soon the man will have to give up a prosperous life. Said learns about the death of his brother, who was severely beaten by bandits for debts. Not finding support from the police, the hero decides to start an investigation on his own.

Original title:
Underverden

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Dar Salim, Stine Fischer Christensen, Ali Sivandi …

Country:
Denmark

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
18+


The day will come (2016)

The illness of the mother forces the guardianship service to send her two children to a closed boarding school. The older boy immediately understands what rules prevail in an institution where everyone is ready to substitute the other in order to avoid punishment. But little Elmar is not yet ready to face the horrifying reality – he dreams of becoming an astronaut and is waiting for his mother to take them home. Will the child be able to keep the purity of the soul and faith in the best in this terrible place, where the humiliation of human dignity and cruelty reign?

Original title:
Der kommer en dag

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Lars Mikkelsen, Sophie Grobeul, Harald Kaiser Hermann…

Country:
Denmark

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Awakening Conscience (2015)

A dark fantasy about the Middle Ages , where the world is inhabited by dragons and magic exists , will complement the list of the best films in Denmark . The girl Dina inherited from her mother the gift to look into the souls of people and make them feel ashamed of the atrocities committed. One day, the girl’s mother is lured into the castle to force the heir to the throne to confess to a crime he did not commit. The woman refuses to lie and use her gift in a dishonorable struggle for power. Finding herself without support, Dina will not only find out the truth, but also save her mother from imprisonment.

Original title:
Skammerens datter

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, adventure

Actors:
Rebecca Emily Sattrup, Joi Johannsson, Roland Müller …

Country:
Denmark, Norway, Czech Republic, Iceland, Sweden

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.0

Age restrictions:
16+


My land (2015)

The highly rated Danish historical drama follows the fate of captured German soldiers after the end of the war. Denmark, which has just liberated from occupation, needs to get rid of the mines on the west coast. An important question is being decided – who will take up the dangerous mission. For the country’s leadership, the answer is obvious – prisoners of war should clear the beaches. So the lot of Sergeant Rasmussen falls in command of very young boys from the last draft, who are hastily trained in the art of engineering.

Original title:
Under sandet

Genre:
Drama, military, history

Actors:
Roland Möller, Louis Hofmann, Joel Basman…

Country:
Denmark, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.8

Age restrictions:
18+


Men and Chickens (2015)

A dark Danish comedy with a detective bias introduces the viewer to two brothers who have learned about the death of their father. The man left a video message to his sons, where he admits that they are adopted children. The heroes travel to Orc Island to find their real parents. Arriving at the place, they find out that they have three more brothers, and for some reason their father is constantly sleeping. The situation in the estate is really strange and surprise after surprise awaits the relatives, including unusual scientific and fantastic discoveries.

Original title:
Mænd & høns

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, comedy, detective

Actors:
Mads Mikkelsen, David Densik, Nikolai Lie Kaas …

Country:
Denmark, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Second Chance (2014)

The list of the best Danish cinema will continue with an impressive story with a strong tragic plot. A terrible thing happened in the family of policeman Anders and his wife Anna – their newborn first-born died. In a split second, Anders decides to change the baby. A couple of days before, on a call, he saw an extremely neglected child with a couple of drug addicts . The kid is about the same age as the son of a cop, and no one will be surprised at his death under the tutelage of marginal parents.

Original title:
En chance til

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:
Nikolai Coster-Waldau, Roland Muller, Nikolai Lie Kaas …

Country:
Denmark, Sweden

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Mysterium (film series, 2013 – 2018)

A series of films about detectives of the Danish police from a special department, where they are investigating old unsolved cases. In the center of the plot are two detectives – unprincipled, gloomy Karl and sociable good-natured Assad. In the first film of 2013, the partners will investigate a five-year-old case. After talking with the brother of the disappeared woman and raising the old archives, they understand that a psychopathic maniac is involved in the story.

Original title:
Journal 64

Genre:
Detective, crime, thriller

Actors:
Nikolai Li Kaas, Fares Fares, Johann Louise Schmidt …

Country:
Denmark, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Hunting (2012)

A few words can ruin a person’s life. This is what happened to our hero. A kindergarten teacher has only recently found a common language with his teenage son after a divorce and is trying to establish a personal life. But one day a little girl in a kindergarten makes up a story about sexual harassment and they believe her. And then a real hell begins for the hero – friends turn away, the wife forbids seeing her son, and in the city the man is literally not allowed to pass.

Original title:
Jagten

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Vedderkopp…

Country:
Denmark, Sweden

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 8.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Royal Romance (2012)

The plot of the film is based on real events from the history of the Danish kingdom. Extravagant, suffering from a mental disorder , King Christian VII meets a doctor from Germany, Johann Friedrich. Having made his way from the court physician to the secret deputy of the king, he took an important place not only in the politics of the state, but also in the bed of the monarch.

Original title:
En kongelig affære

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, biography, history

Actors:
Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel Boe Fölsgor …

Country:
Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Melancholia (2011)

The famous Danish art house is a film about despair, care, misunderstanding and acceptance of the inevitable. In the center of the plot are two sisters, worried about the approach of the planet Melancholia to the Earth. The film is divided into two parts. In the first, one of the sisters, Justine, is in a deep depression against the backdrop of her own wedding . In the second, this same girl is the only one who was able to pull herself together in the face of impending death and support her sister and her son to the end.

Original title:
Melancholia

Genre:
Fantasy, drama

Actors:
Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard …

Country:
Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Revenge (2010)

The son of a humane and kind doctor Anton is bullied at school . The father, who left the cruel third world country where he once worked, teaches the child not to return evil for evil. However, a new student appears at school, who decides to stand up not only for his classmate, but also for his all-forgiving father. The child does not understand why an adult man cannot answer the offenders. Forgive and forget, or revenge is the main question that this strong dramatic film about teenagers tries to answer .

Original title:
Hævnen

Genre:
Drama, melodrama

Actors:
Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyurholm, Ulrich Thomsen …

Country:
Denmark, Sweden

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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