The Best Movies About Norway to Watch Before Your Trip

In this article, we have gathered the best movies about Norway to watch before your trip. By enjoying them before you leave you will ensure your trip is as meaningful and enjoyable as possible. Learn more about the history, culture, language, and extraordinary natural beauty of Norway before you arrive and you will enhance many parts of your trip.

I’m a travel education specialist and support curious travelers like you in finding ways to learn more about their destinations. This summer our family was finally able to enjoy a dream trip and visit our ancestral homeland of Norway. We spent months learning about the country before we went and it improved our trip dramatically.

In this post, I’ve asked other travel writers to share some of their favorite shows and movies about Norway and why the recommend them to other travelers. I hope you find some great films to add to your watch list and that they help you have an even better trip!

Norwegian Documentaries and Docudramas

Kon-Tiki (1950)

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Before leaving on your trip to Norway, be sure to watch the documentary Kontiki (1950). It is directed by the explorer himself, Thor Heyerdahl. He and his crew set out on a wooden raft to test his theory that the Polynesian Islands were originally populated from Peru, not Asia

Kon-Tiki won the 1952 Academy Award for the year’s Best Documentary. The film chronicles a daring expedition 101- day journey across the Pacific, reflecting the Norwegians’ spirit of exploration and adventure. As you witness the challenges faced by the crew, you’ll gain insight into the country’s maritime history and the tenacity of its people.

To deepen your connection with the film, visit the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, housing the original raft and artifacts. The Bygdøy Peninsula, where the museum stands, also features other maritime gems like the Fram Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, and the Viking Ship Museum (closed until 2027). These sites offer a captivating glimpse into Norway’s seafaring heritage, providing context for the documentary.

Kon-Tiki (2012)

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Fast forward to 2012, where directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg reimagine Heyerdahl’s epic tale in a feature film. Watching “Kontiki” (2012) brings the narrative to life with stunning visuals and a contemporary perspective.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Film of the Year and won multiple other awards. While the film takes some creative liberties for dramatic effect, it remains remarkably faithful to the spirit of the original journey.

The Kontiki documentary-docudrama duo serves as a cinematic gateway, enriching your travel experience with a deeper understanding of Norway’s rich heritage and adventurous spirit.

22. July (2018)

22. July is a compelling and emotionally charged docudrama based on a true story. It offers a harrowing yet important cinematic experience. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the film delves into the horrifying events of the 2011 Norway attacks, primarily set in Oslo and Utøya.

While the Norwegian film uses actual events as its basis, it includes some fictional elements to enhance the narrative. Starring Jonas Strand Gravli, the movie effectively captures the resilience of the survivors and the nations response to the tragedy. It’s a gripping and well-acted account of the attacks and their aftermath.

22.July is one of the best movies about Norway to watch before a trip because it will enhance the viewer’s experience. It provides historical context and a deeper understanding of the resilience and unity of the Norwegian people in the face of adversity.

Travelers will gain insights into the country’s culture, values, and how the nation came together during a dark period. This film offers a unique insight into the human spirit and the power of solidarity in the face of tragedy.

Contributed by Victoria at Guide Your Travel

Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway (2023)

Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway is a movie loosely based on Sagarika Chakraboty’s memoir, The Journey of a Mother. It tells a story about her battle to fight the Norwegian Child Welfare Service for her children’s custody after they were forcibly taken from their family house and moved them to foster home. 

Set in Stavanger, the movie follows the story of Debika and her husband Aniruddha. They get a visit from the Norwegian Child Welfare Service (Velfred) employees. 

The Chatterjee family moved to Norway from India and, during these Velfred visits, there were some obvious cultural differences that resulted in Velfred’s decision to take custody of their children. Some things that are common in Indian culture such as feeding their children with their hands or letting the kids sleep with their parents, were seen as unfit by the Norwegian authorities. 

Starring Rani Mukherjee as Debika, the movie highlights some interesting aspects of Norway that most people wouldn’t see otherwise. The media often portray Norway and other Scandinavian countries as picture-perfect places to live, but this movie highlights the flaws and struggles that immigrants could face due to cultural differences. 

The movie is suitable for families with kids, especially if they plan to move overseas. It will highlight the importance of knowing the basic law implemented in the country that you’re going to. 

It is one of the best movies about Norway to watch before your trip because culture shock is real. The best thing you can do is be prepared for it because something common in your culture can result in the involvement of law enforcement elsewhere if you’re not careful.

Contributed by Marya at The BeauTraveler

Norwegian World War 2 Movies 

The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

Based on a true story from the second world war, most of the film is true to fact. However, this Norwegian World War Two movie has been given the Hollywood treatment through adding a few elements to make it more dramatic.

The story is about a group of resistance fighters trying to sabotage a plant manufacturing heavy water which is used in atomic bombs.

The film starts with two Norwegian resistance fighters traveling to Britain where a raid against the plant is planned together with British intelligence. Unfortunately the plane carrying the English officers to Norway is shot down. To ensure the Germans don’t get access to the heavy water the Norwegian resistance fighters decide to undertake the operation on their own.

Much of the film is shot in Telemark and shows what Norwegian winters can be like. Although it showcases Norway’s mountain scenery, that is not the main reason to watch the film.

Watching the film before traveling to Norway will give you some understanding of Norwegian history. Norway is a relatively young country and therefore acts of bravery like this are viewed as important historic events. Being Norwegian myself I used to watch this film at school. I have watched it several times, as have most Norwegians.

Contributed by Kristin at Scotland Less Explored

War Sailor (Krigsseileren) (2022)

War Sailor is a gripping WWII series that tells the tale of Norwegian sailors fighting for their country’s freedom. The show brilliantly intertwines factual events with a rich narrative, revealing the undying spirit of the Norwegians during a tumultuous time. Its breathtaking cinematography paints a vivid picture of the scenic beauty of Norway, particularly the picturesque city of Bergen.

Visiting Norway after watching this series will give travelers a unique perspective. The streets of Bergen, portrayed with so much historical significance in the show, will come alive as you walk them. The series introduces viewers to the country’s wartime past and deepens their appreciation for its enduring beauty and resilient spirit despite the difficulties of their lives.

In essence, War Sailor is more than just a historical drama; it’s a bridge to Norway’s past. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of well-crafted stories, or someone planning a trip to Bergen, this series offers a moving and immersive experience. It’ll linger in your thoughts long after the credits roll, making your connection to Norway even more profound.

Contributed by Odo at caribevibes.com

The King’s Choice (Kongens Nei) (2016)

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The King’s Choice is a multi-award winning historical drama that offers insight into a crucial chapter of Norway’s past. Directed by the renowned Norwegian director, Erik Poppe, the film portrays the events of April 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded Norway. 

It primarily revolves around the difficult choices faced by King Haakon VII (grandfather of Harald V, the current king of Norway). The king is played by Jesper Christensen, and he grapples with the decision to resist the German occupation or surrender to avoid bloodshed. The film is based on real-life events but takes some creative liberties in the telling of the story. 

There is a focus on the king’s personal and political struggles instead of a heavy emphasis on action and battle scenes. Set against the backdrop of Norway’s scenic landscapes and historic sites, The King’s Choice beautifully captures the country’s rich history and its role during World War II. 

It is one of the best movies about Norway to watch before your trip because it will enhance your understanding of the country’s resilience and its people’s commitment to their sovereignty. It provides a poignant perspective on the challenges faced during a tumultuous period in Norwegian history. History enthusiasts and those interested in the human aspects of wartime decisions will find The King’s Choice an engaging and thought-provoking film.

Atlantic Crossing  (2020)

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Atlantic Crossing is a different interpretation of the same events that inspired the previous recommendation, The King’s Choice. Eight episodes tell a longer version of the complex story of diplomacy, espionage, and the impact of World War II on Norway and the United States. Created by Alexander Eik, the show is recognized as a more fictional account  but still offers a riveting look at a lesser-known chapter of history and the personal lives intertwined with the fates of nations.

At the center of the series is the relationship between Norwegian Crown Princess Märtha and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Their connection is framed by the backdrop of global conflict. Cinematic liberties showcase the personal sacrifices and political maneuvering that shaped the course of history.

To delve deeper into Norway’s World War II history, travelers can explore sites like the Norwegian Resistance Museum in Oslo, the War Museum in Narvik, and the Norsk Krigsleiemuseum in Narvik, where exhibits and artifacts offer a tangible connection to the era depicted in “Atlantic Crossing.”

Atlantic Crossing is a captivating portrayal of a little-known facet of history. This series not only provides viewers with a dramatic narrative but also deepens our understanding of Norway’s unique role during World War II. It’s a must-watch for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking to uncover the intricate relationships and events that shaped Norway’s past and its place on the global stage.

Norwegian Dramas

Thelma (2017) 

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Thelma is a fascinating and thought-provoking Norwegian drama that expertly blends psychological drama and supernatural mysteries. Through fiction, this film skillfully mixes the supernatural with a struggle for identity. It causes the audience to question the boundaries between the real and the imaginary. 

The movie is directed by Joachim Trier and is about a college student who starts experiencing extreme seizures while she is studying at a university in Oslo. It follows the journey of her violent episodes and how they are a symptom of dangerous supernatural elements.

This Norwegian film stars Eili Harboe as the main character. She gives a fascinating and subtle performance that perfectly captures the core of Thelma’s internal problems and emotional agony. 

It provides viewers with a breathtaking visual depiction of the captivating natural landscapes of Norway in Europe. It focuses on the charm of Oslo and its surrounding areas in particular. 

The film portrays Norway’s stunning beauty and explores Norwegian culture and society. It is an excellent introduction to the country’s rich legacy and mesmerising landscapes. 

It provides a unique opportunity for travellers considering a trip to Norway to immerse themselves in the country’s fascinating ambience and develop a greater appreciation for its cultural intricacies and picturesque places.

Contributed by Lavina D’souza at Continent Hop

Varg Veum (2007 – 2012)

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Varg Veum is a wonderful Norwegian crime television series by Lumiere. It’s the perfect series to watch if you are a fan of “Nordic Noir” or if you are interested in watching crime series in general. Not only the suspense of this show is great but it also intrigues with an authentic portrayal of Norwegian culture and scenery. 

The television series centers on Varg Veum, a private detective based in Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway. Set against the backdrop of Bergen’s iconic wooden houses and surrounding fjords, Detective Veum tackles a range of crime cases, often delving into the darker sides of Norwegian society. Throughout the series, you get a genuine taste of Bergen’s atmosphere and a glimpse into the complexities of its inhabitants.

The storylines of the series are based on the novels of Norwegian writer Gunnar Staalesen and are, however, completely fictional. 

Several talented Norwegian actors have brought the characters of Varg Veum to life on screen but most notable is Trond Espen Seim who stars as detective Varg Veum. The series has had multiple directors, each bringing their unique style to the episodes.

The series is predominantly set in Bergen, one of Norway’s most historic and beautiful cities. As a traveler, you will surely visit this city as a part of your itinerary. Through the series, you will already be familiar with its streets, squares, and landmarks and feel a sense of connection when you actually visit. 

The series also provides useful insights into Norwegian culture giving travelers a more in-depth understanding of the country’s people, their way of life, values, and the challenges they face. Lastly, the series also boasts various off-the-beaten-path locations in and around Bergen that you can visit on your trip!

Contributed by Annelies from Travelers & Dreamers

Norwegian Action Movies

Troll (2022)

This is an action-filled Norwegian movie that integrates modern life with traditional Norwegian folklore. The trolls are deeply integrated into Norway’s folklore, and in this movie, the legendary giants come to life as they wake up from a deep sleep. They walk from the mountainous areas and into modern cities in Norway destroying everything that comes in their way, while a team of local experts are set to stop them.

The stories and legends about the trolls that are told throughout the movie are all tales that every Norwegian kid has grown up with for centuries, so it definitely gives you a sense of Norwegian roots.

It is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Gard B. Eidsvold, Pål Richard Lunderby, and Eric Vorenholt.

It is not recommended for kids under 13 years of age, but is a great film to see for families with older kids, especially action lovers mixed with the mystery of old folklore. The movie also shows incredible nature which will spark an interest for anyone wanting to go hiking in Norway on their upcoming trip.

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

The Wave (Bølgen) – 2015

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The Wave was the first of several popular Norwegian disaster movies. It depicts the catastrophic consequences of what would happen when a large piece of the mountain collapses into the narrow Geirangerfjord below. It creates a tsunami flooding through the fjord and towards the village at the end of it.

There are several mountain sections like this in Norway, that are in danger of collapsing and creating such a wave (although not as dramatic). This is what inspired the movie. We follow a geologist, played by Kristoffer Joner, as he races to save his family before the wave hits the village of Geiranger.

Anyone planning a trip to Norway will enjoy this movie, especially if you are visiting the western fjords. Geiranger is a popular tourist destination, and The Wave showcases the Geirangerfjord (one of the #1 attractions in the area) in a new light.

It also introduces travellers to the potential natural disasters threatening Norway; mainly landslides and avalanches. In Norway we live next to these mountains that threaten us in a way that is imilar to how in certain US states people can experience (and are prepared for) hurricanes and tornadoes.

Contributed by Lisa Stentvedt at Fjords & Beaches

Vikings

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The television series Vikings is a multi-award winning historical drama that immerses viewers in the tumultuous world of Norse warriors and their legendary explorations. It was a global sensation and reignited interest in Viking history. Created by Michael Hirst, Vikings offers six seasons of exciting television viewing to explore the rich history of the Viking age.

At the heart of Vikings is the enigmatic figure of Ragnar Lothbrok, a powerful character from Norse legends. His quest for exploration and conquest takes audiences on a thrilling journey to distant lands that later became places like England and France.

The series is loosely based on history, in part because of how much is unknown about Viking culture, religious traditions, and ceremonies.  Instead, the striking visual storytelling inspires viewers to do their own research after many episodes. The series also interweaves elements of Norse mythology, portraying gods like Odin and Freyja into the story.

The story is set in the fictional town of Kattegat in Norway. Most of the filming was done in Ireland, but there are many scenes filmed in Norway. Especially as the seasons unfold, filming was done in many other countries. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Scandinavia’s fjords, forests, and coastlines, the show achieves stunning scenic realism. 

For travelers eager to experience the Viking world in person, Norway offers a wealth of opportunities. Visitors can explore historical sites like the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, the Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten Islands, and many Viking living history centers around the country. These locations provide a tangible connection to the Viking legacy portrayed in Vikings, allowing enthusiasts to step back in time and immerse themselves in the history, culture, and heritage of these seafaring warriors.

Norwegian Comedies

Home for Christmas (2019-2020)

This modern Norwegian TV show aired on Netflix and took the world by storm despite being entirely in the Norwegian language (with English subtitles), thanks to its relatable characters and classic Christmas rom-com storyline. 

Filmed in Oslo and the adorable small Norwegian town of Røros, this hilarious series follows the perpetually single Johanne (played by Ida Elise Broch) who is looking for a new boyfriend to bring home for Christmas, purely to divert from the usual family harassment surrounding her single status. Any females in their 20’s or 30’s who have faced similar questions throughout their lives can relate to this great plot line! 

While this Norwegian comedy is complete fiction, the traditions, customs, and societal situations are very true to life in Norway and give you a great insight into the country’s culture in everyday life. Whether you’re dating a Norwegian or visiting during the holiday season, this two season show will absolutely prepare you for what to expect at the Julebord (Christmas table).

Contributed by Kate Fletcher at Bags-Always-Packed

Norsemen

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Some Norwegian humor can be very entertaining. This is what you will see when watching Netflix’s Norwegian comedy Norsemen. This series combines the pre-medieval Viking culture and lifestyle with modern humor in the character’s day-to-day lives. 

The setting is a fictional village where the Viking characters live and interact with each other. It comedically deals with the issues and problems of that time including slavery, religion, family, sexual orientation, societal expectations, and modernization. With the locations being shot in parts of Southern Norway you get to see part of the landscape beauty of this country. 

If you decide to watch this before going to Norway, it may pique your interest in learning more about the history of the Vikings and their impact on the rest of the world. Learn about their ships, weapons, religion, games, and royalty. Even if it does not make any changes to your perception of Norway, it is always fun to see the different types of comedy from around the world. You may find you enjoy it more than your own.

Submitted by Nick of The World Overload

Norwegian Family Movies

Frozen (2013)

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With an amazing story and soundtrack, Disney’s Frozen is one of the most successful and beautifully animated musical films ever produced. Set in the fictional Kingdom of Arendelle, it draws inspiration from many Norwegian locations including Arendal and Bergen.

The film follows Princess Anna on an epic adventure as she travels across the Kingdom with her friend Kristof and his reindeer Sven on a mission to end the perpetual winter accidentally brought on by her sister, Queen Elsa.

Idina Mensel and Kristen Bell bring Anna and Elsa’s voices to life with directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee skillfully navigating the film to its emotional conclusion.

Children and adults will love this movie’s mix of catch sing-along songs and its divergence from traditional fairy tale conventions. Visitors to Norway will love looking out for the many architectural and scenic similarities that run through the film. From stunning fjords to traditional stave churches, after watching the film you’ll feel like you have stepped into the world’s largest movie set!

Contributed by Tom and Katie at www.trekkingthedream.com

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

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What makes How to Train Your Dragon a great movie to watch is its universal appeal to both kids and adults. This animated gem, directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, combines exciting visuals, a heartwarming story, and a lovable dragon named Toothless. It’s set in the fictional island of Berk, which draws inspiration from the rugged landscapes of the west coast of Norway. While the film is a work of fiction, its landscapes echo the majestic fjords and coastal beauty that Norway is known for.

In this film, a young Viking named Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel, learns about acceptance and friendship as he befriends Toothless, a Night Fury dragon. Together, they strive to change their community’s perception of dragons. 

Watching How to Train Your Dragon can enhance your trip to Norway by sparking a sense of wonder for the country’s natural beauty and curiosity about its past. Families can explore the coastal regions of Norway, and children may imagine themselves on their own dragon-riding adventures amidst Norway’s enchanting scenery. It can also spark conversations and deeper dives into learning more about Viking history and Norse Mythology, where dragons played an important role.

The author and her family hiking Jostedal Glacier in Norway

Movies About Norway to Add to Your Watchlist

I hope you found some wonderful movies about Norway to add to your watchlist in this article! Let they joy of your trip extend far beyond your time in Norway by learning and enjoying as much as you can before you arrive. Trip Scholars is dedicated to helping you make the most of learning through travel so take some time to explore our site and see how we can enhance your travels.

Tell us about your plans for Norway in the comments or your favorite Norwegian films. We’d love to hear from you!

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12 thoughts on “The Best Movies About Norway to Watch Before Your Trip”

    • Wonderful, you will love it when you go! We’ve got more posts coming to learn about Norway before you go over the next few months. Hopefully they’ll be some help too.

      Reply
  1. I think it adds to the enjoyment of your vacation if you watch movies and travel shows about your destination before you visit. I did this recently for my Sicily trip.

    Reply
  2. I do like the idea of watching movies about a place before we visit. But we sadly did not do this before we went to Norway. This set of movies would certainly give a wide view of different parts and facets of Norway. And could help with any culture shock we might feel. I love the wide variety of kinds of movies you have included. Something for everyone.

    Reply
  3. Thank you so much for this blog post! We will be in Norway (Svolvaer, Bergen & Oslo) in June 2024 and will try to watch as many of these selections as possible in advance of the trip.

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot for your kind words, Bill! I am so glad you found it helpful. Norway is an astounding country and I wish you an amazing trip!

      Reply

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