5 Icelandic movies worth checking out

People are always asking me to recommend Icelandic movies to watch so I thought I’d just write a post for everyone instead of answering the question privately a million times. Usually I recommend that people check out Icelandic Cinema Online, which is a great VOD service specializing in Icelandic movies, but below you can also find a few great options.

Angels Of The Universe

Angels of the universe

Angles of the Universe is probably my favorite Icelandic movie. It’s a story of young man and his struggles with a serious mental illness and the people in his life. It’s funny and sad and the characters are hilarious. The music in the movie is also really good, composed by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, and Sigur Rós made two songs specially for the movie.



The Sea

The  Sea

The Sea tells the story of a dysfunctional (this is common theme in Icelandic movies actually) Icelandic family that is a big deal in the small fishing town they live in. It contains a lot of drama, a cooky grandma and bit of incest – everything a good movie needs.


101 Reykjavík

101 Reykjavík

Once upon a time 101 Reykjavík was the number one reason many people would visit Iceland. It tells the story of Hlynur, a typical 101 rat (what we used to call those who live in 101, now we call them hipsters or scarves), that is a bit lost in his life. His mom decides to come out as a lesbian one day and brings home her girlfriend and flamenco teacher Lola and as a result: Hlynur’s life will never be the same. Oh and Kaffibarinn, there’s a lot of Kaffibarinn in the movie.




Dreamland by Andri Snær Magnason is a documentary that addresses the importance of protecting the Icelandic nature and how we’ve not done a good job of it so far. It talks about the terrible things that happened when the Kárahnjúkar damn was built and how the aluminum giants influenced people to take bad decisions. It’s particularly important that people watch this movie again now because we have a government that seems to be willing to make the same mistakes again for a quick profit. The scene with the duck (goose?) and its eggs kills me.




Out of the five movies covered in this post Metalhead is the newest one. It’s about a girl that has a hard time coping with her brother’s death and is spinning out of control. The only thing she seems to enjoy: Metal Music. It may sound like an odd plot but it works and I actually really enjoyed this movie.

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10 thoughts on “5 Icelandic movies worth checking out”

  1. Vivi says:

    Surely this too must be included: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Deep_(2012_film) Watched it at Thessaloniki Film Festival and was deeply moved!!

  2. mm Auður says:

    This is not a “best Icelandic movies” list and 100 Icelandic movies worth watching seemed a bit excessive so feel free to add you own recommendations 🙂

    I agree, the deep was good.

  3. Anthony says:

    Foreign films tend to be hard to find in UK (legally certainly) – I hadn’t noticed your icelandiccinema.com tip above until I started looking for these! This certainly looks like a good website for a lot of less mainstream or older Icelandic cinema, in particular it has quite a few Hrafn Gunnlaugsson films.

    As I did the digging, see below for where I found some of the other films available – there might be other places, feel free to add if anyone can detail..

    As for other recommendations: Days of Gray and Of Horses and Men are both meant to be excellent; unfortuately the former doesn’t seem to be released anywhere still and the latter is still quite new (it is showing at festivals) but worth keeping your eye open for both!

    Angels Of The Universe
    – rent at icelandiccinema.com (3 euro)

    The Sea
    – rent/download at vudu.com, buy at Amazon (not cheap)

    – rent at icelandiccinema.com (3 euro)

    101 Reykjavik
    – Easy to find (eg. buy from amazon, rent/stream from lovefilm)

    – unknown!

  4. Jutta Soulfari says:

    Don`t forget “Börn náttúrunnar” (Children of Nature) – even though it is older 🙂

  5. Stefanie says:

    Funny, Metalhead was the movie that had completely slipped my mind when I was on your walking tour and you asked me which Icelandic movies I liked. It’s pretty brilliant in my opinion.
    The Sea I liked a lot too, saw it at a festival years ago.
    Have watched 101 Reykjavik a few times now, but still don’t get what’s special about it. That one does not speak to me at all.
    Heard about, but never saw Dreamland.
    Angels of the Universe sounds interesting. will watch out for it.

    Top of my list: Life in a Fishbowl.
    Others I liked a lot: Either way and Volcano

  6. Isabel Carranza says:

    From the trailer of all the movies you posted, I can definitely be sure i want to watch “Dreamland” and “Metalhead”, majorly.
    Can’t believe how much potential there is in the Icelandic cinematographic industry; I wonder why Icelandic movies haven’t really been recognized worldwide (I mean international festivals, awards, or simply, commercial ads), maybe Icelandic people are not that interested in doing so.

    Greetings from Mexico and thanks for sharing!!

  7. Bert Sirkin says:

    Another more recent movie is “Rams” (HRÚTAR). It’s now available for purchase in the US thru Amazon.

  8. Mia says:

    Loved “Rams” and eager to check out some of the others mentioned here. Cheers!

  9. Judi says:

    I just looked up the topic Iceland in my library’s online service and found they have 27 films, fiction and nonfiction, listed. I ordered a bunch now and will order more when I’m done with these.

  10. jan says:

    This very moment I am watching The Cliff.
    Good actors and nice pictures of Iceland.

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