10 Good Swedish Movies

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm

These 10 good Swedish movies should provide a solid overview of some of the great works to come out of this Scandinavian country in the last half-century. Whether you’re talking about established masters such as Ingmar Bergman or more recent arrivals like Lukas Moodysson, the cinema of Sweden offers a wide array of movies, both in theme and genre. The Academy Awards agree, having bestowed 14 nominations and three wins on Swedish motion pictures in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

If you’d like to rent a few good Swedish movies from this list, be sure to click on the link and become a Netflix member. You can also add them to your permanent DVD collection by visiting Amazon, a site whose prices on DVDs and Blu-ray discs simply can’t be beat (not legally, at least). We do get a commission if you spend money with either of these services, but it doesn’t affect your final cost in the least.

Through a Glass Darkly (1961) – A spiritually-charged character study from Swedish master Ingmar Bergman, the film follows a family of four–including one recently released from an asylum–over a 24-hour period as they vacation on an island. Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Kopps (2003) – The police in a small Swedish village spend their time drinking coffee and chasing cows due to a lack of lawbreakers. But when a review board visits and threatens to put them on the unemployment line, the resourceful cops begin to stage a series of hilarious crimes. A terrific modern Swedish comedy, the rights to Kopps were bought for a possible American remake by Adam Sandler.

The Seventh Seal (1957) – Ingmar Bergman’s most enduring film, The Seventh Seal tells of a disillusioned knight, Antonius Block (Max von Sydow), returning from a Crusade and engaging Death in a game of chess amidst a plague-riddled Sweden. Filled with iconic imagery that’s oft-imitated, the film helped to establish Bergman as the first auteur of the Swedish cinema.

Fanny and Alexander (1982) – 25 years after he gained international acclaim with The Seventh Seal, Ingmar Bergman directed this film released for both theatrical and television audiences. Set in Sweden during the early 20th century, the story revolves around young Alexander (Bertil Guve) and his sister, Fanny (Pernilla Allwin). When their father dies suddenly, their mother remarries a local bishop, and the new step-father sets about imposing his will on the family with tragic results. Following its release in the U.S., the film won four Academy Awards (including Best Foreign Language Film).

Join Netflix for as little as $7.99 per month and enjoy films from Sweden and every other country.

Everlasting Moments (2008) – Directed by Jan Troell, this inspirational film is based on the real-life story of Maria Larsson (Maria Heiskanen), a working-class Swede who wins a camera and goes on to become a professional photographer in the early 20th century.

Songs from the Second Floor (2000) – An examination of modern life, this film from director Roy Andersson presents a number of vignettes centered around commerce–both good and bad–and greed. While not nominated for a Foreign Language Oscar, the film would receive the prestigious Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Lilya 4-ever (2002) – A brutal look at the human sex trade courtesy of director Lukas Moodysson and star Oksana Akinshina. Abandoned by her mother and then betrayed by her aunt and best friend, teenage Lilya is driven into a life of desperation of prostitution. But things only get worse for the sad young woman, and soon the entire world seems to be conspiring against her. Depending on your personal beliefs, the final scene can either be viewed as uplifting and an extension of the hopelessness that’s come before.

Let the Right One In (2008) – Swedish cinema received an influx of fans following the release of this haunting vampire tale from director Tomas Alfredson. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a bullied 12-year-old living near Stockholm, but his young life takes a disturbing turn when he falls for Eli (Lina Leandersson), an ageless vampire who appears to be a girl his own age. The bodies start piling up, and the stark violence is contrasted by the tender relationship between the two leads. Based on the even more graphic novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the American remake (Let Me In) will hit theaters October 1st, 2010.

Raven’s End (1963) – Set in the 1930s, Raven’s End looks at the life of Anders (Thommy Berggren), an aspiring novelist who’s supported by his girlfriend (Christina Framback) and his parents. Meanwhile, his pal Sixteen (Ingvar Hirdwall) dreams of becoming a soccer player in Paris and bedding lots of prostitutes. Family problems ensue, leaving Anders longing for a way out. Directed by Bo Widerberg, the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Show Me Love (1998) – In the Swedish town of Amal, two teenage girls fall in love and deal with the consequences. Directed by Lukas Moodysson, the film stars Alexandra Dahlstrom as the popular Elin and Rebecka Liljeberg as the morose Agnes.

If this list of 10 good Swedish movies has put you in a mood for international cinema, be sure to check out these other articles from Only Good Movies:

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 at 5:22 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “10 Good Swedish Movies”

Leave a Comment

August 19, 2010


Good list. I would have put Ronja Robbersdaughter on it though 🙂

April 13, 2011

amber rose

well i think this web site is awesome btw… lol for the bloody face kids awesome <3 <3 <3

January 16, 2012

heather white

Trying to find the name of a Swedish (I think!) film that contrasted Xmas at a Calvinist household and a family Xmas at a totally open and free household that had no rules. Can you help me?

March 16, 2012


I really like “As it is in Heaven” and anything with Michael Nyqvist in it. All of the Swedish films I have watched on netflix have been stellar. Let the right ones in was fabulous!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *