Movies and Television Shows to Watch Before Visiting Iceland
With its dramatic landscapes and breathtaking scenery, Iceland is not only a popular place to shoot major films and television shows, but also a country with its own wide variety of critically acclaimed movie and TV masterpieces. Get a taste of some of the scenery and culture that you will see and experience throughout your trip with some of our picks below:
101 Reykjavik (2000)
Taking place in downtown Reykjavik in the 1990s, before the tourist boom began, 101 Reykjavik is a light-hearted comedy directed by Icelandic actor and film director Baltasar Kormákur. This film follows a 30-year-old man named Hylnur who still lives at home with his mother, possessing little direction in life. Get a feel for real-life Reykjavik with this film that encompasses the life of a local Icelandic man, and has won numerous international awards.
Children of Nature (1991)
The only Icelandic movie to ever have been nominated for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards, Children of Nature is an important piece of Icelandic culture. After leaving his home in the Icelandic countryside, main character Thorgeir finds himself in a senior citizens home in Reykjavik where he meets his childhood best friend Stella. Together, the elderly friends decide to escape together in a stolen Jeep to revisit the places where they grew up. With mesmerizing Icelandic locations and stunning cinematography, Children of Nature perfectly portrays the beauty of Iceland while telling a magical story.
Nói, The Albino (2003)
A quirky coming of age film, Nói, The Albino is about a 17 year old boy who lives in the remote Westfjords with his grandmother and alcoholic father. Dreaming of escaping the fishing village in which he grew up in, the journey of the main character perfectly portrays small-town adolescence. The most critically acclaimed Icelandic film, winning over 20 awards, Noi, The Albino tells the story of the struggles of isolation and freedom-seeking, and will leave you in awe of the beautifully depicted Icelandic landscapes.
Under the Arctic Sky (2017)
This adventure-filled documentary follows six fearless surfers as they travel to the frozen northern coast of Iceland to chase giant waves, as the worst storm Iceland has seen in 25 years approaches. Enduring constant darkness and stormy seas, watch as these six men make history surfing under the northern lights. Filled with incredible footage taken with high-tech cameras, this adrenaline-pumping documentary perfectly captures the beauty of the Icelandic coast.
Game of Thrones (2011-2019)
Emmy Award-winning television series Game of Thrones uses dozens of filming locations throughout Iceland that you’ll actually be able to visit while on your trip. In pretty much any episode of this fantasy drama series you choose to watch, you will catch many glimpses of breathtaking Icelandic scenery from real places such as Thingvellir National Park.
Angels of the Universe (2000)
Produced and directed by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, the Icelandic film Angels of the Universe tells the story of a young man’s struggle as he descends into mental illness after being dumped by his girlfriend. This tragic masterpiece follows sensitive and artistic Páll on his way to inevitable doom as it depicts his struggle both inside and outside of a mental institution. This film uses stunning storytelling and beautiful cinematography to portray the sad truth of mental illness while creating an amazing film that takes place in the heart of Reykjavik.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
Directed by and starring famous American actor Ben Stiller, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an adventure-filled, comedy-drama film shot almost entirely in the USA and Iceland. Charming and entertaining, this film tells the story of Life Magazine employee Walter Mitty embarking on a global journey like none other. Although this film takes place in various locations such as Afghanistan, Greenland, and the Himalayas, Iceland is used as the shooting location for almost every foreign destination that the main character finds himself in. Immerse yourself in the wondrous Icelandic landscapes with this imaginative and visually appealing film.
Trapped (2015 - )
This television series, starring American-born Icelandic actor Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, is the highest budget TV production ever made in Iceland. Trapped tells the ongoing story of a small-town cop living in a small coastal village far from the capital city of Reykjavik, where the inhabitants are snowed in and unable to escape with a murderer on the loose. The impressive writing, acting, and editing of this television series helps to highlight the Icelandic landscape and climate and its unique culture.