The Top 20 Best Iceland Movies

Icelandic films are gradually being pulled into the spotlight. Dive in into our must-watch, top best Iceland movies of all time!

Best Iceland Movies

blog authorBy Johanna Sigurðardóttir shield verificationVerified Expert

The Icelandic film industry is alive and well. And although you have plenty of Hollywood elite visiting the island to shoot on location for films such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, there are plenty of prestigious local productions raking in the accolades. We reveal our picks of the top 20 best Iceland movies ever made.

The capital of Iceland offers prime shooting opportunities for some of the best Icelandic films situated in Reykjavík. What many don't know, is the city doubles as host to the Reykjavík International Film Festival each year as well. During this time, stars and fans of the silver screen alike flock to the island.

There, they network, watch exclusive screenings and reward remarkable work. But what many find most surprising is that the Icelanders can clearly hold their own among big-budget blockbusters.

If you would like to brush up on your local film knowledge (or Icelandic) before your trip, these are the 20 must-watch movies:

1. Lamb (2021)

Genre: Horror

Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snær Gudnason, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, Ingvar Sigurdsson

If Frankenstein had been a folk tale shot in Iceland, this would have been what the movie would’ve looked like. A sheep gives birth to a strange hybrid human/sheep baby and the family, who had suffered the loss of a child before, raises her as their own. But without truly understanding her origins and already-complex relationships, the story is bound to take a turn for the worst.

Best Iceland movies: Lamb

2. Beautiful Beings (2022)

Genre: Drama

Director: Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson

Cast: Birgit Dagur Bjarkason, Askell Einar Pálmason, Viktor Benóny Benediktsson, Snorri Rafn Frimannsson

As with most coming-of-age movies, you’ll need a strong stomach and heart of steel to tackle this Icelandic movie. A 14-year-old outsider befriends three boys his age, but the friendship faces its fair share of challenges.

Iceland movies: beautiful beings

3. Woman at War (2018)

Genre: Quirky Satire

Director: Benedikt Erlingsson

Cast: Halldóra Gerhardsdóttir, Jóhann Sigurdarson, Juan Camilo Román Estrada, Jörundur Ragnarsson

This is one of the Iceland films that were raking in awards. A fifty-year-old woman quietly leads a double life as an environmental activist. As she reaches a new milestone in her life – adopting a child – the mother-to-be plans her final (and biggest) activist operation yet.

Woman at war, Icelandic movie

4. Cop Secret (2021)

Genre: Action

Director: Hannes Pór Halldórsson

Cast: Audunn Blöndal, Egill Einarsson, Sverrir Pór Sverrisson, Steinunn Olina Porsteinsdóttir

This is your typical action movie. Expect loads of fights, car chases, shoot-outs and more when this troubled cop is on the hunt for a group of violent bank robbers.

Iceland films

5. Heartstone (2016)

Genre: LGBTQ Drama

Director: Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson

Cast: Baldur Einarsson, Blær Hinriksson, Diljá Valsdóttir, Katla Njálsdóttir

This is yet another one of the coming-of-age Icelandic movies, but with a twist. Two best friends from a small fishing village in Iceland grow up together, and soon love interests follow. But as one of the friends starts pursuing a girl, the other realize that their heart tugs in another direction.

Heartstone Icelandic movie

6. Metalhead (2013)

Genre: Drama

Director: Ragnar Bragason

Cast: Thora Bjorg Helga, Ingvar Sigurdsson, Halldóra Geirhardsdóttir, Sveinn Olafur Gunnarsson

This is definitely one of the more unique movies in Iceland. After the death of her brother, a girl finds solace in metal music. She has to tread a fine line between healthy relationships, non-destructive behavior and her dreams of becoming a metal rock star.

movies in Iceland

7. Patient Seven (2016)

Genre: Horror Thriller

Director: Danny Draven, Paul Davis, Omar Orn Hauksson, Dean Hewison, Joel Morgan, Johannes Persson, Nicholas Peterson, Erlingur Thoroddsen Rasmus Wassberg

Cast: Michael Ironside, Jack Plotnick, Drew Fonteiro, Rane Jameson

Patient Seven is an Iceland movie about a renowned but sadistic psychiatrist. He starts his interview process for his new book with six mental patients at Spring Valley Mental Hospital. But his interviews only lead to more questions. Especially who actually belongs there?

Icelandic movies in netflix

8. The Deep (2012)

Genre: Action, Drama

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Cast: Olafur Darri Olafsson, Stefán Hallur Stefánsson, Joi Johannsson, Thora Bjorg Helga

This is one of the most authentic Icelandic movies ever made, since the movie is based on real events. It tells the story of a fisherman trying to survive the freezing ocean waters after his boat capsizes.

The Deep Icelandic movie

9. A White, White Day (2019)

Genre: Drama

Director: Hlynur Pálmason

Cast: Ingvar Sigurdsson, Ida Mekkín Hlynsdóttir, Hilmir Snær Gudnason, Sara Dögg Asgeirsdóttir

This Iceland movie explores how far obsession can go and the impact it has on those around you. The story focuses on an off-duty police officer that tries to uncover the truth behind the suspicions that his wife had an affair with one of the local men.

best Icelandic films

10. Redux (2022)

Genre: Crime Drama

Director: Heimir Bjarnason

Cast: Bjárni Snæbjörnsson, Anna Hafpórsdóttir, Gudrún Gísladóttir

In an almost idyllic little village in the south of Iceland, a woman’s sister-in-law meets a tragic (and suspicious) end. But things take a turn for the worse when her brother suddenly disappears after her death.

Redux Icelandic movie

11. Rams (2015)

Genre: Comedy Drama

Director: Grimur Hákonarson

Cast: Sigurdur Sigurjónsson, Theodór Júlíusson, Charlotte Boving, Jón Benónysson

In the purest of pursuits to ever grace our Iceland movie screens (saving their sheep), two brothers who have not spoken to each other for 40 years join forces.

Rams, Icelandic movie

12. I Remember You (2017)

Genre: Horror Mystery

Director: Oskar Thór Axelsson

Cast: Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Agústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, Sara Dögg Asgeirsdóttir, Elma Stefania Agustsdottir

This is probably one of the darkest Iceland films. A horrific suicide occurs inside a church. But things are not what they seem, and soon there are other deaths. What is the driving force of these incidents? Could it be the past literally coming back to haunt them?

Remember you, Icelandic film

13. Life in a Fishbowl (2014)

Genre: Drama

Director: Baldvin Zophoniasson

Cast: Hera Hilmar, Sveinn Olafur Gunnarsson, Porsteinn Bachmann, Atli Oskar Fjalarsson

A preschool teacher and single mother is trying to make ends meet by selling sexual services. A good family man finds himself in the snake pit of international banking. And a renowned poet is drinking himself to death. But what happens when their lives get intertwined?

Best Icelandic films

14. 101 Reykjavík (2000)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Cast: Hilmir Snær Gudnason, Victoria Abril, Hanna María Karlsdóttir, Prúdur Vilhjálmsdóttir

In this Iceland movie, Hlynur is your typical loser. An unemployed man with no ambition whatsoever and still living with his mother whilst in his 30s. But add a lesbian flamenco teacher and drunken Reykjavík nights into the mix. Chaos soon erupts in the normally uneventful life of Hlynur.

Best Films in Reykjavik


15. Virgin Mountain (2015)

Genre: Heart-warming Drama

Director: Dagur Kári

Cast: Gunnar Jónsson, Ilmur Kristjánsdóttir, Sigurjón Kjartansson, Margrét Helga Jóhannsdóttir

This is one of the most endearing Iceland films. Fusi is a 40-year-old, reclusive man still living with his mother and stuck in the same old boring routine. But dancing classes soon changes his life.

Reykjavik movie

16. When the Raven Flies (1984)

Genre: Action Adventure

Director: Hrafn Gunnlaugsson

Cast: Jakob Pór Einarsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Helgi Skúlason, Gotti Sigurdarson

This Iceland movie is very much in the veins of Braveheart. Only it’s not based on true life events, and it’s an Irish man seeking revenge against the Vikings who murdered his family. So if you enjoy action-period pieces, this one should definitely be on your watch list.

Best Icelandic films

17. And Breathe Normally (2018)

Genre: Drama

Director: Isold Uggadottir

Cast: Kristín Póra Haraldsdóttir, Babetida Sadjo, Patrik Nökkvi Petursson, Kolbeinn Arnbjörnsson

This Iceland movie tells the story of what happens when a refugee from Guinea-Bissau, facing deportation, and a struggling single Icelandic mother meet. 

Icelandic movies

18. Of Horses and Men (2013)

Genre: Comedy Drama

Director: Benedikt Erlingsson

Cast: Ingvar Sigurdsson, Charlotte Boving, Johann Pall Oddson, Kristbjörg Kjeld

If you’re expecting a horse movie such as Black Beauty or War Horse, this Iceland movie is not for you. Whilst you still have all the usual elements of a horse movie from majestic shots to more technical lingo regarding forelocks and gaits that only horse-lover will know, this story is just as much a commentary on the human condition as it is about the animal world of horses.

movies in Iceland

19. The Oath (2016)

Genre: Thriller

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Cast: Baltasar Kormákur, Hera Hilmar, Gísli Orn Gardarsson, Margrét Bjarnadóttir

What would you do as a father if your daughter falls in love with someone you don’t approve of? And what if the new boyfriend is a drug dealer? This Iceland movie is about a successful heart surgeon’s attempts to break this new couple up. He is willing to go to great lengths to ensure that they stay apart.

Best Iceland Movies: The Oath

20. Under the Tree (2017)

Genre: Comedy Thriller

Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson

Cast: Steinpór Hróar Steindórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Sigurdur Sigurjónsson, Porsteinn Bachmann

This is one of the movies in Iceland that starts off quite light-hearted and turns dark pretty quickly. What starts off as a normal neighbourly dispute over a tree soon escalates to extraordinary and surprising levels.

Icelandic films

More where this came from

Although these are just our top 20 picks, there is a myriad of great Icelandic movies to watch. There’s no need to stop after movie number 20! And once you’ve landed in Reykjavík, you’ll be sure to find a few locals more than happy to share their picks with you as well. If you enjoy streaming your movies, don’t forget to keep an eye out, as you’ll also be able to find quite a few Icelandic movies on Netflix - no matter where in the world you are.

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