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10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Sweden That Will Inspire You To Visit!

10 Extraordinary Movies Set In Sweden That Will Inspire You To Visit!

Sweden has a lot to offer for both national and international filmmakers. The country has modern cityscapes as well as a strong sense of history with medieval villages and pastoral scenery. So it will come as no surprise that there are so many wonderful movies set in Sweden.

Sweden also has towns, islands, lakes, castles, large woods, archipelagos and beaches, and agricultural landscapes. The success of local series like The Bridge (2011) and Wallander (2005), and international feature films like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) made producers and directors around the world take notice. In this article, we are going to discuss ten films that were filmed, at least partially, in Sweden.

But first, why travel via cinema – and by extension, watch movies set in Sweden? Because wanderlust can take grip at any time, and nothing compares to an on-location movie when it comes to transportive experiences that may be done from home. These films frequently feature magnificent cityscapes, inspiration geographies, and diverse cultures, and they motivate us to travel to new places or relive our experiences when we return home. 

In these Swedish films, the destination becomes the star. 

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Although not all of these films are happy – tragedies and misery are as unavoidable in cinema as they are in life – each one provides panoramic vistas of the enchanted and elongated country that is also home to IKEA and meatballs.

These Swedish films have narratives that rely on their settings as much as their main protagonists, and as a result, spectators get a glimpse of this iconic country through the director’s eyes. To honor the concept of cinematic travel, we have also assembled lists of our favorite films shot in some of our all-time favorite travel destinations: Romania, Italy, Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Alaska, and Israel.

It will be a brief but enjoyable journey, regardless of which film you choose, and will have you wanting to book a ticket on the next flight out to see the Stockholm Metro Art, use the Stockholm Pass to explore Stockholm (or the Gothenburg Pass to explore Gothenburg) or escape the world by wild camping in Sweden.

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Prime (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

movies set in sweden movies about sweden sweden movies swedish films
movies set in sweden movies about sweden sweden movies swedish films
movies set in sweden movies about sweden sweden movies swedish films

The American (2010)

The American is an American action / thriller film directed by Anton Corbijn and starring George Clooney, Thekla Reuten and Violante Placido.

The movie is about a hit man called Jack (Clooney) who, after a job in Sweden spirals out of control, swears to his employer Larry that his next job will be his last. For this last job he goes into hiding in the Italian countryside, in an idyllic small town. Despite the fact that Jack normally dislikes human contact, he meets a local priest and gets involved in a romance with the beautiful Clara. This jeopardizes his last job and more importantly, his own safety.

A small part of The American was filmed in Sweden. The early scenes of the film were shot in Singsjön outside of the village of Brunflo in Jämtland. This county is located somewhat in the center of Sweden close to the Norwegian border. When the film was released the province of Dalarna was credited as being the shooting location, which angered some of the very patriotic Jämtlanders. George Clooney later personally apologized for the error in an interview with Swedish newspaper Nöjesbladet.

Songs from the Second Floor (2000)

Songs from the Second Floor is a Swedish comedy/drama film directed by Roy Andersson and stars Lars Nordh, Stefan Larsson and Tommy Johansson.

In this movie a strange series of illogical events take place. A clerk is made redundant in a degrading manner, a lost immigrant is violently attacked in a busy street, and a magician makes an error in his act. In the midst of all this chaos, one person stands out: Karl. While the new millennium is casting its web and creating a vast mental breakdown, Karl gradually becomes conscious of the absurdity of the world and realizes just how difficult it is to be human.

Songs from the Second Floor was filmed on location in Sweden. One of the filming locations is the village of Slite, which is located in Gotland Municipality, Gotland County, on the island of Gotland. The final scenes take place in the village of Mysinge, located on the island of Öland. Additional filming was done in Studio 24 in Stockholm.

Let the Right One In (2008)

Let the Right One In is a Swedish horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson and stars Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson and Per Ragnar. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay.

The film revolves around Oskar, a 12-year-old boy who is constantly teased by bullies. One day Oskar meets his new neighbor, a girl named Eli who seems to be around his age, and the two become friends. Since she moved in next door to Oskar and his family, a lot of people suddenly die, but nobody knows why, except Oskar, who quickly learns his new neighbor is not a young girl at all, but a vampire.

Most of Let the Right One In was filmed on location in Örnäset, a residential area of the city of Luleå, which is located on the coast of northern Sweden, and is the capital of Norrbotten County. Some scenes were shot in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm which is part of the Bromma borough. Additional filming took place in Bromma, a borough in the western part of Stockholm, and in the city of Boden.

Interesting fact: The Jungle Gym where Oskar and Eli first meet was built specifically for the film and is no longer present at the location of filming.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and it stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, and Stellan Skarsgård. The movie is based on the 2005 novel by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson and is a co-production of the United States, Sweden and Norway. At the time of writing the film is the second highest-grossing Swedish film of all time.

The movie tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig), who is given an unusual assignment. He is asked by industrialist Henrik Vanger, whose 16-year-old daughter disappeared without a trace in 1966, to write the history of his family. But what Vanger really wants is to find out the truth about his daughter Harriet. Together with computer expert Lisbeth Mikael starts the assignment. They dig deeper and deeper into the family’s past and come across dark secrets.

A large part of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was filmed on location in and around Stockholm. The most famous landmark from the city that appears in the movie is the Stockholm Court House. A lot of scenes were also filmed in Stockholm’s Sodermalm district. The Vanger Estate is actually the Hofsta mansion located in the Björkvik parish. The train station scenes were filmed in Skellefteå, a city in Västerbotten County. Additional scenes were filmed in places like Vasternorrland County, Uppsala, and Sodermanland County.

Newsmakers (2009)

Newsmakers is a Russian action/thriller film directed by Swedish director Anders Banke and stars Andrey Merzlikin, Yevgeny Tsyganov, and Mariya Mashkova. The movie is a remake of the Hong Kong film Breaking News (2004) from Johnnie To.

The film is about a group of robbers who end up in a gunfight with a police team after which they manage to escape. This embarrassing display of the police was also coincidentally caught on film by a camera crew and broadcast across the country, which does not help public opinion about the police. The commander decides to adopt the idea of his extremely bright adviser and has her broadcast a reality program on television in which the police catch the same robbers. But the ‘reality’ turns out not to be so easy to manipulate.

Newsmakers was filmed on location mostly in Russia’s capital Moscow, but a small part of the movie was filmed in Sweden. In Trollhättan to be more precise, a city and the seat of Trollhättan Municipality, which is part of Västra Götaland County.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (2013)

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is a Swedish comedy film directed by Felix Herngren and stars Robert Gustafsson, Iwar Wiklander, and David Wiberg. It is based on the novel of the same name by Jonas Jonasson, and at the time of writing the movie was the third highest-grossing Swedish film of all time.

The story revolves around a 100-year-old man named Allan Karlsson, who decides it’s not too late to start over. Allan escapes from his retirement home, takes a suitcase to the bus station that turns out to contain millions of crowns, befriends a few strange characters and kills his criminal pursuers along the way. When the police try to catch him bodies start piling up with no evidence suggesting that Allan is actually behind these murders.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared was filmed on location in various countries across Europe, including Sweden where the film starts and eventually ends. The Swedish locations are all located in Västra Götaland County and include Sollebrunn, a city situated in Alingsås Municipality, and Brålanda, a locality located in Vänersborg Municipality. The railway station scenes were filmed in the city of Munkedal, located in the municipality of the same name.

The Seventh Seal (1957)

The Seventh Seal is a Swedish fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman and stars Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand and Bengt Ekerot.

It tells the tale of a knight who returns home from the Crusades to a plague-ravaged Sweden. When Death comes for him, the knight challenges him to a game of chess for his life. The Knight and Death play their game of chess, while the people in the area try to deal with the effects of the plague.

Most of The Seventh Seal was filmed at Filmstaden, which was a film studio located in the Råsunda district in Stockholm. The opening and closing scenes of the film were shot on location in Hovs Hallar, a nature reserve on the northern tip of the Bjäre Peninsula in the county of Skåne.

Additional scenes were filmed at Östanå, a ferry port in the municipality of Österåker, and in the village of Viby, located in Kristianstad Municipality.

The Square (2017)

The Square is a satirical film written and directed by Ruben Östlund and it stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, and Dominic West. The movie is a co-production among Sweden, Germany, France and Denmark.

In a renowned museum, an artist holds an exhibition with the aim of promoting altruism. He does this by creating a symbolic space where only good things happen. To give the exhibition some more publicity, the museum manager decides to call in a ruthless PR agency. But when the PR agency goes too far in its campaign, things spiral out of control and a public outcry ensues.

Filming on The Square took place in Sweden and Germany. One of the Swedish locations was Gothenburg, the second-largest city in Sweden and capital of the Västra Götaland County, located near Kattegat, on the west coast of Sweden. The other location was Sweden’s capital Stockholm. The gallery in the film is based on Stockholm Palace, the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch.

Invasion Of The Animal People (1959)

Invasion Of The Animal People is a Swedish / American science-fiction / horror movie directed by Virgil W. Vogel and starring Barbara Wilson, Sten Gester, and Robert Burton. The movie was also released under two different titles: Terror in the Midnight Sun and Space Invasion of Lapland.

The premise is that when a meteorite hits Sweden’s desolate Norrland a herd of reindeer is found dead. A group of soldiers and a geologist are dispatched to investigate. Just as they discover that the meteorite is a spaceship, their plane is destroyed by a monster, and the soldier guarding the plane is killed. When the geologist and his girlfriend, a figure skater, try to escape by skiing, the monster strikes again, and the helpless girlfriend is kidnapped.

Filming on Invasion of the Animal People took place in the Swedish part of Sápmi, which is historically referred to as Lapland. The villages of Abisko and Björkliden, both located in that region, appear on screen, as does the Torneträsk lake. Additional filming took place in Sweden’s capital Stockholm.

The Prize (1963)

The Prize is an American romantic comedy film directed by Mark Robson and stars Paul Newman, Elke Sommer, and Edward G. Robinson.

The film starts when, for some reason, the annual literature prize is awarded to the young author Andrew Craig, who shows more interest in drinking and women than in writing. Craig meets Dr. Max Stratman, a famous psychologist, who came to Stockholm with his niece Emily. Craig notices that Stratman is acting very strangely and is puzzled when he is not recognized by Stratman at their second meeting.

The Prize was filmed on location mainly in Stockholm, and some well-known landmarks from the city appear on screen. Like the Grand Hôtel, the Stockholm Concert Hall, and Humlegården, a large park located in the district of Östermalm. The bridge scenes were filmed on Lidingö, an island in the inner Stockholm archipelago, while the harbor scenes were filmed in Gothenburg.

We hope watching some of these movies set in Sweden featuring Swedish scenery will inspire you to catch that next flight, boat, or car to your Nordic destination. You will be able to enjoy the blue archipelagos and the Northern Lights, the quaint villages, modern cities and medieval castles, and everything else Sweden has to offer.

And on the plus side, it is a country that can be enjoyed during the winter as well as the summer. See you there.