Top 100 Scandinavian Directors

Directors from Sweden (36), Denmark (32), Norway (16), Finland (15) and Iceland.
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3.
Victor Sjöström
Director, Körkarlen
Victor Sjöström was born on September 20, 1879, and is the undisputed father of Swedish film, ranking as one of the masters of world cinema. His influence lives on in the work of Ingmar Bergman and all those directors, both Swedish and international, influenced by his work and the works of directors whom he himself influenced...
 
5.
Mauritz Stiller
Moshe "Mauritz" Stiller, born July 17, 1883, in Helsinki, Finland, was a director, writer and actor. He began his artistic activity in the theatre, as an actor at 16. Mauritz Stiller portrayed 87 roles from 1899-1916 and directed 16 productions 1911-28. Together with Viktor Sjöström ( director, actor...
 
6.
Carl Theodor Dreyer
The illegitimate son of a Danish farmer and his Swedish housekeeper, Carl Theodor Dreyer was born in Copenhagen on the 3th of February, 1889. He spent his early years in various foster homes before being adopted by the Dreyers at the age of two. Contrary to popular belief (perhaps nourished by the fact...
 
7.
Gustaf Molander
Director, Intermezzo
He attended the Royal Dramatic Theatre's acting school 1907-1909 and went on to become an actor at the same theatre 1913-1926. His first work for the movies was the script to Thomas Graals bästa film and the follow-up Thomas Graals bästa barn. He made his directing debut with Bodakungen. During the 1920s he made his first movies based on the Selma Lagerlöf novels...
 
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19.
T.J. Särkkä
Producer, 1918
 
20.
Erik Balling
Director, Midt om natten
Erik Balling was one of the most beloved Danish filmmaker in the 20th century. Balling was a director, a producer and a writer. Erik Balling was mostly famous for creating such TV epics as "Matador" and "Huset På Christianshavn" and the film-series of "Olsen banden". Erik Balling was born the 19th of November 1925 in the Danish city of Nyborg...
 
21.
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July fourteenth, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions is the trilogy closed. Here...
 
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Jørgen Roos
Director, Knud
 
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Jörn Donner
Jörn Donner grew up in a Swedish-speaking family belonging to the Finnish upper class. Already as a student he had radical leftist ideas displayed in magazines and newspapers. His first novel appeared in 1951 when Donner was only 18 years old. He graduated from the University of Helsinki in 1959. In 1961 Donner moved to Sweden when the daily newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" hired him as a film critic...
 
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Mai Zetterling
Actress, The Witches
Mai Zetterling was born in Sweden in 1925, and lived briefly in Australia while still a child. She's known as a director and actor and trained on the Stockholm repertory stage, she began appearing in war-era films starting in her teens. Following her debut in Lasse Maja, she made quite an impact...
 
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Alf Kjellin
Director, The Waltons
Although trained for the stage in his native Sweden, Alf Kjellin appeared in only a few stage productions before entering films. His work in Torment resulted in his being noticed by Hollywood, and he made his American film debut in 1949 under the name Christopher Kent. He soon went back to using his real name...
 
37.
Mikko Niskanen
Mikko Niskanen (1929-1990) was a Finnish film director, writer, producer and actor. He started his directing career in 1962 after studying film making in Moscow. His first feature film The Boys was a proof of his talent and earned him a Jussi Award for directing. During the next 12 months he also directed movies Sissit...
 
38.
Bo Hermansson
This Swedish director has since the late 1960s been one of the most influential directors in Norway and Sweden. Best known for adapting three popular British sitcoms for a Scandinavian audience. His most famous achievement was turning Ray Galton and Alan Simpson's "Hancock's Half Hour" into "Fleksnes fataliteter" (1972-2002)...
 
39.
Peter Watkins
Director, The War Game
Peter Watkins began his career in advertising as an assistant producer and turned to amateur filmmaking in the late 1950s. In the mid-'60s he was commissioned by BBC-TV to make two feature-length docudramas incorporating a quasi-newsreel style and nonprofessional actors. The second of these, The War Game...
“ The British director lived and worked in Sweden and Denmark for more than 10 years, directing at least four Scandinavian films, most notably Edvard Munch ” - minalex
 
40.
Anja Breien
Director, Arven
 
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“ A British who has worked mainly for Finnish TV. ” - minalex
 
43.
Tage Danielsson
Tage Danielsson was born in 1928, in a working class home in Linköping, Sweden. He went to Uppsala University, and graduated as a Master of Arts in English, French and the history of literature. In 1956 he met Hans Alfredson at the Swedish Radio company. They worked together for almost thirty years and made variety shows...
 
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Nils Malmros
Director, Kærestesorger
One of the most important Danish directors of the last three decades and one of Danish cinema's few acknowledged auteurs, Malmros took his inspiration from the french new wave and Truffaut in particular. He started as a self taught director and debuted with En mærkelig kærlighed which is an amateur film that has not been in distribution since its premiere...
 
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Nils Gaup
Director, Pathfinder
 
56.
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ancestry...
 
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Aki Kaurismäki
Aki Kaurismäki did a wide variety of jobs including postman, dish-washer and film critic, before forming a production and distribution company, Villealfa (in homage to Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville) with his older brother Mika Kaurismäki, also a film-maker. Both Aki and Mika are prolific film-makers...
 
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Renny Harlin
Director, Die Hard 2
Born in 15 March 1959 as Renny Lauri Mauritz Harjola, he is the most successful Finnish film director in the history of Hollywood. Harlin started his career in film business in the beginning of 1980s when he was directing commercials and company films for companies like Shell. Later he worked as a buyer for Finnish film distributor and met Finnish Markus Selin in Los Angeles...
 
64.
Martti Ekstrand
Director, Exit
 
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Lars Ohlson
Director, Exit
 
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Liv Ullmann
Actress, Persona
Liv Ullmann's father was a Norwegian engineer who used to work abroad, so as a child she lived in Tokyo, Canada, New York and Oslo. In the mid-'50s she made her stage debut and in 1957 made her film debut. She really became successful, however, when she began to work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in such films as Persona...
 
73.
Baltasar Kormákur
Producer, Everest
Baltasar Kormákur is an actor, producer and director whose work spans theater, movies and television. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, he graduated as an actor from Iceland's National Academy of Fine Arts in 1990. He was immediately signed on by the National Theatre of Iceland, where he worked as one of the leading young performing artists until 1997...
 
75.
Lars von Trier
Writer, Melancholia
Lars von Trier (the "von" was adopted during his stay at the Danish Film School) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in April 1956. He graduated from the Danish Film School in 1983 with his short film Befrielsesbilleder ("Images of Relief"), which won the Best Film award at the Munich Film Festival the following year...
 
76.
Per Fly
Director, Arven
Per Fly was accepted to the Danish Film School in 1989. He completed his education in 1993 with the graduation film Room 17. In the following years Per Fly directed, among other films, the short films Sofaholdet (1994), Calling Katherine (1994) and The Little Knight (1997). In 1998, he directed the short film Liftarflickan and three episodes of the television show TAXI for Danish Radio...
 
79.
Erik Poppe
Erik Poppe (born 24 June 1960) is a Norwegian film director, screenwriter and former cinematographer and press photographer. Poppe started his career as a photographer for the newspaper Verdens Gang and Reuters, covering domestic news as well as international conflicts all over the world. He was awarded by the Norwegian press association and World Press Photo...
 
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Nicolas Winding Refn
Nicolas Winding Refn is a Danish film director, screenwriter and producer. He moved to the United States in 1981 and is known for directing the crime dramas Bleeder (1999) and the Pusher films (1996, 2004, 2005), the fictionalised biographical film Bronson (2008), the dramatic adventure film Valhalla Rising (2009)...
 
85.
Lone Scherfig
Director, An Education
Lone Scherfig graduated from the Danish Film School in 1984. In her native Denmark, Lone Scherfig began her career directing award-winning commercials and television dramas. Her first feature as director, The Birthday Trip, premiered at the 1991 Berlin Festival and won several awards at festivals worldwide. Her second feature, On Our Own, won the Grand Prize at the Montreal Film Festival...
 
87.
Thomas Vinterberg
Director, The Hunt
With Last Round (Last Round), his graduation short from The National Film School of Denmark, he got an early taste of critical success. He received the Jury's and Producers' Awards at the International Student Film Fest in Munich and won the 1st Prize at the Tel Aviv Film Fest. Popular success followed with his breakthrough short fiction film...
 
89.
Joachim Trier
Joachim Trier is a Norwegian director and writer, born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1974. Trier is son of Jacob Trier, which was the sound technician of Norway's most popular film ever The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, and grandson of the important Norwegian filmmaker Erik Løchen. His mother was a short filmmaker, too, and he is related to the famous Danish director Lars von Trier.
 
93.
Malik Bendjelloul
Malik Bendjelloul, born in Sweden, performed in Swedish TV-series "Ebba och Didrik" as a child in the nineties and later in life studied Journalism and media-production at the Linnaeus University of Kalmar. He has produced several musical documentaries for Swedish Television (SVT) where he also worked as a reporter on the show "Kobra" until he resigned to travel the world...
 
95.
Joachim Rønning
Director, Kon-Tiki
Growing up in the 1980s in Sandefjord, a small town south of Oslo, Norway, Joachim Roenning and his childhood friend Espen Sandberg spent their free time making short films with Joachim's dad's 30 pounds home video camera - one of few burdens for being the first of the video generation. In 1992 they both attended Stockholm Film School in Sweden...
 
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Felix Herngren
Born in 1967. Herngren is a TV, film and commercials director, writer, producer and actor. His breakthrough came in the hit television-series Smash, and his on screen characters Papi Raul, Dan Bäckman and Tim Hibbins have all become cult icons. Herngren runs his own production company FLX 2.0, established in early 2007...
 
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