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The Celebration (1998)
"Festen" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  19 June 1998 (Denmark)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 63,489 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 257 user | 97 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

At Helge's 60th birthday party, some unpleasant family truths are revealed.




(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 28 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Birthe Neumann ...
Moderen - Else
Helle Dolleris ...
Therese Glahn ...
Klaus Bondam ...
Toastmasteren - Master of Ceremonies
Bjarne Henriksen ...
Kokken - Kim
Gbatokai Dakinah ...
Lasse Lunderskov ...
Onklen - Uncle
Receptionisten - Receptionist
Lene Laub Oksen ...
Søsteren - Sister
Linda Laursen ...


The Father turns 60. His family, which is a big one of the kind, gathers to celebrate him on a castle. Everybody likes and respects the father deeply...or do they? The youngest son is trying to live up to the father's expectations. He is running a grill-bar in a dirty part of Copenhagen. The oldest son runs a restaurant in France, while the sister is a anthropologist. The older sister has recently committed suicide and the father asks the oldest son to say a few words about her, because he is afraid he will break into tears if he does it himself. The oldest son agrees without argument. Actually he has already written two speeches. A yellow and a green one. By the table, he asks the father to pick a speech. The father chooses green. The oldest son announces that this is the Speech of Truth. Everybody laughs, except for the father who gets a nervous look on his face. For he knows that the oldest son is about to reveal the secret of why the oldest sister killed herself. Written by Jonas L.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every family has a secret. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language, including references to sexual abuse | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

19 June 1998 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

The Celebration  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,621 (USA) (9 October 1998)


$647,523 (Norway) (26 March 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Thomas Vinterberg:  The taxi driver dropping off Helene's boyfriend, Gbatokai See more »


As the guests dance through the house, a boom mic can clearly be seen in the bottom left corner of the screen as they enter one of the rooms. See more »


[first lines]
[subtitled version]
Christian Klingenfeldt: [on his cellphone] Christian speaking... Hi, I'm here now. I landed this morning. What? Er... Washed? I shaved at the airport if you must know. I shaved at the airport if you must know! I'm fine... right now I'm looking across the fields. At the land of my father. It's beautiful. It makes me want to move back for good, but that'd be problematical. I'll make it. Yes, I suppose it will be... shocking. What?... You're dropping out. O.K. Bye.
See more »


Referenced in For Pete's Wake! (2007) See more »


Jeg har set en rigtig negermand
By Niels C. Andersen
c/o Warner/Chappell Music Denmark A/S
See more »

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User Reviews

If you haven't seen this... go right now!
22 August 2002 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

A film so involving that a score, proper editing, and lighting are hardly missed. You are experiencing this world first hand... and what a screwed up, wonderful journey it is. I can't even begin to go into the story because it would be a crime. You have to see this for yourself. Don't be disuaded by the subtitles or strange look of the movie. Let it run for fifteen minutes and you'll be hooked. This is a powerful, powerful little movie. Guranteed to stay with you days after you've seen it. Do yourself a huge favor and rent this movie asap. If you're fed up with the cookie cutter Hollywood garbage this will be most refreshing.

94 of 116 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Is the farcical tone intentional? grandscholar
Sorry for the Father? wlf5876
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reaction of the guests damdin
What was the other speech about palatin_m
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