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Kongen av Bastøy (2010)

Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 17 December 2010 (Norway)
Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the boys home Bastoy, a new inmate leads the boys to a violent uprising against a brutal regime. How far is he willing to go to attain freedom?


Marius Holst


Mette M. Bølstad (story), Lars Saabye Christensen (story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Benjamin Helstad ... Erling / C-19
Trond Nilssen ... Olav / C-1
Stellan Skarsgård ... Bestyrer Håkon
Kristoffer Joner ... Husfar Bråthen
Magnus Langlete Magnus Langlete ... Ivar / C-5
Morten Løvstad Morten Løvstad ... Øystein (as Morten Strøm)
Daniel Berg Daniel Berg ... Johan
Odin Gineson Brøderud Odin Gineson Brøderud ... Axel
Magnar Botten Magnar Botten ... Lillegutt
Markus Brustad Markus Brustad ... Jan
Agnar Jeger Holst Agnar Jeger Holst ... Arne
Tommy Jakob Håland Tommy Jakob Håland ... Terje
Richard Safin Richard Safin ... Eirik
Frank-Thomas Andersen Frank-Thomas Andersen ... Gårdsgutt Bjarne (as Frank-Thomas H. Andersen)
Arne Brønstad Arne Brønstad ... Husfar Kjell


Based on a true story: Norwegian winter, early 20th century. On the island Bastoy, located in the Oslo fjord live a group of delinquent, young boys aged 11 to 18. The boys daily, sadistic regime is run by the guards and the principal who bestow both mental and physical abuse on them. Instead of the boys being straightened out with education they end up being used as cheap, manual labor. The boys attempt to survive by adapting to their inhumane conditions. One day a new boy, Erling (17), arrives with his own agenda; how to escape from the island. How far is he willing to go in order to get his freedom? Written by JRN

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on an extraordinary true story. See more »


Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


Norway | France | Sweden | Poland


Norwegian | Swedish

Release Date:

17 December 2010 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

King of Devil's Island See more »


Box Office


NOK 54,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$554, 16 December 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$7,166, 5 February 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Extended Edition)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Shot on location in Estonia. See more »


The movie grossly exaggerates the size of the lead ship of the Norwegian Navy at the time.

As the boys are trying to escape the island, at about 1 hour 34 minutes, the Battleship "Norge" appears in the fog. The "Norge" was a small 300 ft pre-dreadnought - significantly smaller than modern day Frigate. If one assumes that the men seen on deck, are about 1.7 meters tall, the ship in the movie is more than 3 times as large as the actual "Norge" - comparable to a modern day Aircraft Carrier. See more »


Erling: You do not belong here, either. Goodbye, manager!
See more »


Sigur 1 (Untitled)
Performed by Sigur Rós
Music & Lyrics by Kjartan Sveinsson, Jon Thor Birgisson, Georg Holm, Orri P. Dyrason
Universal Music Publishing Scandinavia AB
(P) 2002 FatCat Records
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User Reviews

"Riveting humanistic drama..."
15 September 2011 | by SindreKaspersenSee all my reviews

Norwegian producer and director Marius Holst's fourth feature film which was written by screenwriters Eric Schmid and Daniel Magnusson after a story by writers Lars Saabye Christensen and Mette M. Bølstad, is based on actual events which took place during the rebellion at Bastøy in late May 1915. It premiered in Norway, was screened and the opening film at the 34th Gothenburg International Film Festival in 2011, was shot on location in Estonia and is a Norway-France-Poland-Sweden co-production which was produced by Norwegian producer and director Karin Julsrud. It tells the story about 17-year-old Erling Kaspersen who during a cold winter in the early 20th century arrives at Bastøy Boys Home, a boarding school and correctional institution for maladjusted young boys with afflicting backgrounds which was, in order to isolate the boys from society, located at a remote island in the Oslofjord 4 km southeast of the coastal town and municipality Horten. After being placed by Governor Håkon in apartment C which is run by the tyrannic Housefather Braaten and named "C19", Erling befriends Olav "C1" who has lived at Bastøy for several years. Erling is determined to escape from the island, but as he becomes more aware of the staffs' mistreatment of the boys and learns from his friend Olav that the introverted and quiet boy Ivar is being molested by Housefather Braaten, he stays there to rebel against the injustice that is being conducted by the Governor and his assistants.

Precisely and engagingly directed by Norwegian filmmaker Marius Holst, this beautifully visualized and finely paced historic reconstruction of real events, draws an invariably moving portrayal of a young man in revolt who refuses to be subdued by exploitative authority figures who arrogantly informs him that their and his aim is to find the the honorable, humble and useful little Christian boy inside him. While notable for its fine milieu depictions, cinematography by Norwegian cinematographer John Andreas Andersen, production design by Polish production designer Janusz Sosnowski, costume design by costume designer Katja Watkins, film editing by Polish film editor Michal Leszczylowski and use of sound, colors and light, this narrative-driven and riveting humanistic drama about coming of age, friendship and malpractice within a state-financed reform school for young boys in South Norway, contains a significant atmosphere which is enriched by Swedish composer Johan Söderqvist's good score and the timeless sounds of Sigur Rós.

This poignant and echoingly heartrending retelling of an utterly dark chapter in Norwegian history which became the most expensive Norwegian film production since Norwegian filmmakers Espen Sandberg and Joachim Rønning's "Max Manus" (2008), depicts multiple studies of character, is narrated by one of the main character's and from various viewpoints and is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, subtle continuity, reverent style of filmmaking and the commendable and involving acting performances by Norwegian actors Benjamin Helstad, Trond Nilssen in his debut feature film role, Kristoffer Joner and Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård. A memorable and one of the great Norwegian films which gained, among other awards, the Amanda Award for Best Norwegian Film In Theatrical Release, Best Score Johan Söderqvist and Best Supporting Actor Trond Nilssen at the 27th Amanda Awards in 2011.

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