5 of the best movies to see before travelling to Iceland

5 of the best movies to see before travelling to Iceland

At times Iceland's landscapes are almost surreally beautiful, shaped by ice and water, and the perfect backdrop for films about nature, adventure, and science fiction. Our Iceland consultants recommend their selection of the best movies to see before travelling to Iceland.


101 Reykjavik

Iconic film by director Baltasar Kormakur (starring Victoria Abril). Funny and full of symbolism!

Icelandic comedy, Jury Grand Prize at Nordic Film Festival.


Children of Nature

Film by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson (with Bruno Ganz).  A widowed farmer finds his childhood sweetheart in a hospice. They decide to break out and return home.


The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Adapted from James Thurber's seminal short story, the movie sees Ben Stiller, the film's director and lead actor, leaves his humdrum life in New York for his dream life. For the actual setting of that dream life, he chose Iceland. The  film depicts the landscape of Sedisfjordur fjord, embraced by mountains with cascading waterfalls, in the eastern part of the country, and many shots of the   Snaefellsnes peninsula in the west, which you can also explore: climb to the ice lake of the Snaefellsjokull crater, stroll through the small fishing harbours that are scattered along the coast, admire the majestic waterfalls and lava colours of Kirkjufell, the 'church mountain'.


Journey to the Centre of the Earth

It may surprise you, but a film to see before you journey to Iceland is based on Jules Verne's novel. The Snæfellsjokull Volcano, which dominates the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, is the entry point to the centre of the Earth. Director Eric Brevig naturally chose Iceland as the location to shoot his film. Here again, there are some beautiful views of Icelandic landscape, caves and island nature.



We are at the end of the 21st century : the Prometheus crew is exploring the natural satellite of a distant  planet, indicated on archaeological pictograms scattered everywhere on earth, in the hope of getting answers on the origins of humanity; the crew members will have to face a danger that could threaten the human race. The satellite at the end of the universe is Iceland, which has lent its incredible landscapes to Ridley Scott's vision.



A complete change of atmosphere in this film by Grímur Hakonarson. In a village in the Icelandic countryside, Gimmi and Kiddi, two feuding brothers, as rugged as the landscape around them, have not spoken to each other for decades. As is often the case in family disputes, it is not clear why. They live in two adjoining houses, raising sheep, indulging their best animals as if they were their children, engaging in a vigorous rivalry with one another in livestock competitions to win the best specimen award.  Then the fatal sheep disease scrapie arrives in the valley. As a precaution, all the animals must be slaughtered.
A simple yet powerful film, where the rhythm of rural life, the harshness of the climate and the smells of the farm are beautifully realised in slow, staged and occasionally almost overwhelming scenes.  


Beowulf & Grendel

Not likely to win any 'best movie' awards any time soon, Beowulf & Grendel has one redeeming feature - the gorgeous Icelandic scenery. Cliffs, waterfalls, mountains, billowing hot springs... Gerard Butler, who played Beowulf, put it this way: ' There's something very primitive about the geology andappearance of this country, and something inexplicable takes hold ofmewhen I'mthere. To stand on a glacier or black sand beach, climbup avolcano andsee smoke escaping from the ground around you. And then there are these hot springs... many things you won't see anywhere else. '