Thyra Dane

Author of Romance. Blogs about Scandinavia, Vikings and books.

I really shouldn`t be doing a count-down of the best Scandianvian actors because I`m bound to forget someone important or I may include someone who made a bummer movie I haven`t seen. But then I really want to show off all the handsome talented actors we have here in Scandinavia – so here goes:

1, The Skarsgård men (Sweden)

They have to share the first place or they would have taken up WAY too much room in this Top 10 🙂 .   

The Skarsgård family is an incredibly talented family. Stellan Skarsgård has been one of the leading Scandinavian actors ever since Den enfaldige mördaren which had us all amazed back in the early 80s. He has his international fame from movies like Breaking the Waves, Good Will Hunting, Pirates of the Caribbean and Mamma Mia but he still makes a lot of Scandinavian movies where he really shows his talent.

Alexander Skarsgård is also an amazing actor. He is best known for his role as Eric Northman in True Blood but I must admit that I dislike that series with a vengeance. I loved him in Generation Kill and also enjoy his comedy talent – which he, apart from a few minutes in the movie  Zoolander, has only showed in Swedish movies.

Gustaf Skarsgård is quite a different kind of actor from his father and big brother. He`s the kind of actor who sort of sneaks up on you and amazes you without you realizing what has happened. I loved him in the Swedish comedy Patrick 1,5 and, though I didn`t like the movie much, in the Norwegian Kon-Tiki.  I`m very much looking forward to his Viking series.

Bill Skarsgård is an up-and-coming actor and I haven`t seen any movies with him apart from the Arn series where several Skarsgård brothers, and Stellan, acted. But I`m looking forward to seeing him in the near future.

There is also Valter Skarsgård, who is only 18, and may or may not choose the same path as his older brothers. He is involved in a movie and it`s going to be interesting to see how he does in the future.

2, The Mikkelsen brothers (Denmark)

Mads and Lars Mikkelsen also have to share a spot here. Not because both of them aren`t talented enough to excuse a number on their own but because I`m selfish and want to post pictures of as many men as possible 🙂

Mads Mikkelsen is probably the one of the two brothers who most famous internationally. Some of you know him as Le Chifre in Casino Royale or One-Eye from Valhalla Rising. He usually plays a villain or an anti-hero internationally (probably due to his heavy accent) but in Scandinavian movies he shows more diversity and is an actor who`ll always have me buying a ticket to the movies – the last movie I saw him in was A Royal Affair.

Lars Mikkelsen is as good an actor as his brother (some claim he`s better but how can you really say who is the best when you`re dealing with their kind of talent?) but he`s had less big roles in movies and more theater roles. I did enjoy his acting immensely in the television series Forbrydelsen.

3, Anders Danielsen Lie (Norway)

Anders Danielsen Lie is a an amazing actor – and a medical doctor. Norway can boast of plenty of actors who have made more movies than Anders Danielsen Lie and, though Norway hasn`t exported as much acting talent to Hollywood as Sweden and Denmark have, Norway does have a few actors with international experience. Anders Danielsen Lie has none. I still include him on this list because he`s so incredibly talented I can`t stop talking about him. Anyone who`s seen Reprise or Oslo 31. August knows what I`m talking about.

4, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Denmark)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau grew up close to where I grew up and apparently we went to the same parties. I don`t remember him at all but that little fact still lands him a spot as number four on my list 🙂 .  Who does not like Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones? Okay, a lot of people don`t like Jamie but the character is amazingly acted by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. I also loved the television series New Amsterdam but apparently I was the only one because it was canceled after one season (I think). He has done quite a lot of movies both internationally and in Scandinavia – latest his part in the big Norwegian movie Hodejegerne.

5, Jesper Christensen (Denmark)

Jesper Christensen is an actor with an amazing talent. I have rarely been so impressed with an actor as I was with Jesper Christensen when I saw him in the Danish movie Bænken. Internationally he`s mainly known for his part in two James Bond movies and in the movie The Interpreter.

6, Peter Stormare (Sweden)

Peter Stormare is the kind of actor who can have a tiny little part and still make a great impression. Everyone who`s seen Minority Report knows what I mean. When he operated on Tom Cruise`s eyes…. 😛 . Not to mention his little but crucial role in Constantine. Peter Stormare also made a great impression in Fargo.

7, Nicolai Cleve Broch (Norway)

Nicolai Cleve Broch is a versatile actor but early in his career people suspected that he only got the parts because of his good looks. He`s proven the critics wrong through his great acting in movies like Uno, Den store revejakta and Max Manus.

8, Ulrich Thomsen (Denmark)

Ulrich Thomsen is one of Denmark`s great actors and he`s also had quite a few roles internationally – latest in The Thing. My personal favorite from him is Brødre – a movie that knocked my socks off (it was later remade in USA under the name Brothers).

9, Max von Sydow (Sweden/France)

Max von Sydow truly is the grand old man of Scandinavian movies. I wasn`t sure if I wanted to include him since he technically isn`t Scandinavian anymore as he`s now a French citizen, but you just can`t write about Scandinavian actors and not include him. It`s impossible to say where he has impressed the most but one does remember his role in the aforementioned Minority Report. My personal favorite is probably a Danish movie, though. It was a movie that moved me to tears, namely Pelle Erobreren.

10, Viggo Mortensen (Denmark/USA)

Viggo Mortensen would have been number one on this list if it hadn`t been for the slight fact that he isn`t Scandinavian at all. Not really. But we do count him as Danish. His father was Danish, he`s lived in Denmark and he speaks Danish fluently. And who wouldn`t want to count Viggo Mortensen as one of yours? I need only mention Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises and The Road. I don`t think I`ve ever seen him being anything but brilliant. It doesn`t hurt that he is a true Renaissance man too with his art, poetry and music on top of his acting.

So what about all the actors I haven`t mentioned? That may be because I`ve forgotten about them, because I figured they didn`t fit in for some reason or other – or because I just don`t like them. Who do you think I should have mentioned?

27 thoughts on “The Ten Best Scandinavian Actors (male)

  1. Arina says:

    I would say Joel Kinnaman seems promising. Will you also do a female top? Much heavier names in that category, imo. 🙂

    1. thyra10 says:

      I must admit that I don`t think Joel Kinnaman is that talented. In fact, he annoys me a bit. So does Norwegian Axel Hennie who is probably the most popular actor here in Norway these days.

      Yes, I will do a female top 10 as soon as I manage to narrow it down from the 30some I have on my list now 😉

  2. tchetcha says:

    OMG Peter Stormare is Swedish?! I think my world just shifted a bit! LOL I loved your post <3 Watched the entire video of Bill Skarsgard although I don't understand a single word he said, still I though it was funny.

    1. thyra10 says:

      He definitely is Swedish. He`s incredibly cool and he can make a whole film with just a small part in it.

  3. Gaijin vamp says:

    I also loved New Amsterdam and Nicolai Costa0Waldau. So even the two of us couldn’t keep it on.

    Mads Mikkelsen is hypnotic. His looks are unusual, but you can’t take your eyes away.

    Good choices.

    1. thyra10 says:

      I thought the whole concept of New Amsterdam was incredible but apparently the two of us weren`t enough to keep it running 🙁

      He is. I can stare at him for ages – and playing all kinds of roles – and still be fascinated. And when he smiles …. *faints*

      1. Mette says:

        I loved New Amsterdam – it was different and at times even deep. But unfortunately three people were not enough!

  4. JoAnn says:

    Rutger Hauer, always a strong actor, but quite stunning as Roy in “Blade Runner”.

    1. Rutger Hauer is Dutch, not Scandinavian. 🙂

      1. JoAnn says:

        Oops! My bad.

    2. thyra10 says:

      Indeed – Arina is correct. As much as I love Rutger Hauer – Scandinavia can`t claim him, unfortunately 🙂

  5. arena23 says:

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  6. Mie says:

    Peter Stormare i Prison Break?

    1. thyra10 says:

      Thank you for mentioning PB! I have only seen cuts from PB but from what I’ve seen he’s great there.

  7. I strongly think you should have put Viggo first, no matter what 😀

    1. thyra10 says:

      Haha! Oh, I wanted to 😀

  8. Elin Damstuen says:

    Ser at posten din er gammel, men jeg må si meg helt uenig i det du skriver i kommentarfeltet om Joel Kinnaman og Aksel Hennie. Jeg ELSKER Joel i The Killing og Johan Falk (det eneste jeg har sett av han sålangt, men jeg er allerede obsessed!!), og Aksel er helt fenomenal i Hodejegerne. Han har jo også vært med i 24 og Hercules, så noe må jo han gjøre riktig også. 😉

    Nicolai Cleve Broch liker ikke jeg spesielt godt, og jeg har faktisk sldri hørt om Anders Danielsen Lie (har Oslo 31. august på nedlastning nå da, så får vi se…) 🙂

    1. thyra10 says:

      Det er flott at ikke alle har samme smak som meg. Det hadde jo vært kjedelig om alle film bare hadde mine favorittskuespillere 😉
      Når det gjelder Aksel Hennie så syns jeg han spiller samme rollen i alle filmer og det er jeg litt lei. Anders Danielsen Lie er helt fenomenal i Oslo 31. August så du har virkelig noe å glede deg til!

  9. looking for male Danish actors with kin to linneballe family

  10. Bjarne Henriksen from Kinamand and Forrydelsen.and Kim.Bodnia from.Bron/Broen?
    I love them!

  11. Paula says:

    Espen Klouman-Høiner 🙂 gorg Norwegian… they all are

  12. Paula says:

    Espen Klouman-Høiner

  13. Tim Paulsen says:

    Kim Bodina…….

  14. cela says:

    isn’t allan hyde danish? i haven’t seen him in anything but true blood but he sure made a lasting impression!

    1. thyra10 says:

      Yes, he is Danish but completely unknown, unfortunately.

  15. Lynn says:

    Pal Sverre Hagan of Norway is amazing in In Order of Disappearance

    1. thyra10 says:

      I haven’t seen that, unfortunately but he is a great actor!

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