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Olsen Gang

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Genre  Comedy, Crime
Initial release  October 11, 1968
Running time  1h 20m
Producer  Bo Christensen
6.8/10 IMDb

Director    Erik Balling
Sequel  The Olsen Gang in a Fix
Olsen Gang movie poster

Writer  Erik Balling, Henning Bahs
Cast  Ove Sprogøe (Egon Olsen), Morten Grunwald (Benny Frandsen), Poul Bundgaard (Kjeld Jensen), Peter Steen (Kriminalassistent Mortensen), Jes Holtsø (Børge Jensen), Poul Reichhardt (Politichefen)

Similar  The Axe Gang, Royal Flush Gang, Yancy Street Gang

The Olsen Gang (Danish: Olsen-banden, Norwegian: Olsenbanden, German: Die Olsenbande) is a fictional Danish criminal gang in the eponymous comedy film series. The gang's leader is the criminal genius and habitual offender Egon Olsen and his accomplices are Benny and Kjeld (Kjell in Norwegian). The gang members are harmless, extremely rarely target ordinary citizens, and never use violence. A Norwegian version of the film series was also made (a total of 14 films from 1969 to 1999), in most cases based directly on the scripts for the Danish films.


Olsen Gang movie scenes

Later, starting in 1981, Sweden also produced their own version: Jönssonligan.

Olsen Gang movie scenes

The olsen gang theme hq


Olsen Gang movie scenes

Most of the films start with Egon coming out of jail and being enthusiastically welcomed by Benny and Kjeld. The three men will then have a beer together in the living room of Kjeld's dilapidated home in a run-down Valby neighbourhood, where Egon will inform his friends of his latest plan, usually (but not always) for making them millionaires. Plans are often two-step plans, where the first heist will get the equipment for the real, second plan. The plans usually feature everyday artefacts such as Lego, party balloons, cigarettes etc., which are then brought together in surprising ways in elaborate and well-timed plans, often including clever social engineering. Bennys main function in the heists, besides get-away-driver, is often as keeper of "The Thing", a metal bottle opener used for manipulating most any machinery. Egon often serves time with lawyers or executives who provide him with the information he needs, such as duty rosters for the national public record office. Egon is also a brilliant safecracker, operating manually, specializing in the fictive "Franz Jäger" brand.

Olsen Gang movie scenes

Egon's plans often bring the gang into perilously close contact with white-collar criminals from the Danish business (and political) elite. For example, in one episode some well-connected people try to make money out of the so-called "butter mountain", a huge amount of butter bought up and stored by the EEC (now the EU) to keep prices up. Egon Olsen learns about this from a lawyer who is serving prison time, and the gang interferes with the plan to secure the millions for themselves. But as always, Egon – after having succeeded with a genius plan – loses because he underestimates the power and unscrupulousness of these people. For several movies the role of antagonist was filled by CEO Hallandsen of Hallandsen Inc. Egon is usually arrested in the end, for various reasons: scapegoat, bad luck, some completely irrelevant crime, or even turning himself in as a matter of honour.

Olsen Gang movie scenes

A recurring part of the films is making fun of danish authorities, especially the police. Superintendent Jensen (Hermansen in Norwegian) to his younger colleague, inspector Holm: "The only thing the police can do when the real big criminals come by is offer them protection!" Jensen incredously uses the recurring exclamation "Bagmændene!" (Behind-men/Big Fishes) to reference the in-joke of powerful players moving outside of the law.

Olsen Gang movie scenes

In the early episodes, profanity and soft-erotica (scantily-clad women) were more freely used than in later ones, where said content was somewhat watered down to suit younger viewers. Later movies focused on the satirical interplay between Jensen and Holm and Egon and Kjeld, with a frequent outburst of anger from either Olsen or superintendent Jensen. Especially Olsen's long list of slurs are famous, like "social democrats!", "insane woman!" (to Yvonne), "lousy amateurs!", "cowards!", "dog heads!", "porridge peasants!", "sop!", "scumbag!", to name a few.


Olsen Gang movie scenes

Recurring characters in the Danish version:

  • Egon Olsen: Gang leader, expert safecracker, brilliant but short-tempered and occasionally overdramatic
  • Benny Frandsen: Gang member, get-away driver, handles practical stuff and always seem to float
  • Kjeld Jensen: Gang member, tool master, ever nervous and humble, but does on a rare occasion rise to meet any challenge
  • Yvonne: Kjeld's very bossy wife, often with firm plans on how to use the millions from the various plans
  • Børge: Kjeld's son, occasionally an impeccable part of the schemes
  • Harry (a.k.a. Dynamite Harry): Benny's brother, explosives expert (at least in his own opinion) and deeply alcoholic
  • Jensen: Superintendent at Copenhagen Police, somewhat disillusioned and mostly forgotten by the brass in his basement office
  • Holm: Detective with Copenhagen Police, young and with high ambitions, but somewhat naïve
  • Hallandsen: A role with the same actor playing various villains, always on top of the social hierarchy, most often also with international contacts
  • Kongen og Knægten (King and Knight): A confidence trickster and his violent nephew
  • Bøffen (The Beef): Enforcer and muscleman for Hallandsen and others
  • Hansen: Rival gang leader with theme music from Bob le flambeur
  • International versions

    The Olsen Gang have been made in Norwegian and Swedish (Jönssonligan) versions too. The films differ a bit from each other, but they follow a generally similar formula to the Danish films. The original, Danish films were popular in the former GDR and Eastern Europe.

    The film series also has another character, 'Dynamite Harry', as the little brother of Benny Frandsen, which is also featured on the Norwegian rendition of the episodes – is the demolition expert (although his nerves are very easily shaken due to years of having dealt with explosives and alcohol). Harry made an appearance in six Norwegian films, played by Harald Heide-Steen Jr.. He also appeared in two early Danish Olsen Gang films, then played by Preben Kaas. In the Swedish Jönssonligan series Harry showed up in the second film, and became a regular member of the gang from the next installment on, since the actor who played the original member, based on Kjeld, a Finn named Rocky, was fired. In the Swedish version, Egon was replaced by Charles-Ingvar "Sickan" Jönsson, with a slightly different costume and mannerisms, and in later films when the actor Gösta Ekman got tired of the character, yet other leaders, who never became as popular as "Sickan". Benny's part was taken by "(Ragnar) Vanheden", a small-timer from Stockholm.

    Danish films

    The first thirteen films were directed by Erik Balling, while Tom Hedegaard and Morten Arnfred directed the fourteenth and final Olsen Gang film. The scripts were written by Balling and Henning Bahs, who also worked as a production designer.

    Danish cast

  • Ove Sprogøe as Egon Olsen
  • Morten Grunwald as Benny Frandsen
  • Poul Bundgaard as Kjeld Jensen
  • Tommy Kenter as Kjeld Jensen
  • Kirsten Walther as Yvonne Jensen
  • Jes Holtsø as Børge Jensen
  • Axel Strøbye as Superintendent of police Jensen
  • Ole Ernst as Police inspector Holm
  • Ove Verner Hansen as Bøffen
  • Preben Kaas as Dynamite-Harry
  • Peter Steen as Mortensen
  • Animated feature-length Danish films

  • The Olsen Gang Gets Polished (2010)
  • The Olsen Gang in Deep Trouble (2013)
  • Norwegian films

  • Olsenbanden Operasjon Egon (1969)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry (1970)
  • Olsenbanden tar gull (1972)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry går amok (1973)
  • Olsenbanden møter Kongen og Knekten (1974)
  • Olsenbandens siste bedrifter (1975)
  • Olsenbanden for full musikk (1976)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet (1977)
  • Olsenbanden og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken (1978)
  • Olsenbanden mot nye høyder (1979)
  • Olsenbanden gir seg aldri (1981)
  • Olsenbandens aller siste kupp (1982)
  • …men Olsenbanden var ikke død (1984)
  • Olsenbandens siste stikk (1999)
  • Several elements recur in the films series. You can note the main sponsor by looking at the villain's cars, the security cars, the police cars, the gang's car, and so on. Usually, Toyota has been the main sponsor of the film series, supplying the films with civilian cars parked on the sidewalks, Crowns as taxis, Toyota Cressida as police cars, Hiace as security vans and money transports, and so on. There have been exceptions, notably Olsenbandens aller siste kupp (The Olsen-Gangs very last coup) from 1982, which was sponsored by Datsun.

    The popularity of the film series inspired a Norwegian restaurant chain, Egon, with the logo alluding to Egon Olsen's iconic hat and cigar.

    Norwegian DVDs

    Most of the Norwegian films have been digitally restored. The discs include English & Norwegian Subtitles, 16:9 format and Dolby Digital 1.0 surround sound.

    DVD Release List:

  • Olsenbanden Operasjon Egon (27.10.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry (27.10.2004)
  • Olsenbanden tar gull (27.10.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry går amok
  • Olsenbanden møter Kongen og Knekten (01.12.2004)
  • Olsenbandens siste bedrifter (01.12.2004)
  • Olsenbanden for full musikk (01.12.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet (08.12.2004)
  • Olsenbanden og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken (19.01.2005)
  • Olsenbanden mot nye høyder (19.01.2005)
  • Olsenbanden gir seg aldri (19.01.2005)
  • Olsenbandens aller siste kupp (19.01.2005)
  • …men Olsenbanden var ikke død
  • Olsenbandens siste stikk (1999)
  • Norwegian cast

  • Arve Opsahl as Egon Olsen
  • Sverre Holm as Benny Fransen
  • Carsten Byhring as Kjell Jensen
  • Aud Schønemann as Valborg Jensen
  • Willie Hoel as Bartender Hansen
  • Ove Verner Hansen as Biffen
  • Pål Johannessen as Basse Jensen (appears in eight films)
  • Sverre Wilberg as Superintendent of police Hermansen
  • Øivind Blunck, Oddbjørn Hesjevoll and Ulf Wengård as Police inspector Holm (Blunck appears in five films, and Hesjevoll and Wengård one film each respectively)
  • Harald Heide-Steen Jr. as Dynamite-Harry
  • References

    Olsen Gang Wikipedia
    Olsen Gang IMDb Olsen Gang