Genre Comedy, Crime
Initial release October 11, 1968
Running time 1h 20m
Producer Bo Christensen
Director Erik Balling
Sequel The Olsen Gang in a Fix
|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.
- The olsen gang theme hq
- International versions
- Danish films
- Danish cast
- Animated feature length Danish films
- Norwegian films
- Norwegian DVDs
- Norwegian cast
Later, starting in 1981, Sweden also produced their own version: Jönssonligan.
The olsen gang theme hq
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recurring characters in the Danish version:
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.
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.
Animated feature-length Danish films
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.
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:
ReferencesOlsen Gang Wikipedia
Olsen Gang IMDb Olsen Gang themoviedb.org