- Olsen Gang
The Olsen Gang (Danish: Olsen-banden, Norwegian: Olsenbanden, German: Die Olsenbande) is a fictional Danish criminal gang in the movies of the same name. The gang's leader is the criminal genius and habitual offender Egon Olsen. The other members of the gang are Benny and Kjeld (Kjell in Norwegian). The gang members are harmless and never use violence. A Norwegian version of the movies (a total of 14 from 1968 to 1999) were also made, sometimes produced simultaneously with the Danish ones. Later, Sweden also produced their own version: Jönssonligan.
Most of the movies 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. Egon will inform his friends of his latest plan for making them all millionaires (for example, eluding an alarm system to steal some crown jewels that happen to be on display in Copenhagen) and instruct them to provide the necessary equipment. The plans usually feature everyday artefacts such as Lego, party balloons, cigarettes etc., which are combined to work like Rube Goldberg machines, and clever social engineering. 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'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.
Egon is usually arrested in the end because the police cannot get to the "big fish" and have to find a scapegoat. Superintendent Jensen (Hermansen in Norwegian) tells his younger colleague, inspector Holm: "The only thing the police can do when the real big criminals come by is offer them protection!" This kind of social satire is one of the defining features of the Olsen Gang films.
In the early episodes, harsh language and soft-erotica (temptingly dressed women) were more freely used than in later versions, which were censored to suit youngsters.
The Olsen Gang have been made in Norwegian and Swedish (Jönssonligan) versions too. The movies differ a bit from each other, but they follow a generally similar formula to the Danish films. The original, Danish movies were popular in the former GDR and Eastern Europe.
The Norwegian versions of the movies also have another character, 'Dynamite Harry', as the little brother of Benny Frandsen – he 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 movies, then played by Preben Kaas. In the Swedish Jönssonligan movies Harry showed up in the second movie, and became a regular member of the gang from the next installment on, since the actor who played the original member, a Finn named Rocky, had died. 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 13 movies were directed by Erik Balling, while Tom Hedegaard and Morten Arnfred directed the fourteenth and final Olsen Gang movie. The scripts were written by Balling and Henning Bahs, who also worked as a production designer.
Original title (English) Release date Notes Olsen-banden (The Olsen Gang) October 11, 1968 Olsen-banden på spanden (The Olsen Gang in a Fix) October 3, 1969 Olsen-banden i Jylland (The Olsen Gang in Jutland) October 8, 1971 Olsen-bandens store kup|(The Olsen Gangs Big Score) October 6, 1972 Olsen-banden går amok (The Olsen Gang Goes Crazy) October 5, 1973 Olsen-bandens sidste bedrifter (The Last Exploits of the Olsen Gang) October 4, 1974 This was intended to be the last movie at the time it was made. Olsen-banden på sporet (The Olsen Gang on the Track) September 26, 1975 Olsen-banden ser rødt (The Olsen Gang Sees Red) October 1, 1976 This movie contains the famous showdown scene in which the gang bombs, drills, and hammers its way through the basement of the Royal Danish Theatre in synchronicity with the music of Friedrich Kuhlau's overture to the opera Elverhøj. Olsen-banden deruda (The Olsen Gang Outta Sight) September 30, 1977 Olsen-banden går i krig (The Olsen Gang Goes to War) October 6, 1978 Olsen-banden overgiver sig aldrig (The Olsen Gang Never Surrenders) October 26, 1979 Olsen-bandens flugt over plankeværket (The Olsen Gang's Escape over the Fence) October 16, 1981 Olsen-banden over alle bjerge (The Olsen Gang Long Gone) December 26, 1981 Olsen-bandens sidste stik (The Olsen Gang's Last Trick) December 18, 1998 
- Ove Sprogøe as Egon Olsen
- Morten Grunwald as Benny Frandsen
- Poul Bundgaard 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
- 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 movie series. Usually, 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 movie series, supplying the movies 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.
Most of the Norwegian movies 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)
- 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 8 movies)
- Sverre Wilberg as Superintendent of police Hermansen
- Øivind Blunck and Oddbjørn Hesjevoll as Police inspector Holm (appears in 5 movies and 1 movie respectively)
- Harald Heide-Steen Jr. as Dynamite-Harry
Unofficial English translation of Danish and Norwegian titles
Original title Translation Olsen Banden The Olsen Gang Olsen Banden på spanden The Olsen Gang in trouble Olsen Banden i Jylland The Olsen Gang in Jutland Olsen Bandens store kup The Olsen Gang's grand burglary Olsen Banden går amok The Olsen Gang Goes Crazy Olsen Bandens sidste bedrifter The Olsen Gang's last(latest) accomplishments Olsen Banden på sporet The Olsen Gang on the (rail)track Olsen Banden ser rødt The Olsen Gang snaps (sees red) Olsen Banden deruda' The Olsen Gang full speed ahead Olsen Banden går i krig The Olsen Gang goes to war Olsen Banden overgiver sig aldrig The Olsen Gang never surrenders Olsen Bandens flugt over plankeværket The Olsen Gang's escape over the fence Olsen Banden over alle bjerge The Olsen Gang long gone Olsen Bandens sidste stik The Olsen Gang's last trick (as in cards) or last sting
Original title Official English title Translated directly Translated contextually Olsenbanden: Operasjon Egon The Olsen Gang: Operation Egon The Olsen Gang: Operation Egon Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry Olsenbanden tar gull The Olsen Gang takes gold The Olsen Gang wins (title is a pun, since the gang literally "takes gold" in the movie) Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry går amok The Olsen Gang and Dynamite Harry run amuck The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry go amok The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry goes crazy Olsenbanden møter Kongen og Knekten The Olsen Gang meets the king and the jack The Olsen Gang meets The King and The Jack (The King and The Jack being the handles of the movie's villains) Olsenbandens siste bedrifter The Olsen Gang's last accomplishments The Olsen Gang's last accomplishments Olsenbanden for full musikk The Olsen Gang for full music Totally Olsen Gang (title is a pun, as music plays a rather important part in the movie) Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry on the track The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry on the track ("track" here referring to a railroad track. Title is again a pun) Olsenbanden og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken The Olsen Gang and Data-Harry blow up the World Bank The Olsen Gang and Computer-Harry rob the World Bank Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry mot nye høyder The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry towards new heights The Olsen Gang and Dynamite-Harry towards new heights Olsenbanden gir seg aldri The Olsen Gang never gives up The Olsen Gang never gives up Olsenbandens aller siste kupp The Olsen Gang's very last coup The Olsen Gang's very last burglary ...men Olsenbanden var ikke død ...but the Olsen Gang wasn't dead ...but the Olsen Gang made their return Olsenbandens siste stikk The Olsen Gang's last match The Olsen Gang's last trick (as in cards) or last sting
- Olsenbandenfanclub Deutschland (Olsen Gang Fan Club Germany)
- Olsenbande-Drehorte (Olsen Gang Film-Locations)
- German Olsen Gang Fansite
- Some of the original Danish trailers
- IMDB on the original Danish movie
Olsen Gang CharactersEgon Olsen · Benny Frandsen · Kjeld Jensen · Yvonne Jensen · Børge Jensen · Dynamit-Harry · Kriminalkommissær Jensen · Bøffen Danish cast Norwegian cast Danish filmsOlsen-banden · på spanden · i Jylland · store kup · går amok · sidste bedrifter · på sporet · ser rødt · deruda' · går i krig · overgiver sig aldrig · flugt over plankeværket · over alle bjerge · sidste stik Norwegian filmsOperasjon Egon · og Dynamitt-Harry · tar gull · og Dynamitt-Harry går amok · møter Kongen & Knekten · siste bedrifter · for full musikk · og Dynamitt-Harry på sporet · og Data-Harry sprenger verdensbanken · mot nye høyder · gir seg aldri · aller siste kupp · var ikke død · siste stikk
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