The Green Butchers

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The Green Butchers
Green Butchers Danish.jpg
Danish DVD artwork
Directed byAnders Thomas Jensen
Written byAnders Thomas Jensen
Produced byKim Magnusson
Tivi Magnusson
StarringMads Mikkelsen
Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Line Kruse
Ole Thestrup
Edited byAnders Villadsen
Music byJeppe Kaas
Distributed bySandrew Metronome
Release dates
  • 21 March 2003 (2003-03-21) (Denmark)
  • 7 January 2005 (2005-01-07) (U.S.)
Running time
95 minutes

The Green Butchers (Danish: De grønne slagtere) is a 2003 Danish black comedy film starring Mads Mikkelsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Line Kruse, written and directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. It is a black comedy featuring two butchers, Svend "Sweat" and Bjarne, who start their own shop to get away from their arrogant boss. Cannibalism is soon introduced to the plot, and further complications arise due to the reappearance of Bjarne's mentally challenged twin brother Eigil.


Svend is barbecuing and his fiancée, Tina, is bothering him about the food. Bjarne arrives and is introduced to one of Tina's co-workers, Beate. Bjarne does not take to Beate's flirtation and kicks her under the table until she leaves crying. The next day, as Holger tells a customer a story about sausages, Svend complains to Bjarne that they could open a better butcher shop. Holger insults them and tells Svend that his marinade is terrible. Soon thereafter, Svend meets with a realtor, "House Hans", and Bjarne at a closed butcher shop, and decides to purchase it and open his own shop. Bjarne visits the sanatorium where his brain dead brother Eigil is being kept alive on machines, and tells Nurse Juhl to take him off life support because he needs the money he inherited. Svend and Bjarne discuss hiring an electrician to fix the lights in the meat freezer, and business cards. Bjarne then visits the cemetery where his parents and wife are buried. Astrid introduces herself and Bjarne invites her to the opening of his shop.

On opening day, there are no customers, and Svend accidentally locks up an electrician in the meat freezer. The next morning Holger arrives and mocks Svend, and makes an order for a dinner party to spitefully be his first customer. Svend reveals that he prepared the electrician's leg and sold it to Holger. The next day, when Bjarne arrives, a line of patrons stretches outside the door of the shop. "Svend's chicky-wickies", as he calls the human flesh marinated in his special sauce, are extremely popular. Bjarne is reluctant at selling the rest of the body, but because of the great demand he gives in. Hans arrives, who has just lost his job, and Svend locks him in the freezer. Svend tells Bjarne that he found a dead body. A television news crew reports a story about the new butcher shop. Meanwhile, at the sanatorium, the doctors turn the life support machines off on Eigil, who wakes up.

Eigil comes to the shop, but Bjarne hides and makes Svend send him away. Svend begins dating Beate and when Tina tries to win Svend back, he locks her in the meat freezer. Reverend Villumsen tells Holger that the chicky-wickies tasted like his wife. Bjarne grows tired of Eigil's visits to the butcher shop, and talks to Nurse Juhl, who recommends that he seek a psychiatrist. He tells her to stop by the butcher shop and speak with Svend. The next day Svend tells Bjarne that the nurse was his latest victim, and to throw out the rotten chicken meat. Eigil takes the dead chickens to the cemetery to bury them, where Astrid finds him and befriends him. Bjarne then visits Astrid at the church and leaves when he sees Eigil there.

At the church, as Astrid and Eigil are tending to the chickens, Reverend Villumsen and Holger summon Astrid to the reverend's office. They tell Astrid that they believe the butchers are murdering people, and Holger reveals the details of the accident that claimed Bjarne's family. Astrid takes Eigil to the butcher shop with some dead chickens.

When Bjarne does not find Astrid at the church, he stops by the butcher shop. He finds out that Svend locked Astrid and Eigil in the freezer. Astrid leaves upset, and Bjarne threatens Svend, who escapes. The next day Svend does not show up at the shop and Bjarne opens without any human meat to sell. Instead, he prepares "chicky-wickies" with regular chicken. Holger and the public health authorities arrive and shut the shop down. Svend arrives and nearly confesses to the murders. The health authorities do not find any evidence of foul play and leave. Out in the alley, Bjarne tells Svend that the chicky-wickies were popular because of the marinade, rather than the fact that it was human flesh.


  • Line Kruse as Astrid: A beautiful girl who works for Reverend Villumsen at the church and cemetery. Astrid cares for the chickens on the church, helps keep the graveyard clean, and assists with cremations.
  • Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Bjarne: A marijuana smoking butcher who works at Svend & Co. He kills animals and collects their skeletons.
    • Nikolaj Lie Kaas also portrays Eigil: Bjarne's twin brother. He was born mentally retarded. Caused a car accident which killed his parents and Bjarne's wife and left him brain damaged in a sanatorium for seven years. Eigil is overly fond of animals and is a vegetarian.
  • Mads Mikkelsen as Svend: The owner of Svend & Co. butch shop. Because his parents died as a child he never has felt loved. Svend's color of choice is green.
  • Nicolas Bro as Hans Peterson: Known as "House Hans" because he is a realtor. Hans sells Svend his butcher shop, and later loses his job.
  • Aksel Erhadtsen as Reverend Villumsen: The reverend at a local church. On his honeymoon his plane crashed and he ate his wife to survive. His office is full of plants.
  • Bodil Jørgensen as Tina: Svend's fiancée until she broke it off due to his failing business. Once his butcher shop became popular she tried to get back together with Svend.
  • Ole Thestrup as Holger: Previously Svend and Bjarne's employer at his own sausage butcher shop. He is also the first customer at Svend & Co., and because of his purchase the news gets out of how good their product is.
  • Lily Weiding as Ms. Juhl: A nurse at Eigil's sanatorium.

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