The Green Butchers

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The Green Butchers
Green Butchers Danish.jpg
Danish DVD artwork
Directed by Anders Thomas Jensen
Produced by Kim Magnusson
Tivi Magnusson
Written by Anders Thomas Jensen
Starring Mads Mikkelsen
Nikolaj Lie Kaas
Line Kruse
Ole Thestrup
Music by Jeppe Kaas
Edited by Anders Villadsen
Distributed by Sandrew Metronome
Release dates
21 March 2003 (Denmark)
7 January 2005 (USA)
Running time
95 minutes
Country Denmark
Language Danish

The Green Butchers (Danish: De grønne slagtere) is a 2003 Danish 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.


The film opens with Svend barbecuing tiny steaks in a backyard. His fiancée Tina bothers him about the food. Bjarne arrives and is introduced to one of Tina's co-workers. While they eat, 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 particularly blunt 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 "House Hans", a realtor, 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. Back at the shop Svend and Bjarne prepare the shop for opening. They 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, no customers come despite the business cards and the live band greeting people. 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 calls Bjarne and when he arrives 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. After closing, Svend reveals that he has never felt loved and that the popularity of his shop makes him feel as if his customers love him. Bjarne leaves and Hans arrives, who has just lost his job. Svend locks him in the freezer and leaves.

The next day Bjarne arrives and is terrified that Svend has murdered again. Svend lies and tells him that he found the body dead. As business continues to thrive, 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.

The next day Eigil comes to the shop carrying a stuffed giraffe. Bjarne hides and makes Svend send him away. Business continues to do well and Svend begins dating Beate. When Tina shows up to try and win back Svend, he locks her in the meat freezer. Reverend Villumsen and Holger discuss the new popularity of Svend & Co. The reverend tells Holger that the chicky-wickies tasted like his wife. Holger then grows suspicious of the butchers. Bjarne grows tired of Eigil's frequent 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 finds the dead chickens in the garbage and takes them to the cemetery where he tries to bury them. 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 he locked Astrid and Eigil in the freezer. Astrid leaves upset, and Bjarne threatens Svend, who escapes. It appears as if Eigil has died, but he wakes up. 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 as 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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