The King's Choice

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The King's Choice
The King's Choice.jpg
Film poster
Directed byErik Poppe
Produced byFinn Gjerdrum
Stein B. Kvae
Written byHarald Rosenløw-Eeg
Jan Trygve Røyneland
Music byJohan Söderqvist
CinematographyJohn Christian Rosenlund
Edited byEinar Egeland
Distributed byNordisk Filmdistribusjon
Release date
  • 23 September 2016 (2016-09-23)
Running time
133 minutes
Budget$7.5 million[2]
Box office$9.1 million[3]

The King's Choice (Norwegian: Kongens nei, meaning "The King's No"[4]) is a 2016 biographical war film directed by Erik Poppe. It is a co-production of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland,[1][5] and was selected as the Norwegian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.[6][7] In December 2016, it made the shortlist of nine films to be considered for a nomination at the 89th Academy Awards.[8]


The film focuses on King Haakon VII and the Norwegian Royal Family in the days before and immediately after the German invasion of Norway in April 1940.

On 8 April, Crown Prince Olav informs his father that the transport ship that was sunk off Lillesand earlier that day was carrying German soldiers, and expresses concern that the government of Prime Minister Johan Nygaardsvold refuses to give up Norway's neutrality in the face of German aggression. At the German embassy in Oslo, German envoy Curt Bräuer is instructed by military attaché Lieutenant-Colonel Hartwig Pohlman to encourage the Norwegian government to allow German troops into the country, under the pretext of defending Norway from a British invasion. Early the following morning, Bräuer brings the German offer to Foreign Minister Halvdan Koht; after consulting the Cabinet, Koht refuses, stating that Norway is a sovereign nation.

Meanwhile, at Oscarsborg Fortress near Drøbak, Colonel Birger Eriksen prepares his undermanned and inexperienced garrison for combat, while receiving reports from the outlying fortresses of incoming German ships. Early on the morning of 9 April, Eriksen spots the German cruiser Blücher entering Drøbak Sound. Despite having received no instructions from Oslo to engage, Eriksen considers the German ship to be hostile and gives the order to fire, and the fortress's guns and torpedo battery sink the Blücher. Prime Minister Nygaardsvold telephones the King, informing him of the impending invasion, and advises him to flee Oslo. The Royal Family boards a train for Hamar, where the Norwegian Parliament convenes to discuss negotiations with Germany. Bräuer meets Oslo's police chief Kristian Welhaven, his intermediary with the Norwegian Cabinet, to reassure them of his desire to negotiate; at the same time, Pohlman receives orders from Berlin to send paratroopers to Hamar to capture the King and the Cabinet. Nasjonal Samling leader Vidkun Quisling proclaims himself Prime Minister over the national radio, and calls upon the Norwegian people to accept the German occupation forces. Bräuer receives instructions from Hitler himself to go directly to the King and convince him to recognise Quisling's government, though Bräuer is convinced that neither Haakon nor the Cabinet will accept this.

As German troops advance towards Hamar, the Royal Family and the Cabinet relocate to Elverum, where the decision is made to send Olav's wife and three children to Sweden while the King and the Crown Prince remain in the country. Just after midnight on 10 April, the German paratroopers attack a roadblock at Midtskogen, and are beaten back by the Norwegian volunteers. At Nybergsund, the Cabinet meets to discuss Bräuer's request to meet the King alone to end the hostilities. Despite Olav's objections and fears for his father's safety, Haakon agrees to meet with Bräuer at Elverum. Bräuer urges Haakon to follow the example of his elder brother, King Christian of Denmark, to capitulate without further resistance. Haakon relays the German demands to the Cabinet and states he cannot accept Quisling as Prime Minister, offering to abdicate if the Cabinet felt otherwise. Inspired by the King's decision, the Cabinet informs Bräuer of their refusal. In response, German aircraft bomb Elverum and Nybergsund, forcing Haakon and the Cabinet to flee into the woods.

The King, the Crown Prince, and the Cabinet eventually escape to Britain, where they remain until the end of the war. In May 1945, following the German surrender, Haakon is reunited with his grandson, Prince Harald, in London before the Royal Family returns to Norway.



The film was first shown to the whole of the present Norwegian royal family at the Royal Palace in Oslo on 16 September 2016.[9]


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 84% based on reviews from 25 critics.[10] On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of 100, based on reviews from 8 critics.[11]

See also[edit]

Historic background[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Kongens Nei (Annual Archives 2017 Film File)". Berlinale. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Innspillingen har tatt fire år – her er traileren til "Kongens nei"". NRK. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Kongens Nei (The King's Choice)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 8 April 2017.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Question about Norwegian (bokmal)". HiNative. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Norway picks Irish co-production The King's Choice for Oscar consideration". Scannain. 15 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  6. ^ Johansen, Øystein David (8 September 2016). ""Kongens nei" er Norges Oscar-kandidat". Verdens Gang. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  7. ^ Sandwell, Ian (8 September 2016). "Oscars: Norway picks 'The King's Choice'". ScreenDaily. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Oscars: Nine Films Advance in Foreign-Language Race". Variety. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  9. ^ En magisk kveld i Slottsparken The Royal House of Norway, official website (in Norwegian)
  10. ^ "The King's Choice (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  11. ^ "The King's Choice". Metacritic.

External links[edit]