Violence On The Streets Of Copenhagen: An Overview Of Pre-DRIVE Refn

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
Though we've been fans of Nicolas Winding Refn going right back to his debut picture, Pusher, for many people the Ryan Gosling starring Drive was their first exposure to the prolific director. So consider this our gift for those people: An overview of Refn's body of work pre-Drive with trailers included. So if you've been wondering where to go next, let this be your guide.


  • Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Brock Norman Brock (screenplay)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (screenplay)
  • Tom Hardy
  • Kelly Adams
  • Luing Andrews
  • Katy Barker

Valhalla Rising

  • Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Nicolas Winding Refn
  • Roy Jacobsen
  • Matthew Read (additional writing)
  • Mads Mikkelsen
  • Alexander Morton
  • Stewart Porter
  • Maarten Stevenson

Pusher (1996)

Winding Refn’s stylish, edgy debut—which the director turned down an enrollment offer from the prestigious Danish Film Institute to make—stars Kim Bodnia as Frank, a low-level drug dealer working the streets of Copenhagen. When a big-time deal goes wrong, Frank finds himself in serious debt to his supplier, the vicious crime lord Milo (Zlatko Burić), who gives Frank a terrifyingly short timeline for repayment. Desperately scouring the city in search of the cash, Frank becomes increasingly frantic as the clock ticks down, knowing that failure to pay up will mean a grisly end for him. A gritty descent into the bowels of the Danish underworld, Pusher revels in its assertive stylishness and flamboyant violence, but its true strength resides in Bodnia’s stellar performance in the lead, working his already considerable intensity up to a fever pitch as the pressure on Frank builds. Notable also is a young Mads Mikkelsen, making his feature-film debut after a previous career as a professional dancer, as Frank’s sidekick Tonny, who would take over the spotlight for Pusher II.

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