Film / Olsen-banden
aka: Olsen-Banden

Olsen-banden (English: The Olsen Gang) is a series of Danish crime comedy movies revolving around Egon Olsen and his gang and their (mostly unsuccessful) crimes. The series consists of 14 movies (the first is from 1968 and the last from 1998). Around the time of the fourth movie, Egon started to commit his burglaries using highly unusual plans, involving creative use of everyday items, as well as social engineering by playing on broad stereotypes. These plans would become the most defining and popular trait of the series. At the same time, a significant amount of social and political commentary was introduced. In a clear criticism of the capitalistic society, the number of Corrupt Corporate Executives, as well as impoverished and alcoholic characters, rose dramastically.

Norway and Sweden both made their own version of the series, though where the Norwegian version stuck very closely to the Danish one, using the same plots, mostly the same characters and largely the same names (with a couple of notable exceptions, and the gang name was written as one word, "Olsenbanden," as opposed to the Danish hyphenated "Olsen-banden"), the Swedish version renamed all characters and, by extension, the series to Jönssonligan and went off in its own direction after the third movie, using original plots and changing several of the characters.

The gang consists of:

Other major characters are:
  • Yvonne Jensen: Kjeld's wife. Often inadvertently screws up their schemes. Fans often consider her Egon's true nemesis. Indeed, the death of her actress back in 1988 was the reason why the series was originally cancelled. (She was named "Valborg" in Norway and "Eivor" in Sweden.)
  • Børge Jensen: Kjeld and Yvonne's son. Sometimes assists the gang in their schemes. (Named "Basse" in Norway and "Bill" in Sweden)
  • "Dynamit"-Harry: Benny's brother (cousin in the Swedish version), an alcoholic and demolition expert who occasionally helps the gang out. In the original Danish series he only appears in two movies, but he got a much larger role in both the Norwegian and Swedish versions; in the Norwegian movies he plays a major role in six of the fourteen movies (and makes at least an appearance in all six Spinoff Babies movies), and in the Swedish version he becomes a full-time member of the gang, replacing Rocky from the third movie on.
  • Detective constable Jensen: A policeman who is often tasked with tracking down the gang. He has grown unenthusiastic and disillusioned after realising that he can only deal with minor criminals, while the greater injustices taking place in the higher echelons of society are beyond any reach. In times of great agitation however, he will display zealous dedication to justice. Despite being an enforcer of the law, he has great respect for Egon due to his skills, and because Egon sticks to what Jensen call "illegal crimes". This in opposite to the "legal crimes" of people like Bang-Johansen who can not just be put behind jails without causing a lot of problems. (Named "Hermansen" in Norway and "Persson" in Sweden.)
  • Detective assistant Holm: Constable Jensens eager, but bumbling assistant, to whom Jensen often have to explain key plot points and why they can only arrest the small fish. He and Jensen usually have a bare minimum of influence on the plot, but they are highly important to the exposition of background details.
  • Bang-Johansen/Hallandsen/Holm Hansen: The recurring Big Bad in many of the movies. A corrupt authority figure with villainous schemes of his own. This character is subject to an unusual and confusing gag. In most of the movies where he appears he has one of those three names and is supposedly a new character who has nothing to do with any of the previous incarnations (Jönssonligan did not follow this, instead opting to have the equivalent - only using the name Wall-Enberg - be the same character, a shady executive, in all his appearances). To further add to the confusion, they are all played by the same actor and have the same personality. None of the other characters have ever made any comments on this - however, in Danish film series at the time it was normal for actors to return in different roles, and there is a number of other recurring actors in Olsen-Banden too. Most frequently, he takes on the role of a Corrupt Corporate Executive, but he has also been a corrupt civil servant and a criminal nobleman. Frequently hires the gang to help him, just to betray them later, with the help of:
  • Bøffen (literally: The Steak): Bang-Johansen's dragon whose complicated plans to eliminate Egon usually backfires onto himself. He is a very large and fat man, usually armed with a blunt weapon such as a monkey wrench. Interestingly, he is never referred to as "Bøffen" within the movies, where he's just called "Him" and notably "Det dumme svin/The bastard" by Benny. He is the only character to have been played by the same actor in both the Danish and Norwegian versions of the movies, namely Ove Verner Hansen.

Not to be related to the Olsen Twins. Or the Olsen Brothers.

This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In the Swedish movies, "Sickan" will always correct anyone calling him Sickan to call him "Charles Ingvar".
  • Acid Pool: In movie 12, Bøffen tries to kill Egon by putting him into a boiling green vat of Hollywood Acid.
  • Action Prologue: Most of the Danish and Norwegian movies have a pre-title sequence consisting of a small heist which fails and lands Egon in prison. While early entries used these to provide an Establishing Character Moment for Egon with his friends escaping and him pretending to be part of scenery while police arrives, later ones started to make these heists funny. Interestingly, in movie 7, Bøffen pulls a heist on Egon.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Subverted. Egon makes it sound as though they were going to use this trope to gain access to a vault in the Brussels HQ of the EG, but as the vent is tiny, they just feed their distraction through it and enter by the door.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Egon gets roughly the same less-than-a-year-sentence whether he's being convicted of attempted armed robbery, forgery or throwing a stone into a shop's window.
  • Almighty Janitor: Despite being a lowly police officer, Jensen always knows everything about the shady dealings of the Danish upper class.
  • The Alcoholic: Harry, in all three versions. At one point, he decides to stop drinking. At the end of that movie, when he's needed to blow up a wall, it turns out that he needs to drink a beer to do that reliably.
  • Artistic License – Law: It's hard to imagine that, even with lenient criminal law, someone like Egon will only be imprisoned for 8-10 months after having committed well over 20 crimes.
  • Ascended Extra: Harry in the Norwegian and Swedish series, possibly thanks to the fact that both Norwegian and Swedish moviemakers had the role played by a popular and beloved comedian (Harald Heide-Steen Jr in Norway and Björn Gustafson in Sweden). As such, in the Norwegian series the movies featuring him usually upgrade him to titular character, and in the Swedish series he's a permanent member of the gang from the third movie on.
  • Asshole Victim: Most of the people the gang steal from in the later movies have committed much worse (albeit occasionally legal) crimes.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Rocky and his wife Eivor in the Swedish movie. She's a bit of a ballbuster and he's very meek, but any time Sickan insults one in front of the other, he ends up on the receiving end of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. It's especially scary when Rocky does this.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Egon seems to know exactly how characters will react and his plans rely heavily on being able to predict the time such a reaction takes, occasionally down to the second.
  • Ax-Crazy: Bøffen is often very enthusiastic about his work.
  • Bad to the Last Drop: Movie 13 features Egon replacing the beers of some security guards with raspberry lemonade (which is the same drink lemonade is, only with raspberries replacing lemons). The guards find it so awful that they quit their job over it.
  • Bank Robbery: Egon attempts one in the opening of the second movie. Too bad the bank is already being robbed.
  • Batman Gambit: How else would one use these implements?
  • Berserk Button: The incompetence of his two underlings is usually one for Egon, inevitably triggering an angry rant.
    Egon: Mangy dogs! Jaywalkers! Lousy amateurs! I come up with the greatest plan yet, and this is how you thank me! How can you be so ungrateful!?
    • Occasionally, these rants crosses the line with Kjeld, usually when insulting Yvonne, triggering his own rant or a very threatening "The Reason You Suck" Speech directed towards Egon.
    • Crosses over to Beware the Nice Ones at times. Kjeld doesn't get angry often, but when he does, it usually shuts Egon right up.
    • Also for Egon, Yvonne accusing him of not knowing how the world works because he spends all his time in prison.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Jokes that require uncommon language skills are often included, for example:
    • A corrupt oil sheik's crest carry the motto "Pecunia non olet" (Money has no smell).
    • A not too bright nobleman's family motto is "Honi soit qui pense" (Shame on those who think).
    • An Stasi-esque government surveillance and registration building has "Per fas et nefas" (With or without rights) written over the door.
    • The World Bank's motto is "Sine Pecunia Dolet" (It hurts to be without money).
    • Slips into Gratuitous German in the Danish and Swedish movies when Egon/Sickan pretend to be Germans at different points, leading to gems like „Köstliche Instrumente“ („delicious instruments“ instead of kostbar/valuable)
    • German/English is also not usually subtitled in either the Danish or Swedish original.
    • Two French CorruptCorporateExecutives are named „Vilain“ and „Canaille“ („villain“ and „crook“ respectively)
    • Surprisingly enough, somewhat averted in the last Swedish movie: A Sicilian mafia boss and his son speak a horribly mangled Italian with half the words being italianised versions of Swedish words that somehow ends up being harder to understand with any knowledge of Italian.
  • Bookends: Bar the pre-credit sequence, most movies begin with a shot of Vridløse prison over which the credits roll, followed by Egon's release. One of the last scenes is then usually Egon's re-arrest and the last shot is one of the prison before the Smash to Black.
  • Breaking Out the Boss: Never happens, surprisingly enough. Egon can break his way into pretty much everywhere but never even once tries to break out of Vridsløse prison.
    • Vanheden and Harry do break Sickan out of prison during transfer in one of the Swedish movies.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • At the end of the last movie in the Norwegian series, Egon has finally got the money, and proclaim he has a plan, whereupon the camera zooms out to reveal the movie crew and the director yelling. "No Egon, not another plan."
    • The Danish version ends both their sixth thirteenth and supposed last movies with Benny, Kjeld and Yvonne waving goodbye to the audience during the latter two's 25-year anniversary.
    • Egon salutes the audience at the end of several other movies as well.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: And in many Danish movies, they use identical red briefcases. Nobody comments on it, obviously. In a few cases they played around the concept, introducing multiple briefcases with most of them filled with ordinary stuff.
  • Brother Chuck: Børge's siblings, who vanishes into thin air after the first movie.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Holm
  • Cameo: Many small roles were played by well known Danish actors, some times even after having had other major roles earlier in the serie.
    • In one of the movies Benny and Kjeld break in to a kiosk when they are noticed by three drunk Norwegian tourists - played by the actors who played the gang in the norwegian serie.
    • In Olsen-bandens sidste stik ("The Olsen Gang's last trick") Egon accidentally opens a door to a room where two old men are writing on typewrites: Erik Balling and Henning Bahs, the creators of the series as well as director and special effect maker respective.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • The Spinoff Babies, courtesy of the age of the original actors, and the time of release for the first movies. In Norway, the first movie was aired in 1969, showing Kjell as a father of four. The last of the "jr" movies is set in 1960, giving Kjeld nine years to grow up, marry and have four children, one of whom is more than nine years old.
    • Arve Opsahl, who played the grown up Egon in Norway, was born in 1925. The continuity of the spinoff franchise would have made more sense if the "junior" gang had made their shenanigans in the thirties, rather than in the fifties. But then again, they never would have a chance to play rock`n roll.
    • In the Danish version, Egon is said to be born in either 1925 or 1927 (the actor was born in 1919), so the movies should again have taken place in the thirties.
  • Catch Phrase: The regular characters all have a few:
    • Egon: "Jeg har en plan" ("I have a plan."), "Nej, nej, nej!" ("No, no, no!")
    • Benny: "Skidegodt, Egon" ("Bloody good, Egon!", Might also be translated as "Brilliant, Egon.")
    • Kjeld: „Jeg visste det, jeg visste det!“ ("I knew it, I knew it!"), „Hvad skal jeg sige til Yvonne?“ ("What am I going to tell Yvonne?")
      • The Swedish versions have similar ones, except Kjeld who only lasted two movies.
      • Sickan: "Jag har en plan, tajmad och klar in i minsta detalj" ("I have a plan, timed and finished to the smallest detail"), "Charles Ingvar Jönsson!"
      • Vanheden: "Lysande, Sickan!" ("Brilliant, Sickan!" Sickan's reply also counts as one: "Självklart." ("Of course."))
      • Dynamit-Harry: "Vilken jädra smäll!" ("What a friggin' blast!")
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Unlike his Danish counterpart, Wall-Enberg is always shown as being the same character from movie to movie, and hires or agrees to buy something from Sickan and the gang on several occasions. Despite stabbing them in the back every single time, Sickan keeps taking him up on his offers, often hoping to do the same to Wall-Enberg for all the times he's betrayed Sickan or his team.
  • Clear My Name: In the second movie, after the gang just happened to be present at a bank robbery. Egon's ten prior convictions don't help.
  • Clock Tower: One of the most memorable scenes in the series happens in Olsen-banden går i krig (The Olsen Gang Goes To War). Bøffen places Egon in front of the clock on the Copenhagen Town Hall Tower, waiting for the big clock hand to come down and send Egon more than 70 meters down to his death. Kjeld and Benny discover him in the nick of time, but when they try to free him, all three end up hanging on the clock hands, which in turn creates chaos in the mechanism knocking out Bøffen and fellow criminal The Black Baron. This scene is also famously recreated in the Swedish version, Jönssonligan får guldfeber (The Jönsson Gang gets Gold Fever).
  • Clueless Detective: Mortensen from the early movies. Occasionally he's on the right track, but too incompetent to prove anything.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: A coat stolen as a side-effect of a plan in movie 12 turns out to contain the five million they were originally after at the end of movie 13.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: Discounting the Early Installment Weirdness that's the pre-credit scene of movie 2 (and that's a water pistol), the gang never use a weapon.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The fifth and sixth movie in the Danish series end with the gang actually going to Mallorca. So the sixth and the seventh movie opens on Mallorca.
    • At the end of the third movie the gang discovers that the money they retrieved from an old Nazi bunker is forged. In the fourth movie, as Egon is counting the money from their heist, Yvonne suddenly exclaims: "Oh, my God! They are not forged, are they?? Because I'll never forget that other time, when ..."
  • Conveniently Cellmates: From movie 5 on, Egon gets his next plan from his cellmate, usually an attorney who knew too much.
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: Bøffen places an unconscious Egon on one in Olsen-bandens flugt over plankeværket ("The Olsen Gang's Escape over the Fence")
  • Cool Car: The third Swedish movie has a heavily armed truck used to transport a goverment data chip between military bases. Part of the plan to steal the chip involves damaging the cars side with a sledge hammer, so they can tinker with it while its being repaired.
  • Cool Train: First, there was a small train that was used in the 3rd movie. Then, the production team has gone crazy and made movie 7 plot completely about trains. Oh, and when Kjeld dreams about what he's going to get with his share of the millions, it's a model railway.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Wall-Enberg from the Swedish films, who's crimes range from Money laundering and smuggling, to treason. He's only arrested and punished in the first Movie however, in the others the evidence of his wrongdoings are either stolen by the Jönssons or vanish.
  • Couch Gag: The movies always opens with a scene where Egon is released from prison and is met by Benny and Kjeld, but with slight variations in each movie (Benny and Kjeld are late or do not show up, Egon does not want to leave prison, because his plan is not finished etc.)
  • Crapsaccharine World: The happy, harmonic and always sunny Denmark seen in the films is frequently revealed to be a facade over a country at the mercy of ruthless businessmen and utterly corrupt officials whose nefarious schemes are only stopped by our bumbling heroes - usually by accident.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Swedish remake from 2015. Mainly because it's a thriller, not a comedy. See In-Name-Only
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • Movie 13 provides us with Egon assuming the identity of Egonne in order to pass as a maid in a hotel.
    • In movie 2, Kjeld does it, even introducing himself as „the young girl who cleans the room“.
    • Sickan does it twice (movies 2 and 5), with rather more convincing results.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: While in Paris, Egon decides to hire a prostitute as an additional helping hand. However a combination of interlanguage communication problems leads Benny to stop helping Egon with a concurrent heist, thus forcing the team to make another one.
    • A lesser example happens in the fourth movie, where a competing trio of thieves utilizes their human resources to steal just stolen money that Egon for whatever reason decided to hide in plain sight.
  • The Ditz: Harry's girlfriend Doris in the Swedish version. Though she is good-natured and pretty, she has a tendency to overlook the incredibly obvious signs of what Harry's friends are dragging him into, and thinks the loot in the fifth movie is from a settlement Sickan got for wrongful arrest.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of the 13th movie, Egon is put into the psychiatric division of the prison as an incurable criminal. While it's common for Egon to end up in prison at the end of a movie, not only is it implied to not be temporary this time, but it was also supposed to be the last movie (and was for 17 years). If a 14th movie hadn't eventually been made, Egon would canonnically have spent the rest of his life in prison.
  • Drunk Driver: Played for Laughs in the Norwegian version of Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry. Harry tries to drive while heavily intoxicated. He insists that he's fine, but...
    [Harry and Benny are in the car, with Harry in the driver's seat]
    Benny: Wouldn't it be better if I took the wheel now?
    Harry: Nonsense! Nonsense! Get thee behind me! Listen! No one drives as well as old Harry... with a tiny supporting BAC, right? No one!
    Where's the car? [looks around and realizes he's sitting in it] Here's the car.
    [incomprehensible slurred speech] Pay attention now!
    [accidentally puts the car in reverse and backs up into a building, creating a small explosion]
    [manages to drive forward, but drives through two fences before crashing]
    I think you should take the wheel for a while. [detaches the steering wheel and hands it over to Benny]
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first movie, Kjeld and Yvonne have three children, of which Børge is the middle-child. The oldest and the youngest, a boy and a girl, are gone by the next movie and never as much as alluded to again. Benny has a pregnat girlfriend and, by the end of the movie, at least one child. This is also never mentioned again. A group of prostitutes, who the gang happily frequents, figures into the plot, something which would not have happened later. The series would not really resemble what it became until the third movie, with the formula complete by movie 5, with the introduction of Inspector Jensen, Sergeant Holm, Bøffen and the capitalist villain that would figure into most of the sequels.
    • Some of the early elements got a proper closure, though.
      • In the first movie, the gang discusses Egon's plans in a certain pub. In the second movie, Egon's presence happens to be linked to the interior being destroyed, twice, making the keeper unfriendly to Egon, and thus gang switches to bringing some beer to Kjeld's home.
      • The early movies don't feature Jensen, bringing us instead The Klutz Mortensen (or him and his clones, given the series loads of similar characters). He gets degraded, so Jensen's appearance is not that sudden.
    • In the Swedish movies, Rocky and his family is this. Since Harry is considered a mainstay of the group in popular culture, most people tend to forget that he wasn't even in the first movie, and only had a supporting role in the second.
  • The Empire: The villain is frequently working together with large and powerful forces from the outside, such as the European Union.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Sort of, in the Jr films, especially the Swedish ones. It's not actually set in school, but during summer vacation, but nearly all the eventual characters are there, even future villains Wall-Enberg and Biffen.
  • The Faceless: King Olav V in the fourth Norwegian Olsenbanden Jr movie.
  • Faking and Entering: The gang are hired to do just that by Baron Løvenvold in the 8th movie.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Melvin from the 7th Swedish movie is an improbably skilled and possibly cleptomaniac pickpocket, leading to a number of funny moments. At the end, he pickpockets the chief of police's wallet and the key to the handcuffs he's currently wearing, without even knowing what it is.
  • Flanderization: Bøffen goes from being a mere Punch Clock Villain to full Ax-Crazy sadist as the Danish series progresses.
  • Foreign Queasine: Danish Remoulade in movie 13, which Egon replaces another sauce with (note: they're in France then) to cause mass fainting and thus provide a distraction.
  • Foreign Remake: The Norwegian and partly the Swedish series. The Norwegian movies were sometimes even made parallel with their Danish counterparts so they could reuse some of the sets.
  • Freudian Trio: An uncommon example of the superego being the leader. Kjeld is the id and Benny the ego that keeps them together.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Movie 13 features security company KBG, which extends to something roughly translatable as Kopenhagen Body Guards. The company features a red star in their logo, in case of somebody missing the reference.
  • Gambit Roulette: Egon's plans often heavily rely on second-accurate timing and exactly predicting the actions of certain characters. For example, in movie 9, managing to put exactly the amount of fuel into a car to make it stop right in the middle of a busy intersection and then precisely timing it with the arrival of the police.
  • Game Changer: By the beginning of the movie 12, Egon is actually scared of returning to the jail; a change in prison management means that he won't be sent to his old room to conceive the next plan, the next time he gets caught doing something, he'll probably end up in insane asylum. And by the end of movie 13, this actually happens.
  • Gaslighting: Egon's plans sometimes utilize a very short-term form of this. For example, in movie 6, he replaces a huge dog of a security guard with a tiny one to incapacitate him for a moment.
  • Genre Savvy: Detective constable Jensen knows only too well that he is not the hero of the story, and has resigned himself to the fact that, unless the criminal drops into his lap, he can't do anything. The best he can do is sit back and explain how the world works. Contrast Holm, who is, seemingly, Wrong Genre Savvy, thinking himself the cop in some action-movie about gangsters.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In Olsen Banden Ser Rødt (The Olsen Gang Sees Red), when the gang is sneaking around in the basements of a wealthy baron's estate, Egon remarks that one of the halls was the secret entrance to an ancestor's lovers, but that said ancestor's great-grandmother had it walled up.
    • When Egon at one point is posing as an arrogant German businessman, he introduces himself as "Generaldirektor von Arschloch." note 
    • When it is suggested to Jensen that he could be transferred to vice, he mutters that all he has ever experienced in that field is defeat, humiliation and heat flushes.
    • In the seventh movie, Jensen and his boss, wearing masks, stand next to each other taking a leak from a train platform after the police excursion got derailed into a beer brewery. Each of them recognising the other is preceded by a clear look downwards.
  • Give Me Back My Wallet: Not quite a textbook example in the 7th Swedish movie. Herrman Melvin is an incredibly skilled and possibly compulsive pickpocket. During a heist, Harry cannot find a tool. Vanheden turns to Melvin, asking for it. When he gets it, he follows it up with „And the wallet“, which Melvin hands him immediately.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Sometime between the 4th and 5th Swedish movie, Vanheden, Harry and Doris move to Spain. Sickan can't join them because there is a warrant for his arrest, so he can't travel and stays behind in Stockholm. Where we see him, explaining his next plan to his absent companions, returns their catchphrases to himself and even correcting Vanheden about the use of his nickname.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: It only rains once in all 14 (Danish) movies, when, at the end of movie 13, Egon has been arrested and faces life imprisonment, Yvonne has left Kjeld and the gang didn't get the money. However, it's due to the rain that Benny discovers something important...
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason that people want to get rid of Egon Once an Episode, even if they had originally hired him. It doesn't help that Egon can never resist showing off what he knows...
    • Also usually the reason for the imprisonment of Egon's cellmates who provide him with info.
  • Henpecked Husband: Kjeld is close to being the most triumphant example of this in Danish film.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Egon's reaction when his plans go wrong, and the police sirens are getting closer.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: Done by Bøffen to Egon in the tenth movie.
  • Hilarity Sues: Egon gets arrested in the second movie for a variety of small infractions, such as breaking traffic regulations, that happened while he was trying to find the people who had stolen the crown jewels.
  • Hollywood Density:
    • Played straight in movie 6. Egon should have realized much earlier, that a bag containing diamonds should be much heavier…
    • Benny and Kjeld have obviously fallen for this one in movie 7, although it is ultimately averted. Had they known how much 90 million crowns in gold ingots weighed, they would certainly not have volunteered to do the loading. Also, Benny might have gotten a sturdier truck.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the first Swedish movie, the gang robs Wall-Enberg while disguised as police with uniforms and a cop car they stole from the police station. When they run out, Sickan yells at Vanheden for leaving their car unlocked, and Vanheden replies "Oh come on, who would steal a cop car?"
  • Impersonating an Officer: Benny and Kjeld in movie 6 with Egon as their prisoner.
  • Impersonation Gambit
  • Impossible Insurance: In one movie, the gang are working for a Corrupt Corporate Executive who owns an insurance company, tasked to steal a MacGuffin containing sensitive information for him. Once they retrieve it, however, he decides that it would be cheaper to just kill them and take the MacGuffin, rather than pay them the two million he promised. Narrowly escaping an attempt on his life, Olsen - knowing that nobody ELSE would be willing to pay for the information - comes up with a plan: He takes out a life-insurance with the company, with a 5.000.000 payout. Thus, it would no longer be economical for the Corrupt CEO to kill him, since it would cost as much as negotiating, while involving more dangers. But when he shows it off to the CEO, the latter fast get over the surprise and points him to the 'small print', which shows the exceptions to the policy, many of which could be easily used for arranging an 'accident'. Cue Egon tied up on a conveyor-belt over a vat of acid.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: It is never fully explained if Bøffen is the same thug who happens to work for different villains, on one occasion as the private chauffeur for a count, or as a variety of thugs who happens to look like each other (since he is said to have been said chauffeur from the 8th movie for twenty years, it's probably the latter). Likewise his usual employer(s), Hallandsen/Holm-Hansen/Bang-Johansen, usually played by the same actor. Played straight with a lot of minor characters, as actors were often reused, sometimes in similar roles.
    • In movie 3, Bøffen and Harry actors play very different characters then they usually do.
  • Infraction Distraction: Common element of Egon's plans.
  • In-Name-Only: The 2015 movie „Jönssonligan – den perfekta stöten“ is about car-thief Charles-Ingvar Jönsson wanting to avenge his uncle's death with the help of Dynamit-Harry, con man Ragnar Vanheden and safecracker Rocky, who happens to be Charles-Ingvars former girlfriend on Corrupt Corporate Executive Wallentin
  • Inspired by...: Part of the inspiration to the Olsen Gang came from "Det borende X" ("The drilling X"), a Danish burglar, who in the years 1909-31 carried out a string of meticulously planned and technically complicated safe-burglaries. When he was finally caught it turned out that he had used the money to keep up appearances as a respectable greengrocer and family man.
  • Institutional Apparel: Egon is wearing a grey and blue striped variant at the beginning of movie 14. The prison band at the end of movie 10, wear black and white stripes.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: A particularly strange and roundabout one in Norway with Dickie Dick Dickens. Since the Norwegian translations of the Dickie Dick Dickens audio drama was such a hit, the Norwegian director of the audio drama got the original authors' permission to write a few new adventures for Norwegian radio where the infamous Chicago gangster Dickie Dick Dickens visited Norway. The last and most obscure of these had Dickens team up with the Norwegian Egon Olsen for a minor coup.
  • In the Hood: Tried twice in the first two movies, but it doesn't help a bit.
  • Ironic Echo: In the fifth movie, when he shows up for the first time, Jensen echoes one of Egon's rants to his technicians nearly verbatim.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: In movie 12, Egon and Yvonne infiltrate a hotel by posing as cleaning ladies...
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: One of Egon's arrests happens for a variety of traffic violations. Whether that can be said to ruin the life of someone who already has ten prison sentences behind him is a matter of debate, but one should note that it ends Egon's first and only attempt at becoming honest.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Egon, Once an Episode
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Wall-Enberg from the Swedish movies only gets arrested once, at the end of the first movie.
    • Mafioso Motzarella from the 2nd Danish movie
    • Also Sonia from the 4th
  • Karmic Death: It is heavily implied that the villainous Baron von Loevenvold suffers the fate he had in mind for Egon, i.e. being walled up alive at the end of Olsen Banden ser Rødt.
  • Karmic Thief: Egon occasionally steals from people have committed much worse crimes than he ever will.
  • The Kingdom: Denmark is depicted as a small, cosy country full of happy people.
    • During one of their break-ins the gang blocks a security camera with a picture of the queen and her two sons, and the old watchman just smile happily when he sees it, and nods off again.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • In movie 5, Yvonne tells Egon to go and turn himself in to get Kjeld and Benny out of prison, because he's always the only one to get arrested.
    • And in the next movie, Yvonne justifies having hidden the loot because this is the part of the plan where everything always goes wrong. Unsurprisingly it does, and partially because of her actions.
    • A few times Egon leaves prison and Benny and Kjeld are not there (yet). As Egon wonders what's going on, we get a brief shot of what the scene should look like, before snapping back to reality. Occasionally made even funnier by soundeffects, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRxFBqYJn5c
  • Large Ham: Egon in particular, but everybody get their scenery chewing moments - which is part of the movies charm.
    • This is lampshaded at one point, where Egon hides from some policemen by pretending to be a mannequin holding a sign saying "Gamle krukker" ("Old jars"). "Krukke" (jar) is Danish slang for a Large Ham.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Bøffen, Bang-Johansen and Holm were all introduced in the sixth movies Olsen Bandens sidste bedrifter ("The Olsen Gang's Last Archievements) which as the name suggest should have been the last. The serie was however continued and they all became regular characters.
  • Lighter and Softer: As the series became more popular with children, the violence and sex was toned down heavily.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The gang nearly always wear the same clothes, even on summer hot Mallorca.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Egon in movie 14.
  • Lovable Coward: Kjeld/Rocky.
  • Makes Sense In Context: Probably most outstanding line in that department that series provided goes like this: "We've got to get there unnoticed. Therefore, we're gonna get a tank."
  • Meaningful Name: Ragnar Vanheden. "Vanheder" is Swedish for "Dishonor", which is rather fitting for a crook.
  • Mickey Mousing: One of the most famous scenes of the series is in "Olsen Banden Ser Rødt" (The Olsen Gang Sees Red) when the gang break into the royal theater of Copenhagen while the orchestra is playing the Overture to the Danish national play "Elverhøj". It's even Mickey Mousing in-universe as well, as the break-in requires many noisy tools and explosives, and Egon has brought a note sheet so that he can time the crime perfectly to the music so they won't be heard. It's quite brilliantly done.
    • The Overture was actually rearranged for the movie to match the scenes. Most people didn't noticed but it certainly confused the orchestra who played the roles of themselve and who probably would could have played the original even in sleep.
    • At least, a literal case of Orchestral Bombing!
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In a minor way, this is provided with the Norwegian Spinoff Babies movies, the Olsenbanden Jr. series, which takes its parent series' Status Quo Is God tendency and runs with it to create more of a Negative Continuity effect:
    • The junior version of the gang, though still often involved in coups, schemes and small ways of cheating, are both more heroic and vastly more successful than their adult selves — but no matter how many times the junior version of the gang are hailed as heroes at the end of a movie, at the beginning of the next one they're back to being viewed as junior hooligans, distrusted by the police.
    • The orphanage Egon lives at has a different corrupt and greedy head every movie, even the ones where the previous movie didn't end with the old head being arrested for corruption.
    • The straightest example of the trope, to the point of becoming a Running Gag, is that each movie has a different version of the story of how Egon first got his trademark bowler hat: In one movie he swipes it of a random adult as part of a disguise, in another he inherits it from his long-lost grandfather... and in one movie, it's a gift from the King of Norway.
  • Name's the Same: In the Danish movies, at least four big guard dogs are named „Buster“.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: After 20-30 stints in Vridsløse, Egon decides this at the beginning of movie 12, even though he is usually not unhappy there. Benny's and Kjeld's reaction: „What, never again?“ It's justified as Egon risks being put into the prison's psychiatric ward.
  • Nice Hat: Egon's bowler hat to the point where it have become a symbol of the serie itself.
    • His Swedish equivalent Charles Ingvar's beret.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The recurring villain in the Swedish films, Corrupt Corporate Executive Wall-Enberg, is a very un-subtle jab at the Wallenberg family, one of Sweden's most influential "old money"-families, as well as possibly one at Anders Wall, an at that time very famous corporate raider.
  • Non-Action Guy: None of the Jönssonligan members are much in the way of fighters. Sickan is short and scrawny and relies on his brains, Vanheden is a petty thief, lockpick and charmer, and Harry, despite his predeliction for explosives, is a bit of a Cowardly Lion. Their former member, Rocky, was The Big Guy in the first two movies, but was also sweet and childlike in nature.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Harry's specialty. He often ends up taking the brunt of them himself.
  • Noodle Implements: Subverted Most of Egon's plans involve all sorts of baroque requisites, but they are always shown used in surprisingly coherent and intelligent (if somewhat Looney Tunes) ways. A typical example: "We need one boat. The boat has to have an extremely high mast. In order to arrange this, we need a wrench, rope, a soup-bone and a very small dog." What the gang does is distract a marina watchman's Alsatian with the bone, and replace the Alsatian with a small dog. While the guard tries to figure out what happened, they board a boat and sail off. The wrench and rope are used to steal a flagpole from a nearby garden and tie it to the mast, leaving them with a one-man vessel high enough to raise a movable bridge, which, in turn, will stop the armored transport they intend to rob where they want it.
  • The Old Convict: Although the movies are never set in prison, Egon shows traits of this. The entire staff knows him, he knows them, they know what little ticks he has and the only people to know more about prisoner transport than Egon are the police. Egon's address in police files is Kjeld's house and movie 2 heavily implies that Egon, apart from Vridsløse prison, has no other place to sleep but with the Jensens. Finally, while it is left to other people to point this out, Egon occasionally does lose track of the outside world while in prison.
  • One Last Job: In a way, the gang plan to retire to Mallorca after pretty much every caper.
  • Out-Gambitted: Usually, Egon gets Out-Gambitted by the Big Bad and then outgambits him back.
  • The Other Darrin: Nearly the whole cast of the Norwegian and Swedish series, obviously. But also internal in the Danish series where Bang-Johansen's interlocutor in the later movies, Hallandsen, were played by a new actor each time.
  • Pet the Dog: The first Swedish movies plan requires a city bus, meaning that the gang needs to steal one, which they do when the driver needs to stop for a bathroom break. However, Rocky is nice enough to leave the drivers lunch by the side of the road. After the initial shock wears off, the driver shrugs and sits down to eat.
  • Precision F-Strike: Interestingly enough, the movies are quite full of swearing, especially from Benny and Egon. Might not qualify as a full example as the swearwords mainly used („før fanden“ - „for the devil('s sake)“ and „pokker“ - „damn“) are considered fairly harmless in Danish.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: Subverted with a literal vase in eighth movie. For the first time, it slides out of palms of Børge's fiancee (her shaky hands were already hinted at). The Gang decides to play with it as with a jigsaw puzzle, and then they noticed it's a Made In China knockoff. Then, the knockoff vase gets broken by the vase merchant. He does it to show it's a knockoff though. And then played straight when Egon gives the genuine vase to Børge's fiancee to hold for a moment...
  • Prison: Vridsløse Stadsfængsel, probably the most recognisable location from the movies as the principal residence of Egon Olsen. The street leading up to it has even been renamed for him.
  • Product Placement: Danish movies are especially fond of using Tuborg beer as the gang's favourite drink, sometimes even utilized by Egon's plans, and Carlsberg gets used occasionally too. Note that both brands come from the same company. This is all done relatively tastefully.
  • Put on a Bus: Børge after the eighth movie, Olsenbanden ser rødt, at the end of which he gets married. He's absent for most of the rest of the series, but does appear in the eleventh and fourteenth movies. Actually an example of Real Life Writes the Plot. The actor had problems with drugs and real crimes and ended up hiding from the producers. He was, however, clean when fourteenth movie was made.
    • Rocky (the Swedish Kjeld) vanished from the Swedish movies after the second one when the actor died from cancer. In the third movie, he was revealed to have moved "back home" to Finland, taking his family with him and removing their characters as well, and his place in the gang was taken over by Dynamit-Harry.
    • Even "Sickan" Jönsson (the Swedish Egon) vanished from the series after the fifth one, when his actor quit the movies. In-universe, he's had a nervous breakdown, leaving the gang leaderless and prone to getting led by Suspiciously Similar Substitutes.
  • Read the Fine Print: What Egon fails to do when taking out a life insurance as a bargaining chip in the 12th movie. In his defense, it's VERY fine print and hidden in the ornamentation...
  • Red Herring: When Egon lays out the plan in the 12th movie, he goes into detail about the shady dealings of the insurance company and its CEO, only to then say „But that doesn't interest us at all“ and focus on a different character and take it from there.
  • Removable Steering Wheel: In the Norwegian version of Olsenbanden og Dynamitt-Harry, Harry tries to drive while heavily intoxicated. After realizing that he's failing miserably, he removes the steering wheel and tells Benny to Take the Wheel.
    • Taken further in the Swedish Jönssonligan på Mallorca, where the gang tries to escape by car in the narrow city streets, but get cornered. So they quickly remove the steering wheel and pass it to Harry in the back, who attaches it there and drives away in the other direction. The mechanical intricacies of said car has not been brought up until then, so it all comes as a big surprise.
  • Running Gag:
    • Any vehicle Benny drives will invariably run out of gas. He will then, without fail, exclaim that he's just filled the tank.
    • Egon occasionally gets Bound and Gagged by the villains. In each case, he's gagged with his cigar stub still in his mouth, and when the gag is removed the cigar swups out of his mouth.
    • While we're at villains, the Tap on the Head also counts. In one movie Egon already anticipates it and hands over his Nice Hat to prevent damage to it.
    • See any stack of barrels or barrel-like objects? Expect it to collapse.
    • The Bookends of Egon being released from prison at the beginning of the movie and going back there at the end.
    • While we're at Egon's releases: These also follow a standard pattern. Becomes lampshaded when, each time there's something not looking quite as it should, we get a brief shot of what the scene should look like.
    • Safes by Fran(t)z Jäger, Berlin. Lampshaded again with Francis Hunter, Chicago, Francis Hunter, Birmingham or François Chasseur et Cie (all direct translations of the name).
    • Egon gets into contact with the Corrupt Corporate Executive of the Week through his cellmate in prison.
    • Yvonne's casual announcement of the arrival of the police
    • Benny's little piece of metal that he uses to open doors or crack any machine with a coin slot.
    • The outlandish resources that are the core of Egon's plans.
    • And, probably the most famous one, the image of the gang walking one behind the other in cadence (with Benny having to occasionally do a little skip to get back into it).
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Egon says to have been born on March 12, 1925 in movie 2, but his entry in Mortensen's rogues' gallery in movie 4 claims May 3rd, 1927. The actor is even older, having been born on December 21st, 1919. To make it weirder, Egon starts displaying signs of old age by movie 9 (forgetfulness), when the character would only have been around 50.
    • A propos of Egon's forgetfullness: Both this and his decreasing vision in movie 8 are used for gags in one movie and then dropped. Even the very old Egon from the last movie reads without glasses and seems to have an excellent memory. Instead, he has become hard of hearing.
    • In movie 2, Egon celebrates having been released from prison for the tenth time. But then, in movie 10, he is welcomed in Vridsløse prison for the tenth time, when even on-screen he's been there nearly twice as often.
    • Børge's girlfriend Fie is already pregnant when they get married in the 8th movie. Not only is their son not born until three movies later, but Egon is explicitely said to have served nine months at the beginning of the movie and this is given as the reason why he didn't know about the impending birth.
  • Shout-Out: To Star Wars, of all things. In Olsen Banden - deruda'(1977) the Gang breaks into a bank disguised as three boxes on wheels. When Kjeld is separated from the others at one point, his box starts bopping up and down and squeaking like an agitated R2-D2.
  • Smoking Is Cool: In the first movies Egon is smoking cigars. It was however changed so he was usually seen with just a cigar stub without smoking (the actor, Ove Sprogøe didn't smoke in real life).
  • Spanner in the Works: Someone will inevitably bring down Egon's cabal. Yvonne often plays this role.
  • Spinoff Babies: All three versions have had spinoffs with the gang as children, set in The '50s. A bit of Fridge Logic since several of the original actors where already in their thirties at that time.
    • The final Swedish Spinoff Babies movie throws all continuity out, as it takes place in the early 2000s, decades after the adult films took place.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the 1965 Danish movie Slå Først Frede (distributed abroad as Operation Lovebirds), also written/directed by Balling and Bahs, and with Sprogøe, Grunwald and Bundgaard in the leading roles. Slå Først Frede spoofs James Bond-style agent movies in the same way the Olsen-banden movies spoof crime/caper movies and Grunwald's character, Frede Hansen, a happy-go-lucky novelty salesman who is mistaken for a secret agent, is very similar to Benny.
  • Status Quo Is God: Things do develop in small ways, such as Børge getting older and eventually going off to get married, but on the whole, status quo usually ends up reasserting itself. Even on the very few occasions when the gang do succeed with their coup, they will either at the very end of the movie or the beginning of the next one wind up losing everything, and Egon will wind up in jail for crimes that may or may not have been connected to the coup.
    • Actually subverted in most of the Swedish movies, where only a few have them losing the loot. In the others, they usually end up frittering the money away on the high life between movies, which is why they're always up for another coup.
  • Story Arc: One of sort happens with movies 12 and 13. Danish movie 12 follows with preview of movie 13; meanwhile movie 13 begins with some kind of summary of events in movie 12, and its ending makes sense only if you remember plot details of the 12th one.
    • Specifically: when Egon gets caught, he gets sent to an insane asylum instead of the jail, which is foreshadowed at the beginning of the previous movie; meanwhile, Benny and Kjeld take care of a coat which was swapped with the coat of the subject of a minor plan at the end of the previous movie, and it turns out the money which they wanted to steal in first place.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In Olsen Banden På Sporet ("The Olsen Gang on the Trail") Yvonne decides to report Bøffen to Jensen and Holm for the theft of the gang's (stolen) money. The only description she gives them is that Bøffen is "kind of tubby and ordinary". Much later in the film, when Holm hears that a "tubby and ordinary" man has been arrested, he immediately exclaims "That's him!!".
  • Strictly Formula: The vast majority of sequels run on a simple plot: Egon gets hired to make a small heist, then hid employer decides to dispose of him by somehow calling the cops' attention of him or attacking instead of paying, then Egon decides to take revenge by stealing the MacGuffin back. Apparently this was used because it allowed the screenplayers to put multiple heists in one movie.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Egon often claim to be this.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the Swedish Jönssonligan series, Egon's Swedish counterpart, "Sickan" Jönsson, only appears in the first five movies. In the final three, he's had a nervous breakdown and been placed in the psychiatric ward, and the gang has a different leader for each subsequent movie. In chronological order, they are: Dr. Max Adrian Busé (Sickan's psychiatrist), Herman Melvin (Buse's cellmate) and Sven-Ingvar "Sivan" Jönsson, Sickan's brother. The writers did go to the effort of having Melvin and Sivan have twists related to their similarities and differences to their predecessors (Melvin isn't the criminal genius Sickan and Busé was — he mostly relies on a plan Busé told him while they were cellmates. Sivan is by nature a similar character to his brother, but has spent much of his life trying to be different to distance himself from his criminal brother, and doesn't give in to his tendencies until a while into his starring movie).
  • Tap on the Head: In many of the films, the only actual violence is a tap on the head that Bøffen use to knock out Egon.
  • Take That, Us: In a teaser trailer for the 2010 animated movie, they take great care to separate the 13 original movies from the 14th, calling it the "senior citizen movie".
    • Also, most of the third movie towards Copenhageners. To elaborate: The crew go to Jylland, expecting to have an easy time cheating the local „peasants“ and ending up being cheated themselves repeatedly.
  • Television Geography: Jönssonligan får guldfeber has the Clock Tower scene set at Stockholm City Hall. The problem is that the main tower there doesn't have a clock.
    • The original Clock Tower scene from the Danish Olsen Banden går i Krig as well. Bang-Johansen has his office behind the balconies under the clock in the Copenhagen City Hall Tower. In Real Life, there are no offices there, it is open to the public. The real clock, while it does exist is also smaller than its portrayal in the movie.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: While Egon is a career criminal through and through, his compatriots has made the occasional attempt at reforming but always finds themselves drawn back into Egon's latest plan.
  • The Caper: Central plot element of every movie, bar two.
  • Those Two Bad Guys:
    • In the fifth Jönssonligan movie, Wall-Enberg uses a team of criminals, siblings called "Ödlan"(Lizard) and "Brorsan"(Bro/Big Brother), a dwarfish, pale man, and a tall, brawny guy respectively, in his plan to steal the Kings Cross from the Palma cathedral. They show up throughout the movie doing his bidding prior to that.
    • Two-man gangs shows up in two of the Danish movies: Kongen og Knægten in Olsen Bandens Store Kup (where they steal the money from the gang) and Archibald Hansen and Bøffen i Olsen Banden Deruda' (where they work for Holm-Hansen and tries to eliminate Egon).
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: In the Swedish version, Harry and his girlfriend Doris.
  • Universal Driver's License: Benny drives whatever vehicle which may be at hand ranging from his old car over a forklift and a brewer's dray to a little train. The actor, Morten Grundwall, later noticed that the only thing he didn't get to drive was a plane but that was probably the economy which sat the limit.
    • Perhaps as a Shout-Out to this, in the second one of the Norwegian Olsenbanden Junior movies, a twelve-year-old Benny does get to fly a small plane, claiming to have learned how from reading the Biggles books. (He gets it in the air but doesn't know how to get it down again, needing instructions over the radio on how to land.)
  • Villainous B.S.O.D.: Wall-Enberg in the first Jönssonligan movie when he realizes that the Jönsson gang left the Bedford Diamonds in his safe after stealing the money he got for them, and the police he called about it just discovered them.
  • Wardens Are Evil: The new warden of Vridsløse in the 12th movie, at least from Egon's perspective. The old one is a subversion.
  • We Need a Distraction: Kjeld will often do the task of distracting people. To example by telling a guard that he has an appointment at twelve o clock - just before midnight. And when the guard tells him to come again tomorrow he does so - a few minutes after midnight!
  • Yes-Man: Benny frequently plays this role to Egon.
  • You Keep Using That Word: In the sixth movie, Kjeld and Benny disguise themselves as police officers to take Egon, supposedly their prisoner to Holm-Hansen, the Corrupt Corporate Executive of the week. While explaining that Egon supposedly confessed having committed a break-in for Holm-Hansen, Benny keeps refering to Egon as „dilettanten“ (the amateur), instead of „delinkventen“ (the delinquant). Egon is not amused.
    • Up to Eleven in the Swedish version, where Vanheden gets it wrong even after Sickan already corrected him once.

Alternative Title(s): Olsen-Banden

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/OlsenBanden?from=Main.Olsen-Banden