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Every Mads Mikkelsen Movie Ranked Worst To Best

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen rose to international acclaim with his unique blend of intensity and subtlety. Roles like the Bond villain Le Chiffre in "Casino Royale," Kaecilius in "Doctor Strange," his television villain role as the iconic Hannibal Lecter character on NBC's "Hannibal," and his replacing of Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" may have left Mikkelsen somewhat typecast for villainous roles with English-speaking audiences. Back in his home country of Denmark, however, Mikkelsen more often finds himself in the protagonist's shoes, with complex characters that audiences can root for rather than against.

Throughout his career, Mikkelsen has kept a foot in the Danish film industry even as he goes abroad to star in all manner of foreign productions. Some of Denmark's top writers and directors — like Anders Thomas Jensen and Thomas Vinterberg — continue to make use of Mikkelsen's exceptional talents in between his massive Hollywood productions. This list will be covering all of Mads Mikkelsen's significant film roles and ranking them from best to worst based on their aggregate critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Smaller supporting roles have been left off of the list, and a couple of his movies which lack a critic score on Rotten Tomatoes have been left off as well. Now without further ado, let's get to the ranking.

31. Polar

Mads Mikkelsen's lowest-rated film according to Rotten Tomatoes critics is the Netflix original action movie "Polar" from 2019. Mikkelsen stars as a retiring assassin who winds up as the target of a hit from a source close to home. The premise might sound similar to plenty of other action movies, but this particular assassin story was adapted from the graphic novel "Polar: Came From the Cold" written and illustrated by Victor Santos. Helming the big screen adaptation was Swedish director Jonas Åkerlund, who has spent most of his career directing over 100 music videos.

In addition to starring in "Polar," Mads Mikkelsen also served as an executive producer on the film — his only producer credit to date. This credit came as a surprise to even himself. In an interview with Metro, Mikkelsen said of the executive producer credit, "I wasn't aware of that until there was two days left of shooting ... I think it was a contract thing [they] worked out between the producers and my agent. I don't know exactly what it meant. I was a part of the pitching and story making."

Even though this action flick didn't fare well with critics, general audiences on Rotten Tomatoes enjoyed the movie far more and left it with an admirable fresh score. "Polar" ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, leaving the possibility of sequels on the table. There are additional installments of the graphic novel available to adapt in the future, so there may still be a little life left in the world of "Polar."

30. Chaos Walking

"Chaos Walking" is a fantasy adventure film that fits into the mold of the popular young adult tradition. Adapted from the YA novel "The Knife of Never Letting Go" written by Patrick Ness, "Chaos Walking" follows the pairing of Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley as they attempt to escape from the dangerous forces present in a world where everyone's inner thoughts are externalized for all to hear. Mads Mikkelsen plays the supporting role of the mayor of the womanless society that makes it their mission to hunt down Daisy Ridley's character when she suddenly arrives on the planet.

"Chaos Walking" went through a rather troubled production process, which may be in part responsible for the poor reception the film received. Though the movie was eventually released in 2021, acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman was initially attached to write the adaptation of the novel all the back in 2012 (per Deadline). After a period of production hell, other screenwriters were brought in, including the novel's original author Patrick Ness, and Kaufman was not credited on the final product. 

The behind-the-scenes troubles for "Chaos Walking" were not confined to the writing department alone. The movie was originally slated to be released in March of 2019, but the heads of Lionsgate pulled the plug on the release after finding the initial cut to be "unreleasable" in its current state (via IndieWire). The final product that was finally released in 2021 was the result of multiple rounds of reshoots, which rarely bodes well for a production.

29. The Three Musketeers

2011's "The Three Musketeers" is one of many tellings of the classic story written by Alexandre Dumas and first published all the back in 1844. "The Three Musketeers" has been adapted for the big and small screens more than 50 times over the years (per Book Riot), and this overexposure to the story may be in part responsible for why this 2011 take on the tale didn't connect with critics or audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Though the film didn't fare well with most who saw it, it did have one big and important fan in the form of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who ranked it as one of his favorite movies of 2011 (via The Washington Post).

In this iteration, the three musketeers and D'Artagnan are played by Matthew MacFadyen, Luke Evans, Ray Stevenson, and Logan Lerman respectively. Christoph Waltz plays the film's main villain, Cardinal Richelieu, and Mads Mikkelsen plays a secondary villain, the eyepatch-wearing Rochefort. Also in the large cast are the likes of Juno Temple, Dexter Fletcher, Til Schweiger, Milla Jovovich, James Cordon, and Orlando Bloom. In the director's chair was Paul W.S. Anderson, known for making movies like "Event Horizon," "Alien vs. Predator," the recent "Monster Hunter," and the "Resident Evil" film series starring his real-life wife Milla Jovovich.

28. Clash of the Titans

"Clash of the Titans" is a 2010 remake of the 1981 film of the same name directed by Desmond Davis. The original "Clash of the Titans" was the final film from stop motion special effects legend Ray Harryhausen, who also broke new ground in his field working on films like "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" and "Jason and the Argonauts" (per Den of Geek). The 2010 update of "Clash of the Titans" largely left the practical effects the original was known for by the wayside in exchange for a focus on CGI and a 3D presentation, which many critics had complaints about. Rafer Guzman with Newsday was one such critic, writing, "The computer animation looks uninspired ... As for the 3-D visuals, they're oddly glitchy."

The story follows the demigod Perseus — played this time around by Sam Worthington of "Avatar" fame — as he seeks revenge against Hades for the death of his family, which ultimately casts the fate of all humanity into peril. Mads Mikkelsen co-stars as Draco, the leader of the Argive Legion who helps Perseus on his quest and faces off against Medusa. Despite the poor reception that the film received, it was still a major box office success, taking a $125 million budget and bringing in nearly $500 million at the worldwide box office.

27. Charlie Countryman

"Charlie Countryman," also known by the longer title "The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman," is a 2013 drama with action elements that utilizes an LSD-fueled hallucinatory style. Shia LaBeouf stars in the titular role of Charlie Countryman. This was one of LaBeouf's first films after exiting the "Transformers" franchise, and he set out to reinvent himself as a method actor, going as far as to take acid for the role (per The Guardian).

Mads Mikkelsen plays the film's main villain, a violent Bucharest gangster who is possessive over his wife Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). When Charlie and Gabi fall in love, they find themselves in danger from Mikkelsen's gangster. Similar to "Clash of the Titans," "Charlie Countryman" failed to impress critics or general audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Unlike that fantasy epic, it was not a financial success regardless. The film brought in less than half a million dollars worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

As reported by The Los Angeles Times, there was a bit of a controversy following the release of the film in 2013. Star Evan Rachel Wood took to Twitter to voice her outrage over post-production changes that were made to a sex scene at the behest of the MPAA ratings board. She called their judgement "a symptom of a society that wants to shame women," and added, "It's time for people to grow up."

26. King Arthur

There have been many big screen versions of the classic tale of King Arthur over the years, and this 2004 telling was not one of the better received iterations. Clive Owen stars in the titular role of Arthur, and the supporting cast fills out the rest of the key characters with big names like Mads Mikkelsen, Keira Knightley, Hugh Dancy, Ray Stevenson, Joel Edgerton, Stellen Skarsgård, and Ray Winstone. As they told the Paley Center for Media, Mikkelsen and Dancy grew to become close friends on the set of "King Arthur," and the two would wind up starring together on NBC's "Hannibal" nearly a decade later.

This 2004 version of "King Arthur" attempts to set itself apart from others by switching up some of the details found in other versions and placing an added emphasis on historical accuracy. The film goes as far as to strip away the more magical and mystical elements of the story in pursuit of realism. This trade-off may have been a bit of a miscalculation as the film was poorly received by critics and audiences alike on Rotten Tomatoes. Critic Tim Brayton came down hard on the film, writing, "It took mere seconds for the 2004 King Arthur to p*** me right the hell off," before concluding that it was the single worst big-screen adaptation of the Arthurian legend.

25. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

One of Mads Mikkelsen's more controversial roles can be found in "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore." This controversy was created through no fault of his own. After appearing in the two previous "Fantastic Beasts" movies, Johnny Depp was ousted as the series villain Grindelwald. As reported by IndieWire, the ousting came courtesy of Warner Brothers asking Depp to step away from the project shortly after he lost his libel court case in the U.K. Of course, it was likely that any actor who stepped in to fill Depp's vacant role would draw scrutiny from fans.

As the third film in the "Fantastic Beasts" series, "The Secrets of Dumbledore" picks up where the previous film left off, with Grindelwald attempting to take control of the wizarding world. Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, teams up with Eddie Redmayne's lead character and a collection of other heroes to stop Grindelwald. Rotten Tomatoes critics gave the movie a rotten aggregate score, but general audiences seem to have generally enjoyed it, leaving the film with a high score on their end.

24. Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas

"Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas" was adapted from a novella written in 1810 by Heinrich von Kleist, which pulled inspiration from real historical events while creating a fictional narrative. The film is set in France in the 1500s, and takes a look at the start of an uprising against feudal lordship. Mads Mikkelsen stars as the titular character of Michael Kohlhaas, a humble, everyday man who is pushed into creating and leading an amateur rebellion after a new Lord of the land steals two of his horses, which jeopardizes Kohlhaas's livelihood as a horse trader. His attempts to resolve the issue peacefully by using the court system only exacerbate his issues and lead to the death of his beloved wife.

The film received a mixed reaction, landing more on the negative side of the spectrum with critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. The poor reception may have come as a surprise after the film received many high honors ahead of its wide release. "Age of Uprising" earned several nominations and wins at France's César Awards — including a Best Actor nomination for Mikkelsen, who performs his role in the French language — and was even nominated for the top prize at the prestigious Cannes film festival, the Palme d'Or. Many critics had mixed feelings about the film, praising its visuals and performances while deriding its pacing and emotional distance. IndieWire called the film "handsome and dull," while The New York Times called it "severely beautiful" while still giving the film an overall negative review, criticizing its pacing and direction.

23. Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky

"Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky" is a romantic drama that takes aim at the real-life romance between its two titular characters: French fashion designer Coco Chanel and Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. Anna Mouglalis and Mads Mikkelsen play the two leads in love. The story takes place in the early 1900s and covers the span of several years. When the two first crossed paths, they were both involved in relationships with other people, but circumstances bring them closer together through adversity and hardship.

Released in 2009, "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky" may have suffered a bit from some unfortunate timing. Another true story film about the life of Coco Chanel was released in the same year: "Coco Before Chanel," which starred Audrey Tautou in the lead role. Both films were nominated for the Best Costume Design honor at the César Awards, but "Coco Before Chanel" took the lions' share of the critical acclaim and awards attention with multiple BAFTA nominations and even an Oscar nomination, while "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky" received marginally rotten scores from critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.

22. The Green Butchers

"The Green Butchers" is the first film so far on the list to come from Mads Mikkelsen's home country of Denmark, and the first to land a fresh rating from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. It is also the first collaboration between star Mads Mikkelsen and writer director Anders Thomas Jensen thus far (their second, chronologically), with many more to come. Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas star as a pair of friends who open up a butcher shop and wind up finding success selling human meat after an accidental death. Lie Kaas pulls double duty by also playing his butcher character's twin brother, who returns into his life after being laid up in a coma for years.

Mikkelsen and Lie Kaas have both starred together in every feature film directed by Anders Thomas Jensen. Supporting actors Nicolas Bro and Ole Thestrup have also appeared in the majority of Jensen's films. This dark comedy was a big hit at the Danish Film Awards in 2004, earning eight nominations in the director, screenplay, production design, cinematography, special effects, and costume design categories, a best actor nomination for Lie Kaas, and a win in the Best Make-Up category.

21. Bleeder

"Bleeder" is a violent crime drama from 1999 written and directed by Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn of "Drive," "Bronson," and "The Neon Demon" fame. Mads Mikkelsen and Nicolas Winding Refn both got their starts in the Danish film industry together in 1996. "Pusher" was the first feature film made by both of them, and they would go on to reunite three years later for this, Refn's second film.

Refn blends two stories together in "Bleeder," one following Mikkelsen as a video store employee, and the other following his alcoholic wife-beating friend. "Bleeder" is the only film on the list that does not have enough critic reviews to reach a critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, but over 500 ratings from general audience members have given the film a positive score. One of the few critics who did review the film was Dennis Schwartz, who gave the movie a positive review, writing, "It's a small film with simple aims, one of which is to get a better grip on the human condition among those self-loathing men who are labeled as society's losers."

20. Adam's Apples

"Adam's Apples" is the second Anders Thomas Jensen film on this list, and there are three more collaborations between Mads Mikkelsen and Anders Thomas Jensen still to come further down the list. The titular role of Adam is played by Ulrich Thomsen, while Mikkelsen plays the main supporting role of Ivan the priest.

Adam is a Neo-Nazi who is sentenced to community service at Ivan's church, and Ivan is an extremely hopeful and optimistic person — despite his tragic past — who is determined to find the good in him. Adam, on the other hand, has no intention of reforming and sets out to make Ivan's life worse at every turn. This clash of dispositions and ideologies propels all of the drama in "Adam's Apples" while also making room for plenty of pitch black comedy along the way.

"Adam's Apples" won the Best Film prize at the Danish Film Awards in 2006, and also took home the special effects and screenplay awards as well. Mikkelsen and Thomsen were both nominated for their performances, as was Jensen for his work in the director's chair.

19. Flickering Lights

"Flickering Lights" was the first feature-film made by the duo of Anders Thomas Jensen and Mads Mikkelsen, though Mikkelsen did previously act in the short film "Café Hector," which Jensen wrote but did not direct. Mikkelsen, Ulrich Thomsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Søren Pilmark star as a quartet of low-level gangsters. Their boss assigns them the task of pulling off a 4 million Kroner heist, but the gangsters decide to take the money for themselves and go on the lamb instead.

Rather than fleeing to Spain as they initially planned, the gangster quartet winds up hiding out in an abandoned building. There, they get the idea to leave their criminal lives behind, renovate the property, and start up a business together as restauranteurs. Just other Jensen movies, "Flickering Lights" has plenty of black comedy alongside the crime drama elements. Also similar to the other Jensen movies, "Flickering Lights" was a big hit at the Danish Film Awards, taking home the Audience Favorite Award and the Best Cinematography award, alongside nominations in all of the major categories including Best Film.

18. Torremolinos 73

"Torremolinos 73" is a Spanish film from 2003. The title refers to the time and place of the film's setting, the year 1973, and municipality of Torremolinos, a coastal resort town in the south of Spain. The story follows an unassuming husband and wife as they wind up getting drawn into the adult film industry, which turns the wife into a star and the husband into an auteur with a shot at a legitimate career. Mads Mikkelsen co-stars as a part of a Danish film crew that heads to Torremolinos to work with the newly discovered filmmaker. Also in the supporting cast is Mikkelsen's frequent Danish co-star Thomas Bo Larsen.

Spanish filmmaker Pablo Berger wrote and directed "Torremolinos 73" as his feature film debut and has gone on to make two additional films, with "Blancanieves" nearly a decade later and "Abracadabra" in 2017. Critics and general audiences on Rotten Tomatoes both found the film worth recommending. The BBC gave the movie a four out of five, writing, "Berger's skillfully told story shifts in tone but always remains affectingly sweet and human."

17. The Salvation

"The Salvation" is a western from 2014 set on the American frontier in the 1870s. The film was directed by Danish filmmaker Kristian Levring, with Mads Mikkelsen's frequent collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen co-writing the screenplay alongside Levring. Mikkelsen stars as an immigrant whose attempt at settling is obliterated when his wife and son are murdered. He quickly exacts revenge, but now finds himself the target of a second wave of revenge when he learns that one of the men he killed was the brother of the town's brutal land baron.

The big names in the supporting cast alongside Mikkelsen include Eva Green, Jonathan Pryce, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. It might seem like an odd choice for a Danish creative team to craft a traditional Western set on the American frontier, but the results were satisfactory and put a compelling spin on all of the tropes and clichés of the genre. Rotten Tomatoes critics agreed that "The Salvation" features gorgeous cinematography and an excellent lead performance from Mikkelsen. Film critic Pat Padua gave the film a four out of five, saying, "'The Salvation' is an excellent entertainment that revels in Western movie clichés, its social commentary subtle and maybe a little subversive."

16. Valhalla Rising

Nicolas Winding Refn returns to the list with "Valhalla Rising." This violent mythological action film was the first time Refn and Mikkelsen had worked together since "Pusher II" five years earlier. Their reunion might not have reached the heights of their previous collaboration — which is still to come higher up on the list — but it was still warmly received by Rotten Tomatoes critics, even if general audiences didn't take to it as kindly.

"Valhalla Rising" is set during Viking times in 1,000 A.D. Mads Mikkelsen stars as a mute slave named One Eye who escapes his captors and sets off on a quest to a distant land that is mysterious and possibly supernatural. In typical Nicolas Winding Refn style, the film is violent and places its focus more on style than literal narrative. The plot is straightforward and light on characterization and dialogue, but the journey is one fraught with danger and discovery.

15. Pusher

After appearing in just one short film — actor-director Jens Arentzen's "Blomsterfangen" — Mads Mikkelsen made his feature-film debut with 1996's "Pusher," which was also director and co-writer Nicolas Winding Refn's debut. The film is set in the Copenhagen underworld and follows a drug pusher named Frank, who attempts to get out from underneath a large debt owed to his violent supplier. Mikkelsen plays the supporting role of Tonny, a friend and fellow drug pusher who would go on to become the main character of the sequel released eight years later. The role of Frank was played by Kim Bodnia, who also starred alongside Mikkelsen in Refn's next film, "Bleeder."

"Pusher" was an explosive debut for Refn and Mikkelsen, and helped to put them both on the map. The film's low-budget and Refn's inexperience with filmmaking did little to hold the movie back from success. Film critic Tim Brayton described the film as "outstandingly well-done for a first-time director with no formal training on a shoestring budget."

14. Men & Chicken

Anders Thomas Jensen makes another appearance on the list with "Men & Chicken," which is the first movie on the list to earn the coveted Certified Fresh badge on Rotten Tomatoes. The film tells the story of two troubled brothers, played by David Dencik and Mads Mikkelsen, who learn a secret about their father after his passing and come into contact with three additional siblings for the first time. The premise of "Men & Chicken" may sound somewhat familiar, but the execution makes the film an utterly unique experience, with the newfound siblings living in a giant, decrepit mansion, the father's secret being far darker than it first seems, and tons of violence and twisted sexuality mixing things up.

This 2015 film is an odd piece of work that defies categorization. The film blends heavy drama with comedy that can be extremely goofy one moment and extremely dark the next. "Men & Chicken" even veers into some light horror territory when the two main brothers find themselves trapped within the decrepit mansion with their violent new siblings. The entire cast turns in memorable performances, but Mikkelsen especially stands out by playing against type as the deranged brother who is easily manipulated and suffering from unbecoming sexual compulsions.

13. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Mads Mikkelsen made his way into the expanding "Star Wars" cinematic universe with "Rogue One." He plays the pivotal role of Jyn Erso's father Galen Erso, who was forced to work for the Empire against his will, all the while secretly building in a way for the Rebels to destroy the Death Star. As a side story within the "Star Wars" universe rather than a numbered mainline entry, "Rogue One" was able to bring something of a different style to the table, one that was a bit more grounded and gritty than the typical adventure/fantasy fare of the other films in the series.

"Rogue One" was directed by Gareth Edwards, who had a background in visual effects before getting into directing. Edwards previously directed the 2014 reboot of "Godzilla" and the indie movie "Monsters," which he also wrote, in addition to pulling effects and cinematography duty. 

12. Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself

The boldly titled "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself" is a drama comedy with romance elements from 2002. The film is set in Glasgow, and follows two brothers who run a bookstore. The titular Wilbur, played by Jamie Sives, has chronic suicidal tendencies, and it's up to his brother Harbour, played by Adrian Rawlins, to try and keep him in check. Shirley Henderson plays a young mother who enters Wilbur's life and gives him a reason to live. Mads Mikkelsen co-stars as Horst, a doctor concerned for Wilbur's well-being.

Despite being set in Scotland and featuring a predominantly English-speaking cast, "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself" is a bit closer to home as a production for Mikkelsen than it might seem. The film was written and directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig, who got her start by writing and directing Danish television productions before going international. "Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself" was even co-written by Mikkelsen's frequent Danish collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen. As a director, Jensen has made just five feature films (all of which star Mikkelsen), but as a writer, he is far more prolific, with more than 50 screenwriting credits to his name.

11. Flame & Citron

After his major breakthrough with English-language audiences in "Casino Royale," Mads Mikkelsen returned to Denmark for his next film, "Flame & Citron." The film tells the true story of the Danish resistance during World War II known as The Holger Danske Group. The resistance group specialized in executing traitors, sympathizers, and informants before eventually being tasked with assassinating key Nazi targets.

The title "Flame & Citron" refers to the two main characters, played by Thure Lindhart and Mads Mikkelsen, who are known by the codenames Flammen and Citronen respectively. As a glossy period piece, "Flame & Citron" became Denmark's most expensive movie production to date when it was released in 2008, as reported in Variety. To keep it in perspective, the film had a budget of $9 million — a mere fraction of the typical Hollywood movie budget, which sits around $65 million on average. That $9 million was put to good use, with elaborate action sequences, flashy cinematography, and a fully-formed noir style layered onto the wartime drama.

10. After the Wedding

"After the Wedding" was the second collaboration between star Mads Mikkelsen and director Susanne Bier, who long ago secured her place as Denmark's top female filmmaker (per Wedio Academy). The film is a true international production, taking place in both Denmark and India and featuring dialogue in Danish, Swedish, Hindi, and English. Mads Mikkelsen stars as a Danish man living abroad in Bombay, India, where he works at an orphanage/school. He makes a trip back to his home country in the hopes of securing additional funding for the orphanage from a wealthy benefactor, but finds himself caught in a manipulative ploy that threatens to unravel his life.

"After the Wedding" is another Mads Mikkelsen film with a screenplay written by the prolific Anders Thomas Jensen and based on a story conceived by Jensen and Bier together. A couple of years later, Susanne Bier would go on to find major international success and acclaim when she won the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award for "Hævnen," also known as "In a Better Place," with another screenplay written by Anders Thomas Jensen. She reached more mainstream acclaim with the Emmy-winning mini-series "The Night Manager," which she followed up with the popular Netflix original movie "Bird Box" and the HBO Max mini-series "The Undoing."

9. Doctor Strange

With "Doctor Strange," Mads Mikkelsen entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He plays the film's villain, Kaecilius, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch's titular doctor. The large cast also features the likes of Benedict Wong, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The movie tells the origin story of the magical, dimension-jumping would-be Master of the Mystic Arts, who would go on to become a key player in the MCU. In the director's chair for "Doctor Strange" was Scott Derrickson, who had a background in horror with movies like "Sinister" and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." Derrickson returned to horror with his next film, "The Black Phone." Critics on Rotten Tomatoes were largely impressed by the trippy visuals of "Doctor Strange," with plenty of credit being paid to Benedict Cumberbatch's solid lead performance.

8. A Royal Affair

2012's "A Royal Affair" is a romantic costume drama set in 1767. The film was directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel and pulled its story from the novel "Prinsesse af Blodet" by Bodil Steensen-Leth, which was itself based on a real royal affair from the 18th century (per The Hollywood Reporter). Alicia Vikander plays a British princess who marries the King of Denmark — known as The Mad King — played by Mikkel Boe Følsgaard. Mads Mikkelsen stars as the King's doctor, who the new Queen falls in love with and who gradually sets a revolution of enlightenment in motion throughout the kingdom. Also in the cast is David Dencik, who starred alongside Mikkelsen in "Men & Chicken."

"A Royal Affair" was a bit of a breakout role for Vikander, who would go on to star in huge movies like "Ex Machina" and "The Danish Girl" just a couple of years later. The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 2013 Academy Awards, an honor which ultimately went to Michael Haneke's "Amour."

7. Arctic

2018's "Arctic" is a film all about one man's fight for survival. Mads Mikkelsen stars as Overgård, the lone survivor of a plane crash that leaves him stranded in the arctic with little hope of ever getting home. The film is a veritable one-man show for Mikkelsen, with just two other actors in the cast, and both of them in small, unnamed roles. Luckily, he's up to the task of carrying the entire film on his shoulders, with critics like Tori Brazier of Flickering Myth praising his performance, writing, "As the linchpin of the film, Overgård requires an actor of Mikkelsen's calibre in order for an audience to fully identify and sympathize with his struggle."

"Arctic" was the feature film directorial debut of Joe Penna, who has since gone on to make the Netflix original movie "Stowaway." Penna co-wrote both films with his creative partner Ryan Morris. Before turning to filmmaking, Penna first garnered a large audience on YouTube, where he was known as MysteryGuitarMan.

6. Another Round

"Another Round" is a Danish film that made waves around the world when it won the Best International Feature Film Oscar at the 2021 Academy Awards. Thomas Vinterberg was also nominated for the Best Director Oscar, an honor which ultimately when to Chloé Zhao for "Nomadland." "Another Round" was a major creative reunion for co-writer Tobias Lindholm, co-writer and director Thomas Vinterberg, star Mads Mikkelsen, and co-stars Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe, and Susse Wold, along with much of the production crew. Together, this team made the highly acclaimed "The Hunt" eight years earlier.

In "Another Round," Mikkelsen headlines an ensemble cast of high school teachers who intellectually theorize that life would be better if they spent every waking moment with their blood alcohol level at 0.05%. When they decide to put that theory to the test, the results are unexpected, and demonstrate the dangers of alcoholism while also showcasing a general love for life that makes for a viewing experience which is uplifting at times while heartrending at others.

This award-winning drama with comedic elements takes careful aim at the subject of alcoholism with incisive social commentary. The film holds a specific focus on the ways that alcohol can both improve one's life and damage it. "Another Round" paints nothing in black and white, allowing its themes to gestate in a well-explored gray area. The film's finale gives Mikkelsen the chance to showcase his remarkable dancing abilities, which he had honed earlier in his life as a professional dancer for about nine years with a further background in gymnastics from the time he was a child (per The New York Times).

5. Open Hearts

"Open Hearts" was the first collaboration between star Mads Mikkelsen and writer-director Susanne Bier, who appeared previously on this list with "After the Wedding." Just like the aforementioned collaboration, "Open Hearts" features a screenplay co-written by Anders Thomas Jensen. Sonja Richter and Nikolaj Lie Kaas play a couple who are due to be wed when a car accident throws their futures into uncertainty. Lie Kaas' character is left paralyzed from the neck down, and Richter's character finds herself falling in love with her fiancé's doctor, played by Mads Mikkelsen, who is married to the woman who caused the car accident, played by Paprika Steen.

This heavy drama was made in accordance with the Dogme 95 cinematic "vow of chastity" (per Movements in Film), which was created by Danish filmmakers Lars Von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, the latter of whom Mikkelsen would wind up collaborating with on two of his most acclaimed films, "Another Round" and "The Hunt." Dogme 95 laid out a list of requirements and restrictions that governed how movies were to be made in the hopes of ensuring authenticity in drama. Some of the rules include things like hand-held camerawork being mandatory at all times, sets and props being forbidden, and requiring all sound to be diegetic, among others.

4. The Hunt

Before they made "Another Round" together, the creative team — stars Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Bo Larsen, co-writer Tobias Lindholm and  co-writer/director Thomas Vinterberg — made the internationally acclaimed drama "The Hunt." The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film prize at both the BAFTAs and the Academy Awards. At the prestigious Cannes film festival, Mikkelsen and Vinterberg both took home awards for their work on the film, and the movie was nominated for the top prize, the Palme d'Or. Mikkelsen stars as Lucas, a kindergarten teacher who is wrongly accused of being a pedophile after one of his students makes an innocent mistake. What follows is a profoundly emotional ordeal wherein Lucas' friends and the entire community around him turn against the innocent man who is unable to clear his name.

Thomas Vinterberg's roots as one of the co-founders of the Dogme 95 "vow of cinematic chastity" alongside Lars Von Trier are plain to see in the commitment to authenticity and dramatic complexity found within "The Hunt." Mikkelsen's performance drew much acclaim from Rotten Tomatoes critics, such as Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post, who wrote, "Mads Mikkelsen delivers an astonishingly restrained and expressive central performance."

3. Casino Royale

The film in which Mads Mikkelsen first broke through to most English-speaking audiences was undoubtedly "Casino Royale." Mikkelsen made for a perfect villain within the James Bond series, a franchise known — among many trademarks — for its striking super villains. The one-eyed, poker playing, tears-of-blood-crying Le Chiffre arguably became one of the most iconic fixtures in 007's legendary rogues gallery.

"Casino Royale" marked a major shift in the Bond franchise, as Daniel Craig took over the tuxedo of the iconic character after the four-year gap that followed Pierce Brosnan's exit with "Die Another Day." Director Martin Campbell, who had previously directed Brosnan's debut in "Golden Eye," returned to the series to helm the new reboot, finding a grittier Bond on his first mission as a 00 agent. Campbell brought a darker and more serious tone this time around, setting the new standard for the Daniel Craig era.

2. Riders of Justice

"Riders of Justice" sees Mikkelsen again reuniting with writer-director Anders Thomas Jensen. Based on the title and the poster, "Riders of Justice" might look from the outside like the type of the derivative action movies that go straight to Redbox, but this is one book that absolutely cannot be judged by its cover. Mikkelsen stars as a soldier deployed overseas who is called home after his wife is one of many people killed in what appears to be a train accident. While processing his grief and trying to care for his daughter as a newly single parent, Mikkelsen catches wind of a theory that her death may not have been the result of an accident at all, but rather a deliberate assassination carried out by a biker gang known as the Riders of Justice.

Like every Anders Thomas Jensen-directed movie, Nikolaj Lie Kaas co-stars alongside Mads Mikkelsen, and the core ensemble cast also makes use of Nicolas Bro, who previously starred with Mikkelsen and Lie Kaas in most of Jensen's previous films. "Riders of Justice" features a couple of effective action sequences alongside some potent emotional drama and Jensen's trademark black comedy, plus it has something interesting to say about the nature of revenge. This is Mikkelsen's highest-rated film to receive the Certified Fresh badge on Rotten Tomatoes. However, he has one more film that — while it's less widely-seen — boasts an even higher critic score.

1. Pusher II

Mads Mikkelsen's highest-rated movie according to Rotten Tomatoes critics is "Pusher II," also known as "With Blood on My Hands: Pusher II." Though it hasn't been granted enough reviews receive the Certified Fresh badge, "Pusher II" is Mikkelsen's only film to receive a perfect 100% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. "Pusher II" is also writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn's highest-rated film as well, beating his highly acclaimed 2011 film "Drive" by a narrow margin, though it has far fewer reviews.

Mikkelsen reprises his role from the first "Pusher" as Tonny, who has now graduated from supporting character to leading man for the sequel. The film begins with his release from prison and follows his troubled attempts to clean up his life. Mikkelsen won the Best Actor honor at the Danish Film Awards for his performance, and the film racked up 11 additional nominations. Mikkelsen also won the Best Actor honor at the Zulu Awards and the Bodil Awards for the role, Denmark's other two largest film awards programs. Refn made one more "Pusher" film the following year — "Pusher III: I'm the Angel of Death" — but Mikkelsen did not appear in that final sequel.