The Idiots

May 20, 1998 0 By Fans
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 6.8/10 (13,769 voted)

Critic's Score: 47/100

Stars: Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing

A group of perfectly intelligent young people decide to react to society's cult of an aimless, non-creative and non-responsible form of intelligence by living together in a community of "idiots". Their main activity becomes going out into the world of "normal" people and pretending to be mentally retarded. They take advantage of this situation to create anarchy everywhere they go and try by every possible means to make people annoyed, disturbed, miserable, ridiculous, angered, and shocked. The films start as they recruit a new lost soul and introduced her to their megalomaniac leader.


Bodil Jørgensen


Jens Albinus


Anne Louise Hassing


Troels Lyby


Nikolaj Lie Kaas


Louise Mieritz


Henrik Prip


Luis Mesonero


Knud Romer Jørgensen


Trine Michelsen


Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis


Paprika Steen

High Class Lady

Erik Wedersøe

Stoffer's Uncle

Michael Moritzen

Man From Municipality

Anders Hove

Josephine's Father

A film by idiots, about idiots, for idiots


Official Website:
Dogme 95 collective |

Release Date: 20 May 1998

Filming Locations: Søllerød, Sjælland, Denmark

Box Office Details

Budget: $2,500,000


Opening Weekend: $7,235
(30 April 2000)
(2 Screens)

Gross: $845,001
(19 November 1998)

Technical Specs


South Korea:

Did You Know?


Written in four days as part of the Dogma 95 Manifesto.


Incorrectly regarded as goofs:
This is a film that adheres to the 'Dogme 95' manifesto, so the usual goof rules do not necessarily apply. This includes shots of the crew, microphones and other equipment, as well as continuity errors.


[Susanne puts a "spastic" Ped behind the van's steering wheel]

Guide at Factory:
Who… is he driving?

Responsibility does them good.
[Ped drives off recklessly]

User Review


Rating: 9/10

While not quite at the same level as _Breaking the Waves_, the only other
Lars von Trier I have seen (his films are quite hard to come by in
Midwestern American video stores, you understand), _The Idiots_ is still a
great film, and, in some ways, is just as important.

I have to comment on a lot of the reviews I've seen for this movie. A lot of
viewers judge the film by the theories and views about the group's existence
(particularly the view spoken by the most outspoken of the Idiots, Stoffer).
This is surely not the way von Trier meant his audience to take the film. If
you paid any attention to the film, you'll notice that the Idiots' lifestyle
is never glamorized. Everyone's experience in the group ends in
embarrassment and despair. You should also note that none of the Idiots has
the same opinion of why they like to act the idiot. Stoffer might say that
they do it to upset the bourgeosie (I don't pretend to know how to spell
that word), but the next person might be doing it just to play around. The
artist (whose name escapes me at the moment) is doing it to become a better
artist, and the doctor is doing it almost for experiment. There is never a
reason for the groups' existence that the entire group agrees upon. This is
extremely important for understanding this film.

The way _The Idiots_ particularly hit me was in the characterizations. The
actors are so great in this film that they hit the level of: "Is this really
acting, or is it just being?" von Trier hit the same level in _Breaking the
Waves_. These actors were so good, their characters just jumped out of the
script. There are many characters, and only a few of them are characterized
in the script extensively. Stoffer, although not the main character, is the
most prominent character in the script. Many of the characters don't have
all that many lines or screen time, but I felt I knew them all well.

I also appreciated that it actually entertained me. I wasn't expecting to
enjoy it so much. It is often very, very funny (if offensive). It also
gripped me emotionally. I did not particularly comprehend the ending's
meaning, but it left me with a powerful emotion. I did have tears in my eyes
when I left the theater, and a lot of thoughts in my head. When a man
outside the theater stopped me to ask me how I liked it, my lips and my
brain were too dry to actually answer anything but, "I liked it. I liked it
a lot." 9/10