King of Devil's Island (Kongen av Bastøy)

Norway, January 1915: On the island Bastoy, a notorious boys home is situated. Here, a group of young outcast boys live under a sadistic regime: Instead of being educated and prepared for life outside, the boys endure mental and physical abuse. The guards are merciless and exploit the children using them as cheap manual labour.

One day Erling (17), another young outcast, arrives at the island. In self-defence, he has accidentally killed a police officer and will be transferred to an adult prison when he turns 18, undoubtedly leading to his destruction. He must get away from Bastoy. After meeting his fellow inmates and gradually finding his place in the group, Erling's decision; to flee the island alone, is put to the test. The unbearable situation forces Erling and the other boys to act together. Secretly they form a rebellious uprising against their keepers. When yet another tragic incident caused by one of the guards occur, the boys decides to take a final stand: Armed with rocks and sticks the boys take charge of the island. Suddenly the roles are turned. As the boys celebrate their surprising victory, the Norwegian authorities are taking action: From the mainland a company of 150 armed soldiers approaches to establish order at any cost. Time is running out for Erling and his friends, they must accomplish the impossible: To escape from Bastoy - Devil's Island.

The film is based on actual events.

Production and distribution

Production Year
Country of origin
Release date (national)
Production Company
4 1/2 AS
Krusesgt. 8
N-0263 Oslo
Karin Julsrud
Line Producer
Sanne Glæsel
Co-production Company
St. Paul Film (Sweden)
Festival Contact
NFI Features
International sales
Les Films du Losange


Marius Holst
Dennis Magnusson
Based on
An Original stor by Lars Saabye Christensen and Mette Marit Bølstad
John Andreas Andersen
Michael Leszczyloowski
Production Designer
Janusz Sosnowski
Kristine Wilhelmsen
Sound Designer
Gisle Tveito
Ad Stoop

Technical information

NOT TRANSLATED: filmdb.colorsystem.color
Dolby SRD
Length in min's


Marius Holst

Marius Holst

Marius Holst (b. 1965) was educated at the London International Film School. His diploma film Visiting Hours (1990) won the BBC Drama Award Grand Prix Potier. It was also nominated for the national film award Amanda for Best Short Film, as well as for the Student Academy Award in Los Angeles.

His first feature film Cross my Heart and Hope to Die (1994) was a box-office success in Norway, and went on to become an international festival hit, winning numerous awards – including the Prix de Montreal (for best first fiction feature) at the World Film Festival in Montreal, and the Blue Angel Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1995.

His second feature, Dragonflies, was released in 2001, with Mirush following in 2007. Both films garnered both critical acclaim and their share of awards, and firmly established Holst as one of Norways most noteworthy film directors in the new millennia. Holst only added to this notion with the release of his biggest undertaking yet, The King of Devils Island, in 2010 – yet again to both critical acclaim and box-office success.  

Holst has also made numerous award-winning commercials, and is a co-founder and owner of the successful production company 4 ½, along with fellow director Pål Sletaune and producers Turid Øversveen and Håkon Øverås. Established in 1998, the company produces both feature films and commercials.


Benjamin Helstad
Trond Nilsen
Husfar Tor
Kristoffer Joner
Bestyrer Håkon
Stellan Skarsgård


Göteborg International Film Festival: Kodak Nordic Vision Award
Kanon Award for Best Cinematography
Valencia International Film Festival Cinema Jove : Best Film
Giffoni Film Festival: Campania Regional Council Award for 2nd place, Generator +16 section
National Film Award Amanda for Best Theatrical Film ,
National Film Award Amanda for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, to Trond Nilssen,
National Film Award Amanda for Best Musical Score
Filmfest Hamburg: The Häagen-Dazs Public Award
4 +1 Film Festival: Audience Award
Nordic Film Days Lübeck: Best Feature Film,
Audience Award