In 1967, Swedish detective movie, Roseanna, made its debut. The film – based on the 1965 novel of the same name – followed the story of Swedish police detective Martin Beck, as played by Keve Hjelm.

Upon release, Roseanna proved popular with audiences and in 1973 the character of Martin Beck was adapted into another film. This second movie, released under the title The Laughing Policeman, was this time aimed at the US market, with Walter Matthau taking on the role of Martin Beck.

A short while after the release of The Laughing Policeman, further Beck movies followed, with different actors taking on the lead role. Some of these movies were standalone affairs, while others were part of an expansive, sprawling series, but all of them continued to drive forward the popularity of the Swedish police detective.

In fact, Martin Beck is so popular that he has popped up on screen with significant regularity for more than 50 years. And within this time, he has built up a huge collection of films, and attracted a legion of fans in the process.

But how many Beck movies are there? For all the details and more, keep reading.



The Beck novels in order

Before taking a look at the long list of movies in the Beck film series, let’s first take a look at the books that are in the Martin Beck collection. These novels – published between 1965 and 1975 – were written by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö and inspired all the movies that followed.

The Beck novels include:

  • Roseanna (1965)
  • The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (Mannen som gick upp i rök) (1966)
  • The Man on the Balcony (Mannen på balkongen) (1967)
  • The Laughing Policeman (Den skrattande polisen) (1968)
  • The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Brandbilen som försvann) (1969)
  • Murder at the Savoy (Polis, polis, potatismos!) (1970)
  • The Abominable Man (Den vedervärdige mannen från Säffle) (1971)
  • The Locked Room (Det slutna rummet) (1972)
  • Cop Killer (Polismördaren) (1974)
  • The Terrorists (Terroristerna) (1975)

As you will see from the lists below, the ten novels above proved so inspirational (and popular) they spawned far more than just ten movies.



The Beck movies in order

The Martin Beck movie series is essentially broken down into three different collections which include: ‘The assorted collection’, ‘The Gösta Ekman collection’, and ‘The Peter Haber collection’. The movies/collections are as follows:

The assorted collection

Image: ©20th Century

This first collection of movies includes six standalone tales, featuring different lead actors. The films include:

  • Roseanna (1967)
  • The Laughing Policeman (1973)
  • The Man on the Roof (Mannen på taket) (1976)
  • The Unfinished Supper (Nezakonchennyy uzhin) (1979)
  • The Man Who Disappeared Into Thin Air (Der Mann, der sich in Luft auflöste) (1980)
  • Beck – The Closed Room (Beck – De gesloten kamer) (1993)

And for those wondering…

Keve Hjelm played Martin Beck in the Swedish film Roseanna; while Walter Matthau played Beck in the US movie, The Laughing Policeman.

Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt played Martin Beck in the Swedish film, The Man on the Roof; while Romualds Ancāns played Beck in the Latvian movie, Unfinished Supper.

Derek Jacobi played Beck in the German film, The Man Who Disappeared into Thin Air; and finally, Jan Decleir played Beck in the Dutch-Belgian movie, Beck – The Closed Door.



The Gösta Ekman collection

This next collection of movies are all part of the same series, with Gösta Ekman taking on the role of Martin Beck. The Gösta Ekman Beck films are a mix of Swedish and Swedish/German productions and include:

  • Roseanna (1993)
  • The Fire Engine That Disappeared (Brandbilen som försvann) (1993)
  • Murder at the Savoy! (Polis polis potatismos!) (1993)
  • The Man on the Balcony (Mannen på balkongen) (1993)
  • The Police Murderer (Polismördaren) (1994)
  • Stockholm Marathon (1994)


The Peter Haber collection

Image: ©Filmlance International AB

And then finally, this third collection of movies is easily the most extensive, with Peter Haber taking on the role of Martin Beck. The films are part of a long-running Swedish television series, in which each episode is a movie, and include the following:

  • The Decoy Boy (Lockpojken) (1997)
  • The Man with the Icons (Mannen med ikonerna) (1997)
  • White Nights (Vita nätter) (1998)
  • Eye for an Eye (Öga för öga) (1998)
  • The Pearl Hotel (Pensionat Pärlan) (1998)
  • The Monster (Monstret) (1998)
  • The Money Man (1998)
  • Trails in Darkness (Spår i mörker) (1998)
  • The Revenge (Hämndens pris) (2001)
  • The Man With no Face (Mannen utan ansikte) (2001)
  • The Cartel (Kartellen) (2001)
  • The Recluse (Enslingen) (2002)
  • Sender Unknown (Okänd avsändare) (2002)
  • The Ad Man (Annonsmannen) (2002)
  • The Boy in the Glass Bowl (Pojken i glaskulan) (2002)
  • Blind Profit (Sista vittnet) (2002)
  • The Scorpion (Skarpt läge) (2006)
  • The Unclaimed Girl (Flickan i jordkällaren) (2006)
  • The Vulture (Gamen) (2007)
  • The Lawyer (Advokaten) (2007)
  • The Japanese Shunga Painting (Den japanska shungamålningen) (2007)
  • The Weak Link (Den svaga länken) (2007)
  • The Silent Scream (Det tysta skriket) (2007)
  • In the Name of God (I Guds namn) (2007)
  • The Eye of the Storm (I stormens öga) (2009)
  • Buried Alive (Levande begravd) (2010)
  • Room 302 (Rum 302) (2015)
  • The Family (Familjen) (2015)
  • Invasion (Invasionen) (2015)
  • The Hospital Murders (Sjukhusmorden) (2015)
  • Gunvald (2016)
  • Steinar (2016)
  • End of the Road (Vid vägs ände) (2016)
  • The Last Day (Sista dagen) (2016)
  • Flesh and Blood (Ditt eget blod) (2018)
  • Thin Ice (Den tunna isen) (2018)
  • Without Intent (Utan uppsåt) (2018)
  • The Devil’s Advocate (Djävulens advokat) (2018)
  • Undercover (2020)
  • Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Utom rimligt tvivel) (2020)
  • Death in Samarra (Döden i Samarra) (2021)
  • The Lost Son (Den förlorade sonen) (2021)
  • Haunted by the Past (Ett nytt liv) (2021)
  • Rage Room (2022)
  • 58 Minutes (58 minuter) (2022)
  • The Crying Cop (Den gråtande polisen) (2022)
  • The Death Trap (Dödsfällan) (2022)
  • Quid Pro Quo (2023)


Thank you for stopping by It’s A Stampede! to read this post about the Beck movie series – I hope it has proved useful. For more movie posts, be sure to check out the recommended reads below.