This film is part of Free

Life in Iceland

A silent documentary film exploring the people, natural landscapes, industry and culture of this dramatic North Atlantic island nation; the most sparsely populated in Europe.

Travelogue 1949 55 mins Silent


From Reykjavík, the capital city’s modern architecture, to traditional weaving and herring fishing, Iceland is presented as a progressive country, proud of its historic Norse legacy including Glima – or Icelandic Wrestling – the nation’s favourite sport created by the Vikings. The power of thermal springs, created by volcanic activity, is shown alongside Iceland’s most famous glacial waterfalls, including Gulfoss, or ‘Golden Falls’ in the River Hvitá.

‘Life in Iceland’ demonstrates modern technology to harness Iceland’s thermal power for heating homes, swimming pools and purpose-built greenhouses. Commercial flights by Loftleiðir, or Iceland Airlines are shown at Reykjavik airport. With its geographical mid-way point between Europe and North America, the airline was able to offer lower cost transatlantic flights that proved popular with the post-war generation of U.S. travellers. Iceland was also of strategic defence importance at the time, joining NATO in 1951. Aerial shots of the Icelandic landscape include flight views of Siglufjörður or ‘Herring Town’ where the herring fishery was at its height in the 1940s and 1950s.