Bjørnson commissioned a large number of photographs of himself and his surroundings, and in addition to portraying the author himself and his social circle, they are an interesting glimpse into Bjørnson’s social context.
In 1910, when Bjørnson’s body was transported from Paris via Copenhagen to Christiania, he was greeted and followed by thousands of people, among them photographers and film crews. Some of these films have been restored and digitized at the National Library, and can be viewed on this website.
The first cinematic interpretation of Bjørnson came out in 1919. The Swedish silent film Synnøve Solbakken naturally became a resounding success in Norway as well, and Norwegian filmmakers, who in the pioneering years of the Norwegian film industry had focused more on universal urban themes, suddenly recognized the great dramatic impact of Norwegian mountains, plateaus and charming rural communities. Synnøve Solbakken thus launched the era of romantic nationalism in Norwegian films.
In 2001, The Greatest Thing was released; a movie based on Bjørnson’s novel The Fisherman’s Daughter. The movie was directed by Thomas Robsham, and Herborg Kråkevik played the lead.
Many of Bjørnson’s tales and plays included poems. Other poems he wrote were immediately printed in newspapers and magazines. In 1870, these poems were collected and published in Digte og Sange (Poems and Songs). No other writer has contributed more poetic ‘first-liners’ to the Norwegian collective consciousness than Bjørnson: “There lies a fair land near eternal snow”, “The fox lay still by the birch-tree’s root”, “Broad the sails o'er the North Sea go”, “I choose April”, etc., and Bjørnson’s songs are still among the most popular in Norway.