This Is the Oldest Known LEGO Movie

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 7 2014 12:37 PM

The Oldest Known LEGO Movie

Lars and Henrik Hassing were 12 and 10, respectively, when they made their "brickfilm."

Lars C. Hassing/YouTube

The LEGO Movie, reportedly “poised for one of the best February openings ever,” can be seen as, among other things, Hollywood’s belated move into the “brickfilm” business. You have probably seen a few brickfilms, even if the term is new to you: They are movies made with LEGO bricks, typically animated with stop-motion techniques. Some brickfilms recreate scenes from and trailers for other movies; many tell their own tales. Over the years, a very active brickfilm community has developed online.

And while brickfilms are perfectly suited to the YouTube era, they predate the Web video age by several decades. Indeed, it is widely believed that the short movie below, titled En rejse til månen (Journey to the Moon), is the earliest known brickfilm. It was made by Lars and Henrik Hassing in 1973, when the two cousins were 12 and 10, respectively. They made it, Lars says on YouTube, where he uploaded the movie last year, as a gift for their grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary. He and his cousin were inspired by NASA’s Apollo program. Hassing makes no mention of Georges Méliès, whose Le Voyage dans la lune seems like another possible inspiration. Maybe the minds of innovative filmmakers just naturally drift moonward.


The cousins were eventually able to show their film to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, president of LEGO (and son of the company’s founder). “He liked it and had a copy made. We, in turn, got a LEGO factory tour and got some big sets to take home.”

En rejse til månen was “filmed in Super 8 without sound,” Hassing explains. “Most of the film is stop motion animation, but there are also scenes with movement using a fishing line.” Lars’ little sister Inger, 10, helped “with the landscapes of papier-mâché.”

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 22 2014 1:22 PM Is Arabic Really Just One Language? 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Sept. 22 2014 2:12 PM Crusader, Sans Cape The superhero trappings of Gotham are just a clever disguise.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.