Erik the Conqueror is an Italian-French epic Viking story that is loosely based on one of the most famous Viking movies, the American 1958 movie The Vikings. The saga follows two brothers who were separated at birth, one who is raised in England, and the other in Scandinavia.
The two brothers reunite when they're forced to fight against each other in a war between the English and the Vikings. Although not as lovable as the source material it's based on, it's still a decent Viking movie for fans to check out.
The tale of a knife-throwing protector desperate to defend his family from invading forces, 1966's Knives of the Avenger comes across as ridiculously silly today, but it hides more merit than face value discloses.
Cheaply made and shoddily produced, Knives of the Avenger was a victim of a rushed reshooting schedule. Still, the capstone of Italian filmmaker Mario Bava's Viking trilogy, it's an effort that dedicated film buffs shouldn't ignore, and it presents enough charm and interest to be worthwhile to those who love the typical Viking tale as well.
This comedic action-adventure from Monty Python's Terry Jones looks at Norse mythology through a humorous lens. The movie follows the Viking Erik who doesn't want to pillage villages anymore, so he decides to travel to Asgard to try to save the home of the Norse gods from a mythic wolf.
The story then involves Erik and his allies on their misadventures trying to reach Asgard in a British comedy that's a fun watch for any fan of Monty Python or the Viking genre.
Based on an American comic strip that began in the mid-30s, 1954's Prince Valiant tells the tale of its titular character, a refugee who is taken in by King Arthur after his native land of Scandia is invaded by a rival clan. He receives training under Sir Gawain, a member of the Knights of the Round table, but the plot thickens when Prince Valiant is drawn into the center of political disputes in Camelot.
The Last King follows two Vikings (Jakob Oftebro and Kristofer Hivju) who are tasked with protecting a child, the last heir to the throne, in Norway. A civil war is raging in the 13th-century setting, creating a tense and snowy adventure for the trio.
The movie is based on real events in Norwegian Viking history, even if it's not the most historically accurate movie, making it essential viewing for any fan of the genre.
Viking and Native American tribes clash in the beginning of Pathfinder, leaving the former with only one surviving member, who is then taken in and raised by the latter tribe. Years later, he has been accepted into their society, but he must now face off against another group of encroaching Viking belligerents.
Released in 2007, Pathfinder was a relatively forgettable outing that was blown out of the water by opening-week competition in the form of 300. Still, it's worth checking out today for fans of the interesting first-Millenium setting.
Outlander explores what would happen if Kainan, a man from another world, crash-landed in Norway during the reign of the Iron Age Vikings. But Kainan isn’t alone; he’s brought a predator called the Moorwen. Sworn as a soldier to murder his enemy, Kainan bonds his advanced tech with the Viking weaponry to defeat it.
A Viking epic film made in the mid-60s, The Long Ships focuses on a highly-prized bell made out of gold called the “Mother of Voices” and the two powerful men that seek to obtain it. The mythical treasure that’s bigger than a truck has elicited the attention of Moorish ruler El Mansuh and Viking leader Rolfe.
Rolfe sails with his men from Scandinavia to seek the bell in Africa, reluctantly taking El Mansuh and his cohort along for the ride. They focus all their energies on an object that may be pure fantasy, testing the depths of their spiritual fortitude and physical strength. With elaborate costumes and large sets, it’s a beautiful film, though it only half focuses on Viking culture.
This animated feature from DreamWorks Studios perfectly captures both the real and fantastical aspects of the Viking age. It centers around a young Viking boy named Hiccup who manages to train a Night Fury dragon, one of the most dangerous of the species, to be his constant friend and fellow fighter against attacks on his village.
Another film that focuses on a blending of cultural attitudes, The 13th Warrior chronicles a Muslim ambassador in exile who abruptly becomes part of a Viking caravan. Ahmad ibn Fadlan is originally confused, bewildered, and offended by the behavior of the unruly Norsemen, but, as they overcome more adversity throughout their travels, he comes to admire their strength.
As the Vikings and Fadlan get word of an ancient evil threatening both of their ways of life, they learn to fight together, and Fadlan discovers that there is a warrior lurking inside of him, as well. With an all-star cast led by Antonio Banderas, the acting is top-notch, and the story is uplifting as well as exciting.
In its initial release, Beowulf wasn’t well-received, with audiences having issues with the unique approach of CGI-rendered over live actors for a strange, almost video-gamey look. Nevertheless, it was an ambitious and epic take on the ancient legend and boasted an all-star cast of talent.
The courageous warrior Beowulf is summoned before King Hrothgar to protect the people of his kingdom from a dangerous demon known as Grendel. Though Grendel proves no match for the mighty Beowulf, its death invokes the ire of its mother, a vicious creature that proves both beguiling and challenging to the bravest among heroes. If fans like a bit of Greek mythology with Viking myths, they’ll like this film.
Thor, the Mighty God of Thunder, is banished from Asgard on the day he is to inherit the throne from his father, Odin. He is cast out from the lands of his people because he dared to defy the Frost Giants, who themselves violated an ancient treaty by setting foot in Asgard on the day of his coronation.
The magnetic, heavily tattooed Mads Mikkelsen smolders in this Viking epic set in 11th century Scandinavia, playing a slave who is known as “One Eye” due to the severe wound across his face. He leads a revolt against the men who have imprisoned him and unites with Eirik, as well as several religious fanatics who spread the Lord’s word.
Once free of his captors, things don’t get any easier for One Eye. As he heads for the Holy Land and Jerusalem with Eirik and his crew, they suffer from starvation, infighting, and attacks off the coast. Only greater hostility and carnage await One Eye in this incredibly moody and visually stunning epic. It’s a slow burn, but an intriguing one with lots to take in.
A prosperous ruler fresh from conquest in foreign lands, King Aurvandill returns home to prepare for the coming coronation of his son Amleth. However, Aurvandill's brother Fjolnir murders him and absconds with his wife, leaving Amleth alone to swear a burning revenge on the attacker.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robert Eggers, The Northman was, by most accounts, one of the best films of 2022. An epic tale of trial and tribulation that culminates in brutal retribution, it's one of the best Viking period pieces of all time.
As its name suggests, this film is all about Vikings. It stars Kirk Douglas as the Viking prince Einar and Tony Curtis as Eric the Slave, two men locked in a feud that only grows when Einar kidnaps the princess Morgana, who was previously engaged to King Aella, whose only love is Eric. Morgana becomes the center of focus for three vengeful men who are all hellbent on claiming her as their bride.
Every member of the cast is an experienced thespian of the sword and sandal epic, including Janet Leigh (Morgana) and Ernest Borgnine as Einar’s father, King Ragnar. The acting is somewhat stiff but powerful, and, for the sheer scope and scale of Viking civilization and battles, it holds its own against the CGI-centric versions of today.
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