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We love The 13th Warrior

Updated on May 12, 2016

"An Ordinary Man... An Extraordinary Journey"

Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, Ibn Al Abbas, Ibn Rasid, Ibn Hammad (yes that's his whole name) is a poet "in the greatest city in the world". He fell in love with the woman of another man who complained to the Caliph. As punishment he was sent on a mission to act as an ambassador in the land of the Tossuk Vlad -- a north country -- basically banished. He travelled over harsh deserts with an old friend of his father's, Mechisidek (Omar Sharif).

As luck would have it they run into a group of Northmen. Their leader has died in battle and Buliwyf, son of Hygiliak has just become ruler of his people. The only means of communication is Greek which Mechisidek speaks with one of Buliwyf's men, Herger.

The next morning the young son of Lord Hrothgar from Odin comes to ask Buliwyf for help against "a terror that must not be named" that is attacking them. Buliwyf calls for the "Angel of Death", an oracle/witch/seer who helps Buliwyf decide if he should go and help. The oracle calls for thirteen men to go and offer aid. Twelve men volunteer (Buliwyf is first) one by one but for the final thirteenth man she stipulates he must be "no northman" Of course they all look to Ahmed who after some encouragement agrees.

The next morning the men set off for the North. Ahmed has no form of communication because his travelling companion was left behind. The northmen use this to their advantage joking about him. They ride off to the north. After a few nights of listening to the North men chatter on and by the morning he has deciphered and learned their language.

Because Ahmed's name is so long they call him Eban or Arabe for short. There are many moments throughout the film of comical bonding between Eban and the other warriors. It isn't long before he is accepted by them as a brother.

When they arrive in the North they are greeted by Lord Hrothgar and his daughter. They explain to the warriors the recent deaths and take them to the gruesome scene. Something unimaginable is killing them -- magical, manly, or animal is yet to be discovered. They leave no tracks. The heads of the dead are missing. They come with the mist. They call them The Wendol (who use a Willendorf-like figurine as their idol).

He sleeps with them, eats with them, drinks with them and fights with them. He gets to watch some of them die. Ahmed learns about battle, friendship, trust and of great men. He remembers their story to honor them.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

Why I Love The 13th Warrior in 100 Words or Less

The 13th Warrior
The 13th Warrior

This is one of my all time favorite movies. One of those movies that I have watched over and over. What makes this movie work is the story, the battle scenes and the comraderie of the thirteen warriors between battles. I never tire of seeing this film and highly recommend it.

 

Watch the 13th Warrior Trailer

Here is a brief glimpse into the world of Ahmed and the Norse men he travels in. It is a journey full of wisdom, peril, and friendship.

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The First Warrior

Buliwyf the Leader

The king of the North men is portrayed by Vladimir Kulich. He was born in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic but later grew up in Quebec, Canada. The 13th Warrior has been his most recognizable film but other notable films include: Red Scorpion 2 and Smokin' Aces (The Swede). He's also done some television, most notably his role as the Beast in the series Angel starring David Boreanaz. Most recently he appeared in a few episodes of Vikings with Gabriel Byrne on the History Channel. You can learn more about Vladimir Kulich from his official website.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Second Warrior

Helfdane the Fat

Portrayed by Clive Russell. This British born, Scottish raised actor has an impressive list of acting credits on his resume. He's appeared on television in his native land as well as in the U.S. He most recently he appeared in the movie Made to Honor, starring Patrick Dempsey and Kevin McKidd, as cousin Finlay. Other notable movies include: King Arthur, Mad Dogs, The Mists of Avalon, Oscar and Lucinda, and Margaret's Museum ( as Helena Bonham Carter's love interest). Notable television shows: Coronation Street, According to Bex, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Hope & Glory. There is no official website for Clive but you can find a full listing of his credits at ImDb. And here is a video interview.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

Scene Titles

1. Things Were Not Always Thus

2. A Messenger From the North

3. Travelling with the Twelve

4. In Hrothgar's Realm

5. Carnage at the Farmhouse

6. Council in the Great Hall

7. Wendol Attack

8. Building Defenses

9. Olga's Warning

10. Setting an Example

11. The Fireworm is Roused

12. The Wisdom of an Old Crone

13. In Search of the Wendol

14. In the Bowels of the Earth

15. Buliwyf's Fate is Sealed

16. The Wendol Return for Vengeance

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Third Warrior

Hyglak the Quarrelsome

The third warrior is portrayed by a British actor named Albie Woodington. His acting career has involved intermittent spurts of theatre (especially Shakespeare) with movie and television roles. Other notable movies include: The Count of Monte Crisco, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. His most notable television role was a British series titled Cadfael starring Derek Jacobi. There is no official website for Woodington but you can visit the ImDb for a list of acting credits.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Fourth Warrior

Edgtho the Silent

The 13th Warrior scout is portrayed by American actor Daniel Southern who made a notable television appearance on an episode of Law & Order. He has spent time in regional theatres as well as doing a stint on Broadway. He has appeared in one other major motion picture besides this one, The Thomas Crown Affair, which also turned out to be his last film. Supposedly he left acting to turn to a life of medicine. There is no official website for Daniel Southern but you can find a small listing of acting credits at the ImDb.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

Northmen Lament

Lo, there do I see my father.

Lo, there do I see my mother,

my sisters and my brothers.

Lo, there do I see

the line of my people

back to the beginning.

Lo they do call to me.

They bid me take my place

among them in the halls

of Valhalla, where the brave

may live forever!

The Fifth Warrior

Rethel the Archer

Austrian born actor Mischa Hausserman portrayed the fifth Warrior. He has made guest appearances in such movies as the The Thomas Crown Affair, Die Hard 3, and Eraser as well as appearing in two films with Charles Bronson, Assassination and Murphy's Law. He has made episodic appearances on the television shows Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and Ironside. His background has helped him attain other positions in the movie industry including aerial coordinator, dialogue coach, and director of photography. Mischa has no official website but you can see his movie credits at the ImDb.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Sixth Warrior

Haltaf the Boy

The youngest and least experienced warrior was portrayed by Oliver Sveinall. This was his first and only movie credit. Before he became a warrior the young Norwegian was an accomplished singer who appeared at the Oslo Opera House. There is no official website for this actor.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

"For all we ought to have thought

but have not thought,

all we ought to have said...

and have not said,

all we ought to have done

and have not done.

I pray Thee, God, for forgiveness."

The Seventh Warrior

Roneth the Rider

The seventh warrior was portrayed by American actor Neil Maffin. Notable television presence includes such television shows as: As the World Turns, Star Trek Voyager, Law & Order, Law and Order: SVU, Dead Like Me, Stargate: Atlantis, and The Collector. He has worked on and off Broadway with such talents as Aidan Quinn, Tony Goldwyn and Al Pacino. He has acted in the Indie films Moment in Time and Pants on Fire. Maffin does not currently have an official website but you can view his acting credits at Film Reference.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Eight Warrior

Weath the Musician

Portrayed by Scottish actor Tony Curran who you may or may not recognize from such films as Gladiator, Blade II, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Flight of the Phoenix, Beowulf & Grendel, Underworld: Evolution, and Miami Vice; just to name a few of the most popular. I say "may or may not recognize" because he has an uncanny ability of transforming his appearance from show to show whether it includes hair, make-up or body weight. He can be endearing, threatening or just plain old crazy (as witnessed by his recent role in Medium as Lucas Harvey). On the British side, he's worked on a plethora television shows, most notably as the gay plumber from This Life. Tony can currently be seen as a Castithan leader on the hit sci-fi drama Defiance. You can learn more about Tony Curran via his verified Twitter account.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

Antonio Banderas has portrayed a number of heroes. If his characters were to battle one another who do you think would win?

Who would win in a fight?

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Based on the Book by Michael Crichton

Eaters of the Dead
Eaters of the Dead

The author of such books as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, The Lost World, and Congo to name a few.

 

The Ninth Warrior

Ragnar the Dour

In many scenes you witness a very large man with a sincere, hearty and contagious laugh. That would be the ninth warrior, portrayed by Canadian John Desantis. This 6' 9" actor's most recent motion picture was 13 Ghosts where he donned some muscle and a lot make-up to play the incredibly scary Juggernaut (I highly recommend this scary film). He's guest starred on such television programs as Supernatural, The Dresden Files, Flash Gordon, Painkiller Jane, Earthsea, Smallville, The New Addams Family, and more.

Visit the ImDb for John Desantis acting credits.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Tenth Warrior

Halga the Wise

Scandinavian actor Asbiorn (or Asbjørn) Riis portrayed the tenth warrior. Before acting he was a professional wrestler and host with the WWF/WCW. He enjoyed a successful career in his homeland of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and in the United States. He had his own television series, Bjørns Wrestling, which ran from 1993 to 1996. With his 6'6" stature it is not surprising that he goes by the nickname of "Bear". He is current teaching younger people the health benefits of wrestling. You can learn more about this actor, writer, trainer at the official Bjorns Wrestling website where you'll find lots of great personal photos from his life and work.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

"At this moment, I beg only, to live the next few minutes well."

The Eleventh Warrior

Herger the Joyous

My favourite warrior, the eleventh, is portrayed by Norwegian actor Dennis Storhoi. The 13th Warrior is his first American film but he has had a lengthy career on the stage (lots of Shakespeare), television and film in Norway where he continues to work.

You can learn more about Dennis Storhoi from his official website.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Twelfth Warrior

Skeld the Superstitious

Portrayed by British actor Richard Bremmer, who not surprisingly has done a lot of stage work in his career which includes the usual Shakespearian masterpieces. The BBC has taken advantage of his acting skills in such popular productions as Persuasion, and The White Devil. You can view Richard Bremmer's film and television credits at ImDb.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

The Thirteenth Warrior

Ibn/Eban the Arabe

The star of this film and the thirteenth warrior is portrayed by Spanish actor Antonio Banderas. Banderas had a thriving career in his native homeland before coming to Hollywood and becoming a worldwide name. Some of his most recognizable roles are in The Mambo Kings, Philadelphia, Interview with a Vampire, Desperado, Evita, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek 2 and Puss in Boots.

Learn more about Antonio Banderas and his fragrances at his official website.

Citation: images copyright Touchstone Pictures.

Can't place the name with the face in your brain? Scroll back up and check the character actor profiles then scroll back down to vote.

Who's Your Favorite Warrior?

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Honorable Warrior Deaths - And the Battles

There are four major battles in the 13th Warrior that shorten the lives of our favorite Norse comrades.

The First Battle

The first battle which is in my opinion the scariest in the whole movie because the warriors really do not know what to expect when the Wendel come in the dead of night. The warriors lie in clock formation waiting, some sleeping, others pretending to sleep. During this battle Ragnar (9), Hyglak (3) lose their heads.

The Second Battle

The second battle occurs when the fire dragon cavalry descends on the village. Skeld (12) is the first to go when he is struck by arrows while he attempts to lean over the gate to dislodge a burning torch off of it. Roneth (7) gets hit in the head with a club when the gate is breached. Halga (10) gets impaled by at least six spears before he goes down. And Rethel (5) is on the wall shooting arrows when he is mortally wounded by a sword. He does not die in battle but soon follows his fallen comrades.

The Third Battle

The third battle is in the lair of the Wendel where the remaining seven men (Buliwyf, Helfdane, Edgtho, Haltaf, Weath, Herger, and Eban) ride with the intention of killing the Queen. None expect to get out alive. We see all seven men approach the cave on horseback but on first entering Haltaf (the boy) seems to have disappeared from the group by the time they are crossing an internal bridge where each man is carrying a torch. Perhaps he was left to guard the entrance, or further back with the horses because he is so young (more on Haltaf later).

Within the queen's inner sanctum Buliwyf is cut by a poisoned claw from which he dies from after the fourth battle. The first and only one to die in the cave is Helfdane (2) who stays behind to slow down their attackers. He coughs up blood so is probably injured from the battle in the inner cave in spite of not removing his armor like the other men.

The Fourth Battle

The queen was killed in the cave battle but not the leader. He returns with his men for a final battle with the warriors. As they prepare to battle Buliwyf, weak from the poison, stumbles out to fight. When they are attacked Buliwyf is clubbed a few times but does not fall. After he kills the leader he sits down and quietly passes. The Wendel leave and Eban (13), Weath (8), Herger (11), and Edgtho (4) are left standing by him.

At the end Haltaf (6), the boy, is seen on a horse waving good-bye to Eban as he sails away. On an side note, Edgtho and Weath sail away with Eban. In the end five warriors survived.

Thank you to a guest commenter who suggested this idea.

Final Prayer Scenes

This clip starts off with Eban kneeling and saying his religion's prayer and ends with Buliwyf and the remaining warriors reciting the Norse prayer. Very moving.

Michael Crichton

RIP

Condolences go out to Michael Crichton's family and friends.

The prolific writer, director, and producer passed away on November 4, 2010 from complications due to cancer. He was 66 years old.

Crichton is known for his involvement in movie productions such as Jurassic Park, The 13th Warrior, Twister, Disclosure, and Runaway; his high grossing television shows like ER, Andromeda Strain.

You can learn more about this talented writer from his official website.

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    • PromptWriter profile image
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      Moe Wood 3 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      @sbconcepts: It never gets old. I always notice something new in the storyline.

    • sbconcepts profile image

      sbconcepts 3 years ago

      MY husband made me watch this movie one night and I am glad he did. It is great and I have seen it 2-3 times now.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      @anonymous: His name was Vladimir Orlov, he's was a stuntman on the movie, although he was uncredited, which personally i think he should have been. Played a big part in the movie. It took me like 3 hours to find this information lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      @outsource123: Huge fan of this movie, one of my all time fav's, its the only movie I watch on my lab top.

      Always notice something new. Just tonight I noticed this. When Skeld the Superstitious commits to going, there is a dude standing right next to him who gives a loud "yeah!"

      When he does. Then when they are waiting for the hearld right after they get off the boat, the same dude is on horse right behind Hyglak the Quarrelsome, anyone else ever notice this?

    • wulfguard profile image

      wulfguard 3 years ago

      wow! Awesome lens! This is definitely how a movie that your passionate about should be reviewed! I love this movie myself and watch it quite a bit from time to time, nicely laid out!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      The directer's cut of this film should be released. One of my favorite all time movies. The scene where the warriors volunter to go is the best. This a great "guy" movie.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      this is my favorite viking theme movie, and almost like a game (Action Rpg) to me. hope there are more movie like this !

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      One of my favorite scenes is when the warriors volunteer one by one to go fight and help the people. I am trying to find a transcript of what they actually say in that scene. They are speaking in their own North language so it's hard to tell exactly what they're saying. But I always want to repeat it and quote it with a friend of mine who also loves the 13th Warrior. We quote it all the time. It would blow his mind if I could recite that scene. Anybody got any ideas how or where to find that? Especially when the first warrior says "Ye (mumble, blah, mumble)... de first e man" At least that's what it sounds like to me.

    • PromptWriter profile image
      Author

      Moe Wood 4 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      @anonymous: I took a quick look at the credits on my DVD and strangely there is not an actor listed for the Wendol war leader. There is a guard but nothing for the leader who definitely gets more airtime. I am going to guess it was probably one of the main stunt men listed. Sven-Ole Thorsen is listed as "would be king" but I can't for the life of me remember him in the movie so I thought it could be him but on reviewing footage I think he was too old and a bit to hairy to be the Wendol leader. Sorry I couldn't offer a better answer.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      What is the name of the actor who plays the wendol leader? Does anyone know?

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Excellent write up and accumulation of information! This remains one of my favorite movies. I especially like the evolution of Ibn from unknown thrown-in, afterthought party member to trusted and respected companion and warrior. There are several scenes where it is evident from the ways the Vikings react to him that he has earned their respect. I like the camaraderie of the film and the unification towards a noble purpose. Kind of the way I feel when I get on the rugby field. The ties you have with men you have struggled with are long lasting.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      really good lens 13th warrior is an excellent movie.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I bought this DVD and watch this movie everynight before i go to bed. Only wish we could see the cut scenes

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @PromptWriter: Beautiful movie, I watched this movie like 15 times, Never gets old

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Many societal issues prevent us from doing that, Melanie. I think I would fit right in the 10th Century, and based on your post you would too. I would even compromise the sanitation issues to live a more primal existence. So I think we're agreed. But then again. . .

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4hNaFkbZYU

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What a great site you've got here. I thought I was the only one who liked this movie. My brother-in-law gives a horse laugh when I mention it, like it's filled with cheesy lines or bad effects or something. Oh well. Yep, read the book too.

      If my memory serves me correctly, Helfdane gets injured on camera in the Wen's cave with a club to his chest plate. Internal injuries, maybe?

    • PromptWriter profile image
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      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      @anonymous: You've inspired me to watch it tonight just for that purpose. ;)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      a nice list of stuff about 13th warrior. now if you can finish off with a list of which warrior dies in what order and how? perfect.

      i remember two died in the first attack at the great hall - beheaded. but which two?

      and one buys it in the caves from a smack from a club.

      and the leader sits down and dies of his poison wound after the end fight - much to the annoyance of his red dog. what about the others?

      discuss

    • Lemming13 profile image

      Lemming13 5 years ago

      It's a shame this movie didn't get the attention is deserves; nice to see a lens doing it justice. Tough call on the favourite warrior, by the way...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      One of my all-time favorite movies. And I discovered it by accident. The movie we were originally going to see was sold out so we 'settled' for this one.

      Great film with noble, principled characters.

      Buliwyf was my favorite character. He exuded leadership, wisdom & bravery.

      The 13th Warrior is a permanent fixture in my movie archives.

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      desertcrystal 5 years ago

      Great movie, wonderful soundtrack, plausibly brilliant actors, just a great experience! I like to view it again from time to time - always a great pleasure! Surely not a documentary movie (...and that surely wasn't been intendet) - but so much interesting historic details - fantastic mixed with a thrilling story from the moviemaker!!!

    • profile image

      mmcw 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I know! It would be bad enough if they just washed but--eeuuww! I have to turn away too. But then again, in "Titanic" when he's teaching her to spit over the side, I'm the only one in the theatre who gagged!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I own & love this movie! All the actors were terrific. However, I still turn away from the part in the beginning where they all wash, among other things, from the same bowl (who would think THAT would be the "unwatchable" part! ha) Being female; I may be in the minority for this type movie but it's one of my favorites & when you throw in a bunch of big Vikings & the "fire-verm"; what more could one ask for???! It had suspense, action, bravery, humor and did I mention Vikings??!! Loved it!

    • profile image

      mmcw 5 years ago

      When I originally read Crichton's "Eaters of the Dead" I was all the way to the end before I realized I was reading "Beowulf"! And then, when I saw the adverts for "13th Warrior" it took a while for me to realize it was a movie about Crichton's book! I think it's a brilliant re-telling of the Beowulf legend. I liked Crichton's reasons for writing it: to prove that the "boring" old stories could be made exciting again. It's a wonderful movie.

    • beccacena profile image

      beccacena 5 years ago

      I love this movie. Thanks for making the list of the characters because I never remember anyone's name except "Eban" even though Herger the Joyous is my favorite.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have watched this film more than 40 times and never tire of it. Excellent!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I unabashedly love this movie, and I have no idea why it did so poorly in the box office. It's a film about the thin line that separates one man from another, and the sometimes thinner line that separates a man from a beast. It's about two peoples of wildly different backgrounds finding common ground and facing true evil. It's about civilization and barbarism, humanity and savagery, and it asks whether the difference is always so clear! Ahmed watches politics as sinister and complicated as any backroom dealings in civilized Baghdad, he is taught sophistication in warfare by so-called savages, and learns love and respect for men, women, and gods he never knew. You could remake this movie today, with an American CIA agent visiting and working with Iraqi counter-terrorist operatives against the Taliban, and it would translate perfectly (except you'd lose the amazing "...it's a man..." scene).

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great review of this movie. I love Viking movies, there is something unique about the warrior lifestyle of the period. Blessed by an angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      t shows the importance of having knowledge (Ahmed), wisdom (Bullwyf) and humanity/love (Herger,s for his new little brother, and mine for him ..) .. it really doesn't matter what race, belief, or tradition background you have.. we are all brothers : mankind ... and united can we 'really' win ...

    • profile image

      outsource123 6 years ago

      Cheers, that lense was pure awesome.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Ahamd Ibn Fadlan (Ahmad the son of Fadlan) was actually a person who lived in Baghdad in the 10th century and visited the Volga region in Russia and wrote a book about his journey living amongst the Volga Vikings. The film is based on some of the events in his book, along with other fiction added (like every movie). But he did live and was an Arab Muslim writer, and it is due to his writings giving an honest account of the Viking people that we know some of the things about them today.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      13th Warrior was not Islam - there was no 13th warrior. The Twelfth Viking is what to behold for the sanity of the world.

      The movie does well to show Viking behavior, the twelfth Viking Is Holger Danske and he helped King Charles Martell push Islam out of Europe and into the Iberian Peninsula.

      Movies can be a great platform for fascist propaganda - perhaps this is why Michael Crichton died so young?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I also like this movie and watch it periodically. It is impressive in its presentation of the life of the North, no matter how accurate it may be. It treats both the Northern and Middle Eastern traditions with dignity, and still manages to tell a good story and provide good action and dialog. It also shows the use of silent gesture can be as powerful as speech. Well worth the time to watch.

    • luckyguy lm profile image

      luckyguy lm 7 years ago

      this is great movie. i watch it more than 10 times. thanks 4 this great lens. ^_^

    • BiciParker profile image

      BiciParker 7 years ago

      This is one of my favorite movies as well. I love the hero-warrior story. VERY nice lens. 5*s

    • PromptWriter profile image
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      Moe Wood 7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      [in reply to Sampson Simpson] I haven't watched it recently (your question makes me want to watch it again) but I think it was in the lodge when when they were all "sleeping" head to head. I think when they did a head count (no pun intended-ok maybe a little) after the battle Ragnar's name was mentioned.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Do they not show when Ragnar died because I can't find the scene when it happened.

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      anonymous 8 years ago

      If there were only real men like this in the world. I love warriors with honor and valor. I have 23 years of fighting experience and teaching and keeping still while there are fight scenes is very hard to do. Were there only more earthy men with the passion to actually take a woman with a savage passion we women would all be happier.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I love this film!

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