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Movie Review - The 13th Warrior

Updated on September 20, 2010

13th Warrior

Originally I purchased this movie for the sole purpose of viewing Antonio Bandaras, before the movie was over, I had a new Love, Buliwyf. The 13th Warrior didn’t get a lot of press in 1999 when the movie was released, just a few trailers shown once or twice in my area. It wasn’t until I was perusing the movie section in my local Walmart that I finally was able to purchase a copy of the DVD.

The movie directed by John McTiernan, is set during the days of Vikings and warriors, anyone with an interest in History should enjoy this movie. It also some gore for those who find that sort of thing to their liking, since during those days those sort of things happened, it is very realistic. It is based on the book Eaters of the dead by Michael Crichton


Ahmed (Bandaras), an Arabic poet, has been banished from his homeland because he was looked at by a beautiful young woman who was married. His status as the son of an important family made it possible for him to become an Ambassador to the lands of barbarian people. His job was to converse with people of other countries and report back. His companion (Omar Sharif) was a friend of his father who also acted as an interpreter.

They came upon a Viking encampment with men who were a bit strange to this gently raised young man. Soon they found out they didn’t understand the language spoken. One man spoke Greek so they were able to converse. Ahmed was repulsed by the filth and violence that exhibited among these strangers. It was his belief that he came from a civilized Country, and these people were heathens.

The band of warriors are visited by a young boy who requires their assistance for his father, the King. The kingdom is under attack by an ancient evil, with people being killed and villages being destroyed. They name of this terror will not, cannot be said. Boliwyf (Vladimir Kulich) calls for an Oracle to instruct them in what to do. She brings out the bones to read, in her reading she says that there needs to be 13 brave warriors to make this trip. As each number is called out a warrior volunteers to go, when she reaches the 13th she raises up a dark bone. She says that the 13th warrior must be someone not from the ‘North’.

The Selection

Ahmed is shocked when all heads turn to his direction, he is an Ambassador not a warrior.  He is told by his companion that he must go.  In preparation for leaving his horse which is much smaller than the other horses, is barked at.  His companion, who is not allowed to go tells him what is said  “Only an Arab would bring a dog to war”.   When his name is confused ‘Ebin’ Ahmed gets a little discouraged, yet mounts his horse as one last command is given “Hurry to meet Death, before your place is taken”.

As they travel across the land, sitting by firelight at night, he listens to what they are saying among each other, before long he starts to understand their words.  When his mother is called a ‘camp girl’ he speaks.  After speaking he is questioned on how he knows their language, almost violently.  When he responds “I listened”, he seems to gain a little respect from these ‘Barbaric People‘.

The Viking Prayer

Lo, there do I see my father
Lo, there do I see my mother and 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.

Movies to purchase

Based on the Book 'Eaters of the Dead'

What I leave you with

Because I wish you to view this movie for yourself, I will go no further in this review.  It says a lot of the history of Viking Warriors and the things that were endured during this time. 

Opinions differed greatly on the reviews of this movie, making it a box office blunder.  Personally, I have never listened to the reviews of those that have the power to make or break a movie.  If the story sounds good, I will give it a try.  Since I have a love for History, and the setting was in the times of ‘lore’ with mythology, I found this to not only be entertaining, but informative as well.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      I keep telling myself that I want to see Beowulf, but as of yet haven't had the time.

      I really do Love this movie!! For the history of it more than anything!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • profile image

      Mike Dee 6 years ago

      One of my favourite films of all time, a cultured Arab fron Spain , the centre of knowlrdge and learning in the world at the time. Comes into contact with these Barbaric strangers and at first is repulsed by their behaviours but through his time with them, learns to respect the strengths and values of these fierce people.

      I didn't know it was based on the book 'Eaters of the dead' but the film appears to me to be an adaptation of the Anglo-Saxon saga 'Beowulf'.

      Perhaps their the book itself has been influenced by a comination of 'Beowulf' and the writings of Ibn Fadlan.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      You are welcome Kathy! I will check out those that you mentioned!

    • profile image

      cafeatkathy's 6 years ago


    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Oh yeah, he is a hunk of burnin' Love isn't he? If I was her... Uhuh. yep, never let him outta my site...

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Seems like an interesting film - especially since it has Armando hunky Banderas in it. From what I've read, his wife, Melanie, was probably on location with him! Don't blame her for not letting him out of her sight!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Dave! Yes, I do to, I like a movie with a little history in it. If you haven't seen it, hope you enjoy.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Sweetsusieg; thanks for the movie review. I enjoy a movie most if it has historic value to it.