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Best Viking Movies
Blood, Sweat and Beers
You'll find plenty of blood, sweat and beers in a Viking movie.
Of course there would be, this is about Vikings isn't it? Yes, there was plenty of farming going on with the Vikings. Trading too. Lots of trading. But who wants a movie about Magnus the Merchant? Even more boring would be a family film of Floki the Farmer walking the cows up to higher pastures for the Summer.
Not me. I want some action.
I also want to see a movie that's not outrageously anachronistic (please, no more King Arthur costumes) and gives a moderately balanced view of the Vikings, not as mindless demons from the black pit.
Here are my favourites.
The Vikings 1958
Still the best Viking movie
This is still the best movie about Vikings.
A lot of research was done here, a lot of saga reading and, for 1958, the Viking life is shown pretty accurately.
Ragnar Lodbrok, the English king Aella and Ragnar's death are from the Sagas and, apart from the dicey costumes and the castle from another period, this film stands the test of time.
Kirk Douglas puts on a dazzling display of athletics and cleft-chinned charm as Einar, the son of Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine). If not for Janet Leigh and the improbable story of a missing English prince (Tony Curtis) who just happens to be a son of Ragnar as well, this movie would be pushing close to perfect.
Viking Funeral 1958
Ah! A fantastic, fiery Viking funeral!
Does it matter if a Viking shield wobbles in the wind as if it were made of cardboard?
Forget the strange inaccuracy of the archers. I don't care, and you shouldn't either.
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The swashbuckling adventures, not very blood-soaked, of Einar Ragnarson and his half-brother, an English prince who was captured by pirates as a wee babe.
Great footage of a Viking ship, scary seas and lots of jovial drinking to the background of peasants running shrieking from the mindless hordes of reiving, ravaging, raiders
The 13th Warrior 1999
Popular Scene from 13th Warrior
An endless expanse of severed limbs and rolling heads, this rip-roaring movie features a hapless Antonio Banderos as the educated, sophisticated ibn Fadlan caught up in the battles of a gang of beefy, battle-scarred Vikings.
There's a lot of humour in 13th Warrior and I wonder how much is unintentional. But that's not important. Neither is the armour worn by the brutes, for the sake of politeness I'll call the costuming marginal.
The scene of the "Viking Prayer" is a classic - the prayers before the (last) battle.
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The age-old story of Beowulf but one where the monster, Grendel, has turned into a vicious mounted horde of frightening ugly flesh-eating monsters.
But Ahmed and his hulking Viking companions will win over this foul enemy of the innocent - or will they?
Eaters of the Dead
Eaters of the Dead is a retelling of the classic Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf from the perspective of an Arab diplomat who ends up joining Beowulf's party to h...
Beowulf and Grendel 2005
Gory Bits from Beowulf and Grendel
Brilliant Performances from (almost) everyone
This has to be one of my favourite fims ever - not just of Viking culture. Gerard Butler plays the hero, Beowulf and he does a wonderful, ironic and amusing job of it.
The settings are superb, the Hall, Heriot, as seen in the image above, is recreated exactly from archaeological evidence and the clothes are true to the period.
Almost every actor performs brilliantly, the exception is Sarah Polley, but the real star of this movie is Iceland.
Beowulf and Grendel the Movie
Beowulf and Grendel takes you into a world of fable and myth, a world where men, larger than life, stride along the border of light and dark, beset by evil dreams...
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A twist in the tale from the original Beowulf. In this portrayal, Grendel is no supernatural monster. he's a creature of flesh and blood - immense flesh and raging blood!
What is the mystery behind this troll? Can Gerard Butler figure it out?
What's your Best Viking Movie?
Is your best Viking movie one of these , or is it another?
© 2013 Susanna Duffy