Norse Viking culture and folklore have long captivated audiences worldwide, and the film industry is no exception. From epic battles to mythical creatures, these 15 fantastic movies bring the rich history and traditions of the Vikings to life on the big screen.
1. Thor (2011)
We cannot talk about Viking culture in movies without talking about the God himself, Thor. All of the Thor films take notes from Vikings, and essentially the superhero/God was loosely inspired by Viking history.
2. The Headhunter (2018)
If you are into avenging storylines, you will like The Headhunter. Essentially the characters existed during medieval times, and thus Viking culture is prevalent.
3. The Northman (2022)
Robert Eggers' biggest budget film to date, this revenge thriller follows a Viking prince named Amleth, who seeks revenge for the murder of his father by his uncle. The film features a star-studded cast, including Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor Joy, and Willem Dafoe. A viewer states that The Northman is the only Viking film they've seen that's a really solid film while also being historically accurate. The ensemble cast is excellent, the cinematography is breathtaking, and you feel entirely immersed in the era.
4. 13th Warrior (1999)
Based on the novel Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, this film follows a Muslim ambassador named Ahmed (Antonio Banderas) who is sent to aid a group of Vikings in their battle against a tribe of mysterious, cannibalistic creatures. A viewer says, “It features perhaps one of the best sequences on film I’ve ever seen of depicting the acquisition of a foreign language. It’s absolutely incredible.”
5. Beowulf (2007)
This motion capture animated film, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins, retells the classic Anglo-Saxon epic poem. Beowulf, a legendary warrior, battles the monster Grendel and his mother.
6. Valhalla Rising (2009)
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, this film follows a mute warrior named One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) as he escapes from a Norse chieftain and embarks on a journey with a group of Christian Vikings to the Holy Land.
7. The Vikings (1958)
Directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, this classic film tells the story of two Viking brothers, Einar and Eric, who are rivals for the throne and the love of a beautiful princess.
8. Erik The Viking (1989)
Written and directed by Monty Python alum Terry Jones, this comedic fantasy adventure stars Tim Robbins as a Viking named Erik, who sets out on a quest to find the mythical land of Hy-Brasil and to end the age of Ragnarok.
9. The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die (2023)
The fourth installment in the Last Kingdom TV series, this film follows the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon) as he fights to reclaim his ancestral homeland and defend England from Viking invaders. However, one fan warns that the movie assumes you have already watched the Netflix series before the film, so to understand the plot and references best, you should watch the series first.
10. The Long Ships (1964)
Directed by Jack Cardiff and starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier, this swashbuckling adventure film follows a Viking prince named Rurik who sets out on a perilous journey to find a mythical golden bell.
11. Pathfinder (2007)
Directed by Marcus Nispel, this action-packed film follows a Viking boy left behind after a battle and raised by Native Americans. When Vikings return to his village years later, he must choose between his adoptive family and his biological roots.
12. The Head Hunter (2018)
Directed by Jordan Downey, this low-budget horror film follows a medieval warrior who hunts down and kills monsters. When his daughter is killed by a creature he has been seeking, he sets out on a dangerous quest for revenge. A viewer insists that despite having a low budget, The Head Hunter, “is a gorgeous-looking film. Be warned, though; you'll either love it or hate it due to its minimalistic plot/execution and its slow pace.”
13. How To Train Your Dragon (2010)
How to Train Your Dragon is an animated fantasy film that follows a young Viking named Hiccup, who befriends a dragon named Toothless and learns that they are not the bloodthirsty beasts he had been taught to fear. Together, Hiccup and Toothless work to stop a war between the Vikings and the dragons, ultimately bringing peace between the two groups.
14. Outlander (2008)
Directed by Howard McCain and starring James Caviezel and Sophia Myles, this science fiction action film follows a man from a distant planet who crash-lands on Earth during the Viking Age and must team up with Vikings to fight an alien creature that has also landed on Earth.
15. Erik The Conqueror (1961)
This classic Viking film features two estranged brothers who have to confront each other when a war breaks out between the British and Vikings over the control of England.