The Vikings fans haven’t been blessed with the best of luck in cinema – with very few worthy movies depicting their culture and history up on the big screen. Finding such a portrayal is very difficult. Anything set in the 18th century or later seems to be able to get it right, but as soon as it goes medieval ages, most Norsemen movies are just silly. Mother of Thor! With that premise, we dug deep into the film database archives to find the best (okay, decent) titles.
*Updated: April 22nd, 2022: if you love Viking movies and you are always on the lookout for worthy ones, check out the list below.
1. Pathfinder (2007)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller, War, Movie duration: 99 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
Set in pre-Columbus America in past times when Vikings tried to conquer North America. A small child named Ghost is abandoned and raised by Native Americans. The boy grows up to be a warrior, trying to form an identity for himself. Years later, the Ghost will be facing a moral dilemma – when the Vikings try to barbarically conquer the tribal lands again, he has to decide which side he belongs to. Will he save his adopted tribe from the rampaging Norsemen?
The Viking movie is a straight-to-DVD product. It is mostly an action-packed hack & slash fest. You will probably hate it for this, or love how the story is driven by primal physical actions instead of speech because it has only about thirty lines of dialogue. It’s not a great film but overall succeeds where some fail because it gets out of the way of the action while still letting the overall thrust of the story direct it. On top of that, if you like The Last Kingdom and Vikings, you’ll probably appreciate the whole torn identity trope.
2. Hammer Of The Gods (2013)
Genre: Action, History, Horror, Movie duration: 99 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
During the year 871 AD in Britain, a young prince Viking warrior named Steiner (Charlie Bewley), is sent by his father, the king, to find his estranged brother, who was expelled from the kingdom many years ago when they were kids. Steiner’s journey across terribly hostile territory, facing many obstacles and participating in a lot of terrifying battles, turns him to be what his father the King wants and expects him to be: a cruel and unforgiving Viking to inherit the throne.
You most likely will need to be in a state of severe binge crisis to watch this exploitation film. An excellent flick for an escape, it has everything in terms of sword fights, Vikings, nothing extraordinary, just fun.
3. Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America (2007)
On the shores of America during AD 1007, two Norse explorers are facing nature, hostile locals, and the strict rules of Christianity. They need to survive battles and attacks, as they are struggling with the forests and weather conditions – the two men deal differently with the grim situation, one turning inward spiritually and the other reverting to a primal state, but both men are dealing with early childhood painful memories. When they are facing death their roads are apart.
It’s a low-budget film, so don’t expect mind-blowing battle scenes. Not a lot of dialogue and it’s not what you would expect of a ‘Viking’ movie. But it’s a decent attempt, and the soundtrack is incredible.
4. Erik The Viking (1989)
Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Fantasy, Movie duration: 107 mainstream: Pluto TV
The sword and sorcery movie follows the story of Eric (Tim Robbins), a delicate Viking, who finds out that a mythic wolf has eaten the sun. To get things back as they were and make them right, he gathers a group of warriors to embark together on the great journey to the unreachable land of the gods. On their way, they have to find first a magical horn and remove the curse from Erics’ village.
The first half of the movie, it’s Vikings meets Monty Python, hilarious stuff! Good but flawed.
5. Beowulf & Grendel (2005)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Movie duration: 103 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
Warrior King Hrothgar gives the Vikings a quest to lead a brave group of villagers overseas, to capture a monster. The monster doesn’t have mystical powers but it is only seeking revenge. The desire to fulfill the king’s wish fades, as Beowulf finds out that the monster was a victim of the king’s actions and he has a part in the monster’s revenge wishes. He is now facing a moral dilemma between his loyalty to his king, and his new approach toward the monster.
6. Viking (2016)
Genre: Action, Drama, Movie duration: 85 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
In the 10th century, after the death of his father, the young Viking Prince Vladimir of Novgorod is forced into exile, across the frozen sea, to escape his brother who murdered his other brother. His refusal to kill leads him and his Swedish Viking allies into conflict with the Pechenegs which will cost him everything, as “it takes more swords to uphold peace than to wage war”.
A very dark and gritty Russian film with epic Medieval battles. It’s a real thrill following Prince Vladimir’s quest. The Norsemen’s costumes and helmets are historically accurate for once. If you like The Vikings and The Last Kingdom, you’ll certainly like this film, too.
7. Ring of the Nibelungs (2004)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Movie duration: 107 min, Stream: Curiosity
Eric (Benjamin Fürmann), is an adopted child, who was sent by his mom down the river when he was a baby, found and raised by a Blacksmith. Eric reveals his true destiny as a hero and a leader when he finds a magical sword that will extinguish the dragon who threatens his land and people. During his journey to protect his homeland, he is getting superpowers with the dragons’ blood, falls in love, fights for a treasured ring, and is seduced and drowned in his darker side – fighting battles both on his outer and inward world.
A well-written story and an intricate tale that leaves you unprepared for the twisting plots.
8. Valhalla Legend Of Thor (2019)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Thriller, War, Movie duration: 105 min, Stream: Netflix
No man, woman, or child may defy the Gods Thor and Loki. When the gods seek refuge in the home of mortals, the youngest son fails to heed a warning from the gods. As atonement for the family’s sins, the gods take the two youngest children Røskva and Tjalfe under their wing and embark on an epic adventure from Midgard to Valhalla. Life in Valhalla, however, turns out to be threatened by the dreaded Fenrir wolf and the god’s barbaric archenemies, the Jotnar. Side by side with Thor and Loki, the two children must fight to save Valhalla from the end of the world – Ragnarok.
The Danish Valhalla Legend Of Thor is based on the 1986 cartoon movie, which is based on the 1979 Danish comic book. This Vikings movie is about Gods and Humans and how they need each other. It didn’t achieve great box office success in Denmark. Those who enjoy foreign films, they’ll enjoy Valhalla Legend of Thor. If you don’t like subtitles, then watch it dubbed in English.
9. Valhalla Rising (2009)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Movie duration: 93 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
A mysterious one-eyed inactive warrior, who also can recognize his future through visions, becomes a slave in a remote region of pagan Vikings. He is held captive and forced to fight to the death in a kind of gladiatorial match against other prisoners. One Eye wins all fights while being locked in prison between battles. One day, while bathing in a pond, the Viking discovers an arrowhead with which he succeeds in freeing himself and cruelly killing his wardens. He joins a strange Christian cult making its way on a ship to Jerusalem. But, on the way, they get lost in the northern fog.
A violent and wild Viking film by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn is about a Viking killing machine and a small child in biblical landscapes. Yes, you need tons of patience to watch the whole epic but it rewards you with a particularly wonderful experience.
10. The Headhunter (2018)
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Movie duration: 72 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
During medieval times after losing his daughter, a fierce warrior known simply as “The Father” lives in solitude with his horse and begins to collect monsters’ heads, which he keeps at his cabin. Most of his time is spent repairing his armor, setting traps for animals, visiting his daughter’s grave, and waiting for a chance for his final revenge – finding and taking off the head of the monster who killed his daughter.
Atmospheric, gloomy, dark, and entertaining. Slow-paced, carried by a single actor – but always interesting and intriguing.
11. The Raven Flies (1984)
Genre: Action, Drama, Movie duration: 109 min, Stream: Netflix
A young boy loses his parents during a Viking raid in Irland, and his sister is kidnapped, but he manages to stay alive and runs away. Twenty years later, he is going on a journey to find his sister and seeks revenge. When he finds his sister and his parents’ killers, he learns that the situation is more complicated than he thought and he has to face a new dangerous conflict. The theme is unending revenge (a good Nordic theme) and the method of the telling is heavy on action and violence and light on philosophy and moralizing. Director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson is a self-described disciple of Ford, Kurosawa, and Leone. Gloomy, dark, and entertaining.
Slow-paced, carried by a single actor – but always interesting and intriguing. A fantastic horror/fantasy film. if you go into this with a little patience and perspective and some imagination and realize it’s not a 200-million dollar budget CGI extravaganza then you might enjoy yourself.
12. The 13Th Warrior (1999)
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure, War, Movie duration: 109 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
An adventure film based on Michael Creighton’s bestseller from 1976. Ivan Padlan, a tenth-century Arab poet and traveler who falls in love with the king’s wife, is revealed to the king and is expelled from the rich and pastoral kingdom. He goes on a mission to the Viking tribes as a messenger of peace. Meanwhile, a Viking messenger arrives from overseas and another tribe to enlist the help of the aforementioned tribe in their war against mythological creatures who threaten to kill the tribe and eat their flesh. Twelve warriors are chosen from the tribe to help, and they force him to join them as the 13th warrior.
Although the Viking movie never gained wide public recognition, didn’t break box office records, and couldn’t receive excellent reviews, The 13th Warrior is an excellent film. As a fan of period war films, it is not just another action flick with swords, but a rather interesting story.
Do not expect spectacular landscape cinematography, the visuals are interesting, maybe because of a small budget the producers couldn’t carry out Viking battles, but it turned out very nicely. The lighting in the film adds a lot to the story. I would recommend watching the movie, admittedly not the best Viking movie to come out, but definitely, a movie that you can enjoy.See also: Top 13 Best Movies Like Troy
13. Asterix and the Vikings (2006)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Romance, Movie duration: 78 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
A group of Viking warriors is on a journey to seek the true meaning of fear. During their traveling they wander to the village of Gaul, looking for trouble, they kidnap the tribe’s chief nephew. The king is furious and sends Asterix and Obelix to a dangerous task in the Norwegian cold, to save his nephew. When they arrive at the Viking’s village they are facing a surprise they didn’t expect – the king’s nephew has fallen in love with the Viking’s chief’s daughter, and he is not so eager to go back to his village.
Asterix and the Vikings capture all the charm of the comics with a great cast of actors. If you read the comics of Asterix and loved them, you’ll enjoy an entertaining animation.
14. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Stream: Netflix
From the studios that brought you “Shrek”, “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” comes “My First Dragon”. An adventure comedy that brings to life a fantasy world filled with sturdy Vikings and wild-breathing wild dragons.
The animated film revolves around a teenage Viking boy who lives on an island where fighting dragons is a way of life. But his progressive views and special sense of humor do not sit well with the people of the tribe or the leader of the tribe who just happens to be his father. When he meets a wounded dragon, his world is turned upside down, what began as an attempt to prove himself soon becomes an opportunity to chart a new path for the entire tribe.
15. Outlander (2008)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi Animation, Movie duration: 115 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
During the Viking Age, a man named Keenan, from a futuristic and advanced world lands on Earth and brings with him a predatory alien. Keenan knows the Vikings for his advanced technology and leads a group of warriors to kill the alien who threatens them. Anyone interested in a science fiction movie and Vikings, a great combination.
16. The Northman (2022)
Genre: Action, Drama, History, Fantasy, Movie Duration: 137 min, Stream: Amazon Prime
The Viking film tells the story of Amleth, a young prince who flees the kingdom after his father is murdered by his uncle, and returns years later to avenge his death.
If this sounds like “Hamlet” to you, it’s no coincidence – Shakespeare took some inspiration from the tragic story about the Danish prince’s melancholy.
Director Robert Eggers’ two previous films illustrated his serious and in-depth approach to building fictional worlds; A careful study of the Vikings’ era where the plots take place, the use of a considerable part of the production resources for a careful reconstruction, a direction that strives to give the world and its components a stand-alone presence.
Nature, buildings, objects, and clothing are not only a random background to the plot but to a large extent, the arena without which the friction between the Viking’s history and the supernatural could not have formed.