Underrated Viking Movies That Deserve A Spot In Valhalla

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Vote up the Viking movies that are worthy of screening in Valhalla.

It may not be as big a genre as the space opera or the superhero film, but the Viking picture has been around for about as long as filmmaking itself. But have you ever sat down to think about the most underrated Viking films? Not the best Viking movies, but the ones that deserve a little bit better than what they got upon release.

Fans of big names like Antonio Banderas or Mads Mikkelsen should check out The 13th Warrior and Valhalla Rising. Those looking for a bit of science fiction in their Viking movie should look into Outlander. In the mood for some laughs with your horned helmetsErik the Viking is the movie for you. So, grow out a beard and drink some mead - we're running through the history of underrated Viking flicks that deserve a second look.

  • 1
    1,036 VOTES

    There was a point in time where pretty much every single novel Michael Crichton wrote was adapted into a film. Jurassic ParkCongoTimeline. The list goes on and on. Crichton's 1976 novel, Eaters of the Dead, was no exception. It took a while, but the book eventually became 1999's The 13th Warrior, a film notorious for being a major box office bust.

    Said notoriety sells the film short, however, as its massive budget allowed director John McTiernan and the production team to bring some violent, elaborate set pieces to life. And if you can't get on board with Antonio Banderas starring in a Beowulf-inspired action flick, then that's on you. It's a Viking film from the man behind Die HardPredator, and The Hunt for Red October. What's not to like?

    1,036 votes

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  • 2
    472 VOTES

    Old Hollywood had a healthy obsession with the swashbuckling genre as film legends like Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn became household names thanks to classics like The Mark of Zorro and Captain Blood. And though sword-fighting adventures began to die down in the late '50s, 1958's The Vikings proved to be a big success for United Artists. It even spawned a television series, Tales of the Vikings, in its wake. Taking a look at the cast sheet offers some insight as to why it was such a hit: when Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Ernest Borgnine all come together for a picture, it doesn't take much for it to succeed.

    Inspired by the legends of Ragnar Lothbrok, The Vikings was actually filmed in Norway during a time where studios were happy to use Southern California for any and all location shots, period. Does it stand out from the rest of the swashbuckling films of the time? Not particularly, but you get to see cinematic icons share the screen together and fight a little bit... what's not to like?

    472 votes

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  • 3
    463 VOTES

    A few years before Drive turned Nicolas Winding Refn into a director on the rise, he teamed with Mads Mikkelsen for 2009's stylish Viking film Valhalla Rising. Mikkelsen shines as a one-eyed, mute slave as he teams with a young boy on a mysterious adventure in 11th century Scotland. Anyone who knows Refn's directorial and writing techniques will be prepared for what Valhalla Rising offers: minimal dialogue, entrancing visuals, and a heaping helping of brutal violence.

    With an actor as magnetic as Mikkelsen, though, there isn't much need for traditional discourse between characters. Viewers' eyes are already glued to the screen thanks to the Danish actor's presence. Valhalla Rising is anything but your conventional Viking film, and it is all the better for it... if you can handle brutal violence that would make the characters from Game of Thrones blush.

    463 votes

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  • 4
    245 VOTES

    The Last King

    Nils Gaup, director of 1987's Pathfinder, brought his A-game again years later with 2016's The Last King. Though some have taken the film to task over its historical inaccuracies, no one ever said a movie has to tell a 100% real-life story... even if it is technically based on one. Go watch the wildly inaccurate box office smash The Patriot and see if the production companies care about following the history books. And when it comes to overall critical reception, The Last King gets the last laugh as it is a generally well-regarded flick.

    The film follows two men in early 1200s Norway as they seek an infant heir from those who wish him harm. Fans of Game of Thrones and The Witcher will delight in seeing Kristofer Hivju and his fantastic beard in a starring role, and there is a skiing action scene! Come on!

    245 votes
  • 5
    371 VOTES

    Despite having the same name, 2008's Outlander has nothing to do with the book series of the same name nor the cult Starz television series it inspired. No, this Outlander takes the classic Beowulf tale and gives it a science fiction bent as a spaceship crash-lands in Viking Age Norway. Either you're in on that elevator pitch or you're not, it's that simple.

    And with a cast that includes Jim Caviezel, Jack Huston, Ron Perlman, and John Hurt, you probably should be. Critics were pretty divided at the time as the film offers little outside of that *ahem* outlandish premise, but what else are you looking for? It's a stacked cast having fun in a Viking-based science fiction action thriller. It's a B-movie premise with an A-list cast and budget. Just turn your mind off and have some fun, people!

    371 votes

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  • 6
    199 VOTES

    Unless you're well-versed in the history of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film or are, somehow, a huge fan of the 2007 loose remake of the same name starring Karl Urban and Moon Bloodgood, you've probably never heard of 1987's Pathfinder. Although this Norwegian film is technically a Sami movie, not a Viking one, it deserves mention nonetheless.

    The main character, Aigin, is forced to lead a group of violent killers towards an innocent group of Sami people. It has a lot in common with traditional American Westerns: slow to build with outbursts of violence strewn throughout. While the film's production seems heavily outdated by today's standards, it was actually the most expensive Norwegian motion picture ever made at the time of release. It was even shown in 70mm print! If an adventure tale suits your viewing mood and you're the type of person who isn't bothered by subtitles, Pathfinder is well worth your time. 

    199 votes

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