Top Five Films About The Norsemen And The Viking Age

Below you can check a top of 5 most illustrative films about the Norsemen and the Viking Age, a period in European history that took place during the early Middle Ages. These audio-visual productions range in terms of both historical accuracy and artistic license, with some films opting for fictional plots while others expose a very balanced historical overview regarding the era of the Vikings.

5. The Vikings (1958), One Of The Most Popular Hollywood Productions On The Norsemen

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ernest Borgnine

Theatrical poster for 'The Vikings' from 1958. Image source:

1958 theatrical poster for ‘The Vikings’ (one of the most popular films on the Norsemen ever released) . Image source:

‘The Vikings’ is a 1958 American film about the adventures of the legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok and his sons. Partly based on the sagas accounting Lothbrok’s incursions into early medieval Britain, the film is narrated by Orson Welles and focuses on the death of the King of Northumbria at the hands of the same heroic Norse chieftain and his crew. It isn’t quite a historically accurate production by all means, but despite this aspect it remains quite an interesting remake for its time.

4. Valhalla (1986), Highlighting The Mythology Of The Norsemen

Valhalla is a Danish animated film released in 1986. It revolves around the Scandinavian folklore and the Norse mythology, being also based on the eponymous series of comic books. Valhalla enjoyed popularity among audiences of all ages and was also the most expensive Danish film produced in 1986. Below you can watch the trailer for this film in both English and Danish.

English trailer:

Danish trailer:

3. Alfred the Great (1969)

‘Alfred the Great’ is a 1969 British epic historical production based on the Danes’ successive invasions of Anglo-Saxon England during the early Middle Ages. It highlights two noteworthy historical figures of the 9th century, namely King Alfred the Great of Wessex (played by David Hemmings) and Danish war lord Guthrum (played by Michael York), the founder of the Danelaw.

2. When the Raven Flies (1984)

‘When the Raven Flies’ is an adventure film part of the namesake trilogy that also features ‘In the Shadow of the Raven’ (1987) and ‘The White Viking’ (1991). An Icelandic-Swedish production, the action of the film is set in early medieval Iceland, following the tale of a family feud between several Norsemen.

1. Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli (1981)

Outlaw: The Saga of Gisli‘ is an Icelandic film from 1981 that revolves around a bloody feud set in 10th century Iceland. The film was released three years later in Sweden and West Germany and was praised for its successful historically accurate portrayal. ‘Útlaginn’, as it is known in Icelandic, is probably the most authentic film about the Viking Age thus far.

Documentation sources and external links:

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