The 20 Best Viking Movies Of All Time, Ranked


  • Viking movies saw a resurgence of popularity due to the success of TV shows like
    The Last Kingdom
  • There is a lack of Viking movies compared to other subgenres of historical drama.
  • Many Viking movies are based on real Viking history but take fictional liberties for storytelling purposes.



The best Viking movies transport audiences to the world of the 9th to 11th centuries for bloodlustful battle-filled adventures with some of the most notorious warriors in history. These movies tell the story of Vikings, those polytheistic Norse warriors who sailed the seas, pillaging and conquering. In the world of streaming services, the tales of Viking warriors have become much more popular. With TV shows like Vikings and Last Kingdom, there is a clear lack of Viking movies compared to other subgenres of historical drama.

Viking stories go back thousands of years, with the brave and violent warriors blazing a trail through history, creating an exciting backdrop for any movie or TV show. Thanks possibly to the success of shows like Vikings and its spinoff, Vikings: Valhalla, this unique time and place in history became popular again — though the best Viking movies show that there’s always been an interest in the longboat-sailing warriors.

20 The Viking (1928)

Silent Era Viking Movie

A woman with a Viking helmet looking scared from The Viking (1928)

Tales of Viking warriors and their exploits go back centuries, so it is no surprise there is a very early Viking movie from the silent era of Hollywood. This is The Viking and is a fictional story surrounding the real-life character of Leif Erikson. The first European to come to North America, this movie details his journey to the country along with a love triangle between Leif, Alwin of Northumbria, and Leif’s protégé Helga.

While the story and the action are not overly impressive, The Viking is a surprisingly ground-breaking movie in a number of ways. It is the first movie to contain a soundtrack with sound effects for the movie, although there is still no dialogue. It is also one of the earliest colored movies that makes it an important piece of cinema history on top of a great Viking movie.

19 The White Viking (1991)

The Finale Of Hrafn Gunnlaughsson’s Epic Viking Trilogy

Askur with a sword in The White Viking

Over the course of nearly a decade, director Hrafn Gunnlaughsson made a series of Viking movies, and the final of his Viking Trilogy arrived in 1991 with The White Viking. This story is loosely based on real-life Viking history. The movie takes place during the reign of Olaf I of Norway. King Olaf defeats Earl Godbrandur and captures his daughter Embla, who he holds captive. The only way her husband, Askur, can save her is by traveling to his home and christening its people.

The movie has a complicated release history that can make it hard to decide which version of the movie to watch. The movie received a re-release in 2007 with a director’s cut that focuses more on Embla. However, there was also a five-hour cut released as a miniseries. While it was not a well-known trilogy, Gunnlaughsso’s Viking movies have a strong following with The White Viking seen as a worthy entry.

18 Valhalla (1986)

Dutch Animated Viking Movie

An angry Viking in the animated movie Valhalla

Released in 1986, Valhalla is an animated Dutch movie that is based on the Danish comic book series of the same name. The original comics were based on Norse mythology and this movie re-tells three of the volumes of the comic book series. The movie sees Thor and Loki constantly at odds, with Loki continuously using his trickster skills to get people (mostly kids but also a goblin) to disrupt Thor’s life, all while claiming to not know why it is happening. The main characters are two kids, Tjalvi and Röskva, who end up as Thor’s servants and have adventures.

It is fun to see the Viking genre get an animated adventure and it shows that the medium actually suits these kinds of stories quite well. Valhalla received a live-action adaptation in 2019 that was more serious, also made in Denmark.

17 When The Raven Flies (1984)

The First Movie In The Classic Viking Trilogy

A viking aiming a bow in When the Raven Flies

Released in 1984, When the Raven Flies is an Icelandic Viking movie that has often been compared to Akira Kurosawa movies like Yojimbo, as it features a man whose parents died in a Viking raid when he was a child and returns for revenge 20 years later. He then plays two rival Viking gangs against each other, in the same basic plot from the Kurosawa classic.

This was the first movie in Hrafn Gunnlaughsson’s Viking Trilogy, and Iceland nominated it for the Oscars, although it wasn’t chosen in the category. When the Raven Flies was nominated for the 1986 International Fantasy Film Award for Best Film. The Kurosawa story elements remain timeless while there is a thrill seeing them implanted into the Viking world. The movie is also cited as an inspiration for the graphic novel De Balling by Dutch comic book writer Erik Kriek.

16 Hagbard And Signe (1967)

A Viking Movie In The Style Of Yojimbo

The title characters from Hagbard and Signe embracing in bed togehter

Hagbard and Signe is also known as The Red Mantle and is a romantic Viking adventure movie. The movie’s plot centers on a bond between two previously warring clans that is ruined thanks to jealousy. Oleg Vidov and Gitte Hænning portray Hagbard and Signe in an almost Romeo & Juliet story about two lovers who attempt to further their relationship even as their clans’ war tears them apart.

The movie is not as fast-paced, and it is more about a tragic romance, but it is still violent and the doom that rests within the story makes this a truly tragic Viking movie. Hagbard and Signe won the Technical Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It is a reminder that, while Viking movies may have a reputation for being brutal action movies about ruthless warriors, they can also be sweeping romances.

15 Erik The Conqueror (1961)

The Classic Italian-French Remake Of An American Viking Movie

Erik the Conqueror smiling with a sword.

Erik the Conqueror is an Italian-French epic Viking story that is loosely based on one of the best Viking movies, the 1958 American release, The Vikings. The saga follows two brothers who were separated at birth, one who is raised in England, and the other in Scandinavia. The two brothers reunite when they’re forced to fight against each other in a war between the English and the Vikings.

Although not as lovable as the source material it’s based on, it’s still a decent Viking movie for fans to check out. Director Mario Bava is seen as one of the greatest contributors to the Italian horror movie movement with a number of iconic projects to his name. While this is a bit of a departure from his most famous movies, it is his confident and assured direction that elevates the movie to a great genre piece of entertainment.

14 Knives Of The Avenger (1966)

The Best Viking Movie From Italian Genre Legend Mario Bava

A wedding ceremony from Knives of the Avenger (1966).

This is another Viking movie from Mario Bava though one that was more thrust upon him when the production fell into chaos. The movie feels like a Viking version of the great Western movie Shane as it follows a mysterious Viking warrior who takes up the cause of a young peasant woman and her child, defending them from vicious villain attempting to take her for his queen.

Knives of the Avenger comes across as a little silly today, but it hides more merit than face value discloses. Made on a low budget, Knives of the Avenger was a victim of a rushed re-shooting schedule. Still, the capstone of Bava’s best Viking movies, it’s an effort that dedicated film buffs shouldn’t ignore, and it presents enough charm and interest to be worthwhile to those who love the typical Viking tale as well.

13 Erik The Viking (1989)

A Viking Movie From Monty Python’s Terry Jones

The cast of Erik the Viking pose for a promotional image.

This comedic action-adventure Viking movie by Monty Python’s Terry Jones looks at Norse mythology through a humorous lens. It follows the Viking Erik who doesn’t want to pillage villages anymore, so he decides to travel to Asgard to try to save the home of the Norse gods from a mythic wolf. The story then involves Erik and his allies on their misadventures trying to reach Asgard in a British comedy that’s hilarious and brings much of the humor of Monty Python to the Viking genre.

The movie is based on a children’s book authored by Jones, but it has a different storyline. Those looking for the same level of comedic brilliance as Mony Python and the Holy Grail will surely be disappointed with this lesser effort. However, that is not to say there isn’t a lot of fun to be had in the story of a Viking looking for a more peaceful life with Tim Robbins giving a solid comedic performance in the lead role.

12 Prince Valiant (1954)

A Classic Mix Of Scandinavian Folklore With Arthurian Legend

Debra Paget standing against the wall in Prince Valiant (1954).

Based on an American comic strip that began in the mid-30s, Prince Valiant tells the tale of its titular character, a refugee who is taken in by King Arthur after his native land of Scandia is invaded by a rival clan. He receives training under Sir Gawain, a member of the Knights of the Round Table, but the plot thickens when Prince Valiant is drawn into the center of political disputes in Camelot.

An interesting mix of Scandinavian legend and folklore, Price Valiant may make for a bit of a slow watch today given its age, but stands out as an epic from the earliest decades of color cinema. The movie features a star-studded cast from this era of Hollywood with the likes of James Mason, Robert Wagner, Sterling Hayden, and Psycho icon Janet Leigh.

11 The Last King (2016)

A Viking Movie Set In The Civil War Era In Norway

Vikings travelling with a child in a snowy landscape in The Last King.

The Last King follows two Vikings (Jakob Oftebro and Kristofer Hivju) who are tasked with protecting a child, the last heir to the throne, in Norway. A civil war is raging in the 13th-century setting, creating a tense and snowy adventure for the trio. It is based on real events in Norwegian Viking history, even if it’s not the most historically accurate re-telling, making it essential viewing for any fan of the genre.

This lesser-known Viking movie has a high 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it a must-watch for fans of the genre. It is an interesting approach to the genre with it feeling like a snowbound version of a Mad Max movie at times. The modest production still pulls off impressive action sequences with the movie being an extended chase scene to some extent. Scenes of Vikings pursuing each other on skis down a mountain show the kind of fun the movie offers.

10 Pathfinder (2007)

A Viking Teams With Native Americans To Battle Invaders

Karl Urban standing in the water surrounded by Vikings in Pathfinder.

Pathfinder is another underseen action movie entry into the Viking movie genre with a fun historical twist. The movie begins with a clash between Viking and Native American tribes that leaves only one member of the Vikings left standing in the end. He is then taken in by the Native American tribe and raised among their people. Years later, he has been accepted into their society, but he must now face off against another group of encroaching Viking belligerents.

Released in 2007, Pathfinder was relatively overshadowed by its opening-week competition in the form of Zack Snyder’s epic Ancient Greece movie300. Still, this 00s Vikings movie is worth watching, especially for those interested in the Viking’s settlement of North America. Karl Urban makes for a stoic and intimidating lead as the warrior who finds himself caught between two societies.

9 Outlander (2008)

A Surprisingly Accurate Sci-Fi Alien Movie During The Viking Era

Alien Dragon On Fire in Outlander 2008.

While it might seem like a rather constricting movie genre, Viking stories can take all kinds of approaches while still feeling true to the genre. Outlander explores what would happen if Kainan, a man from another world, crash-landed in Norway during the reign of the Iron Age Vikings. However, Kainan isn’t alone; he’s brought a predator called the Moorwen. Sworn as a soldier to murder his enemy, Kainan bonds his advanced tech with the Viking weaponry to defeat it.

The idea around Outlander is reminiscent of the Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig-led Cowboys & Aliens, and, when it works, it works well. It offers more of an authentic look at Vikings than its premise might suggest, and the battles involving Kainan, his Viking allies, and the Moorwen are impressively done for a lower-budget movie like this.

Outlander is available to stream on Roku

8 The Long Ships (1964)

Based On The Swedish Novel Of The Same Name

Two Vikings in a prison cell in The Long Ships (1964).

Loosely based on the Swedish novel The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson, this is an epic Viking film made in the mid-60s that focuses on a highly-prized bell made out of gold called the “Mother of Voices” and the two powerful men who seek to obtain it. The mythical treasure that’s bigger than a truck has elicited the attention of Moorish ruler El Mansuh and Viking leader Rolfe.

Rolfe sails with his men from Scandinavia to seek the bell in Africa, reluctantly taking El Mansuh and his cohort along for the ride. They focus all their energies on an object that may be pure fantasy, testing the depths of their spiritual fortitude and physical strength. With elaborate costumes and large sets, it’s one of the best classic Viking movies, though it only half focuses on Viking culture.

7 How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

The Movie That Started The Animated Viking Franchise


This animated feature from DreamWorks Studios perfectly captures both the real and fantastical aspects of the Viking age. It centers around a young Viking boy named Hiccup who manages to train a Night Fury dragon, one of the most dangerous of the species, to be his constant friend and fellow fighter against attacks on his village. The plucky film about a boy and his dragon spawned two sequels, each gaining momentum and popularity.

The series results in a glorious dragon utopia for the Viking people with Hiccup, his partner Astrid, and his Night Fury Toothless. The legacy of the movie continues as there is a live-action How to Train Your Dragon movie is currently in development, but it remains to be seen if it will be able to capture the same magic and fun of the original animated movie.

6 The 13th Warrior (1999)

Antonio Banderas Leads This Viking Movie About Clashing Ancient Cultures

Antonio Banderas wearing armor in The 13th Warrior

Having iconic action movie director John McTieran (Die Hard, Predator) helming a Viking movie based on a novel by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) is an exciting point of entry. A Viking movie that focuses on the blending of culture, The 13th Warrior chronicles a Muslim ambassador in exile who becomes part of a Viking caravan. Ahmad ibn Fadlan is originally confused, bewildered, and offended by the behavior of the unruly Norsemen.

As they overcome more adversity throughout their travels, he comes to admire their strength. As the Vikings and Fadlan get word of an ancient evil threatening both of their ways of life, they learn to fight together. With an all-star cast led by Antonio Banderas, the acting in this 1990 movie is especially noteworthy, and the story is uplifting as well as exciting. Though it was a box office bomb and dismissed by critics, the movie has enjoyed a resurgence over the years, viewing it as an underrated gem.

5 Beowulf (2007)

Robert Zemeckis’s CGI Tale Of One Of The World’s First Heroes



Release Date November 5, 2007 Director Robert Zemeckis Cast Ray Winstone , Anthony Hopkins , John Malkovich , Robin Wright , Brendan Gleeson , Crispin Glover Runtime 115minutes

Beowulf wasn’t well-received when it released in 2009, with audiences having issues with the unique approach of CGI-rendered over live actors for a strange, almost video-game look. Nevertheless, it was an ambitious and epic take on the ancient legend and boasted an all-star cast of talent. The courageous warrior Beowulf is summoned before King Hrothgar to protect the people of his kingdom from a dangerous demon known as Grendel.

Though Grendel proves no match for the mighty Beowulf, its death invokes the ire of its mother, a vicious creature that proves both beguiling and challenging to the bravest among heroes. While not one of the most critically acclaimed, Beowulf remains one of the best Viking movies for those seeking a classic tale of Norse heroism. Along with Ray Winstone’s commanding performance in the lead role, the movie features Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie, and Brendan Gleeson.

Beowulf is available to stream on Paramount+

4 Thor (2011)

Part Of The First Wave Of The MCU



Release Date May 6, 2011 Director Kenneth Branagh Cast Chris Hemsworth , Natalie Portman , Tom Hiddleston , Kat Dennings , Stellan Skarsgård , Idris Elba , Clark Gregg , Colm Feore Runtime 115 minutes

​​Thor, the Mighty God of Thunder, is banished from Asgard on the day he is to inherit the throne from his father, Odin. He is cast out from the lands of his people because he dared to defy the Frost Giants, who themselves violated an ancient treaty by setting foot in Asgard on the day of his coronation. Thor is exiled to Earth, where he is discovered by several scientists who introduce him to Earth’s customs.

Meanwhile, back in Asgard, his brother Loki, God of Mischief, plots to overtake Odin in his absence and wield the mighty hammer Mjolnir. Shakespearian in scope, this MCU take on Norse mythology remains one of the best big-budget Viking movies despite adapting the mythology in an incredibly loose fashion. However, its depiction of Asgard is almost second to none thanks to the budget afforded to this Viking movie by Disney.

Thor is available to stream on Disney+

3 Valhalla Rising (2009)

Mads Mikkelsen Stars As A Slave Seeking The Holy Land

Mads Mikkelsen looks into the distance with his one eye in Valhalla Rising

Before making his stunning American neo-noir crime masterpiece Drive, director Nicolas Winding Refn made this brutal entry into the Viking movie genre. The magnetic, heavily tattooed Mads Mikkelsen smolders in this Viking epic set in 11th-century Scandinavia, playing an enslaved man who is known as “One Eye” due to the severe wound across his face. He leads a revolt against the men who have imprisoned him and unites with Eirik, as well as several religious fanatics who spread the Lord’s word.

Once free of his captors, things don’t get any easier for One Eye. As he heads for the Holy Land and Jerusalem with Eirik and his crew, they suffer from starvation, infighting, and attacks off the coast. Only greater hostility and carnage await One Eye in this incredibly moody and visually stunning epic. It’s a slow burn, but an intriguing one with lots to take in.

2 The Northman (2022)

Robert Eggers Epic Modern Viking Movie


The Northman

Release Date April 22, 2022 Director Robert Eggers Cast Claes Bang , Ian Gerard Whyte , Nicole Kidman , Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson , Kate Dickie , Olwen Fouéré , Katie Pattinson , Ethan Hawke , Gustav Lindh , Willem Dafoe , Doa Barney , Ralph Ineson , Ian Whyte , Bjork , Alexander Skarsgard , Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson , Anya Taylor-Joy , Murray McArthur Runtime 136 minutes


One of the most recent Viking movies proves there is still interesting stories to be told within the genre. A prosperous ruler fresh from conquest in foreign lands, King Aurvandill returns home to prepare for the coming coronation of his son Amleth. However, Aurvandill’s brother Fjolnir murders him and absconds with his wife, leaving Amleth alone to swear burning revenge on the attacker.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Robert Eggers, The Northman was, by many accounts, one of the best films of 2022. An epic tale of trial and tribulation that culminates in brutal retribution, it’s one of the best Viking movies of modern cinema. Alexander Skarsgard gives a towering performance as the vengeful warrior while the cast is also stacked with some amazing performers including Anya Taylor Joy, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, and Ethan Hawke.

1 The Vikings (1958)

The Kirk Douglas & Tony Curtis Classic

The Vikings starring Kirk Douglas and Janet Leigh talking while on a boat

1958’s Vikings established many staples of the Viking movie genre. It stars Kirk Douglas as the Viking prince Einar and Tony Curtis as Eric the Slave, two men locked in a feud that only grows when Einar kidnaps the princess Morgana, who was previously engaged to King Aella, whose only love is Eric. Morgana becomes the center of focus for three vengeful men who are all hellbent on claiming her as their bride.

Every member of the cast is an experienced actor in the sword and sandal epic, which was immensely popular in the 1950s, including Janet Leigh (Morgana) and Ernest Borgnine as Einar’s father, King Ragnar. The acting is somewhat stiff but powerful, and, for the sheer scope and scale of Viking civilization and battles, it holds its own against the best Viking movies today.

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