The Northman: The Best Movies Similar to the Viking Epic

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

With The Northman burning its way through movie theaters, fans have been once again pulled into the world of Vikings. The Norse brotherhood is responsible for bringing us such mythological figures as Thor, Loki, and the ever-wise Odin. While they are much different in their origins than we see in the Marvel films, Viking culture has been intriguing for quite some time in Hollywood. If you wanted to go back and find some of the best Viking movies, or other movies like The Northman, where do you start? Let’s find out.

The Vikings, movies like The Northman

The Vikings (1958)

Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis lead this star-studded cast about two Viking brothers who set about to take the newly vacated throne of Northumbria. One of the brothers is a Viking warrior while the other is an ex-slave. As they go to war they also vie for the attention of Morgana played by the always fantastic Janet Leigh.

The film is a great old Hollywood film. It’s lauded as having been “filmed among the snowy caps of Norway”. At the time most films were done on the sound stages in California, and there is some of that here, but we get some fantastic-looking shots of the Viking ships riding down the river to go on another raid. The rivalry between Douglas and Curtis plays great on the screen and while it may be a little slick compared to the down and dirty Viking fare in movies like The Northman, it’s still a lot of fun.

The 13th Warrior (1999)

In 922 AD, a Muslim emissary is captured by a group of Vikings. Over time the two sides learn to appreciate and trust one another. He is welcomed into Viking society but before long he has to help them return home to fight against an oncoming horde that threatens their land. The pack of invaders not only destroy everything in their path but have been known to eat the flesh of the men they kill as well.

This is brought to us by great action director John McTiernan and famous writer Michael Crichton. The battle scenes are magnificently choreographed and the cinematography showcases the great locations used in the film. Antonio Banderas does a great job as a man out of place who is forced to enter into war with this adopted society. A great movie like The Northman.

Pathfinder 2007, movies like The Northman

Pathfinder (2007)

This film shows the other side of the Viking lore by having them as a destructive force. They reach North America and begin to terrorize the indigenous people there. They enslave whomever they can and burn their villages to the ground. As they depart, one of their children gets left behind. The tribe of Native Americans decides to take him in as one of their own. They raise him as part of their society. When the Vikings return decades later, he might be the only one who can help his new family to fight back.

It’s cool to see the other side of the story when it comes to Viking lore. While in some movies they are the focus of the story and thus more the heroes of the film, here they are anything but. Karl Urban plays Ghost who was the child left behind. He does a great job showing a character who is stuck between two different cultures. This is for sure one of the best Viking movies.

Beowulf 2007, movies like The Northman

Beowulf (2007)

An animated retelling of the classic tale. While a lot of focus was put on the use of CGI over live actors, it detracted from what was actually a well-told story of the ancient fable. After Grendel attacks the citizens of the kingdom, King Hrothgar offers a reward for the death of the creature. The great warrior Beowulf rises to the occasion. During his encounter though he is offered a deal that will haunt him for the rest of his days.

The cast is star-studded with the likes of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Angelinia Jolie, Crispin Glover, and John Malkovich lending their talents to the film. While the animation may have not aged as well as one would hope, it’s a great telling of the story making it one of the best Viking movies only because the story has been around for so long and the plot seems like a movie like The Northman.

Outlander 2008, best viking movies, movies like The Northman

Outlander (2008)

If you prefer a little sci-fi with your Viking lore then look no further than this film. In 709 AD a spaceship crash lands in the middle of Norway. The pilot survives but realizes the creature he was transporting has escaped. It begins wreaking havoc on the local countryside. Viking warriors try to fight it off but eventually, the pilot and the Vikings must team up to bring the creature down before it destroys this world just like it has others before.

It’s a fun premise that helps flesh out the idea of things like dragons and magic within Viking mythology. Ron Pearlman is always fantastic and is no different here. Jim Caviezel plays the space pilot, and we get a great turn by John Hurt. Not to be taken too seriously but just enjoyed as a fun action film if you’re looking for a movie like The Northman.

Valhalla Rising, movies like The Northman

Valhalla Rising (2009)

Mads Mikkelson plays a slave known only as One Eye. He has been captured by the Viking crew but after killing his captors he escapes with a slave boy. Together they try to find their way only to end up with more Vikings in the new world. Before long they are questioned about their faith and who they can put their trust into.

This film by director Nicolas Winding Refn lays on the brutality of the time along with the supernatural superstitions of the culture. It’s a great mix of an action film, along with a dramatic look at what it means to be free. A great performance by Mikkelson as usual and for sure one of the best Viking movies.

The Last King (2016)

In 1206, as Norway is in the middle of a civil war, the king is assassinated. His illegitimate son is taken by two warriors and they begin a trek outside of the reach of the King’s enemies. Along the way they have to fight to survive while keeping the child safe as one day, he will be the rightful heir to the throne.

This Norwegian film is a fun ride while also being suspenseful and action-packed. It has been criticized for some of its historical inaccuracies but overall still proves to be a fun watch. If nothing else, you see a lot of skiing action which you can’t say about a lot of Viking entertainment.

Source: JoBlo

About the Author

Bryan Wolford is a feature writer for JoBlo, and also writes scripts for both JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals, including a multi-part retrospective on the Highlander franchise. When not writing for the site, he’s an avid podcaster.