Edit
The Vikings (1958) Poster

(1958)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (2)
At the end of the film, a Viking ship is set afire by flaming arrows in a rendering of a traditional Viking funeral. Director Richard Fleischer took great care to have the archers practice the moment, training them to release the arrows on the count of "three," and hoping at least some of the arrows would arc properly to hit the sail of the ship and set it on fire. When the time came for the live shot, the director only reached the count of "two", when one over-eager archer loosed his arrow. As luck would have it, the arrow arced perfectly and hit the sail. Then, Fleischer called, "Three!" and the other archers loosed their arrows. Fleischer decided that he liked the one, single arrow being launched first, and kept the shot in the film because it looked like part of the ceremony.
Ernest Borgnine plays the father of Kirk Douglas. In real life Borgnine was one and a half months younger than Douglas.
9 of 9 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The three Viking ships in the film were designed using blueprints for an actual Viking ship salvaged from the water and restored by a Viking museum in Norway. It turned out that the boats built for the film were too accurate, because the modern actors were taller than their historical counterparts. Every other oar hole had to be plugged so the modern men would have room to row with a full oar stroke. Otherwise, they would hit the backs of the oarsmen seated in front of them when pushing the oar handles forward to start each new stroke.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Stuntmen had practiced for weeks for the oar walking scenes. Kirk Douglas told director Richard Fleischer that he could do it and did several times. At one point when he did fall in the icy water he calmly swam over to the camera boat and asked if they had gotten good shots. He then swam back to the Viking longboat. Fleischer noted they were watching and filming an activity that had not been done in a thousand years.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The movie was shot in Kvinnherad, Norway, which is a small community by the Hardanger Fjord. Many locals still remember "when Hollywood showed up in Kvinnherad", and many of the extras are local inhabitants.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The opaque scleral contact lens that Kirk Douglas wore to simulate his blinded eye was incredibly painful. He could only stand to have it in place for a few minutes at a time.
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
There was actually a kingdom called Northumbria, whose history undoubtedly formed part of the basis for the novel from which the movie was made: It was formed about AD 616 by the union of two smaller kingdoms, Bernicia and Deira, with Edwin, son of the Deirian ruler Aella as its first king. In AD 867, it came under Viking control when conquered by two brothers, Ivar and Halfdan Ragnarrson, and integrated into Danelaw - a Viking kingdom already established in Britain. The now-earldom of Northumbria was later divided between two rising kingdoms, Scotland and England. The English portion becoming known as "Northumberland."
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In an interview given shortly after the release of the film both Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis said that they had been cold during the entire filming. The water in the fjord was just above freezing and the air temperature was only slightly warmer.
5 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The story has it that King Ælla killed the father of Ivar, Halfdan and Ubbe Ragnarsson by throwing him into a snake pit. Halfdan and Udde tried to avenge their father but were beaten by Ælla. In a second attack by the two brothers, some time later, Ælla was captured. It was Ivar who suggested that Ælla be killed by having the bloody eagle carved on his back.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Director Richard Fleischer spent two years researching the Norse civilization in preparation for doing this movie. This included the actual designs for the Viking ships they used and the breed of horse that they rode.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Kirk Douglas was 40 when this movie was filmed, although his character was supposed to be in his twenties.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
In the DVD commentary, director Richard Fleischer said that Ernest Borgnine did a good job of keeping the cast "loose" during the cold conditions during filming.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Some of the names used in the movie, such as Einar and Ivar, have been common names in Norway for hundreds of years, and still are.
3 of 5 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

As Tony Curtis killed Kirk Douglas in this movie, it was agreed that Douglas would kill Curtis in Spartacus (1960).
7 of 8 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
At the final battle, Einar has lost an eye and Eric a hand. In Norse Mythology, it's said that Odin is one-eyed and Týr one-handed, hence Odin is called "One-Eye" and Týr is refereed to as the "one-handed god". Odin and Týr are the gods of war.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page