A man, having fallen in love with the wrong woman, is sent by the sultan himself on a diplomatic mission to a distant land as an ambassador. Stopping at a Viking village port to restock on supplies, he finds himself unwittingly embroiled on a quest to banish a mysterious threat in a distant Viking land.


, (uncredited)


(novel), (screenplay) (as William Wisher) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Queen Weilew
Herger - Joyous (as Dennis Storhoi)
Anders T. Andersen ...
Wigliff - King's Son
Skeld - Superstitious
Weath - Musician
Mischa Hausserman ...
Rethel - Archer
Neil Maffin ...
Roneth - Rider
Asbjørn 'Bear' Riis ...
Halga - Wise (as Asbjorn Riis)
Helfdane - Fat
Daniel Southern ...
Edgtho - Silent
Oliver Sveinall ...
Haltaf - Boy
Sven Wollter ...


Sheikh ahmed ibn fadlan leads a group of savants from Baghdad according to the caliph's request to meet the demand of the Bulgarian's king, Almash Yaltwar, who asked to learn about the Islamic religion to find explanation for the most important question: how can this religion, which comes from the heart of the desert, create the biggest empire in the world?

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

arab | viking | warrior | combat | battle | See All (165) »


An Ordinary Man...An Extraordinary Journey! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for bloody battles and carnage | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | | |

Release Date:

27 August 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Eaters of the Dead  »

Box Office


$160,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,267,756 (USA) (27 August 1999)


$32,694,788 (USA) (26 November 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In John McTiernan's original cut there was no final duel between Bulywyf and the leader of the Wendol. See more »


When Buliwyf, in the scene where the 13 are selected says: "I will be the first man", he is speaking in a strange Scandinavian dialect, saying: "Jeg er være første mand" (written in Danish), meaning: "I am will be the first man". See more »


[introducing Buliwyf]
Herald: My lord, this is Buliwyf, son to Hygelak, come from across the sea...
King Hrothgar: I *know* the man! *I* sent for him! Knew him as a boy and I know him now. Grown to a man. Grown to a fine, strong man.
See more »


Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: Antonio Banderas Movies (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Scandinavian myths and mysteries, brought in a very decent way.
6 April 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

I guess every region has its own legends and saga's, but I've always found the Scandinavian legends about trolls, monsters and ghosts even more intriguing and interesting as ours. It's no wonder that these people have created these legends once. If you've been there and if you've seen the impressive nature with its immense forests and lakes, the fact that the sun never rises in winter and stays 24 hours a day in summer... makes it easy to understand why this is the land of such creatures.

The movie tells the story of an Arab courtier / diplomat who was sent to the barbaric North as a punishment for falling in love with the wrong woman. In AD 922, this could be seen as an execution, because there was no way he would return (it's the same reason why the Catholic Church sent people who had committed awful sins, as pilgrims from our region to Santiago De Compostella in Spain). When they are about to get robbed and killed somewhere in the fields, they manage to escape and accidentally stumble upon a group of Vikings, which saves their lives, because the Barbarians are terrified of these vicious warriors from the North. They soon get befriended and are able to stay with the Vikings, when a young boy, a messenger from the North, comes to the Vikings to ask for help. In their home country many people die because of "an evil whose name should not be pronounced". They consult an oracle who tells them that they should send 13 warriors, but that one of them shouldn't be a Viking. The Arab, however not believing that these mythical creatures from the forests really exist, joins them in their battle against the Wendol...

Normally I'm not too much of a fan of Antonio Banderas' work, but this time I really liked him as the Arab with the impressive name of Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan Ibn Al Abbas Ibn Rashid Ibn Hamad (I guess you better don't try to say that 10 times in a row). The other actors all did a very good job as well, even though I have to admit that I've never heard of most of them before.

The story is nice and well written, the way it was all shot is done properly and overall I must say that I really enjoyed watching this movie. I'm sure that many will not agree, but personally I liked it more than the "The Lord of the Rings" movies. I like legends and mystery in movies and this movie gave me both. I give it a 7.5/10.

77 of 93 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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