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The Vikings (1958)

Not Rated | | Action, Adventure | 28 June 1958 (USA)
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A slave and a Viking prince fight for the love of a captive princess.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Calder Willingham (screenplay), Dale Wasserman (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kirk Douglas ... Einar
Tony Curtis ... Eric
Ernest Borgnine ... Ragnar
Janet Leigh ... Morgana
James Donald ... Egbert
Alexander Knox ... Father Godwin
Maxine Audley ... Enid
Frank Thring ... Aella
Eileen Way Eileen Way ... Kitala
Edric Connor Edric Connor ... Sandpiper
Dandy Nichols ... Bridget
Per Buckhøj Per Buckhøj ... Bjorn
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Storyline

Einar and Eric are two Viking half-brothers. The former is a great warrior whilst the other is an ex-slave, but neither knows the true identity of the other. When the throne of Northumbria in Britain becomes free for the taking, the two brothers compete against one another for the prize, but they have very different motives - both involving the princess Morgana, however. Written by Graeme Roy <gsr@cbmamiga.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Terrible Northmen...Sailing on Dragon Ships Like Serpents on the Sea! Shouting a Battle-Cry to Their Awesome God of War, Odin! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 June 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

:The Vikings: See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$7,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 1000 years. See more »

Goofs

The Northumbrian flag, a complex banner flying from the tops of Aella's castle towers, would not have existed in this period. The Viking age preceded formalized heraldry by centuries. Northumbria did have a flag, as many pre-heraldic kingdoms did, it was a counterchanging banner of 8 vertical stripes, red (or purple) and gold. It is also unlikely that Aella's soldiers would've had shields bearing heraldic devices. If the shields (a red 'X" on a white background) were meant to signify St. George's Cross (which today stands for England in the UK's Union Jack), that is also anachronistic. The symbol was not used until centuries later and it was a cross (vertical & horizontal members) instead of a saltire (diagonal members). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: The Vikings, in Europe of the 8th and 9th century, were dedicated to a pagan god of war, Odin. Trapped by the confines of their barren ice-bound northlands, they exploited their skill as shipbuilders to spread a reign of terror, then unequaled in violence and brutality in all the records of history.
See more »

Crazy Credits

One of the rare 1950s films to present all the credits at the end. See more »

Alternate Versions

In many TV broadcasts, two bits seem to be missing from the final battle scene. One of these is a close-up of an arrow hitting a man in the neck and the other is of Eric (Tony Curtis) running through a passage and stabbing an enemy. See more »

Connections

Edited into Totem (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful piece of Hollywood history
19 September 2001 | by vaughan.birbeckSee all my reviews

Believe it or not the plot of this film has a basis in fact. There was a Viking leader called Ragnar Lothbrok (Leather-breeches) who was put to death in a snake -not wolf- pit by Aelle, king of Northumbria, at York in the year 865. His son 'Ivar the Boneless' raised a Viking army, invaded Northumbria and killed Aelle.

The film builds on this to include an illegitimate half-brother and rivalry over a beautiful Welsh princess to create a story of rousing, full-blooded action.

The film has a great atmosphere which is hard to put into words. You can almost sense the harshness of the climate in a way that makes you feel you are there. The climatic fight scene between Douglas and Curtis is a good example of this. Brilliantly staged on the roof of a castle overlooking the sea, you hear the whistling of the wind and crashing of waves against the shore below. The photography emphasises this sense of height and space to create one of the best film fights I have ever seen.

There are glaring errors, of course. The Anglo-Saxons never had castles like the one here, or ships of the type used by Princess Morgana: these both date from 500 years later.

I learned all this when (inspired by the film) I studied the Viking era at University. Between you and me, the film was a great deal more fun!


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