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The 13th Warrior (1999)

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 in a quest to banish a mysterious threat in a distant Viking land.

Directors:

John McTiernan, Michael Crichton (uncredited)

Writers:

Michael Crichton (novel), William Wisher (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,900 ( 427)

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ON DISC
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Antonio Banderas ... Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan
Diane Venora ... Queen Weilew
Dennis Storhøi ... Herger - Joyous (as Dennis Storhoi)
Vladimir Kulich ... Buliwyf - Leader
Omar Sharif ... Melchisidek
Anders T. Andersen Anders T. Andersen ... Wigliff - King's Son
Richard Bremmer ... Skeld - Superstitious
Tony Curran ... Weath - Musician
Mischa Hausserman Mischa Hausserman ... Rethel - Archer
Neil Maffin ... Roneth - Rider
Asbjørn 'Bear' Riis Asbjørn 'Bear' Riis ... Halga - Wise (as Asbjorn Riis)
Clive Russell ... Helfdane - Fat
Daniel Southern Daniel Southern ... Edgtho - Silent
Oliver Sveinall Oliver Sveinall ... Haltaf - Boy
Sven Wollter ... King Hrothgar
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Storyline

A cultured diplomat joins a band of savage warriors in time to meet an even more fearsome enemy in this historical adventure. In 922 A.D., Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is a Muslim emissary from Baghdad en route to meet with the King of Saqaliba when he is captured by a gang of Vikings. While Ibn and his people are intelligent and well-mannered, the Vikings are a rowdy and sometimes unpleasant lot, with an unquenchable appetite for food, alcohol, and women. However, in time he develops an understanding and respect for the Viking warriors and is welcomed into their society by their leader, Buliwyf. However, Ibn must now join them as they return to their homeland once they receive word of an invasion by a huge pack of bloodthirsty invaders who will destroy and eat anything in their path -- including the flesh of the men they have killed.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

arab | viking | warrior | combat | battle | See All (168) »

Taglines:

Prey for the living. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin | Swedish | Norse, Old | Danish

Release Date:

27 August 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Eaters of the Dead See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$160,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,267,756, 29 August 1999, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$32,698,899

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Touchstone Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Was filmed two years before its eventual release date, which had been pushed back several times. See more »

Goofs

One warrior is missing. Two die in the first fight. Four die in the first battle. There are seven left. This can be seen when they are riding for the cave. However only six enter the cave. One was lost. See more »

Quotes

Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: [looking at piles and piles of skulls in the Wendol's cave] I was wrong. These are not men.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version, known as Eaters of the Dead and Directed by John McTiernan was originally 127 minutes and slated to be released in May of 1998. But when the film failed test screenings Michael Crichton took over the project and reshot and added new material to the film. He was also involved with the reediting of the film as well and rejected composer Graeme Revell's hour long score. This version of the film has not been seen publicly. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Viking (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Based loosely upon historical fact
4 May 2003 | by chris-rangeSee all my reviews

The 13th Warrior may not match contemporary action film expectations and neither is it strictly a Beowulf allegory. While the film gives a nod to classic Epic literature, the real magic is grown of roots in history. In "Eaters of the Dead" the novel which inspired the film, writer Michael Crichton drew inspiration from the true story of Ibn Fadlan.

Ahmed Ibn Fadlan was a poet and diplomat who lived in the caliphate of Bagdhad in the 10th century. He received a deputation in the year 921 A.D. to journey to the King of the Bulghars of the Volga as an emissary of the Caliph al-Muqtadir. Fadlan outlined the details of this journey in his 'risala' or 'kitlab' (diary/history). Somewhere along the way Fadlan found himself in the extensive company of an Eastern Scandinavian tribe called the Rusiyyah. The Rus were being raided by the Varangians, a more barbarous tribe with customs rooted in pre-history. In his story, Crichton calls the Varangians by the name of another barbaric European tribe, the Wendols. From their name we get the English words vandal and vandalize - so one can imagine in what sorts of business they engaged.

So this is the background for the film. Is the movie history? No, but if one puts aside obvious errors such as Bulwyf's German plate armour (500 years ahead of its time) or another warrior's Roman helmet (500 years after its time) - the movie is enjoyable. The Rus were not Vikings with a capital V. They were Slavs who went a' viking, meaning raiding. Ibn Fadlan spent years among the Bulgars, Khazars and other Slavic tribes of the North. In all his travels, he gave no more detail than what he wrote of his time with the Rus and of their battles. What Crichton has given us is not history, but it is an entertaining point of departure from which to consider history. Next time you watch this movie, imagine you are Ibn Fadlan, come from a life of civilized luxury and suddenly thrown into this strange world. Try listening to the language, understanding his fear. Imagine that you must face cultures and battles entirely alien to your experience. That is what the 13th Warrior is all about. It is the tale of the journey, of the stranger in the strange land. It is a great adventure film, one I've enjoyed dozens of times.


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