The Northman – Film

About The Northman – Film

The Northman Film

The Northman is a 2022 American epic historical action thriller film directed by Robert Eggers from a screenplay he co-wrote with Sjón. Based on the legend of Amleth, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård (who also produced), Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, with Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Willem Dafoe. It focuses on Amleth, a Viking prince who sets out on a quest to avenge the murder of his father. The film is heavily influenced by Norse mythology.

Skarsgård had wanted to make a Viking film for several years, and Eggers decided to make the film his third project after the pair met to discuss possible collaborations. Much of the cast joined in October 2019, and filming took place in locations throughout Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Iceland from August to December 2020.

The Northman premiered in Stockholm at Rigoletto Cinema on March 28, 2022. It began theatrical release in some countries on April 13, 2022, and was released theatrically in the United States on April 22 to critical acclaim, with praise towards Eggers’ direction, the screenplay, cinematography, visual effects, score and cast performances. While it underperformed at the worldwide box office, the film later found financial success at the VOD and other post-theatrical markets.

the northman

The Northman Film


In AD 895, King Aurvandill returns to the island of Hrafnsey, reuniting with his wife, Queen Gudrún, and his heir, Prince Amleth. To prepare Amleth for his eventual ascension, the father and son participate in a ceremony overseen by Aurvandill’s jester, Heimir. Heimir tells Amleth that his destiny is fixed and cannot be escaped, and Amleth vows to avenge his father if Aurvandill is ever slain, rather than live his life in shame. The next morning, Amleth’s bastard uncle Fjölnir stages a palace coup, personally beheads Aurvandill, sacks the hillfort and carries away Gudrún. Amleth narrowly escapes Fjölnir’s assassins and flees by boat, swearing vengeance.

Several years later, an adult Amleth is a berserker within a band of Vikings. After attacking a village in Garðaríki, he encounters a Seeress in the temple of Svetovit; the Seeress orders Amleth to remember his oath of vengeance and tells him that his fate is intertwined with that of a Maiden-King. Soon after, he learns that “Fjölnir the Brotherless” has lost his throne to Harald of Norway and now lives as a sheep farmer in Iceland. Branding himself as a slave, Amleth sneaks aboard a ship taking slaves to Iceland. He encounters an enslaved Slavic woman named Olga, who claims to be a sorceress. They are taken to Fjölnir’s farm, where Amleth learns his mother married Fjölnir and bore him a son named Gunnar.

One night, Amleth follows a vixen and encounters a he-witch, who facilitates a seance between Amleth and the skull of Heimir, whom Fjölnir has also murdered. Heimir tells Amleth about Draugr, a magical sword that can only be drawn at night or at the Gates of Hel. Amleth enters a barrow and obtains the blade from its owner, the undead Mound Dweller. He hides the sword upon his return to the farm. The next day, Amleth is selected to compete in a game of knattleikr against another farm. The game turns violent when the leader of the opposing team brutalizes the competition until only he and Amleth are left. Gunnar (looking up to Amleth, not knowing he is his half-brother), is almost killed in trying to draw away the opposing player; but Amleth saves him, furiously beating his opponent to death. As a reward, Fjölnir’s adult son, the sadist[disambiguation needed] Thorir, grants him overseer duties and allows him to choose a woman.

During the evening celebrations, Amleth and Olga make love; they promise to overcome Fjölnir together. Over several nights Amleth kills prominent members of Fjölnir’s estate, and Olga mixes the food supply with fly agaric, a potent hallucinogen. Christian slaves are believed by Thorir to be responsible. This allows Amleth to enter Fjölnir’s house. Amleth reveals his identity to Gudrún, who replies that she was Aurvandill’s slave and that Amleth was conceived by rape. Gudrún also reveals that she masterminded Fjölnir’s coup because she wanted both Aurvandill and Amleth dead; she then tries to seduce Amleth, who, after a moment, rejects her. Enraged, Amleth kills Thorir, and cuts out his heart.

Gudrún reveals Amleth’s true identity to Fjölnir and calls for Amleth’s death. Fjölnir decides to kill Olga, but Amleth offers to trade Olga’s life for Thorir’s heart. Amleth allows himself to be captured, and is tortured for the location of Thorir’s heart. Amleth is released from his restraints by a flock of ravens sent by Odin and Olga rescues him. Amleth decides to abandon his quest for revenge, and the two decide to escape by boat to his kinsmen in the Orkney Islands. But aboard the vessel Amleth has a vision, and realizes that Olga is pregnant with twins, one of whom will be the Maiden-King prophesied by the Seeress. Realizing that Olga and their children will never be safe while Fjölnir lives, Amleth, despite Olga’s pleas, jumps overboard and swims ashore reasoning that he cannot escape his fate.

Back at the farm, Amleth kills Fjölnir’s remaining men and frees the slaves. While searching for Fjölnir, Amleth is attacked by Gudrún and Gunnar and kills them in self-defense after being wounded. Fjölnir, discovering his wife and son dead, coldly tells Amleth to meet him at the Gates of Hel: the crater of the volcano Hekla. Amleth and Fjölnir engage naked in a fierce Holmgang until Fjölnir is beheaded and Amleth is simultaneously stabbed. As he dies, Amleth has a vision of Olga embracing their two children, whom she tells him are safe, before urging him to let go. A valkyrie carries Amleth through the gates of Valhöll.


  • Alexander Skarsgård as Amleth, a Viking warrior prince
    • Oscar Novak as young Amleth[9]
  • Nicole Kidman as Queen Gudrún, Amleth’s mother
  • Claes Bang as Fjölnir the Brotherless, Amleth’s uncle and Aurvandill’s brother
  • Anya Taylor-Joy as Olga of the Birch Forest, a Slavic sorceress
  • Ethan Hawke as King Aurvandill War-Raven, Amleth’s father and Fjölnir’s brother
  • Gustav Lindh as Thorir the Proud, Fjölnir’s elder son and Amleth’s cousin
  • Elliott Rose as Gunnar, Fjölnir’s younger son and Amleth’s half-brother
  • Willem Dafoe as Heimir the Fool
  • Björk as the Seeress
  • Eldar Skar as Finnr the Nose-Stub, Fjölnir’s foreman
  • Olwen Fouéré as Ashildur Hofgythja, the priestess of Fjölnir’s estate
  • Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson as the He-witch
  • Ian Whyte as the Mound Dweller
  • Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Thorfinnr Tooth-Gnasher, Hákon’s champion
  • Kate Dickie as Halldóra the Pict, a slave on Fjölnir’s farm
  • Tadhg Murphy as Eirikr Blaze-Eye, Amleth’s fellow berserker
  • Ralph Ineson as Captain Volodymyr, a Rus sea captain
  • Murray McArthur as Hákon Ironbeard, chieftain of the neighboring farm
  • Ineta Šliužaitė as the Valkyrja

The Northman



Born to a Swedish family, Alexander Skarsgård had been fascinated with Viking history and mythology since childhood, and had long sought a Viking-themed project with the help of producer Lars Knudsen. In 2011, Skarsgård was attached to a Warner Bros. epic with the working title The Vanguard, which ultimately did not materialize. Robert Eggers became interested in making a Viking film following a 2016 trip to Iceland with his wife Alexandra Shaker, who is a fan of Old Norse sagas. During the trip, Eggers met Björk, who in turn introduced him to Sjón. In 2017, Skarsgård met Eggers to discuss future projects, but the discussion quickly turned to a Viking Age–themed film. Eggers subsequently reached out to Sjón, and the two began researching and writing the screenplay.

The story of The Northman was based primarily on the legend of Amleth as written by Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, known as the direct inspiration for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Eggers cited the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, Egil’s Saga, Grettir’s Saga, the Eyrbyggja saga and the Saga of Hrolfr Kraki as additional influences. Archaeologist Neil Price at Uppsala University, folklorist Terry Gunnell at the University of Iceland and Viking historian Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir served as historical consultants on the film. Eggers also acknowledged 1982’s Conan the Barbarian as a source of inspiration.

In October 2019, it was announced that Eggers would direct an epic Viking revenge saga, which he would also co-write with Sjón. Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Skarsgård (Alexander’s brother) and Willem Dafoe were in talks to join the film. They would all be confirmed in December, along with the addition of Claes Bang to the cast. The film was officially in preparation in December 2019, and would begin filming in Belfast in 2020. In August 2020, Björk, along with her daughter Ísadóra “Doa” Barney, Kate Dickie and Ethan Hawke joined the cast of the film. In September 2020, Bill Skarsgård announced he had dropped out of the film due to scheduling conflicts and was replaced with Gustav Lindh.


April 22, 2022


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