The film is based on Jones' own children's stories, about vikings living in the dark, war-torn age of Ragnarok. Fed up with all the killing and looting, Erik (a not-so-famous Tim Robbins) leads his villagemates on a quest across the sea to find Valhalla, which involves a magical horn, the edge of the world, an island with no violence (which is a problem for vikings), and of course the usual pillager vandal types on their tale.
In its day, Erik the Viking wasn't much of a hit. The source material doesn't fit together all that well, resulting in a haphazard, rambling, and messy plot. For this DVD--the "director's son's cut" (which is true; Jones's son re-edited the film)--the original 100-minute version has been chopped down to 77. It doesn't make any more sense than before, but it does at least zip by at a breakneck pace, making the film more fun than ever.
While not a mainstream success, the movie was and remains a bit of a cult classic thanks to its Pythonish heritage. It isn't a classic by any means, but a collectiton of great one-liners ("Scary, scary, don't we look mean!") have really endured. I'd long forgotten that a number of lines I frequently quote to this day had actually originated in this film, nearly 20 years ago. Now that's staying power.
The new DVD includes a commentary track, a making-of featurette from '89, and a new featurette about the heavy re-editing the movie underwent for the 2008 release.
Run time: 107 mins
In Theaters: Friday 22nd September 1989
Distributed by: MGM
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 9
IMDB: 6.2 / 10
Director: Terry Jones
Producer: John Goldstone
Screenwriter: Terry Jones
Starring: Tim Robbins as Erik, Mickey Rooney as Erik's Grandfather, Eartha Kitt as Freya, Terry Jones as King Arnulf, Imogen Stubbs as Princess Aud, John Cleese as Halfdan the Black, Tsutomu Sekine as Slavemaster, Antony Sher as Loki, Gary Cady as Keitel Blacksmith, Charles McKeown as Sven's Dad, Tim McInnerny as Sven the Berserk, John Gordon Sinclair as Ivar the Boneless, Richard Ridings as Thorfinn Skullsplitter, Freddie Jones as Harald the Missionary, Samantha Bond as Helga, Danny Schiller as Snorri the Miserable, Jim Broadbent as Ernest the Viking (a Rapist), Jim Carter as Jennifer the Viking (Another Rapist), Matyelok Gibbs as Erik's Mum, Tilly Vosburgh as Unn-the-Thrown-At, Jay Simpson as Leif the Lucky, Jay Simpson as Ingemund the Old, Sian Thomas as Thorhild the Sarcastic, Sarah Crowden as Grimhild Housewife, Bernard Padden as Mordfiddle the Cook
Also starring: John Goldstone