Einar (Kirk Douglas) and Erik (Tony Curtis) are two Viking half-brothers. One is a great warrior, the other an ex-slave who makes a bitter enemy of Einar, but neither knows the identity of the other.
When the throne of Northumbria becomes free, the brothers compete for it.
“Mightiest of Men, Mightiest of Spectacles, Mightiest of Motion Pictures!” boasted the poster for Richard Fleischer’s The Vikings in which Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis’ competitive on-screen chemistry was first enjoyed before being further exploited, two years later, in Spartacus (1960).
Shot on location in Norway, preparations for the film included a year’s pre-production and historical research to lend authenticity to its reconstructed longships and epic, if gory, battle scenes.
Its box-office success paved the way for future Viking epics, including The Long Ships (1963), which was directed by the cinematographer of The Vikings, Jack Cardiff.
The uncredited title narration is from Orson Welles.