- Adaptation Displacement: Averted. The studio heavily promoted the involvement of "Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park" in this film. If Crichton was involved, there had to be a book... and the book had to be better. So most people who enjoyed the film likely read the book right after.
- Awesome Music: Even if you didn't care for the movie, you have to admit that Jerry Goldsmith's score is pretty awesome. So much so that Ridley Scott used the cue "Valhalla/Viking Victory" for his film Kingdom of Heaven. Slightly controversial, given the director and the composer's turbulent relationship when they worked together on Alien & Legend (1985) that saw Scott cutting off a large part of Goldsmith's music on the former and re-using parts of Goldsmith's earlier score from Freud; while simultaneously throwing out Goldsmith's entire score in favor of Tangerine Dream's music for the latter. Bitter and upset by the rejection, Goldsmith never spoke to Scott again as a a result even unto his passing.
- Cool vs. Awesome: Well, not quite "versus" (although the Troubled Production might hint at that...), but Michael Crichton (i.e. Jurassic Park) and John McTiernan (of Die Hard fame) working together on a project has to qualify.
- Given they spent three years on constant fights over the production of the movie and Crichton eventually enforced a massive recut of the third act, it's very much "versus".
- Critical Dissonance: On Rotten Tomatoes the film only holds a 33% "fresh" rating with critics. But with audiences it holds a respectable 66% fresh rating.
- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: A couple of exchanges.
- This one:
Herger the Joyous: We shall pray for your safe return!
Ahmad Ibn Fahdlan: Pray to whom?
Herger the Joyous: In your land one God may be enough, but here we have need of many. I will pray to all of them for you. Do not be offended!
Ahmad Ibn Fahdlan: I'll be in your debt!
Herger the Joyous: Goodbye, Arab!
Ahmad Ibn Fahdlan: Goodbye, Northman.
- And this one while Bulliwf lies dying after the climactic battle:
Bulliwyf: I have only these hands I will die a pauper.
King Hrothgar: [after a heavy pause] You will be buried as a king.
- This one:
- Cult Classic: Although the film was panned by critics and was one of the biggest box office flops of all time, it does have a fair amount of fans who consider it to be a very good action/adventure film. Numerous critics also re-evaluated the movie years later, pointing out that while it suffers from choppy editing caused by panic after trial screening (leading to flat characters and numerous plot holes), it's still one of the last big budget movies made solely with practical effects, giving it an unique feel of authenticity and without any of the effects visibly aging.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This film is very popular in Russia, especially among historical reenactors and supporters of right-wing views, because the "northerners" in the film can be interpreted as Varangians and the film's events as if taking place in the territory of the future Kievan Rus. Moreover, the real Ahmad ibn Fadlan, on which the Banderas' character is based, is also known as one of the first authors to describe the life of the early Slavs, which makes the attitude to the film even more positive.
- Ensemble Darkhorse:
- Among fans of the film, Herger the Joyful is undoubtably the most popular character.
- Buliwyf as well, the role that launched Vladimir Kulich into great acclaim and recognition.
- Memetic Mutation: The dying vise as Signature Scene. She is even included as an intro in the songs of several Pagan-metal bands.
- Misaimed Fandom: The fact that the film is very famous for its respectful attitude to Arab culture and has an Arab as a protagonist does not prevent it from being very popular among people who are negative about Islam and multiculturalism.
- He Also Did: This is the second film John McTiernan's made based on Beowulf. His earlier movie Predator was also influenced by the Norse epic.
- Special Effects Failure: The sea storm scenes have aged badly since 1999.
- He Really Can Act: The Hispanic Antonio Banderas, who is known for his roles hot Mexican guys, plays an intelligent medieval Arab? Well, he is so awesome in this role that almost no one doubted his "Arab" background.
- Periphery Demographic: Aside the status as a cult classic, the movie is also highly popular among Tabletop RPG players due to combination of all the story and setting elements. It's often advised to novice Game Masters as a way of explaining how to handle mid-power campaign and weird quirks of the Player Characters.
- Shrug of God: Michael Crichton annotated the original book with scholarly references (as he did with many of his books), but not all of them were real. He also admitted that he didn't remember which ones were real or not and sometimes spent hours chasing down information that he actually made up.
- Values Dissonance: Old Norse culture sees the number 13 as a good thing.