Follow TV Tropes


Film / Pathfinder

Go To

Pathfinder is a 2007 film directed by Marcus Nispel.

Around 1000 AD, a Viking tribe lands in what is not yet called North America, looking to establish a colony and wipe out the local "skraelings". Instead, they are themselves wiped out by a band of native warriors, all except one child, a little boy called "Ghost" by the tribesmen for his paleness.

Cut forward 15 years, and Ghost (Karl Urban) is an outsider in the tribe. A new band of Vikings, led by Gunnar (Clancy Brown) and Ulfar (Ralf Moeller), arrives and wipes out most of Ghost's tribe. Ghost escapes, suffering an arrow wound in the shoulder as he flees. He winds up with the Pathfinder (Russell Means), shaman of a neighboring tribe, and the Pathfinder's beautiful daughter Starfire (Moon Bloodgood). Eventually Ghost leaves to take revenge on the Vikings, Starfire coming with him.


Remake of a 1987 Norwegian film, Pathfinder. Neither film is related to the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, or the series of role-playing game manuals and related fiction.

Tropes employed in...

  • Always Chaotic Evil / Barbarian Tribe: The Vikings.
  • Annoying Arrows: Downplayed as Ghost suffers from being struck with a single arrow, but he still manages to climb out of a canyon and drag himself to a cave where he is discovered by friendly natives.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Quite a few: Starfire, Wulfar, Wind In Tree, Blackwing...
  • Barbarian Hero: Ghost, who is visualized quite similarly to Conan the Barbarians, through leaner. The imagery takes some clear cues from Frank Frazetta, making it no small wonder the Nispel made a straight on Conan the Barbarian film a few years later.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: How the natives are portrayed.
  • Advertisement:
  • Black Speech: The Vikings speak Icelandic, but in a guttural manner and the intonation is all wrong.
  • Brown Face: Averted! The film employed several native American actors such as Russel Means, Nathaniel Arcand and Duane Howard to play the native Americans. Zig-zagged with Moon Bloodgood, who, despite her name and appearance, is not Native American. She is Dutch and Irish on her father's side and Korean on her mother's.
  • The Chief's Daughter: The love interest is the daughter of the current Pathfinder, she is obviously interested in the "exotic" European to the annoyance of rival love-interests.
  • Climbing Climax: The climax involves dangerous cliff scaling. Ghost purposely lead the invading Vikings up a mountain to ensure he had the advantage of the land.
  • Foreshadowing: Common throughout the film. From the ice cracking when Ghost is exploring to the dropped doll that is focused upon when a village escapes.
  • Hair-Trigger Avalanche: Most of the Viking invaders are killed by an Avalanche caused by Ghost shouting he knows where he belongs.
  • Healing Herb: the current pathfinder smokes a herb and blows it into Ghost's face to ensure he sleeps after a painfull removal of an arrow. He also smokes the herb himself to ensure a good night's sleep.
  • Horny Vikings: Frank Frazetta-style vikings, all clad in black and helmets with massive horns.
  • I Have No Son!: Ghost's father disowns and beats a 10 year old Ghost for not cutting down a baby.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Ralf Möller's character attempts to kill the hero and then wants revenge.
  • The Mentor: Pathfinder in the remake.
  • Mighty Whitey: The one to defeat the evil vikings is, Ghost, a Norseman left behind by a previous raiding party.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: Supposedly takes place around the area that will once be New York and there sure are a lot of mountains.
  • Noble Savage: Native American's are the hero's of the story so naturally they are cast in the best light, with some even gaining foresight.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: Is vikings after all. They do this to one village at the start and the film is a delaying tactic to prevent them doing it along the whole coast.
  • Title Drop: The titular Pathfinder is the shaman of the neighbouring village.
  • Translation Convention: Modern English stands in for the language the natives around modern New York would have spoken while modern Icelandic stands in for old Norse.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: