You’ve Probably Never Heard of… Erik The Viking
If you’re a Tim Robbins fan then you probably know he doesn’t always stick to the serious roles. In fact, over his long career you’d be just as likely to find him in a comedy as you would a drama. But did you know that in 1988 he starred in the Terry Jones film Erik the Viking?
Terry Jones (of Monty Python fame) both wrote and directed the film that was loosely inspired by the children’s book The Saga of Erik the Viking, also written by Jones. The film features another M.P alum John Cleese as Halfdan the Black, and was produced by the Monty Python Production Company ‘Prominent Features’.
The film centers on Erik, the wide eyed, openhearted Viking. Here he is in the opening scene…..
The film begins with Vikings in full swing of a village looting. Erik enters the hut of a village girl. After inadvertently displaying his principles, they begin to have an argument about the morality of being a viking In general. A dark humored scene that could only be written by a member of the Monty Python crew. Soon others enter, and Erik defends the witty village girl from his fellow Vikings, accidentally killing her in the process. Later, Erik is so overwhelmed with guilt that he convinces a group of his Viking buddies to go on a journey with him to Valhalla. Where he intends to find the girl and bring her back from the after life. Erik then leads his band of lovable barbarians into a number of adventures that include Sea Monsters, Floating Cities, Nordic Gods, and the mythical Rainbow Bridge. Most of which, literally cannot be seen by the Christian Missionary, who joined the expedition determined to convert at least one Viking.
Though this movie was filled with the Monty Python humor we’ve all come to love, for some reason it slipped under the radar. Even today it holds a meager 47% on rotten tomatoes. Though it is unclear if that rating is for the theatrical version, or the directors cut, of which there are two. One by Terry in 89, and the other by his son Bill in 2006. Apparently Terry believed that the theatrical version was too slow paced and cut 18 minutes out of the film before its release on VHS. His son took it further, by chopping off another 14 min, and re-ordering the scenes into a tighter pace. He also remixed and re-dubbed the soundtrack.
Though the film may not be widely known, it’s definitely earned it’s place amongst the catalog of classic Monty Python comedies.