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NOVA - The Vikings
NOVA - The Vikings
Actor: Liev Schreiber
Director: Mikael Agaton
Genres: Educational, Documentary
NR     2006     2hr 0min

The Vikings have had a one-sided image for too long. Since their first violent raids in the late 8th century, Norsemen have been considered nothing more than brutal barbarians and marauding savages who thoughtlessly murder...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Liev Schreiber
Director: Mikael Agaton
Creator: Julia Coft
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Educational, History
Studio: WGBH Boston
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/06/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 12
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The tip of the iceberg...whets the appetite for more!
Robert McLoughlin | San Diego, CA | 08/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Right from the beginning I must tell you that I am from Ireland and have studied the history of the Vikings for over 30 years - so naturally I have a slight bias on this subject. This programme is really an overview and introduction of the subject rather than any attempt at intrepreting the influence of the Vikings in the modern world. The evidence stressed is on the material culture and doesn't trace the vestiges of the influence of the Vikings in Europe in any detail - Although Iceland is well represented as being the last home of the Vikings. For instance the latest genetic studies showing present decendants of the Vikings were not even considered - there are such studies. The people of the Orkney and Shetland Islands were notintroduced although they have their own unique Norse language - Norn. The exploration of the Rus is well done and the route of the Vikings to Bagdad was eye-opening. I especially liked the modern attempt to trace the journey by serious historians and archaeologists using boats constructed in the fashion of the age depicted. The Viking influence in France and their transition to Normans is cosidered but again not well developed. From this documentary one would hardly realise that the Vikings had quite an influence on the Mediterranean...Sardinia, Sicily and North Africa are not mentioned. Northwest Scotland was profoundly impacted by the Vikings but again we hear little mention of this...Danelaw in England while mentioned is not accorded its colonial status. One gets the impression that Dublin was the only town in Ireland founded by the Vikings and that aside from the bare mention of discovery of the largest Viking ship found thus far having been built in Ireland of native timber...the largest and possibly the most important Viking settlement in the world - Wood Quay in Dublin is not covered. The documentary does not cover very significant recent finds in Ireland of Woodstown caves and in Cumbria (Northwest England) of possibly Britain's most important Viking burial addition to which another find in the same county close to Cumwhitton village.
History, out of necessity, needs to be interpreted with the most recent evidence available. I understand that a programme like Nova needs quite a lot of editing but seriously...hopefully Nova will revisit the subject of the Vikings again and this time address it from a more regional context. The reenactments are sparce and we see some scenes repeated...This programme could have used more reenactments to bring the subject to life. This show is still worth the money! I thoroughly enjoyed the production!"
Strives to reveal the complete story of who the Vikings were
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 08/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As previously broadcast on public television, The Vikings is an episode of the educational series "NOVA" (offered community and school libraries in a DVD format which also offers access to the "NOVA" website, scene selection and closed captions features), about the historical impact and cultural legacy of the Vikings. Though scorned as marauding northern savages, and well-documented for their ruthless and brutal raids for riches and power, the Vikings were also expert shipbuilders, cunning merchants, skilled artisans, and daring colonizers of distant lands. Tracing clues that Vikings landed in North America 500 years before Columbus, ancient trading expeditions that led Vikings through Russia, and stunning Scandinavian artifacts, The Vikings strives to reveal the complete story of who the Vikings were and how they lived. 120 minutes, color.
Well made documentary. Could have been better, though.
JAG 2.0 | IN United States | 12/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD is a well made production in the tradition of Nova. Generally well done, with a great deal of archeological fact to counter centuries of "bad press" in regards to a brave, industrious and adventurous people.

This documentary covers Viking history, alluding to the population pressures that drove these people to "go a viking". Covers their conquests and exploration to their west as well as their forays to the east into what is now Russia.

This is a very good introduction to the "viking age", but - imho - does not go as far as I would like to show not only what they did but also who they were. Given the length of television documentaries, this is somewhat understandable, but I would have liked to have seen them explore more of Norse culture, their art, manufacturing techniques (ship building was covered well, though), the role of women in society, etc.

This is a very good primer on the influence these people had on the late dark age/early medieval period and I reccomend it to those interested on the subject. I would hope that it would whet appetites for further reading on the subject."
Adults liked, kids think it is too long and slow
G. Gendron | Canada | 05/04/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I loved the NOVA series and enjoyed this show, but too slow for modern kids with low attention spans"