When the Raven Flies

Hrafn Gunnlaugsson's first Viking film, where he presents a new concept of the Viking era, destroying the stereotype Hollywood image. Set in the middle Ages, the film tells the story of the revenge of Gestur, an Irishman who as a child witnessed the murder of his parents by two Norwegian Vikings, the foster-brothers Thór and Erik, and the taking of his sister as a slave. Gest follows their trail to Iceland and incites their mutual distrust and hatred. His sister stands between two men: the one who once ravished her, the father of her beloved son, and her brother, whom she has also learned to love, and who now wants to rescue her and to avenge their parents' death.

Where to watch

About the film

  • Type
    Feature Film
  • National Premiere Date
    February 4, 1984
  • Genre
    Thriller, Drama
  • Length
    110 min.
  • Original Title
    Hrafninn flýgur
  • International Title
    When the Raven Flies
  • Production Year
  • IMDB
  • Website
  • Icelandic Film Centre Grant
  • Production Format
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Color
  • Sound
    Dolby Stereo
  • Screening format and subtitles
    35mm film English dub „The Revenge of the Barbarian" DCP with; English sub. -

Company Credits


  • 2019
    TIFF - Wayward Heroes: A Survey of Modern Icelandic Cinema
  • 2012
    Images from the Edge: Classic and Contempory Films from Iceland, Lincoln Center, New York
  • 2011
    Filmfest Hamburg, Icelandic retrospective
  • 2010
    Summer Film School
  • 1986
    International Fantasy Film Award - Award: Nominated for Best Film.
  • 1985
    DV Cultural Award
  • 1985
    Berlin International Film Festival
  • 1985
    Tokyo Film Festival - Award: One of the 30 best films.
  • 1985
    Academy Awards
  • 1984
    The Gold Bug "Guldbaggen" - Award: Best director award.

Television distribution

  • Iceland
    RÚV, 1990
  • Iceland
    RÚV, 1995

Cinema distribution

  • Holland
    Cinema de Balie, 2011


  • F.I.L.M., 2005 - DVD
  • Bergvík, 1994 - VHS
  • Bergvík, 1984 - VHS

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