Pathfinder Movie Poster Image




Bloody actioner pits Vikings vs. Native Americans.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Vikings are all-around grisly and evil; most of the Native Americans are stereotypical presented as being nobly in tune with the land. The protagonist is caught between both groups and is vengeful until he's killed all his enemies.


Violence is alternately represented in lyrical and hard-hitting imagery. A child is discovered in a wrecked Viking ship among corpses; battle scenes include spearing, decapitation, arrows, knives, swords, trampling, falling, an arm getting lopped off, throats being cut, a bear attack, impaling, beating, kicking, hanging (bodies displayed after death), drowning, and crushing by an avalanche. Frequent shots of blood spurting. Vikings throw woman against a log as if to rape her, but the hero steps in.


Man and woman lie close to each other, apparently nude (they're trying to keep warm, but they're also the designated romantic couple).


Just a few curse words used by Vikings (in subtitles): "damn" and "bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brief use of medicinal herbs/smoke during a a healing ritual.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this period action film earns its R rating with frequent scenes of hard-hitting, bloody violence. Weapons including swords, rocks, arrows, spears, spiky traps, chains, maces, and axes are used to decapitate, dismember, hang, beat, impale, stab, and crush victims (broken, rotting bodies are shown). Others die via drowning, avalanche, bear attack, falls, and more. Images of the mayhem range from aggressively chaotic to slow-motion poetic, with repeated shots of spurting blood (primarily from chests and necks). Most of the characters are bent on vengeance; the Vikings plan to exterminate the Native Americans (whom they call "savages") and are depicted as tall, dark monsters who tend to roar more than speak. When they do talk, they use a couple of mild swear words (in subtitles), including "bitch" and "damn."

What's the story?

Set around 1000 A.D., PATHFINDER unfurls the legend of Ghost, an orphaned Viking rescued by the Wampanoag chief's wife and destined to save his newfound "family." First identified as an enemy by the native North Americans, he matures into a robust wannabe brave (played by Karl Urban) determined to prove himself. He gets his chance when the Vikings destroy his village and kill his adoptive family. Intent on revenge, ghost turns to another tribe -- led by the venerable Pathfinder (Russell Means) -- for both support and doubt. The old shaman's daughter, Starfire (Moon Bloodgood), has a crush on the white boy and proves to be as capable a fighter as any of her fellow tribesmen. In the bloody battle, Ghost confronts his father's old warmongering partner, Gunnar (Clancy Brown). In the end, a successor for Pathfinder is in place and a white hero anointed.

Is it any good?


Boasting a prettified brutality that rivals that of 300, PATHFINDER also explores a similarly basic theme: manly men pursuing revenge at any cost. Ghost's story includes the usual touchstones for an outsider: he's mistrusted at first, then he transforms into an excellent warrior who is obsessed with proving that he's one of the tribe. The main battle goes on for most of the movie, and after lots of cacophonous violence (blood sprays, eye-pluckings, impalings, and more), the movie ends neatly, with a muted lesson on the costs of vengeance.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role of violence in the movie. Is it appropriate for the story that's being told? Which parts, if any, are gratuitous? How accurate do you think it is? Families can also discuss the enduring mythology of the white hero. How is it significant that Ghost is white instead of Native American? How does he struggle with his double heritage? What does he learn about vengeance?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 12, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:July 31, 2007
Cast:Karl Urban, Moon Bloodgood, Russell Means
Director:Marcus Nispel
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong brutal violence throughout.

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Adult Written byritakaysinger April 9, 2008

New Thoughts on Vikings

Just saw "Pathfinder" with my 14 year old son. We both liked it - being fans of "300" - "Gladiator" and others like films we are used to the violence but there was something special about this film. It gave us both a great appreciation for Native Americans and how they made a stand for years against the "intruders". This movie has a lot of great location views - mountains and deep forests - awesome. Go See It!!!!!
Adult Written byAtrix256 April 9, 2008

A fresh of breath air

So many movies lately seem to be more about marketing than about any real story or movie going experience. There have been a handful of exceptions where you can tell the movie was made to tell a story, instead of just being a cash cow. Pathfinder is one of those exceptions. If you want to go see a movie completely different from the norm, go see this movie, you will not be disapointed, very well done.
Teen, 16 years old Written bymcmoses June 3, 2010
What other families should know
Too much violence