Arn: The Knight Templar ~ Non-Spoiler Review

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🇸🇪 Arn: The Knight Templar 🇸🇪

ARN: THE KNIGHT TEMPLAR (2010) is a Swedish miniseries available on Prime U.K., Aus, Netflix in many other countries. 6 x 45 min episodes. Swedish with some English, Arabic, Norwegian, French, Danish, Latin. Subtitles. Cert 16+ U.K


“In the 12th century, the young Arn Magnusson became a skilled warrior. He fell in love with Cecilia Algotsdotter, but their love made them victims in a battle between spiritual and secular power.”


Joakim Nätterqvist as Arn Magnusson
Sofia Helin as Cecilia Algotsdotter
Stellan Skarsgård as Birger Brosa
Morgan Alling as Eskil Magnusson
Gustaf Skarsgård as Knut
Bibi Andersson as Mother Rikissa
Fanny Risberg as Cecilia Blanka
Milind Soman as Saladin
Anders Baasmo Christiansen as Harald Øysteinsson
Michael Nyqvist as Magnus Folkesson
Simon Callow as Father Henry
Vincent Perez as Brother Guilbert
Jakob Cedergren as Ebbe Sunesson
Bill Skarsgård as Erik
Joel Kinnaman as Sverker Karlsson
Valter Skarsgård as Jon


Writers: Hans Gunnarsson
Director: Peter Flinth
Cinematographer: Eric Kress
Music: Tuomas Kantelinen
Costume: Kicki Illander (design), Karin Berglund, Nichola Richard
Stunts: Kimmo Rajala (coordinator), Mohamed Attougui, Hami Belal, Kristoffer Jørgensen, Aimad Mghar, Cedric Proust

Photo of a scene in The Holy Land from Arn: The Knight Templar


This miniseries is actually a compilation of two very successful feature films. The first, Arn: The Knight Templar remains Sweden’s most expensive feature film production to date at €25m.

This is based upon the trilogy of novels by Jan Gillou: The Road to Jerusalem, The Knight Templar and The Kingdom at the End of the Road.

The music for the show was created by the multi-award-winning and nominated Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen.

Before the final, decisive battle scene Arn sees a raven in a tree, this raven is symbolic to show that Odin was with the Swedes that day.

A scene from early on in Arn: The Knight Templar of Arn (left) and Cecilia (right)


I discovered Arn: The Knight Templar on Prime and only a while afterwards realised that is is actually both the movies combined into a 6-part miniseries. A major attraction for me was the very impressive cast list and also that this is a historical drama (my background is originally in History).

Looking at the cast it is no surprise that the acting in this is very impressive throughout. The two leads, Joakim Nätterqvist and Sofia Helin have great on-screen chemistry. The former also impresses with physical presence which develops throughout the story.

Scene from Arn: The Knight Templar with the late Michael Nyqvist right

The rest of the cast does not disappoint, from the never disappointing Stellan Skarsgård to the late, great and much missed Michael Nyqvist. We also see almost all the Skarsgård brothers in this (all except Alexander). Bibi Anderson is very impressive as the thoroughly nasty piece of work that is Mother Rikissa. Milind Soman is excellent as the honourable Saracen leader (and military genius) Saladin.

Photo of Milind Soman as Saladin in Arn: The Knight Templar

I did love the way the story played out over the 6 episodes and that they feel like a cohesive whole. There are a host of themes in this with politics, love, honour, revenge, loyalty and betrayal being the most important. That there was honour and respect between enemies which did not even exist much of the time between supposed allies is very telling.

The story takes us from Sweden to the Holy Land and back again. The switches between the two settings is handled deftly by a distinctly different colour palette used between them. Sweden is colder, bluer, greyer, more muted. The Holy Land is of a hot orange and reddish hue. These differences feel organic as they are driven and set by the natural landscapes. The cinematography is stunning!

The costuming in this series is fantastic and you can see why it won awards. Beautiful fabrics and colours, authentic chain mail… a costuming lover’s delight. This is a historical drama not a documentary so there are errors and discrepancies but these are not of immense importance to the eventual production quality.

Stellan Skarsgård as Birger Brosa in a scene from Arn: The Knight Templar

The only real irritation (and this film is not unique for this, unfortunately) is that the armoured ventails are often not done up. This is the part of the mail coif (headpiece) that actually protects the soldier’s neck! Maybe filmmakers need to be able to identify main players but perhaps get them tied up for the actual fighting…

Talking of the fighting, the battle sequences, the hand-to-hand fights, the horse back charges are all incredible in this. Great editing, amazing choreography! The horses are beautiful and of the right type depending upon area (ignore them “switching” as that is just necessary for animal welfare). Immense horsemanship skills are to be seen in this as well as world-class stunt work. The strategy, arrogance, brilliance and the slaughter are all well conveyed.

In essence Arn: The Knight Templar has a love story at its heart. This is where the story begins and ends and it is an emotional journey.

I can unreservedly recommend this series for anyone who loves historical drama of the grittier and more violent kind (this is definitely not a historical “romance” of the sloppy kind, although love is an important and main theme).

“He sees your sorrow but God has a purpose for all our pain.”

Scene from near the end of Arn: The Knight Templar with Sofia Helin as Cecilia (left) and Joakim Nätterqvist (right)


Awards are more complicated than usual as this is a miniseries created from two feature films. The miniseries itself was a nominated for the Kristallen Award (2010) for Best Television Drama.

Arn: The Knight Templar movie (2007) won 3 awards with another 2 nominations. The wins were:
European Film Awards (2008) Best Costume Design ~ Kicki Illander
Guldbagge Awards (2008) Best Supporting Actress ~ Bibi Anderson; Jury Specialbagge for Stunt Coordination ~ Kimmo Rajala

Arn: The Kingdom at the End of the Road movie (2008) won 1 award and was nominated for 1 other award:
Guldbagge (2009) Audience Award ~ Peter Flinth
World Stunt Awards (2009) Taurus Award nominated Best Action on a Foreign Film ~ Kimmo Rajala


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