The Island on Top of the World

Released: 1974
Grade: D+

The Island at the Top of the World (1974) on IMDb


An anthropologist, a wealthy Englishman, and a French inventor travel to the North Pole in search of the Englishman’s missing son. They discover an island populated by descendants of the Vikings and have a few adventures among them.


I remember this was my favorite movie as a young child. Of course, Star Wars came out only three years later and I quickly forgot about the Island on Top of the World. I watched it again recently, hoping to remember what I liked about this movie, but just came away with the idea that this is just a good show for kids. There’s not much to interest the adults in this film, except for Swedish beauty, Agneta Eckemyr.

The storyline is a bit slow, but it’s not too terrible. There are several scenes that last a few seconds too long (or longer), but it’s not so bad to bore the kids. The adventure itself seems to end as suddenly as it began, and the entire film reminded me of the 1935 version of She.

The acting is actually pretty bad, but there really aren’t any “name” actors in the movie. David Hartman, who would later go on to host Good Morning America on ABC, doesn’t have much to do in this film except speak Old Norse and act as a guide for the viewer and the other characters.

It doesn’t seem to be too realistic that Professor Ivarsson would be able to speak Old Norse after having only studied it in books. Even less realistic is the idea that after a thousand years, the Vikings still spoke the same language as their ancient Old Norse ancestors without any alteration. After all, the English we speak in the United States is pretty different now than it was in the 1700s. But then again, this is a kids’ show.

Of Note

Most of the Vikings in this movie are portrayed by actual Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish actors. That, along with the realistic sets makes the movie at least partially credible.