Why did the most read work in English literature go without cinematic adaptation for so long? And why did five major film treatments appear between 1999 and 2008? This book explores the growing number of films based on the Old English epic poem Beowulf, and furthers the ongoing consideration of filmic medievalism. Will the powerful influence of cinema affect the future reception of this great cultural, linguistic and inherently visual work? The films inevitably sway away from not only the story but also from the themes and concerns of the original to those more interesting to the filmmakers--or responsive to the zeitgeist. They measure the pulse of our inherited notions of heroism and teach us more about our own times than about the epic from which they derive.