I made the mistake of watching the newest Beowulf movie (the CGI one) before reading the epic poem that is Beowulf. First, Beolwulf was originally written in Old English, which reads much different from Modern English.
Therefore, one has to read between the lines to fully comprehend the action and adventure of this story. And it does not follow the movie exactly.
There will be spoilers, so stop reading here if you wish.
One: Beowulf comes across the sea to defeat Grendal.
Two: He defeats Grendal, the kingdom celebrates, stories are told, and gifts are lavished upon Beowulf.
Three: Grendal’s Mother wreaks havoc because her offspring is murdered.
Four: Beowulf again becomes the hero, but loses the sword Hrunting in the cave.
Five: Again there is much rejoicing, storytelling and gifting.
Six: Beowulf returns home, and eventually becomes the heir to his home kingdom.
Seven: A random peasant robs a dragon of a gold cup, dragon wreaks havoc on Beowulf’s kingdom.
Eight: Beowulf dies slaying the dragon and leaves Wilfgar in charge.
Nine: Beowfulf is burned on a funeral pyre and is praised and celebrated.
Much different from the movie, basically an ode to great Beowulf, not really a story, but still good if you like that kind of thing. Definitely a classic old tale.