Conan the Barbarian


chief warrior: "We've won again! This is good, but what is best in life?"
random warrior: "The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrists, and the wind in your hair."
chief warrior: "Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?"
Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women."



release year: 1982
genre: sci-fi/action
viewing setting: home Bluray 7/24/13 and many other times dating back to the early 1980s

synopsis: After his entire village is slaughtered by forces of the evil Thulsa Doom, a young barbarian kid grows up into a huge warrior who will seek revenge.

impressions: This is a dark and bloody adaption of Robert E. Howard's fantasy tales starring the gigantic barbarian. Despite the numerous liberties taken by the writers, it's still a great movie. Blood, guts, swordplay, orgies, women, magic, opera-style battle music - they're all here. As I've said before, though, the thing about Conan is that he needs to be in a TV series. This would allow all of the classic stories to be told properly, instead of in a roughly two-hour time limit which requires various plot elements to be mashed together to produce something unlike any given story by the author. This movie was great in a lot of ways, but I've come to realize that it's really not completely faithful to the source material (all of which I've read numerous times over the years.)

activation point: 32:00 - this is when events stop being random and you realize that Conan plans to get revenge

body count: 69 humans, 1 giant snake, 1 vulture

things to watch for: temple battle starting at 1:34:00 and final battle starting at 1:47:00

something this movie has that no other movie has: Someone biting a vulture to death as it pecks at his crucified body.

acting: Arnold Schwarzenegger might have been born to play this, his breakthrough role. His speech is heavily-accented, but he didn't get the role for his acting ability, but rather sheer physical presence. James Earl Jones is the ominous snake-loving main bad guy. Sandahl Bergman is Conan's love interest, a fierce warrior in her own right. Gerry Lopez is their fellow thief.

trivia: Rexor (the big second-in-command bad guy) was played by 6'8" ex-NFL player Ben Davidson.

final word: Although not perfect, it's still essential viewing for the serious sword-and-sorcery fan.

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