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Conan the Barbarian

The 1982 John Milius-directed film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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My favorite Cimmerian

  • May 1, 2006
Altho it's been over twenty years since I have first laid my five year old eyes on Conan, this movie is still a very large part of my life, my movie choices and who I am in general. Like so many people who have reviewed it here, seeing this at a young age really sticks to a young brain as it's still my favorite movie of all time.

What is magnificent about Conan the Barbarian? The basic story is of a child who's whole village has perished under a powerful sorcerer's genocide of Conan's people. As he is taken into slavery with the other kids, he grows up pushing what is called a Wheel of Pain; he works as a farming horse walking in an endless circle pushing a mechanical wheel. As he grows older, stronger and more trained in the art of war, he is set loose by hid drunk master and he goes seeking the sorcerer, Thulsa Doom the reclaimed snake wielding master responsible for the cruel life he endured.

I cannot say how important and realistic the soundtrack composed by Basil Poledouris is to the movie. I love absolutely every track and the movie starts playing in my head as the music starts. You literally hear horses galloping slowly in the hot red sand, carrying horned warriors to far away battle. The music is so ancient, royal, majestic and fierce that you hear the intense battles, the cerulean wind sweeping golden wheat fields as Conan and Subotai run in their search and the cobalt waters of Cimmeria.

Prior to being in Conan, Arnold branched out with his acting skills in Hercules in New York, Stay Hungry, Pumping Iron, The Villain and few other random projects, but I must say that he truly shines in the Bran and Iron Wielding roles. What I like about his role is that he told the story of Conan as a man of honor and discipline. His whole existence was about strength, body and mind as he looked innocent and lovable and an invincible killing machine that no one could beat. He was a superhero in the age of darkness and he looked magnificent with Crom's Atlantean steel sword in his hand.

In my mind Arnold is Conan, and no matter how many other movies are going to be made no one will ever succeed him in my mind. This movie has it all, wonderful scenery, falling snow and hot sun, giant snakes, wizards, witches, enchanted princesses, jewels, assassins and a snake cult, all being cut in half by Conan's sword as he plows through them to met his quest. Milus the director wanted to create a modern legend like Beowulf or Hercules by showing us his painful passage form slavery to being a king and all by his own hand. He had a very clear vision of what he wanted to attain, it was his reality and his enlightened path, and we got to sit back and enjoy the ride as he took us with him on this magical quest.

Fantastic movie, I can't say enough about it. Enjoy!

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Kasia S. ()
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About this movie


Conan the Barbarian, the movie that turned Arnold Schwarzenegger into a global superstar, is a prime example of a match made in heaven. It's the movie that macho maverick writer-director John Milius was born to make, and Arnold was genetically engineered for his role as the muscle-bound, angst-ridden hero created in Robert E. Howard's pulp novels. Oliver Stone contributed to Milius's screenplay, and the production design by comic artist Ron Cobb represents a perfect cinematic realization of Howard's fantasy world. To avenge the murder of his parents, Conan tracks down the evil Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) with the help of Queen Valeria (played by buff B-movie vixen Sandahl Bergman) and Subotai the Mongol (Gerry Lopez). Aptly described by critic Roger Ebert as "the perfect fantasy for the alienated pre-adolescent," this blockbuster is just as enjoyable for adults who haven't lost their youthful imagination.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: John Milius
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 14, 1982
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Oliver Stone, John Milius
DVD Release Date: February 24, 1998
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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The Best Fantasy Films, Part I


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