January 22nd, 2011: Conan the Barbarian (1981)

Cast and Crew:  Oliver Stone (Screenplay); Max Von Sydow, William Smith,

What It’s About: When Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a boy, warriors led by the sorcerer Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) destroy his village and massacre his people.  Conan is sold into slavery, then into pit-fighting, and, after great success in the pits, is given advanced training.  When he is freed, he begins wandering and thieving, accompanied by Subotai (Gerry Lopez) and Valeria (Sandahl Bergman)-but when he sees Doom’s twin headed snake symbol, he desires only vengeance.  Can even the mighty Conan prevail over Doom and his cult of snake worshipers?

Why Watch it Today?: The creator of Conan, Robert E. Howard, was born today in 1906.  While the film strays from Howard’s original character, Conan is easily the best of the early 1980s fantasy films and of the films of its director, John Milius.  Milius gives us a rugged “time of high adventure”, aided by Mako’s narration, a booming score by Basil Poledouris, and visuals that recall John Ford and Akira Kurosawa.  Conan the Barbarian made Schwarzenegger a box office god and created a sub-genre of “barbarian” films through a flood of knock-offs, but none of the film’s sequels or imitators succeeded in recreating the epic feel of Milius’s masterpiece, even if they were able to recreate Conan‘s R-Rated blood and T+A.

Where to Get It:  iTunes, Netflix (Rental only), or Amazon


2 comments on “January 22nd, 2011: Conan the Barbarian (1981)

  1. eddoctorwho says:

    Mortis, what is best in reviewing?

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