(1982)

Thief. Warrior. Gladiator. King.

A film adaptation of the classic sword and sorcery hero, Conan the Barbarian. A horde of rampaging warriors massacre the parents of young Conan and enslave the young child for years on The Wheel of Pain. As the sole survivor of the childhood massacre, Conan is released from slavery and taught the ancient arts of fighting. Transforming himself into a killing machine, Conan travels into the wilderness to seek vengeance on Thulsa Doom, the man responsible for killing his family. In the wilderness, Conan takes up with the thieves Valeria and Subotai. The group comes upon King Osric, who wants the trio of warriors to help rescue his daughter who has joined Doom in the hills.

Though definitely a guilty pleasure from the cheesy 80's of which I grew up, this is such outstandingly fun. It's so unique a cinematic experience, knowing what we know of Schwarzenegger's life and career the 34 years since, seeing him at this juncture, as he's just starting out. (No, I haven't seen 'Stay Hungry' yet.)
Part of me always wishes he had simply stuck to these films (as well as the 'Terminator' series), and was still making them. In his prime, I dare you to find anyone better at this kind of material. Director Milius has a fine feel for the swords-and-sandals/fantasy worldscape this material requires. An excellent and underrated supporting cast is here at well to help Arnie out, too.

Universal Pictures, Dino De Laurentiis Company, Edward R. Pressman Film, Estudios Churubusco Azteca S.A. by John Milius, Robert E. Howard, Oliver Stone.
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Keywords: gladiator repayment fight mythology magic black magic warlord stone age despot epic thief barbarian wizard warrior serpent action hero sword and sorcery mysticism good versus evil

05/14/1982

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