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Red Sonja (1985)



Average Rating: 3.1/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 18

Dull, poorly directed, and badly miscast, Red Sonja is an uninspired conclusion to Schwarzenegger's barbarian trilogy.

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 3

Dull, poorly directed, and badly miscast, Red Sonja is an uninspired conclusion to Schwarzenegger's barbarian trilogy.



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Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 34,865

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Movie Info

Brigitte Nielsen appears as warrior woman Sonja, who unites with a couple of other gladiator types (including Arnold Schwarzenegger) to overthrow the evil queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman) and avenge the deaths of Sonja's family. This story descends from the writings of Robert E. Howard (author of Conan). ~ Rovi

Jul 6, 2004


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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (18) | DVD (9)

The dialogue passages don't exactly play like Noel Coward, but this is a movie that succeeds rousingly well on its own humble, Saturday-night terms.

July 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (4)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Red Sonja returns to those olden days when women were women and the menfolk stood around with funny hats on until called forth to be whacked at.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Worst of all, there's a charmless brat prince for Sonja to take under her wing.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Fleischer brings absolutely no playfulness to what might, at least, have been enjoyably light. And he brings out the worst in a cast that was ill-chosen to begin with.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is at least as good as Conan the Destroyer. Which is faint praise, indeed.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comment (1)
Antagony & Ecstasy

Sure, there are a few funny moments here and there with several obviously intended jokes, but director Richard Fleischer never milks the elements of self-parody for what they're worth.

July 9, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

It's a truly horrible concoction, filled with stiff, overly serious dialogue, wretched performances, bad lighting and a lazy score by the otherwise great Ennio Morricone.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Unwatchably bad sword-and-sorcery nonsense.

October 6, 2005 | Comment (1)
Fantastica Daily

...pure silliness, but not silly enough to qualify as amusing. Face it; it's just dull.

August 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Hilariously awful

May 21, 2004
Lawrence Journal-World

No, he's NOT Conan this time!

September 11, 2003

Horrible spawn of the mediocre Conan the Barbarian.

April 14, 2003 | Comments (2)
Juicy Cerebellum

Arnold's last barbarian role -- worth it for that if nothing else.

January 9, 2003
New Times

The scene where Nielsen stands at the molten river border of the 'land of eternal night' looks particularly good.

May 12, 2001 Full Review Source: BBC

Incredibly stupid

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page

Fleischer could have directed this movie from his living room via speaker phone and achieved the same result

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Red Sonja

After the success of the Conan films the genre really took off but no film ever matched John Milius passionate Conan. Richard Fleischer directed the sequel, kept Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sandahl Bergman in the production as different characters and hoped everyone would get behind it. It's fun for sure. It also has a big Asian influence about it, Babycart among many other films come to mind. I think that is why it's enjoyable, it's stolen loads of great scenes from other great films; The water creature was from Star Wars for example, just elaborated. To be fair most of Star Wars was stolen, again from Asian films so I guess at best Red Sonja is a good example of fantasy/action film evolution. Lets not take it that seriously though, it's classic 80's fantasy cheese. We all fancied Brigitte Nielsen as Red Sonja, any guy that tells you he didn't is lying.
February 14, 2014

Super Reviewer

The third film in the 'Conan' trilogy...well it pretty much was wasn't it. This film is directed by Richard Fleischer who also directed 'Conan the Destroyer', the same studio, 'Dino De Laurentiis Company', made all three films, Sandahl Bergman was in this film and 'Conan the Barbarian' and of course Arnie starred in all three.

I mean lets be honest here, Arnie plays 'Lord Kalidor', the character is virtually a 'Conan' clone, I dunno why they didn't just make him 'Conan' and be done with it. I believe 'Sonja' comes from the 'Conan' universe originally (I may be wrong) so why not?. I'm guessing there may have been copyright issues somewhere.

So its the same story again for this fantasy adventure, need I describe the plot?. A small band of goodies up against an evil baddie leader and all her baddie warriors who are all holed up in an intimidating fortress. Arnie rides around in his rather unattractive red sparkly jumpsuit (changes to a black number out of the blue half way through) whilst Nielsen sports a long red mullet cut, but she's still cute.

This is suppose to be the weakest of the Arnie broadsword adventures but personally I don't see it. Its no worse than the other two and gives you just as much visual sorcery. In fact there's more fantasy stuff going on here than 'Barbarian', giant pet spiders, giant skeleton bridges, a metallic sea monster thingy and a silly 'Flash Gordon' style baddie wizard. This film boarders more on other films such as 'Krull' and a bit of 'Willow' in my opinion.

Reasonable amounts of blood and limb chopping but not overkill. Everything looks a bit tacky later on in the film but again no worse than the other two films. Unfortunately there is an annoying kid in this film, kinda like 'Data' outta 'The Goonies' or 'Short Round' outta 'Temple of Doom' (same kid actor there), tends to give the film a more slapstick approach at times, 'Conan the Barbarian' was always the most grown up of the three.

At this point I reckon Arnie was possibly getting worried he may end up typecast as a barbarian meathead in fantasy films. I can see why this was his last as all three of these films are very similar and not overly wonderful frankly. Still the musical score was always in good hands with Morricone at the helm, how did they manage that?. As a kid I loved these films, nowadays the rose tinted shades can't quite save them, amusing and naff, oh and the baddie Queen is a lesbian. Oh yeah, the whole story is down to Sonja simply rejecting her advances at the start. fancy that haha.
March 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

Fantastic fantasy adventure movie, I loved it! Nielsen may not be the greatest actress ever on screen, but she is Sonja, she just is. All the characters around her are lovable and courageous. This movie is more than just swordplay and horses, it's got romance, comedy, and beautiful sets too. Very enjoyable film.
December 4, 2012

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Foreign Titles

  • Red Sonja (1985) (DE)
  • Red Sonja (1985) (UK)
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