The Beastmaster (1982)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This low-budget entry into the sword-and-sorcery cycle of the early '80s wasn't successful during its initial release, but has steadily built a strong cult following over the years. The Beastmaster tells the story of Dar (Marc Singer), the son of a king who was stolen from his mother's womb by a witch under the command of vicious sorcerer Maax (Rip Torn). A poor villager saves Dar from being sacrificed and raises him as his own son, teaching Dar how to fight and witnessing the boy's ability to … More

Rating: PG (nudity, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Don Coscarelli, Paul Pepperman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 23, 2001
MGM Home Entertainment


as Maax

as King Zed

as Young Dar's Father

as Witchwoman #1

as Young Dar

as Witchwoman #3

as Jun Leader

as Zed's Wife

as Marauder

as Kiri's Friend

as Death Guard Rider

as Jun Priest

as Jun Priest

as Jun Priest

as Jun Priest

as Jun Priest

as Jun Priest

as Jun Priest

as Young Dar
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Beastmaster

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Critic Reviews for The Beastmaster

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A kid-friendly version of Arnold Schwarzenegger's grown-up guilty pleasure... which really sort of misses the point.

Full Review… | May 14, 2013

So-so adventure fantasy that spawned several sequels.

October 16, 2008

Extra goofy, but basic cable couldn't survive without it.

April 6, 2006
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Audience Reviews for The Beastmaster

The Beastmaster is an above average entry in the sword and sorcery stakes. Released around the same time as the influential (and even better) Conan The Barbarian, Don Coscarelli's fantasy film moves along at a rapid pace and has some memorable and imaginative sequences. I saw the film for the first time when I was a 10 years old, and watched it many times on video and cable.

Evil priest Maax (Rip Torn) orders the sacrifice of his king's unborn son in order to prevent the coming of a prophecy in which the said son grows up and slays him. However, the baby survives its fate and is rescued by a farmer who raises him as his own and names him Dar. As Dar grows into adulthood (the adult Dar being played by Marc Singer), he gradually discovers that he has bizarre powers, including the ability to communicate with animals. He also is trained by his adopted father into becoming a very skilled swordsman. Dar's village is destroyed by a marauding band of raiders called the Juns, who kill everyone including Dar's adopted dad. Dar, the only survivor, sets off in pursuit of the Jun horde hoping to avenge their deaths. Along the way he gains several animal companions - a hawk, two ferrets, and a black panther - and also meets a slave girl named Kiri (Tanya Roberts) to whom he is immediately attracted. During his travels Dar eventually, almost accidentally, stumbles across the town where he was born. The king has long been imprisoned in the town's pyramid, and Maax is now in control, busily sacrificing the children of the repressed townsfolk. Dar vows to rid the town of Maax, but his plan is jeopardised following the rescue of the king.... for the king, during his years of imprisonment, has grown old and blind and, not realising who Dar is, refuses to take his advice on how best to confront Maax.

Some of the sequences in the film have a really impressive, long-lasting level of invention. The sacrificial murder of a child thrown into a fiery pit; the eagle men liquefying a victim inside their rubbery capes; Dar pulling himself upside-down and backwards along a passage full of gauntleted hands that grab at his legs; the rather sad demise of one of the ferrets near the film's end. On the other hand, the performances (as noted already) are pretty bad. Singer is physically imposing but that's about all; Torn makes for a hysterically overblown villain; and Roberts struggles with even the simplest of lines (though she does LOOK terrific - and even has some skimpy costumes and a nude swimming scene to encourage us to forgive the amateurishness of her acting). Lee Holstridge provides an infectious score that sounds somewhat similar to the old Battlestar Galactica music. And John Alcott, the cinematographer, gives the film a visual polish that is probably a bit above the material. The Beastmaster is a guilty pleasure - lots of fun, lots of blood-spilling, lots of earnest enthusiasm all round.

David Ladd

Super Reviewer

I watched the Beastmaster Movie after the TV Series with Daniel Goddard and I have to admit. I rather stuck on the TV Series. The Movie is Horrible!

Wahida K

Super Reviewer


Yet another strangely addictive and well made fantasy film close on the heels of Conan. Singer is a much leaner barbarian and his animal abilities actually work well and dont stink of cheese like the crappy sequels.
The good thing about BM is its very much a rip of Conan but actually much darker and quite sick in places, there are children burnt alive, drilling into peoples heads and some excellent monster creations in the bat like creatures that wrap their wings around you and reduce you to a pile of bones n goo haha brilliant imagination there.
The creatures in the gimp style masks that have green eye are also quite eerie and send a shiver down yr spine as they roar and run after their victims, cheesey yes but at the time it was cool stuff, and it does still work today.
Nice cast, well trained animals and a rough n sexy look make BM a worthy Conan adversary.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

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