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Conan the Barbarian (1982)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 7

Though Conan may take itself too seriously for some, this adventure film about a former slave seeking vengeance is full of quotable Schwarzenegger lines and gritty action.

No Score Yet...

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

Though Conan may take itself too seriously for some, this adventure film about a former slave seeking vengeance is full of quotable Schwarzenegger lines and gritty action.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 130,206

My Rating

Movie Info

John Milius's jingoistic direction and pulpy screenplay fit perfectly into this film version of the Robert E. Howard fantasy story of the sword and sorcery hero, Conan the Barbarian. Complementing Mulius's heavy metal production is Arnold Schwarzenegger's leaden acting, which in any other context would be deadly, but here (as in The Terminator) corresponds nicely with the whole sonorous project. The story begins when a horde of rampaging warriors massacre the parents of young Conan and enslave


Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy

John Milius

Feb 24, 1998

Universal Pictures

Watch It Now


Latest News on Conan the Barbarian

December 4, 2012:
Legend of Conan Producer Chris Morgan Wants "A Greater Hero Story"
"I want the warrior whose joints have started to fuse together, who has to crack the cartilage so he...
October 26, 2012:
Weekly Ketchup: Arnold Schwarzenegger to Reprise Role as Conan
This week's Ketchup covers a week packed nearly to the full ten stories with high profile affairs...


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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (7) | DVD (32)

Not since Bambi's mother was killed has there been a cannier movie for kids than Conan the Barbarian.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Conan the Barbarian is an extremely long, frequently incoherent, ineptly staged adventure-fantasy set in a prehistoric past.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (7)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even 17 years after its release, Conan the Barbarian still weaves a spell capable of ensorcelling fans of fantasy adventure.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
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essential 80s cinema with some amazing elements, including the unflinching violence for the time and the brilliant score by Basil Poledouris

August 26, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Its magnificence stems from the very properties we should be condemning with all our might.

May 14, 2012 Full Review Source:

A classic tale is told through fascinating visuals, cheesy characters and good old fashioned muscle-bound strength.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD

A film that only wants to be described by the single adjective "awesome", though "epic" would do in a pinch.

August 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This primitive, mythic epic catapulted Schwarzenegger to movie stardom after being a famous body-builder.

August 19, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comment (1)

...ironically undone by its star, a preening peacock eager to sow the seeds of self-parody with a well-placed camel punch.

August 11, 2011 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm | Comments (4)

Visualizing Robert E. Howard's creation in the midst of the Reagan era is an offer the auteur can't refuse

November 17, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

OK sandals and loin cloth muscle adventure...which made Arnold a star.

July 17, 2008

Balls-to-the-wall swordplay flicks don't get much better than this

May 28, 2005
New Times

A big, sweaty, pulpy adventure tale that's both exciting AND unintentionally amusing.

April 3, 2005

When it comes to the great lines (and mottos) of cinema, it doesn't get much better than this.

December 7, 2004 Full Review Source:

Let's face it: Arnold is well-cast. But the movie takes itself way too seriously.

October 9, 2003
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Too dull to be unintentionally funny.

October 1, 2003 | Comments (2)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Arnold's first real movie (not counting Hercules and The Villain). Very serious, needs more humor, but a good debut.

July 14, 2003

Muddy and serious, but refreshing compared to other comic book movies.

April 21, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

Schwarzenegger has probably never been better-cast.

March 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Comment (1)
Austin Chronicle

John Milius is skilled at allowing his story to unfold as though you were reading a pulp novel, never letting you get bored. He always throws something at you that's reminiscent of the best in fantasy novels.

January 27, 2002 Full Review Source:

...should appeal to most anyone with a bent for fantasy and swashbuckling derring-do.

January 1, 2000
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for Conan the Barbarian

oddly, I almost feel as if this film has improved with age. It has a haunting atmosphere and is set in a perfect fantasy like world. I would have loved a fuller, longer franchise of these films to see what other sorts of adventures the characters would have explored. solid action.
June 16, 2013
danny d

Super Reviewer

The first film to get Arnie on the way to the man he is today, and the first of three very similar fantasy flicks. Based on a pulp comic character from the 30's this film franchise turned the idea on its head and into a cult spanning many different formats and influencing other fantasy films, it also helped some videogames along the way.

The plot is simple, 'Conan' is taken from his family who have been conveniently killed by a band of nasty warriors dressed in black. He is put into slavery and made to do hard labour for the rest of his foreseeable future. The torturous slavery makes 'Conan' big and strong despite the apparent lack of decent food, nutrients, fishfingers or milk. He eventually is sold into gladiatorial fighting where he becomes a brilliant battler and swordsman and wins his freedom. From there on he's off to avenge his families death, as you do.

Obvious premise but its an old film folks. Yes the film is old, back in 82 things were different, what you see now when watching is a horribly cliched, predictable, hammy, semi cheap looking mess, but back then it was fresh...ish. All the bad guys wear black and look a bit camp with their wigs and handlebar moustaches, you wonder why exactly these groups of bad guys always attack and kill helpless useless peasants, what's in it for them? why they always leave one kid alive to grow up and take revenge on them?? and what is James Earl Jones character actually up to? what's his goal? his plans? why do all those people follow him? etc...

Yeah I know I'm being picky, it matters not really, the film is old and all these barbarian films are pretty much the same, its all about the spectacle and fantasy right. This first film is definitely more adult than the rest, lots of blood splashing about with limbs being hacked off hehe good stuff. Yet despite that there isn't too much action really, more character development surprisingly and what action there is has some nice effects too, nice snake work and some nice animated spirits also.

To be honest I've actually always preferred the original 'Beastmaster' film over 'Conan'. There a few nice moments in this but really its pretty tepid, if only 'The beastmaster' starred Arnie. And what the hell was that huge wheel thing 'Conan' pushes for half his life suppose to be? a mill? a well? or merely for torture? a plan that backfired for 'Thulsa Doom' methinks.

In the end the final teasing image and narration about 'King Conan' is actually far more interesting and intriguing than the film that preceded it.
March 9, 2013

Super Reviewer

John Millius' action fantasy film Conan the Barbarian is a thrilling film. The film has its imperfections, which I will get into in just a moment, but for the most part the film is very exciting and is pure fun, if you can forgive its flaws. The films weakness is in the dialogue delivery, and some bits of the dialogue are very cheesy, but in the end, who cares? Conan the Barbarian is a fun action fantasy film based on the comic book character of the same name. The film steadily builds up to a terrific action packed climax. The film story is interesting, but it does lack a bit of substance. However it makes up for it with the action scenes. Conan the Barbarian is a flawed film, but it's also the type of film that you need to shut off your brain to enjoy. If you get past the somewhat cheesy dialogue and ridiculous scenes, then you might actually enjoy this. Conan the Barbarian is meant to be a mindless action film, and it most certainly is that. The film has a comic book feel that comes across very nicely and this is a fine action film. The film lacks effective dialogue, but the film makes up for it with an interesting storyline. John Mlius' directing keeps the film moving at a steady pace, and keeps you interested for the first hour of the film due to stunning visuals, and the story itself. Many viewers have stated that the story is almost nonexistent However, I beg to differ, and I think that the story though not very elaborate still has some merit. For all its faults, Conan the Barbarian is an action classic. This film is the type of action picture that you need to simply shut off your mind to enjoy to the film boasts some impressive action sequences and John Milius has crafted a fine action film based on the Pulp comic character. A fun ride.
August 29, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Although it may have the classic 80's feel and the bloody action is very impressive for it's time, the story seems a little unoriginal and the outcome is very cliche. The acting here is very average and the characters are hard to believe. As Conan is on a trail with two partners to rescue a kings daughter, they seem to find many troubles along the way. To me they just seem like excuses to make an action sequence; However, the action is cool to watch and as cliche as it may be, the story is not unwatchable. It is definitely just another average action/adventure flick but I had some fun with it. Conan: The Barbarian is easily forgettable.
August 19, 2011
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. King Osric: The lions ate him!
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
    1. Valeria: All the gods, they cannot sever us. If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I'd come back from the darkness. Back from the pit of hell to fight at your side.
    – Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
    1. Conan: Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then the HELL with you!
    – Submitted by Aaron E (2 years ago)
    1. Conan: Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women!
    – Submitted by James M (2 years ago)
    1. King Osric: There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child.
    – Submitted by Anthony D (2 years ago)
    1. Conan's Father: Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts... [points to sword] This you can trust.
    – Submitted by Adrian G (2 years ago)
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