Conan the Barbarian (1982)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: 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.


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 … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Action & Adventure , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: John Milius, Oliver Stone
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 24, 1998
Runtime:
Universal Pictures

Cast


as Thulsa Doom

as King Osric

as Subotai

as Wizard

as Red Hair

as Pictish Scout

as Snake Girl

as Officer

as Conan's Mother

as Young Conan

as Priest

as Sword Master

as Sword Master

as Conan's Father
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Conan the Barbarian

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (5)

There is a real anticipation as Schwarzenegger is unveiled as the barbarian and sets off on the road to independence. But for whatever reasons, the actor has a minimum of dialog and fails to convey much about the character through his actions.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

Match verdict: no goals, slow build-up, but much absorbing action off the ball.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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

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

essential 80s cinema with some amazing elements, including the unflinching violence for the time and the brilliant score by Basil Poledouris

Full Review… | August 26, 2013
7M Pictures

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

Full Review… | May 14, 2012
Mania.com

Audience Reviews for Conan the Barbarian

½

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...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.

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phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

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.

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sanjurosamurai
danny d

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.

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TheDudeLebowski65
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

Conan the Barbarian Quotes

– Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Frank M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Aaron E (2 years ago)
– Submitted by James M (3 years ago)

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