Conan the Barbarian (1982 movie)

1982 film directed by John Milius

Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 American fantasy-adventure movie directed by John Milius. Based on the stories of Robert E. Howard, the movie tells the story of a warrior prince (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who must battle and defeat Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones), an evil sorcerer who murdered his parents. Although initial reception for the film was poor, it was a box-office hit and launched Schwarzenegger's career, and in the years since, it has become a cult movie. A sequel, Conan the Destroyer, was released in 1984, and a remake was also released in 2011.

Plot change

In the fictional country of Cimmeria, a sword is forged by a blacksmith (William Smith), who shows it to his young son Conan as he tells him "the Riddle of Steel", which is an aphorism of the importance of metal to their people. One day, the Cimmerians are massacred by the warriors of the sorcerer Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones), who is the leader of a snake cult. Dogs kill Conan's father and his mother is killed when Doom decapitates her with his sword. The children, Conan among them, are taken into slavery and chained to a mill called The Wheel of Pain. Conan grows into a young man (Arnold Schwarzenegger), whose muscles have built from years of pushing the heavy grindstone. His master eventually trains him into a gladiator; he is eventually freed after winning several pit fights and receiving training in the East. Conan travels to a warrior's tomb and retrieves a sword. He later on encounters a prophetic witch (Cassandra Gava) and befriends the thief Subotai (Gerry Lopez).

On the advice of the witch Conan and Subotai travel to the city of Zamora to find Doom. There, they encounter the female warrior Valeria (Sandahl Bergman). They steal treasure from the Tower of Serpents-killing a giant snake in the process-and after escaping, the thieves celebrate and Conan and Valeria fall in love. The city guards capture the trio and bring them to the court of King Osric (Max von Sydow), who requests that they rescue his daughter-who has become a follower of Doom-for a reward. Subotai and Valeria refuse, but Conan-driven by his hatred of Doom-sets off alone to the Temple of Set, where the sorcerer resides.

Conan infiltrates the temple disguised as a priest, but ends up being discovered, captured and tortured. Doom lectures him on the power of flesh, which he demonstrates by forcing one of his followers to commit suicide by jumping off a cliff, before ordering the barbarian to be crucified on the Tree of Woe. Subotai discovers the dying Conan and brings him to the Wizard of the Mounds (Mako), who lives on a burial site for warriors and kings. The wizard summons spirits to heal the barbarian, warning that they will "exact a heavy toll", which Valeria is willing to pay. These spirits try to capture Conan but he fully recovers from his wounds when Subotai and Valeria fight them off.

Subotai and Valeria agree to help Conan complete the quest and infiltrate the temple of Set. As the cult indulges in a cannibalistic orgy, the thieves attack and flee with the princess. Doom shoots Valeria with a stiffened snake and is mortally injured. She dies of her wounds and Conan has her cremated at the Mounds, where he later prepares with Subotai and the wizard to fight Doom. With the use of booby traps and exploiting the terrain, the two manage to slay Doom's soldiers when they arrive. Valeria reappears briefly as a Valkyrie to protect Conan from a mortal blow. After the death of his men, Doom tries to shoot the princess with a stiffened snake, but Subotai blocks the shot with his shield and the sorcerer flees to his temple.

Conan sneaks back to the temple where Doom addresses the cult members. He confronts Doom, who attempts to mesmerize him. Conan, however, resists and decapitates the sorcerer. After the disillusioned cultists disperse, Conan razes the temple to the ground and returns the princess.

Further reading change

  • "16 Facts About Conan the Movie You didn't Know". Blaine Turner. The Movie Web.