A film by John Milius

What can you say about Conan? Originally created as a pulp novel by Robert Howard, John Milius s film is the first reason Arnold Schwarzenegger became a star. It is a muscle-bound, B-Grade styled fantasy of a film about a warrior named Conan. It is also a good movie, if you like fantasy or movies with sword wielding barbarians. Since I do like those style of films (or books), this was right up my alley.

As a young boy, Conan s parents were murdered by a band of warriors who bore the banner of a serpent. Conan is pressed into slavery and he grows strong because of the physical labor demanded. Perhaps because of his strength he becomes a gladiator fighting to the death, but he always wins and gains acclaim from the crowd. When Conan (Arnold Schwarzenegger) manages his escape, he becomes a thief, robbing treasure and plunder with his partner. Conan comes to the attention of King Osric (Max Von Sydow), who sets Conan on a quest to rescue his daughter from Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones).

It just so happens that the warriors who murdered Conan s family were led by Thulsa Doom, and Conan recognizes the banner of Thulsa Doom as the banner that flew on the day his parents were killed. We now add little splash of revenge to the picture and the set up to our story is complete.

Conan the Barbarian is a cut or two (no pun intended) above average fantasy film. You have magic, swords fighting, some comedy, and a heavily muscled warrior exacting his revenge. This film pretty much defines the genre, and it also set a standard that I m not sure has been reached since 1982. This is a good movie, though not for everyone.