Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max Von Sydow, Sandahl Bergman, Ben Davidson and Gerry Lopez

John Milius

Running Time:
129 mins

  • Story looses its way slightly in the middle act

"Fear my steal"

Sold into slavery as a child, Conan (Schwarzenegger) grows into a revered warrior, unrivalled with the blade and undefeated in the gladiatorial arena. Winning his freedom, Conan has to find his way in the world. Aligning himself with Valeria (Bergman) and Subotai (Lopez), Conan learns the skills of thievery but as he travels the land he discovers that it is in the tyrannical grip of a vivacious warlord called Thulsa Doom (Jones), the man who slaughtered his parents all those years ago.

In the realms of the fantasy movie genre one character is credited with starting it all and his name is Conan.

Back in 1982, director John Milius procured the rights to Robert E. Howard's creation and brought the Barbarian to the silver screen. As the box office of the time was filled with science fiction and pulp fantasy, an all out sword and sorcery picture might not have been the best choice to make but this is the movie that pathed the way for a slurry of fantasy films but the large number that followed would all be compared to this.

Conan is a different kind of hero. He isn't overly good but he isn't evil at the same time, he is an anti-hero with a sense of justice and a passion for revenge. Driven by the power of steal, Conan is an unparalleled warrior, a master with the sword and unsurpassed at hand-to-hand combat. He has a huge presence that draws you in, making you want to follow his every adventure and cheer as he dispatched his enemies with a swing of his mighty sword.

At the time, you cannot imagine anyone else playing the role of Conan other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you have ever seen an illustration or the Conan comic book, Arnold is exactly how you would envisage the character in real life. He has the build and the look but when you couple this with the actor's unparalleled skill for action, you have the perfect combination. The defining feature was the character's lack of words. In the 80s at the start of his career, directors knew how the get the best out of the Austrian Oak and that was to rely on his looks and not his dialogue speaking ability. It was only as he became a superstar and gained more power in Hollywood that Arnie spoke a lot more but this showed his limitations as an actor and didn't really push his real strength, sheer screen presence.

Conan is a movie that shows this in spades, making it easy to see why he became an icon. Conan was a different kind of fantasy film. While it did have a sorcery element to it, with witches, demons and black magic, it played more towards the sword, concentrating on battles and confrontation than magic and witchcraft. This makes for a more human story and increased realism, making you feel that you are watching a tale from history more than a story from a fantasyland.

'Conan the Barbarian' is a classic in the fantasy genre and one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best films and characters. With a classic tale of vengeance, a nasty villain played superbly by James Earl Jones and iconic anti-hero as the lead, you can't get much better than this when it comes to classic sword and sorcery.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, this digitally remastered transfer is very good. When you think that this movie was made in 1982 on a small budget, the look and feel of the film is still extremely good. The picture is crystal clear throughout and the sound is equally as good, filling the speakers during the action sequences and with the marvellous score.


Disc 1

Audio Commentary by director John Milius and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger
This fun and chatty commentary comes from two people who love the film and are real friends. Filled with information about the characters, the story and cast, the pair also talks about the origins of Conan and the influences on the story. This is a really good commentary that reveals many behind the scenes secrets and the director and star seem to be having a great time doing it.

Previews of Churchill: The Hollywood Years, Elektra and Kingdom of Heaven.

Disc 2

Conan: The Rise of a Fantasy Legend (18.25 mins)
Conan comic writer Roy Thomas, artist Steve Leiber, comic editor Don Herron, author Michael Moorcock, Conan artist Jim Reegan, comic writer Kurt Busiek, screenwriter Michael Scott Howard and star James Earl Jones talk about Conan's influence on the fantasy genre. The featurette looks into the origins of the character from his creation in the 1930s by Robert E. Howard, through this many book and comic book incarnations, through to the 1982 movie.

Conan Unchained: The Making Of Conan (53.12 mins)
Director John Milius, producer Dino De Laurentiis, executive producer Edward R. Pressman, writer Oliver Stone, production designer Ron Cobb, producer Buzz Feitshans, stunt coordinator Terry J. Leonard and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max Von Sydow, Sandahl Bergman and Gerry Lopez come together to reflect on making 'Conan the Barbarian'. The documentary covers how the project got to the silver screen, Oliver Stone's screenplay, casting Arnold, the origins of the character and the style, look and feel of the movie. It also reveals secrets of the Spanish shoot and the decision to use less magic and more swordplay, to have a more realistic approach. This is a good documentary that looks into all the aspects of the film's production.

Special Effects Split Screen Video (1.37 mins)
Watch the original footage and the finished shots with the optical effects added from the scene were Valeria fights for Conan's life.

The Conan Archives (11.47 mins)
A montage of production drawings, photographs and publicity art from 'Conan the Barbarian'

Deleted Scenes Sequence (5.27 mins)
See 'Conan in the city', 'director's cameo', 'the death of the King' and 'the wolves catching Conan' deleted scenes.

Theatrical Trailers (3.46 mins)
Watch the original trailers that promoted the film in 1982.

Production Notes
Text covering the history of the movie, stunts, the cast, the sets, design and the training involving in bringing the film to the big screen.


Fox have done an excellent job with the special edition of 'Conan the Barbarian'. Fans will rejoice at the excellent commentary from the director and star, the informative and fun documentaries and the other accompanying material. This is a must buy for all fantasy fans.


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