Conan the Barbarian


The epic tale of child sold into slavery who grows into a man who seeks revenge against the warlord who massacred his tribe.

Release Year: 1982

Rating: 6.8/10 (57,232 voted)

Critic's Score: 43/100

John Milius

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow

A barbarian trained in the arts of war joins with thieves in a quest to solve the riddle of steel and find the sorcerer responsible for the genocide of his people in this faithful adaptation of Robert E. Howard's sword and sorcery adventures. This film briefly sparked a wave of fantasy films including the sequel, Conan the Destroyer, in the early 80s.

Writers: Robert E. Howard, John Milius


Arnold Schwarzenegger


James Earl Jones

Thulsa Doom

Max von Sydow

King Osric

Sandahl Bergman


Ben Davidson


Cassandra Gava

The Witch

(as Cassandra Gaviola)

Gerry Lopez



The Wizard

Valérie Quennessen

The Princess

William Smith

Conan's Father

Luis Barboo

Red Hair

Franco Columbu

Pictish Scout

Leslie Foldvary

Sacrificial Snake Girl

Gary Herman

Osric's Guard

Erik Holmey

Turanian War Officer

(as Erick Holmey)

He conquered an empire with his sword. She conquered HIM with her bare hands.

Release Date: 14 May 1982

Filming Locations: Almería, Andalucía, Spain

Box Office Details

Budget: $20,000,000


Opening Weekend: $9,603,139
(14 May 1982)
(1 Screen)

Gross: $68,851,475

Technical Specs


Did You Know?


The dynamic score by Basil Poledouris has been frequently used by other filmmakers as temp tracks in other films. It has also been frequently used in advance trailers and TV spots for other films.


Crew or equipment visible:
When Conan emerges from the crypt and cuts his leg irons, a hand can be seen reaching up to snatch the chain out of the way. (No hand can be seen on the R2 DVD special edition.)


[first lines]

Title Card:
That which does not kill us makes us stronger – Friedrich Nietzsche

User Review

Not to be overlooked

Rating: 10/10

People have preconceptions of what makes a good move and more often
than not they get tangled up in their own web of closed mindedness. It
is no one thing that makes a movie great but a combination of all to
create a feeling, and that is one thing that Conan has always done for

This was the first film that introduced me to "the goosebump effect" or
rather seeing scenes of such emotional and thematic power that they
give you chills. After watching this film over and over again it still
doesn't disappoint. The scene immediately following the raid on Conan's
village is a true masterpiece of visual storytelling. without a single
line of dialogue everything that is to come in the next two hours is
set up with the Murder of Conan's parents before his eyes. The look of
disbelief on his face as his mother's lifeless body falls before him.
Staring at his hand and then toward Thulsa Doom. the Villain saluting
his freshly stolen steel. It is a perfectly executed scene that were
this film not so unjustly written off as a hack and slash "sword and
sorcery" picture would be rightfully remembered as one of the great
scenes in film history.

The best way to describe Conan would be to call it a philosophical
epic. There are real ideas and philosophies at play in the narrative.
Conan's father's teachings of steel…the opening scene forging the
sword becoming a metaphor for Conan's life. He is a character created
by hardship and grief, and like the opening quote says "That which does
not kill us makes us stronger" Conan becomes more powerful with the
more hardships he overcomes. The film is very well put together. Many
scenes and images from the movie are as visually layered and well
thought out as any Ridley Scott picture. The prelude to the opening
battle in the snow is stunning with great visual flair, a single scout
stands atop a boulder breathing heavy, anticipating battle as vibrant
rays of sunlight pour through the trees.

There is a ritualistic quality to many of the scenes in the film such
as the finding of the atlantean sword, or the lead up to Conan's duel
with the snake which is carried through right to the end where after
Conan drops his sword the followers of doom extinguish their flames in
the fountain. Everyone in the film manages to give a good performance
but the big mistake that most people make in judging them is that they
do not understand that acting is not simply saying lines of dialogue,
it is behavior. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the rest of the cast give
outstanding performances without saying all that much. The scene at the
funeral pyre where Conan runs his hand through the hair of his fallen
love…the subtle look of grief withheld combined with the eloquent
score is enough to get the idea across, no dialogue is needed. Basil
Poledouris' score for the film has to be one of, if not, the greatest
score ever composed and it plays an integral part in creating the rich
emotional landscape of John Milius' epic film. Conan the barbarian is a
film I saw when I was very young, and through the years as I have
gotten a little older and wiser the film has gotten richer and more
rewarding with each subsequent viewing.

This is a film of great resonance and subtlety. Most audiences today
cannot appreciate a film that requires a bit of deep thinking, but this
is one of the rare films that is even more rewarding if you look
beneath the surface.