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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conan, what is best in life?
To watch Conan the Barbarian, of course! Fantasy movies are generally bad. No other genre is looked down upon more. This is because most sword & sorcery films fall into one or more of the following traps:
1) They are dumbed down and bowdlerized to appeal to kids and their uptight parents (Willow, Red Sonja).
2) They are throwaway drive-in style B-movies which at...
Published on May 9 2004 by J. L. Peppers

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheese Please
I've always been a fan of this film, it's very artistic and doesn't get caught up in the whole "thee's" and "thou's" that plague some historical fiction regarding pre-history, and it's not chock full of British Actors, as is the norm. I especially like how the first sequence goes by with almost no dialogue. But I wanted the Collector's edition... it MUST be better than...
Published on Jan. 16 2002 by William Willis


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conan, what is best in life?, May 9 2004
By 
J. L. Peppers (TX) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
To watch Conan the Barbarian, of course! Fantasy movies are generally bad. No other genre is looked down upon more. This is because most sword & sorcery films fall into one or more of the following traps:
1) They are dumbed down and bowdlerized to appeal to kids and their uptight parents (Willow, Red Sonja).
2) They are throwaway drive-in style B-movies which at best are so bad that they only entertain as unintentional comedy (Hawk the Slayer, Dungeons & Dragons, The Sword & The Sorcerer).
3) They are other genres disguised as sword & sorcery films such as Ladyhawke, which is a chick-flick and Dragonslayer which is a costume drama and an allegory for the draft in Vietnam.
4) (...) .
Conan laughs at all these inferior sword & sorcery movies. He crushes them, sees them driven before him and hears the lamentations of their fanboys.
While other fantasy movies are made by and for wimpy comic book nerds and effeminate Englishmen (or wannabe Englishmen), Conan was written by tough-guy Robert Howard from the overly macho panhandle of Texas, a landscape that would chew up quaint little hobbits and elves and spit them out. Conan was adapted for the screen by fellow tough-guy writer Oliver Stone and he-man director John Milius. You can tell already that no sobbing midgets need apply. Conan is for the red-blooded American male who enjoys violent entertainment and appreciates tall, leggy, heavily armed blondes.
Conan (Ahnuld) saw his entire community get Klu Kluxed by Rexor (former Oakland Raider Ben Davidson) and Forgrimm (bodybuilder Sven Ole Thorsen), two burly and scary henchmen for the Atlantean wizard Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones). Conan sees his father torn to bits by armor-plated Rottweilers and Thulsa Doom even beheads Conan's mom as the seven-year-old watches! He is then sold into slavery. This is much better motivation for a story than magic rings, baby pricesses, flying bladed frisbees and other such nonsense.
For the next twenty years, Conan fights his way through one scrape after another and becomes the most fearsome fighter in the world. Along the way, he meets an archer named Subotai and a Valkyrie-like swordswoman named Valeria. Together they pillage one of Thulsa Doom's temples. But killing Doom's acolytes and stealing his gems isn't enough. When King Osric (Max Von Sydow) recruits Conan and his friends to find his daughter who has been brainwashed into joining Thulsa Doom's cult(a cross between Jonestown and the KKK), the fires of revenge are reignited in Conan. And NOBODY puts the smack down on bad guys like Conan! Heads, limbs, torsos and blood fly everywhere as the barbarian gets payback against Doom and his men.
Although there are such huge amounts of gore (including several highly artistic beheadings), it is strangely beautiful in the way it's filmed. Basil Poledouris' beautiful score is one of the best ever recorded and makes the bloodletting seem operatic.
Ahnuld brings Conan to life. Conan is actually a complex character, and somewhat retro. Too many other fantasy films have sensitive girlie-men getting in touch with their feminine side while swinging a sword. Conan laughs at these sissies! He has no time for such silly romance novel nonsense! The others don't even bother with acting or characters at all. In this case, though Schwarzenegger turns in a good performance -so much so that it's hard to think of anyone else in the role.
The real test for how good a movie is would be the villains. Thulsa Doom, Rexor and Forgrimm are perfectly cast and played. They are genuinely menacing and scary. Watching Ben Davidson who is terrifying in spite of only having three lines as Rexor makes me appreciate the dilemma facing the old AFL quarterbacks who played against him. James Earl Jones lends more than just a menacing Darth Vader voice here. He has real charisma and it doesn't seem so farfetched that he could lead young people into joining a cult and committing all kinds of fiendish acts (including turning the cult's victims into soup!). The villains are the most plausible part of this fantasy movie.
The one drawback is the sound. Buy the score on CD if you can, because mono doesn't do it justice. The cinematography is beautiful and the sets and costumes have a gritty real-world look. The weapons and armor are only slightly outlandish. A special thank you should go to Mother Nature, since she provided Milius with the best special effect in the movie: The Spanish countryside. The sunlight shining through the snowy forest at the beginning looks amazing, as do the the vast plains and bleak deserts.
This movie is more than just entertainment, it's a true work of art and it stands the test of time. Twenty-two years later, no other fantasy movie has even come close. And as Conan says "If you do not listen, then to hell with you!"
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caveman red meat and testosterone � Arnold IS Conan!, April 20 2004
By A Customer
This is the best and most original sword and sorcery fantasy movie ever made. It has a raw and primal style that is simply not seen anymore on film in today's politically correct world.
Think of all the warrior-hero movies made during and since the 1990's - Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Braveheart, Gladiator, Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Scorpion King and of course, the ultimate in feminine heroes - the Lord of the Rings trilogy; in every warrior-hero movie made since Conan the Barbarian, the heroes are afflicted with some degree of feminine sensitivity or other characteristics that mark them as "perfect mates" - sensitive and caring 90's males, in other words. Not so Conan the Barbarian.
Conan sees this woman Valeria, gives her the biggest jewel in the hoard that they've just stolen, and off with their clothes they go. Later, after Valeria pleads with him not to go after Thulsa Doom, he leaves her bed anyways. How's that for being the antithesis of the sensitive and caring 90's male, always thinking of the needs of the women? Valeria cries. She chases after him, rescues him, and swears to always be there for him and fight by his side. In the words of John Milius, what a Valkyrie!
More scenes that we would just not see in movies today - the Opening Sequence - Conan's mother, played by the exotically beautiful Nadiuska, is cornered by Thulsa Doom and his henchmen. For just a moment, Doom turns away and seems to offer her pity and mercy, then, THWACK, he cuts her head off! I think in previous viewings, I must have always had my eyes partly closed during this scene, because, watching this DVD, this is the first time that I've actually seen her head (with the light brown hair) fall to the ground at that moment. And in the next scene, her head and that of her husband are stuck on some pikes! Which we see as little Conan and the other village children are marched away to slavery. That's the first time I've noticed that too, watching this DVD.
Yes, and how about the Breeding scene! Conan in his gladiator days, kept in a cage, has a half naked and very worried looking woman shoved into the cage with him! While Conan's keepers stick around outside the cage, gawking, waiting for the show to start!
Some great quotes: "Conan, what is best in life?!" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!" (paraphrasing Genghis Khan).
And Conan's prayer before the final battle - "Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you will remember if we were good men or bad, why we fought, or why we died. No, all that matters is that two stood against many, that's what's important. Valor pleases you, Crom, so grant me one request, grant me REVENGE! And if you do not listen, then the hell with you!"
What mainstream director would put stuff like that in a movie today?
The trio of Arnold, Sandahl Bergman, and Gerry Lopez, had just started their acting careers, and made the professional actors in the movie - Mako, Max Von Sydow, and James Earl Jones - look like they were overacting.
But that's the great thing about this expanded DVD. John Milius makes it clear in his commentary that he chose this trio for their physicality and how well their bodies fit into their roles. There was little dialogue - most of the acting was in the way the three main characters fought and carried themselves from scene to scene. The result was much like when Ray Park was chosen to portray Darth Maul in "Phantom Menace" - a spectacular fit.
I knew that Sandahl Bergman was a professional dancer, but the commentaries explain at last why Subotai came across so much like a Southern California surfer dude - Gerry Lopez WAS a Southern Cal surfer dude.
Basil Pouledouris's brilliant, operatic score, without a doubt, was one of the key distinguishing features that set this movie apart from all others. Pouledouris says it best on his website - scoring Conan the Barbarian was like scoring a silent movie - in the first 30 minutes of the movie, 27 minutes had NO DIALOGUE!! He knew that his music had to do the job of the dialogue, and he did perhaps the best work of his career with this movie soundtrack.
There are only a few forgettably bad moments in this classic movie - Valeria's snow bunny/thunder goddess outfit when she saves Conan was just awful. Valeria getting shot by the snake arrow on her RIGHT side, then in the next scene, as she lays dying, Conan pulls out the snake arrow from her LEFT side. The continuity director must have been on drugs that day. Valeria, so fluid and graceful, banging into these chains with her boots as she flips over the balcony right before the fight starts in the orgy chamber. Always wondered why they didn't re-shoot that scene. Valerie Quennessen as the Princess was probably the only miscast character - she comes across as a whiny brat and just has this grim look on her face throughout - couldn't see what Milius was talking about when he cast her because of a "vulnerable" quality about her. But then, she supposedly died in a car accident in 1989, so can't speak too ill of her.
And as we all know now, Arnold IS Conan. Just replace Cimmeria with Austria, and Aquilonia with California...... and, in time, he became a king by his own hand....destined to bear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow.....
I watched this movie twice when it first came out in 1982, in my last year of medical school. I didn't realize it at the time, but that would also be the last year that I would be a bachelor with no responsibilities in this world. And so this movie remains forever connected to that time of a carefree existence that no longer exists. Appropriately so, for this is a movie with a raw, carefree attitude that also no longer exists in moviemaking.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally on blu ray, Aug. 8 2011
This review is from: Conan the Barbarian [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
its too bad it took a mediocre remake to get this classic on ray. Picture is excellent, a few nitpickings being this is 1 min 29 sec. shorter than the last dvd version. I don't know why. The cover is a big disappointment as well, they should have stuck with the original movie poster. More supplements would have been nice but overall i am very excited to have this release. As far as the destroyer is concerned i can't bear to buy it since i have tried to sit through it several times in the last year and did'nt have the constitution to do it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Punching a camel in high definition, Sept. 27 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Conan the Barbarian [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
It always impresses me to see how good an HD version of an old movie can be. While the image isn't as clear as a brand new digital movie that's been made that way, what we get here is a significant gain in image quality as well a better sound it seems. That being said, this release could have brought together a significant amount of bonus material, the original cover or whatever any Conan fan might want but this, instead, is more of a "casual" Blu-ray release and what you get is the classic fantasy movie with a plenty of languages/subtitles.

The movie itself is one of the best fantasy movies ever made and also one of Arnold's best (even if he only says maybe a hundred words in the whole movie). If you already are a Conan (movie) fan, you really should add this to your collection as it fares much better on the new HDTV as the DVD version does and if you're just curious, you should know that this is very inexpensive for an high definition classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars defines the genre, April 19 2004
By 
Joe Sherry (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, entertaining and rousing adventure, May 21 1998
By A Customer
A movie that has a lot to answer for. The film "Conan the Barbarian" is not as good as author Robert E. Howard's best Conan tales (see "Hour of the Dragon," "Black Colossus," or "People of the Black Circle") but it is prettty damn good. Far better than its sequel and imitators, with a great score by Basil Poledouris and some nice turns by co-script writer Oliver Stone. Director John Milius is far better than Hollywood has ever given him credit for (see his excellent "The Wind and the Lion," one of my favorites) or the fine recent (1998) cable movie "Roughriders." Milius gives the film a sweep and a tone that comes closer than any other in capturing Howard's dark vision of Conan. With that great last fade out of the bearded Schwarzenegger as King of Aquilonia. Arnold is also very good, probably the best he's ever been. It would be very interesting to see him as an older, wiser Conan in the later story "Phoenix on the Sword." James Earl Jones is a little goofy as Thulsa Doom, and that giant snake looks a little fake for a big Hollywood production but in the end a satisfying viewing experience with lots of little nice moments: the great opening sequence, the Genghis Khan quote, the attack on Thulsa Doom's pleasure palace. END
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a very good theatrical introduction to Conan, Aug. 31 2007
this is a very good movie.it contains lots of action adventure and
excitement.the acting is pretty decent,although acting isn't really the
focal point of this movie or most in the genre.the movie has a pretty
good story that is fairly simple and easy to follow.it's a good beginning
look at Conan,portrayed well by Arnie.this is probably where he is at
his largest size.for a sword and sorcery epic,this movie is pretty
good,although i admit i haven't seen very many.i like the colourful
cast of characters,which add to the story.the movie is fairly dark in
tone,though there are some fun moments.i thought the movie moved along
at a good speed,without seeming too rushed,thus retaining its epic
quality.for me,"Conan The Barbarian" is a 4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldnt have picked a better Conan, June 16 2004
"Conan, what is best in life?"
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"
The first time you see Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie, you realize within an instant, that there could have been no better actor to play Conan. Arnie is Conan.
This is one of the best Action/Adventure films of all time, with a great musical score and good directing. The movie, which probably didnt have a huge budget, still comes off with an epic feel to it.
There are few good Sword & Sorcery films out there, this is one of the best. Buy this DVD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Epic movie that exists!!!, June 26 2004
By 
Theobalt (Ioannina, Greece) - See all my reviews
When does a movie become classic? When it tops the box office? When it has thousands of supporting actors, or a great budget? Maybe when it has a dozen of well known actors.
The way I understand classic is this:
Whenever I watch this movie on the tv I am hooked! Everytime that I see Conan and listen to the glorius soundtrack feels like seeing it for the first time. That is even when I have seen this movie for a hundred times. You never get bored by watching this movie. So when I think of the best movie in epic Conan the Barbarian comes first in my mind. Not poor Troia, not the Gladiator. The lord of the Rings could come in my mind but it doesn't (another masterpiece). Sometimes Braveheart feels like the best classic or even Spartacus. -"Legend" seems even more epic but it leans more to the fantasy side- But I am sure of it.
Conan topps them all.
Half the value of the movie is the soundtrack. Poleduris is fantastic and I believe that there is no person who will doubt the value of this soundtrack. He respects Howard's creation and pays tribute by making this movie glorius with his music. Many tried to copy him through the years but he was the first who set the standards with his creation from another time.
Arnold Swatzeneger could instead be the president of the US at that time than being the governor of California nowadays!! He could have done it with his sword!! If you don't believe me just watch the movie!!!
Everybody that worked in this movie actors, and producers knew what they where doing and loved what they where doing. This is how classics are made.
This review is not to persuade you to buy the cd or anything. It is just my way to say thanks for such a great movie to exist. A movie that from start to the end makes you one with the character and lets you compare it with other hollow movies that like to call themselves epic movies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite fantasy film, March 24 2004
By 
T.G. (Newcastle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
"Conan the Barbarian" has been my favorite fantasy film for the past two decades, and the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy hasn't changed anything. I was lucky enough to see it in the theater as a teenager, and have loved the film ever since for its enjoyable script, quirky acting and incredible music.
Since just about everything has been said at this point, I'll focus on the DVD itself -- in my opinion, it's worth the money if you don't already own it. The highlight is a nearly one-hour "making of" that ranks as one of the best I've seen so far on any DVD. The commentary by Schwartzenegger and Milius I could really have done without... there's little or nothing there to enlighten or entertain, and Schwartzenegger descends to a new level of cheesiness -- he almost seems to be drunk or stoned on something as he comments on the film. The rest of the special features are nothing to write home about... there's a 50-second "special effects" feature showing a meaningless split-screen of the scene where the demons try to take Conan's life. The "deleted scenes" section is short as well, and isn't very interesting.
I would have liked to have seen a separate featurette on the music, rather than giving it a paltry five minutes of coverage in the "making of" feature... as many know, this is one of the all-time film soundtrack greats and I would like to have known more about Poledouris' inspirations. It would also have been nice to see a dedicated featurette devoted to the Conan books, and Rob Howard's original vision of the character. There's really a lot more they could have included.
Overall the "collector's edition" DVD is decent, but not the sort of epic production this film deserves. I guess we should be grateful that we got even this much, given that this is more of a "cult" film than a recognized classic. If you already own the older DVD, I would recommend skipping this one -- the excellent "making of" featurette doesn't quite justify laying down the dough, and the added scenes just "loosen" the pacing without adding much of anything important. If you don't have "Conan" yet on DVD however, treat yourself to this epic fantasy adventure -- it's violent and bloody but also an incredibly entertaining film -- pure candy for the eyes and ears, and with an interesting story to captivate the mind as well.
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