Conan the Barbarian (1982)

R   |    |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy


Conan the Barbarian (1982) Poster

A young boy, Conan, becomes a slave after his parents are killed and tribe destroyed by a savage warlord and sorcerer, Thulsa Doom. When he grows up he becomes a fearless, invincible fighter. Set free, he plots revenge against Thulsa Doom.


6.9/10
135,412

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15 April 2012 | dave13-1
7
| Under-appreciated classic
When Conan came out in 1981, critics griped about its elephantine pacing and ponderous dialogue, and long stretches in which nothing much happened, giving evidence that they expected traditional action- adventure in the vein of, say, Sinbad. But director John Milius had set out to create something very different: an epic Aryan myth which translated the qualities of Wagnerian opera to cinema, and in large part he succeeded.

Conan has a sweeping epic feel, and is heavily dependent upon and driven by its setting and music to a degree that is very rare. As important as the deeds of the legendary hero, which are shown in brief and violent spurts of action, are the place and the culture that shaped that legend. The journey that created the myth, in short, is equal to the myth itself, and this is the logic and justification for the setting-heavy approach taken by Milius. And Basil Poledouris' wonderful music, which starts out Wagnerian and brassy, but adds middle Eastern touches as Conan's journey takes him in that direction, tracks along with Conan to show up the breadth of his epic journey while celebrating his heroic achievements.

Ultimately the story that gets told is somewhat less worthy of Milius' Wagnerian ambitions than are the music and the visuals, but the overall results more than justify the effort, especially when compared to the Italian sword and sandal knock-offs which followed this much copied but never equaled classic of the fantasy genre.

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,603,139 16 May 1982

Gross USA:

$39,565,475

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$68,851,475

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