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Conan The Barbarian (1982) - Appreciations & Criticisms


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#201 Rockamobile

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 09:09 PM

I love sword and sandal mythology films--in theory. But only Harryhausen's films left me feeling mostly satisfied.
I re-watched the 82 Conan the other day and was as underwhelmed as in previous viewings.
A star-making role for Arnuld sure, but he comes across as a boring Conan.
And James Earl Jones was a dull bad guy.
I think it was a missed opportunity given the budget and resources. It wasnt REH's Conan. Or Marvel's Conan. If it was trying to be like a spaghetti western meets peplum I think it failed miserably. Conan didnt show the kind of intelligence or direction of the story that an Eastwood gunfighter had.I think it needed a better script, a little more Harryhausen fantasy spectacle-and that includes the casting of the women roles. Both Conan and Clash of the Titans (I mean the 81 version not the cinematic travesty vomited forth in 2010) had a princess chained to a pillar but one really outshines the other. Milius and DeLaurentis had an unusual definition of pretty I guess.
It left me with gigantic melancholies and tiny mirths.


The opening sequences where we see the forging of the sword and where young Conan is being told by father of the Giants stole the secret of Steel from the Gods it sets the tone of the film quite nicely. The film in some ways does catch he the feel of Conan and his world. for Conan enslavement, trials and tribulation and his quest for vengeance against Thulsa Doom could fit in with the mythos of Conan. The film had some really great sword fight and battle sequences The raid on Thulsa doom's stronghold Conan and companions quite exciting and the trap that Conan set for Thulsa doom and his henchmen The film did well enough a the box office to pave the way for a sequel. As for James Earl Jones , He turned in a very good performance as Thula Doom . And Arnold did a decent job or portraying Conan.

Edited by Rockamobile, 14 January 2012 - 09:21 PM.


#202 Ironhand

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:27 AM

What you say about the technical quality of CTB 82 may be true, but it does not fit in with the Conan mythos. The Clonan of CTB 82 behaves at almost every turn in a way inconsistent with REH's Conan. Arnold did a decent job of portraying a freed slave who was impersonating a famous warrior. I don't blame Arnold. He could not get outside that script. It is up to future writers and directors to get outside that script.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#203 godcipherdivine

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:52 PM

no way I'm going to read all these comments but I loved this movie. I appreciate how Conan take's Kull's sword in the tomb and towards the end of the movie ends up beating Kull's arch nemesis which he couldn't accomplish during the time that he lived. I thought it was real cool how they linked Kull and Conan together in a movie and YES the score is epic as it gets. My fav parts are when they infiltrate the mountain of power in that camouflage black and white paint as well as when Valeria saves Conan and then Conan break's his father's sword and defeats Rexor. Funny how the guy with a hammer had Thor in his name, lol. This movie is great, rented it on blue ray recently and saw the ending with the king's daughter for the first time ever, never saw that ending before which I thought was great, oh yeah...........and Valeria kicked ass in the movie.

#204 Rockamobile

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:54 PM

no way I'm going to read all these comments but I loved this movie. I appreciate how Conan take's Kull's sword in the tomb and towards the end of the movie ends up beating Kull's arch nemesis which he couldn't accomplish during the time that he lived. I thought it was real cool how they linked Kull and Conan together in a movie and YES the score is epic as it gets. My fav parts are when they infiltrate the mountain of power in that camouflage black and white paint as well as when Valeria saves Conan and then Conan break's his father's sword and defeats Rexor. Funny how the guy with a hammer had Thor in his name, lol. This movie is great, rented it on blue ray recently and saw the ending with the king's daughter for the first time ever, never saw that ending before which I thought was great, oh yeah...........and Valeria kicked ass in the movie.



I agree with all of this. :)

#205 mario

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 06:53 PM

the dvd /blu ray commentary in this movie is hilarious; they are so hammered!

#206 Lunatic

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

Hi, I thought I should start a general purpose opinion thread on Milius 1982 'Conan the Barbarian'.

Comments specifically regarding how CtB should have been different should go to the existing thread

'MILIUS FILM: How would you change it?'

'Milius Film: How would you change it?'


I loved this movie, but for all of it´s fun and coolness I would say it was a very diffrent Conan from the conancomics I used to read back then. Actually I would not change much it is a great fantasymovie based on Conan the barbarian.

#207 King of Aquilonia

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 07:46 PM

I never heard of Conan till the first movie came out. I didn't start reading Conan stories until after CtD came out. The Conan stories I did read were in the Ace series with the intermixed DeCamp pastiches etc thrown in on the side. I don't think I really knew Howard by name until much later. So for me it was a long slow road to reading any of Howard's (unmodified) work.
all that aside I've maintained a strong enjoyment of the Conan films as well as a growing appreciation for Howard's Conan and non Conan writings (Particularly El Borak) now many people have been ranting against the films and I understand their disappointment (even if I don't share it myself.) with all that in mind I thought I'd share a quote by Isaac Asimov that has been haunting me since I first heard of this vehement disregard for the films

"Movies have a special difficulty that books do not have. They have to deal with a much larger audience. If a book sells Five Thousand copies, it's viable. A movie has to sell Forty Million so to speak. Which means they CANNOT play for the minority the way a book can. In a book you can be pretty highbrow and figure, "Well there's about Five thousand people who'll like this." A movie has to hit, in some respects, the lowest common denominator."

Granted Asimov was focusing his comments on science fiction films in particular (His area of expertise) however, I think in most respects (in any genre not just Sci-Fi, Fantasy...etc) this statement holds true.

#208 Kortoso

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:55 PM

I agree; damn practical considerations. ;)

#209 Toadyking

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 05:57 AM

I do not mind that this movie Conan does not act like REH Conan, the rest of the world does have a taste of REH. Other than that looking at as a purely cinematic thing it did usher in the whole 80s sword and sorcery wave, countless copycats which were cheesy fun like the Ator, Beastmaster, Deathstalker legacies.

#210 TheDarkslayer

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 05:07 PM

In the 80's I thought the movie missed on so many marks. The hair, the eyes, the everything. But now that I am no longer in high school I have come to realize this movie is a brilliant work of art. I mean, this was made in 1982 and now, in 2012, movie makers don't come close to the quality of this film. The armor, weapons, landscapes was all just incredible. Not to mention the soundtrack by Basil Poderis. WOW! They couldn't remake this movie better if they tried. Everything was real and done as well as it could possibly be done back then.

I have an extended cut that is nice, but I'd love to have that on Blu-Ray if it is even out there.

As for as fantasy goes, It's Conan the Barbarian and LOR, but Conan is better on many detailed levels. Of course, I have to throw in The Sword and the Sorcerer as another one of my top fantasy flicks. Maybe it's nostalgia, but back then it was just a really gool flick.
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Favorite Conan Stories: The Black Stranger, Queen of the Black Coast ... (i'm going back and re-reading REH Conan) It's long over due.
Favorite Conan Artist: Ernie Chan

#211 Freebooter

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 09:00 PM

I always loved Conan with good ol Arnie. Like many, I did not like the stupid death of his village and his growing up a slave. We all know that never happened in REH's Conan. And I never understood why they did not make his hair black instead of that mousy brown. But other than that I thought he fit the bill, blue eyes, his build, and especially his accent! Many times REH mentioned that accent. But I loved the movie. While not the best, it was still a good Conan flick!
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What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die dogs--I was a man before I was a king!
---From The Road of Kings

#212 matt schott

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:06 PM

I love the original 1982 film watrs and all and created this project as a gift to all fans who feel the same.hope you enjoy.



#213 matt schott

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:07 PM

part 2   



#214 matt schott

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:08 PM

part 3 



#215 matt schott

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:08 PM

part 4   



#216 matt schott

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 07:09 PM

final   



#217 BarbaricBludgeoning

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 08:46 PM

Good work Matt i enjoyed that  :)



#218 guilalah

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 08:17 PM

Rewatched 'Conan the Barbarian' (1982) Christmas night.  William Smith was pretty memorable, given the brevity of his role. He suggested a lot more than we got to see, and made me feel as though, if I were a Cimmerian lad, I'd be lucky to have him as a father..  



#219 Toadyking

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Posted 27 December 2013 - 09:32 PM

It is a good movie if for the fact that it ushered in the lovable 80s sword and sorcery wave of deathstalkers, ators, beastmasters, barbarian women. I wonder what REH would have thought of cinema taking fervent hold of his world finally 40 years after him.



#220 Freebooter

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 01:07 AM

Guilalah, you said it well. I feel the same way. But while I did not like the capture and slavery crap of Conan's childhood as opposed to the truth (REH's stories), I over  looked that and still liked it a lot from the very beginning.

Freebooter!


What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die dogs--I was a man before I was a king!
---From The Road of Kings