Even though Conan the Barbarian is the first movie, I saw this long after I had seen Conan the Destroyer. Conan and Arnold Schwarzenegger were huge heroes of mine as a kid. Conan in many ways felt like a real-life He-Man (way before Dolph Lundgren’s portrayal) which is probably one of the reasons I gravitated toward him as a kid.
How to Download Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian was released on May 14, 1982. You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. I
The Movie Review
Swords and sorcery have always been something that I have loved and now that I think about it, He-Man is probably a big reason for that. My relationship with the Conan movies is kind of funny as I did not know that Conan the Barbarian was a thing for many years. I watched Conan the Destroyer with my dad many times, but he never once mentioned this movie!
Unique Aspects of Conan the Barbarian
Clearly, the reason for that was the more XXX stuff that this has which was lacking in the sequel. This is an epic 80s fantasy movie that when you watch it in tandem with its sequel is quite shocking how much more violent and bloody it is. We get to see Conan as a child in this movie.
Conan’s Tragic Origin
Conan lives peacefully with his parents, but that peace is shattered when the evil raiders that are led by the snake-like Thusa Doom destroy his home and kill his parents! If that was not bad enough, Conan is then raised as a child slave for many years! By the way, seeing James Earl Jones as a villain like this is never going to be something that I do not get a kick out of.
Conan grows up to become strong and he eventually becomes a gladiator and earns his freedom. Conan eventually meets a brave archer called Subotai and they then come across a powerful female warrior called Valeria. The trio embark on a quest that seems them get a lot of loot, but they are soon captured by the King’s guards and the King has a quest for them.
The King’s Daughter and the Final Quest
Turns out that the King’s daughter, Princess Yasimina has been taken by Thusa Doom and is part of his cult and he wants Conan and his friends to go and get her back. Subotai and Valeria want no part of this so Conan goes alone and ends up near death, but he is brought back by a wizard called Akiro.
With his friend by his side and after being brought back from near death, Conan embarks on a final quest to destroy Doom and get his revenge. This is a fun fantasy-style story that is much more serious and darker than the sequel. I am sure that is a reason why those who saw this first prefer this movie. Hey, I love this movie too, but if I had to pick between the two, Conan the Destroyer is going to win every time.
I think for a movie from 1982, Conan the Barbarian holds up pretty well. The practical effects and the sets have a real 80s charm about them which I love. Like the sequel, I really wish that this would get a 4K release! It was talked about a while back, but unfortunately, nothing has come of it as of me writing this. This is an absolute 80s classic and a movie that I feel everyone needs to have seen at least once.
- This is certainly more adult than its sequel which I am sure many people will like
- It is easy to see why this is still regarded as one of the best 80s action movies
- I actually like the love story between Conan and Valeria
- The practical effects and the sets still look good
- I prefer the more “fun” tone that the sequel has
- Someone really needs to get to work on a 4K restoration of this movie!