Conan the Barbarian (1982)


A well-structured, lovingly-crafted sword and sorcery flick. Arnold Schwarzenegger, limited as he may be, was born for this role and Basil Poledouris’ score is among the best ever recorded for film. Writer/director John Milius seems rushed at times, but some scenes are extraordinarily polished. I love the first half-hour most of all. The death of Conan’s mother could not be done better. It’s all at once surprising, frightening and moving. James Earl Jones’ silent glare in that scene is pretty bone chilling. The transition into adulthood is also superbly conveyed via the ‘Wheel of Pain’ sequence. The last half of the movie is not quite as good as the first, but the finale is satisfying (and bloody) enough to bring it all together. Perfect viewing for a Saturday afternoon. With Max von Sydow, Sandahl Bergman, and Mako.

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