Box art for Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

action & adventure


Through the history of mankind, the times that are most recorded in mythology and song are those of great deeds and fantastic adventures. Such a time was the Hyborean Age. Such a tale is the story of Conan The Barbarian.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    77%
  • Audience Score
    75%

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 16
Consumerism
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Language
0 out of 5
Sex
4 out of 5
Violence
4 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5

Raunchier and bloodier than you remember.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that -- even though Conan is a star in his own long-running series of Marvel Comics books -- there's R-level sex and bloodshed in the form of sword impalings, torture, dog attacks, bloody axings, and gladiatorial beat-downs (even of animals). There's female nudity, too, as a young, enslaved Conan is "bred" with unwilling females like cattle and enjoys a very physical relationship with his love interest, a beautiful thief. Not that most viewers will notice amidst the hard-R content, but the movie also contains some anti-religious themes.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the character of Conan, and what makes him ostensibly a good guy in this violent, brutish landscape. Also, why do you think that this incarnation of Conan is clearly made for adults and not for the ages who enjoyed the comic book series? Do you think this would be a compelling story without the hard-R content? Were you aware of some of the anti-religious themes (specifically a quote from Nietzsche), and why do you think they were included in a movie like this one?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh:

- Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly, Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fresh: When it comes to the great lines (and mottos) of cinema, it doesn't get much better than this.

- Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com, Monday, May 14, 2007

Fresh:

- Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

2 stars

The first film to get Arnie on the way to the man he is today, and the first of three very similar fantasy flicks. Based on a pulp comic character from the 30's this film franchise turned the idea on its head and into a cult spanning many different formats and influencing other fantasy films, it also helped some videogames along the way. The plot is simple, 'Conan' is taken from his family who have been conveniently killed by a band of nasty warriors dressed in black. He is put into slavery and made to do hard labour for the rest of his foreseeable future. The torturous slavery makes 'Conan' big and strong despite the apparent lack of decent food, nutrients, fishfingers or milk. He eventually is sold into gladiatorial fighting where he becomes a brilliant battler and swordsman and wins his freedom. From there on he's off to avenge his families death, as you do. Obvious premise but its an old film folks. Yes the film is old, back in 82 things were different, what you see now when watching is a horribly cliched, predictable, hammy, semi cheap looking mess, but back then it was fresh...ish. All the bad guys wear black and look a bit camp with their wigs and handlebar moustaches, you wonder why exactly these groups of bad guys always attack and kill helpless useless peasants, what's in it for them? why they always leave one kid alive to grow up and take revenge on them?? and what is James Earl Jones character actually up to? what's his goal? his plans? why do all those people follow him? etc... Yeah I know I'm being picky, it matters not really, the film is old and all these barbarian films are pretty much the same, its all about the spectacle and fantasy right. This first film is definitely more adult than the rest, lots of blood splashing about with limbs being hacked off hehe good stuff. Yet despite that there isn't too much action really, more character development surprisingly and what action there is has some nice effects too, nice snake work and some nice animated spirits also. To be honest I've actually always preferred the original 'Beastmaster' film over 'Conan'. There a few nice moments in this but really its pretty tepid, if only 'The beastmaster' starred Arnie. And what the hell was that huge wheel thing 'Conan' pushes for half his life suppose to be? a mill? a well? or merely for torture? a plan that backfired for 'Thulsa Doom' methinks. In the end the final teasing image and narration about 'King Conan' is actually far more interesting and intriguing than the film that preceded it.

- phubbs1, Saturday, March 9, 2013

4 stars

oddly, I almost feel as if this film has improved with age. It has a haunting atmosphere and is set in a perfect fantasy like world. I would have loved a fuller, longer franchise of these films to see what other sorts of adventures the characters would have explored. solid action.

- sanjurosamurai, Sunday, June 16, 2013

2 stars

I found this film to be pretty damn mediocre and very boring for the most part. Red Sonja was more fun to watch than this.

- FilmFanatik, Sunday, February 14, 2010