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
  • Audience Score

common sense

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


- 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,, Monday, May 14, 2007


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

Audience Reviews

4 stars

John Millius' action fantasy film Conan the Barbarian is a thrilling film. The film has its imperfections, which I will get into in just a moment, but for the most part the film is very exciting and is pure fun, if you can forgive its flaws. The films weakness is in the dialogue delivery, and some bits of the dialogue are very cheesy, but in the end, who cares? Conan the Barbarian is a fun action fantasy film based on the comic book character of the same name. The film steadily builds up to a terrific action packed climax. The film story is interesting, but it does lack a bit of substance. However it makes up for it with the action scenes. Conan the Barbarian is a flawed film, but it's also the type of film that you need to shut off your brain to enjoy. If you get past the somewhat cheesy dialogue and ridiculous scenes, then you might actually enjoy this. Conan the Barbarian is meant to be a mindless action film, and it most certainly is that. The film has a comic book feel that comes across very nicely and this is a fine action film. The film lacks effective dialogue, but the film makes up for it with an interesting storyline. John Mlius' directing keeps the film moving at a steady pace, and keeps you interested for the first hour of the film due to stunning visuals, and the story itself. Many viewers have stated that the story is almost nonexistent However, I beg to differ, and I think that the story though not very elaborate still has some merit. For all its faults, Conan the Barbarian is an action classic. This film is the type of action picture that you need to simply shut off your mind to enjoy to the film boasts some impressive action sequences and John Milius has crafted a fine action film based on the Pulp comic character. A fun ride.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Monday, August 29, 2011

3 stars

Although it may have the classic 80's feel and the bloody action is very impressive for it's time, the story seems a little unoriginal and the outcome is very cliche. The acting here is very average and the characters are hard to believe. As Conan is on a trail with two partners to rescue a kings daughter, they seem to find many troubles along the way. To me they just seem like excuses to make an action sequence; However, the action is cool to watch and as cliche as it may be, the story is not unwatchable. It is definitely just another average action/adventure flick but I had some fun with it. Conan: The Barbarian is easily forgettable.

- fb733768972, Friday, August 19, 2011

1 star

Conan the Barbarian plays almost like a silent film. It's got a loud, booming, choir orchestra playing through the entire picture. There's barely any dialogue. The entire film moves sluggishly through scene after scene, this soundtrack loudly playing. It pauses briefly to allow for some inept dialogue that doesn't enhance anything about the story before carrying on. The music isn't particularly good either. It never once sets the mood or tone for the scene. Instead, it makes the film play out like an extended music video for the Symphony Orchestra. My biggest problem with this film is that it isn't really about anything. There's some talk of Conan's plot to revenge the death of his family. However, the film incoherently follows Conan's life as if it were some kind of epic. But the casting of Arnold Schwarzennegger is perfect only in a physical sense, not in the actor's range to communicate any emotion. Yes, I know it's an Arnold movie, and character depth is secondary to violence, but.....there's barely even any action. And the action is severely dated; poorly choreographed with obvious continuity errors and actors throwing blood packs on themselves. The film attempts to be more of a pulp epic fantasy but only turns out to be an epic failure. The script contains the biggest screenwriting flaw in that a narrator recites the entire film. Why? It doesn't create any sense of a legend or mythology for the character. It distances us so much from what is going on that it is impossible to care about anything that happens. Laughable sex scenes, painstakingly long scenes of characters doing nothing, no character depth, and no plot. It actually takes over forty five minutes just to set up the so called revenge narrative. There is nothing of value in this movie.

- MovieGeek13, Saturday, May 7, 2011