Universal Pictures | Release Date: May 14, 1982
8.0
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Generally favorable reviews based on 154 Ratings
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FilipeNetoApr 10, 2022
This is one of those movies that leaves me not knowing what to think. On the one hand, it has become very popular and has a legion of fans, but the truth is that it looks like an extremely dated film and an extraordinary surrender to kitsch,This is one of those movies that leaves me not knowing what to think. On the one hand, it has become very popular and has a legion of fans, but the truth is that it looks like an extremely dated film and an extraordinary surrender to kitsch, with those costumes and props of somewhat dubious taste, fanciful and inspired by the original comics created by Robert E. Howard.

The screenplay, written based on the original stories, takes place in an uncertain time in Antiquity, and begins with the massacre of a town or village by a group of warriors. A child, Conan, is taken as a slave and grows up as such, acquiring enormous stamina and strength at the expense of hard work. He thus becomes a bounty fighter and learns to kill. When he is free, he finds the path that leads him to a quest for revenge against those who massacred his family and took his freedom. Personally, I can't swallow the way this film (like the source material) chews up the past and creates a completely strange space-time reality, where Neolithic elements intersect with medieval props and creations invented for the film, such as the sword of Conan. The construction of the characters, the writing of the dialogues, the conception of the story, everything leaves something to be desired and reveals itself to be average and poor.

If there's anyone for whom this movie was important, it's Arnold Schwarzenegger. This actor, now renowned, had his first big box office success in this film, and a job that opened the door to other films, particularly "Terminator". And in fact, the actor lived up to what was asked of him (it wasn't much, because his character is basically a muscular animal driven by anger and without any dramatic depth) and his work is the determining point for the success of the film. To be frank, seeing the way he manages, being aware of the relevance the film has had to his career, is the only plausible reason to see it. James Earl Jones also appears here and is the only actor capable of effectively playing a character, but he doesn't have much to do, appears little and seems to be out of his element and uncomfortable with the character.

On a technical level, the film has an effective direction by John Millius and good cinematography, which makes good use of the filming locations. The sets and costumes, apart from any matter of personal taste, were well executed and look realistic. The biggest technical problem I've noticed is the primitive special effects and visuals, some of them shockingly obvious like the extra who, to simulate the swing of a sword, takes his hand to his shoulder, strategically placing a bag of fake blood that breaks out. The action scenes are the film's strong point and are heavily staged and theatrical, but they work and are somehow genuine. The film also has an atmosphere that leads us to think that it has given itself too much importance, something that the heroic soundtrack emphasizes and reinforces, which ends up being comical in itself.
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