Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Conan the Barbarian (1982) at 40

The barbarian triumphant... and contemplative.

My latest post is up on DMR Books. Conan the Barbarian at 40 (can it really have been 40 years)? It seems like just yesterday I watched it for the first time, peering through my fingers as my old man fell asleep on the couch. I entered a rough and violent world, one that spoke to me like very few films have ever managed to do, before or since.

I'll be honest, I think this film is genius. Not flawless, but a work of true inspiration. John Milius put a lot of love and ideas and care into this film, and an uncompromising vision. Sure, he took a lot of liberties with REH's character, but I maintain that if you dissociate the film protagonist from the literary figure, and enjoy it as a Howard-inspired sword-and-sorcery film, you can't help but be moved.

Anyways, hop over to DMR, read the post, and let me know what you think. Love or hate CtB, I always enjoy talking about the film.

By the way I mention near the end of the post that I recently re-read the novelization of the film by DeCamp and Carter. This did not hold up, and probably deserves a post of its own at some point. Stick with the movie.


Anonymous said...

I also love this movie, ever since I saw it on VHS as a kid. Blew my mind!

Clearly a labor of love, and as you say, and uncompromising vision. The movie makes sense on it's own (it presents a well crafted secondary world and has something to say about masculinity, self improvement, the hero's youney). Howard would probably have liked many things about this movie. Of course it takes more from Howard's Kull than Conan, but it carries on the tradition of works like Jack London's The Sea Wolf taht inspired Howard.

It also laid down a visual style that endures in fantasy art and really helped to make Sword & Sorcery very popular. Clearly a seminal work. I don't think works like Valhalla Rising or The North Man would exist without Milliu's Conan.

All in all the movie is still a great experience. My sons were very impressed by it.

Greetings from Chile,

George Seal

Brian Murphy said...

Good stuff George! Thanks for stopping by from far-flung Chile.

Interesting take on the Sea Wolf... there is something to London's ├╝bermensch Wolf Larsen and what we see in the philosophy of this film and the ascended final Conan.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Jack London was Howard's favorite author. But I don't know if John Millius was inspired by him.

George Seal