Mongol General: Conan, what is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!
In 1982, the hero of Robert E. Howard's novels, Conan, finally made it's way into the theatres of the world, faithful to the original. Directed by John Milius, written by Oliver Stone and produced by D. Constantine Conte and Dino De Laurentiis, the character was perfectly portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. But apart from the perfectly cast lead, there were other memorable appearances as well, such as Max von Sydow (aka Ming the Merciless) as King Osric, Sandahl Bergman as Valeria and of course James Earl Jones ("I am your father, Luke" and "This is CNN!") as Thulsa Doom, one of the most memorable villains in movie history. The film was a success, mostly because of the perfect cast, but also because of the plot, the best swordfights to date and big budget settings and the set of characters: Wizards, Rogues, Barbarians, Clerics (albeit evil) and Fighters. It was and is one of the first fantasy movies the roleplaying crowd and regular moviegoers alike could really relate to...
The Wizard: Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And onto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!
When his mother and father are killed in a raid by the evil sorcerer Thulsa Doom, Conan is sent to a slave camp. As the years pushing the wheel of pain pass, he develops into a powerful man, and is discovered aqs a slave gladiator. When he is freed by his master, now skilled in the fighting art as well, he sets out to avenge his parents' death and solve the riddle of steel.
Conan's Father: No one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.
(Points to sword)
Conan's Father: But this... this you can trust.
He is joined in his journeys by the Mongol thief Subotai (Gerry Lopez) and the thief queen Valeria. They are asked by King Osric (Max von Sydow) to bring back his daughter, who turns out to be captured by Thulsa Doom's snake cult. Conan recognizes their symbol as the one the killers of his family bore, so he decides to enter the stronghold of Thulsa Doom and exact his revenge. But as we gamers know, a dungeon is not to be taken lightly, and Conan will have to work before finally confronting Thulsa Doom (Gotta love that name), and solving the riddle of steel.
Conan: Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, and why we died. All that matters is that today, two stood against many. Valor pleases you, so grant me this one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, the HELL with you!
Thulsa Doom: Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they learn why they fear the night.
Before this movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the austrian muscle-man, was not yet known for his acting ability, but relied on his looks to land movie roles. In Hercules in New York, they even dubbed his voice. But with this film Schwarzenegger's image began to change and improve from just the muscle man towars the action star we know today. Conan put Arnold on the road to stardom.
Schwarzenegger had to tone down his workout, as his muscles were so big that he couldn't wield a sword properly. This was also the reason he and Bergman had to do their own stunts: there were no doubles that resembled them closely enough as not to be noticed on camera.
Speaking of Arnold and Sandahl: Although Conan and Valeria are shown together frequently throughout the movie, he only speaks five words to her in the entire film, and those are all in the first thirty seconds after they meet: "You're not a guard", and "No". Barbarians in love seem to prefer actions to words...
Basil Poledouris created an epic soundtrack worthy of the saga. It's heavy, but strong, carries power and supplements the film nicely. However, did you know that in one piece of the soundtrack, the choir sings only two words over and over again? Those two words are: Basil Poledouris! Talk about ego!
The fake blood used in the film came in the form of a concentrate which had to be mixed with water prior to use. Due to the cold weather, it was mixed with vodka (as an anti-freeze) instead. In the scenes in which the actors were supposed to spit the blood, they would swallow it instead, then go back to the special effects man for more.
Thulsa Doom: Infidel Defilers. They shall all drown in lakes of blood.
Part II: Conan the Destroyer; Part III: King Conan.