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4.6 out of 5 stars
215
4.6 out of 5 stars
Conan the Barbarian [1981] [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£3.55+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 11 August 2017
This is a review for Conan Le Barbare - Édition Prestige (2 Disc) [DVD].

Thanks to the Amazon reviewer who stated that this version lacks the BBFC cuts that are so obviously present in the special edition DVD I now, finally, have a decent copy of this film.

The main reason I noticed the cuts in the first place is the music in those particular scenes had obvious notes missing.

Now, I became aware of Robert E. Howard's Conan The Cimmerian as a child through Marvel Comics "The Savage Sword Of Conan" and then went on to collect all the Sphere novels - even those not written by REH. I was definitely hooked on the characters and world Howard had created. So, as you can imagine, I was thrilled when it was announced that a film was going to be made. I never did see it at the cinema, but I did own a copy of the trailer on Super 8. When I did get to see the movie in its entirety (thanks to VHS) I had certain reservations concerning its interpretation (which I will not go into here).

Anyway, this film is still far and away superior to the recent Jason Momoa remake/reboot/reimagining/ which felt more like a cheap television movie. The John Milius/Arnold Schwarzenegger film has a more epic quality. Expansive locations, huge sets and a cast of, possibly, thousands (the followers of Thulsa Doom)!

Film ratio is 2.35:1. Audio is DD 5.1. Picture quality is a little grainy in places. Sound quality is very good.

The late Basil Poledouris (he left us far too soon) wrote the memorable score which is one of the best film scores ever written. Buy the soundtrack (I did).

There is a commentary track on the main feature disc with the director, John Milius and star, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The extras disc has documentaries, photo gallery, trailers, etc.

Conan really needs to be made into an adults only tv series by Showtime or Starz and shot the way 300 or Spartacus: Blood & Sand was to give it that otherworldly look. Also, use Howard's stories!
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VINE VOICEon 30 November 2012
Before CGI allowed filmmakers to cheaply create any fantasy world they can think of fantasy films had to rely on real locations, practical effects, and deep imagination to bring those worlds to life before the camera rather than in post-production. It may not be bestowed with Oscars, but Conan The Barbarian is just as classy as Ben Hur and more brutal than Gladiator.

In an almost wordless set-up, a young Conan is orphaned by the androgynous warlord Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and dragged off to some kind of weird labor camp where children are exploited and punished, kinda like a primitive version of Disneyland Paris. Years go by and Conan grows up into a huge, bloated and bulging muscle-bound killing machine.

At this point, he is used as a money-making tool by his captors, who set up death matches with other killing machines. Soon, he becomes the most honored fighter in the land, so his captors set him free as he can win no more tournaments. In the opening act alone we see him transition from innocent child, to orphan, slave, gladiator, warrior, adventurer, and thief.

He has a hard time surviving on his own until he finds a special sword, makes a new best friend in Subotai (Gerry Lopez) and finds a girlfriend in Valeria (Sandahl Bergman). Together, they live the high life of barbarians, mainly involving robbing, grunting, and clubbing people. All goes well until Conan makes it his personal quest to go after Thulsa Doom for revenge.

James Earl Jones appears threatening, even though he doesn't even look like the kind of guy who would say boo to a goose. Imagine Oprah Winfrey in Hells Angels biker gear and you'll have an accurate description of Thulsa Doom. He's not a totally formidable foe for Conan in the larger-than-life sense, but psychologically he's a scary dude.

Schwarzenegger does a great job. There really is only one person in the world who could play Conan, as sympathetic and brutal as he is, and Arnie definitely pulls it off, in this, his first major starring role. Of course, there is not much acting going on - he says only five words to Valeria in the whole movie - but it's all about physical presence, rather than thespianism. Most of the dialogue is unspoken. Conan was brought up to be a killing machine, but he learns humanity through feeling his own mortality.

Producer Dino De Laurentiis, a veteran movie-maker, brought a whole load of money to give Conan a massive scale. John Milius stages some h-u-g-e scenes, with excellent production values, and his cinematographer Duke Callaghan uses widescreen framing brilliantly. The gore and violence is on a par with Paul Verhoeven and is so frequent that after a while it becomes almost comical. Basil Poledouris, who wrote wonderful music for RoboCop and many others, creates a truly majestic score that is absolutely spellbinding.

As a tribute to Robert E. Howard's pulp hero, as a stand-alone movie, as an Arnie vehicle and cult picture, Conan is now almost a classic. Sure, there are faults, but you'll be too damn entertained to care.

The Blu-ray features a 2.35:1 1080p picture that is far superior to the utterly terrible DVD from years ago. The DTS HD-MA sound is loud and aggressive, and all of the features from said DVD have been ported over, as well as the usual Universal online extras.
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on 10 June 2017
It's crazy that we have to get US release editions to get the actual original versions. British censorship, had cut the more memorable scenes from both movies. All UK releases on DVD and Bluray are cut.

Times gave changed, banned movies from this period are now re-released and legal. I can't see any reason why the US release is not re-released here as a definitive version.

These multi region discs work in the UK, nothing to worry about there. I haven't had chance to watch either in all their glory for longer than I care to remember. I'm definitely looking forward to enjoying these 2 good action movies again.
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on 28 August 2017
The original and the best, far better than the recent remake. Very young Arnie flexes his muscles fighting evil, and loosing the love of his Conan life. Great film highly recomended
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on 31 December 2016
Brought for my husband for Christmas to add to his ever growing blu ray collection...he was very pleased to open this on Christmas day..Absolute bargain..fast delivery,well packaged..Great purchase
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on 14 September 2017
No matter how many times I watch this film, I still find it great entertainment, pure fantasy, high action. Highly recommended.
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on 21 May 2017
Its Arnie as Conan, very dated but absolutely does what it says on the tin
Smile the carnage away
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on 13 June 2014
a boy conan sees his parents murdered at the hands of a war chief,his village burned he is first forced to push a granary stone,then to fight to the death in competitions to the death,after many years he is released meets new friends and a love and goes in search of revenge,some good special effects in this,a good film
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on 3 March 2017
proper classic films and brilliant to watch :) dont make films like that anymore :)
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on 14 October 2017
great dvd to add to my dvd collection been after this for ages thank you
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