Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 fantasy (sword and sorcery) film directed by John Milius and written by Oliver Stone. Based on Robert E. Howard’s character, the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Earl Jones. It’s the story of the barbarian warrior Conan who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents by the hands of Thulsa Doom, the leader of a bloody snake cult.
Filming took place in Spain over five months in the regions around Madrid and the province of Almería. The sets, designed by Ron Cobb, were based on Dark Age cultures and Frank Frazetta’s paintings of Conan. The editing process took over a year, and several violent scenes were cut out.
Conan the Barbarian premiered on March 16, 1982 in Spain and May 14, in North America. The film received mixed reviews from critics, mainly positive for its action sequences, production design, directing, visual style, and effects, but negatively received for its violent content and screenwriting. Despite this, the film became a commercial success, grossing more than $68.9 million at box offices against its budget of only $20 million.
The film earned Schwarzenegger worldwide recognition. In the years following its release, it became a cult film, and its success spawned a sequel, titled Conan the Destroyer (1984).