Thirty Years Ago This Weekend, We Were Told of the Days of High Adventure

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!

Conan the Barbarian, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, came upon the world this weekend, 30 years ago.

I know for me it was a seminal moment, not only because I was a huge fan of the Conan stories (albeit the bastardized versions that were the only things then available), but also because this movie, with its serious tone and positively inspiring score by Basil Poledouri, really defined the fantasy genre for a lot of us impressionable young teens growing up in the 1980’s.

Yeah, looking back on it the acting isn’t that great. And it certainly isn’t by any stretch a faithful adaptation of the original REH stories, but it’s still a lot of fun. Movies like this, Hawk the Slayer, The Sword and the Sorcerer, and the Ralph Bakshi adaptation of the Lord of the Rings were movie fantasy back then, right at the heyday of the AD&D craze, and I can’t help but look back on this movie with fond memories.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

7 thoughts on “Thirty Years Ago This Weekend, We Were Told of the Days of High Adventure

  1. I was born in the late 80s, and didn't connect to fantasy role playing games until the 2003. Conan was not a part of my childhood or my teenage years.

    None the less, the original Conan the barbarian is one of the few films which really capture Dungeons and Dragons for me. It connects with the elements of the game without being hackneyed. And if other fantasy films are any indication, that's a difficult feat.

  2. I really enjoy that movie.

    I dvr'd the new one. I lasted about 25 minutes before I fell asleep.

    And I almost never fall asleep in front of the television.

  3. Conan the Barbarian is one of the few films I can watch over and over again and never get bored. Must've watched it thirty times or more during the last couple of years.

    In light of that, it was not very surprising to discover that the actual 30th anniversary of the film is tomorrow, May 14th, my birthday.

  4. I recall an entire Gygax column in The Dragon devoted to how little he liked the movie. It seemed very petty, even at the time. Great film.

  5. I agree. It's just an awesome, fun fantasy movie. And I own and adore all the proper Conan tales (as well as numerous other volumes of REH).

    Just pretend it's called "Fred the Barbarian", or whatever.

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