These days, Arnold Schwarzenegger is best known for starring in high-octane action-adventure films, filling in potholes across Southern California, and serving as a former Governor of the Golden State. Of course, long before he had established himself as a household name, the Terminator actor appeared in a number of classic films, highlighting his incredible physique, bodybuilding skills, and hulking figure. One such film, 1982’s Conan The Barbarian is currently available to stream on Netflix until the end of October.
Conan the Barbarian is currently scheduled to leave the streamer forever as of October 31st, providing Netflix subscribers with a brief window to view the classic before having to scramble to purchase a physical copy or find the movie elsewhere.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in Conan the Barbarian which is set to leave Netflix at the end of October.
The film serves as a cult classic largely credited with launching Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s career as a leading man, taking a great deal of inspiration from a number of iconic Japanese films of the early to mid-twentieth century.
Executives had reportedly been trying to make the film for years before properly securing the capital necessary to begin production, with Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox finally signing on to produce once Schwarzenegger was confirmed to star.
John Milius wrote and directed Conan the Barbarian following his success from penning such films as Apocalypse Now and Clint Eastwood‘s Magnum Force. The film was based on the fictional sword and sorcery hero first created by American pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard in 1932, who would go on to appear in dozens of written works by the author.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger version of Conan the Barbarian was based on the character created by American pulp fiction writer Robert E. Howard in 1932
In the film, Arnold Schwarzenegger performed nearly all of his own stunts, including those that called for the use of a pair of custom-forged swords, clocking in at a cost of over $10,000 each.
The film follows Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan, the barbarian son of a local blacksmith who instills within him a deep love and resonance of weaponry and the importance of good virtue. After the village is raided by a band of raiders, led by a young James Earl Jones’ Thulsa Doom, Conan’s father is murdered, and the children of the village are taken as slaves.
Conan grows up to become a massive gladiator, winning numerous fights against man and beast alike, and eventually earning his freedom from the warlords who captured him.
Newly free and without a purpose, Conan The Barbarian travels the lands eventually coming across an ancient sword, a prophetic witch, and a young archer who feeds himself by stealing from local encampments.
Following the visions of the witch and the direction of the thief, Conan sets out to locate and destroy Thulsa Doom, decimating and looting one of his camps in the process. Unfortunately, Conan is captured and tortured by Doom’s men, who order his crucifixion.
Facing certain death, Conan the Barbarian is miraculously healed by spiritual powers wielded from a local wizard, affording him the ability to attempt to take down Doom once and for all. With the support of his newfound community of rag-tag friends, Conan faces off against Doom and his army of raiders, resulting in an epic climax that rivals the heart-thumping action of a modern Marvel film.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian was met with mixed reviews at the time of its release
Despite the cult status the film holds today, Conan the Barbarian was met with mixed reviews at the time of its release, as currently reflected by its 67 percent critic score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes.
Regardless, the film served as a massive financial success, bringing in somewhere between $70 million and $80 million at the worldwide box office against an estimated $20 million production budget. The film received a sequel, titled Conan The Destroyer 2 years later, with both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Makoto Iwamatsu reprising their roles from the first film.
A planned third installment in the Conan the Barbarian series was written in the mid-1980s, though Arnold Schwarzenegger had become a massive star, contractually obligated to a host of other projects such as Predator and the Terminator franchise.
The third film eventually entered into development hell, and was ultimately scrapped and reworked for other projects in the works at the studio. Plans to return to the franchise with a legacy sequel continue to pop up every now and again to this day, with Arnold Schwarzenegger expressing interest in returning to the Conan the Barbarian character, though no active projects in the series are currently in development.
If you’re looking for an action-packed sword and sorcery film that wowed audiences and baffled critics, Conan the Barbarian may just be the film for you. Conan The Barbarian is available to stream on Netflix until October 31.