Conan the Barbarian is probably the greatest movie ever made. I recently rewatched it on Blu-Ray for the 11,000th time. The sheer bliss I experienced while watching all that cinematic sex and carnage led me to realize that this is probably the pinnacle of human creation. No one will ever make a piece of art more endearing, more inspiring than this film. So why is Conan the Barbarian the greatest movie ever made? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
1.) Sword Fighting – Whenever you include sword fighting, it ALWAYS improves the quality of your movie. Just try to think of one movie that wasn’t improved by sword fighting. You can’t. It doesn’t exist. A movie with sword fighting is going to be better than one without, every single time. Take a look at this picture from 500 Days of Summer.
It looks fine and all, but compare it to this picture from Conan the Barbarian.
The improvements are obvious. Clearly, the addition of the sword makes Conan the better film.
2.) Extreme Violence – If you are going to have sword fighting, than you better sure as hell have extreme violence. Blood is spurting across the screen from the moment you see the title screen until the minute the credits roll. Bad guys get chopped into pieces, and blood spurts out of their bodies like a garden hose. The bad guys in this movie appear to be extremely hypertensive. Conan was just trying to get their blood pressures down a little bit. He’s a thoughtful guy.
3.) Nudity – Nudity improves everything. There are so many naked chicks in this movie, I eventually lost count. Conan nails three girls within the first 30 minutes. After that the good times just keep on coming. One thing that was great about the 1980s, they knew what people really wanted. It’s a shame there isn’t more nudity in movies today. Filmmakers sure are getting prudish.
4.) Child Slavery – Conan gets sold into slavery in the beginning of the film. It’s the reason why he becomes such a strong, fearless warrior. He never would have been able to do all the fantastic things he did if he hadn’t become a slave.
5.) Pit Fighting – Two men get thrown into a pit and fight to the death. Only one man emerges alive. That man is always Conan. I sort of wish pit fighting was a legal sport. I’d much rather watch a gladiatorial deathmatch than a bunch of pansies trying to throw a ball through a hoop, and then bitching about how they aren’t getting paid enough. OH YOUR JOB IS SO DEMANDING. YOU GET PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PLAY A GAME FOR FIVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR! BOO FUCKING HOO! At least in pit fighting you know there aren’t any nancies like in every professional sport on the planet.
6.) Giant Snakes – Cool.
7.) People Who Turn into Snakes – Even cooler.
8.) Snake Arrows – James Earl Jones plays the villain in Conan. Any time you have Darth Vader in your movie, it is immediately going to be awesome. Compounding the awesomeness is Vader’s signature move, which is to turn regular snakes into poisonous arrows. Yeah, that’s right. He fires deadly snake arrows from a bow, and kills people with them. I know, I know, it blew my mind the first time I saw it, too. Goddamn, is there any part of Conan that isn’t completely awesome?
9.) Human Decapitations – See number 1 and number 2.
10.) Snake Decapitations – See number 1, number 2, and number 6.
11.) Torture – After Conan is captured by Darth Vader, he gets crucified. Yep, just like Jesus. But unlike Jesus, Conan doesn’t wimp out and die. Oh, no. He manages to stay alive long enough for his buddy Subotai to free him. My favorite part of the crucifixion scene is when a buzzard gets too close and Conan snaps its neck WITH HIS TEETH. Hells yeah!
12.) Sex / Orgies – See number 3. The best part about movies from the 1980s is that sex and nudity were rampant. Most movies would have one sex scene, and maybe a couple of flashes of tits. Raunchy comedies seemed to get away with a lot of topless girls running around. Conan has about a million sex scenes. Plus, it has a huge orgy scene. Conan, his lady friend Valeria, and Subotai infiltrate Darth Vader’s palace to rescue a princess. While they do, they sneak past a big old fashioned orgy. So many naked bodies writhing atop one another. Great stuff. The only thing I don’t get is why Conan didn’t get in on the action.
13.) Thievery – Be sure to watch Conan with as many young children as possible. It teaches them good values. One of those values would be the art of thievery. You don’t just smash your way in, kill people, and steal shit. No, you have to sneak your way in and steal shit. If you have to kill a giant snake or two in order to make your escape, then fine. Also, it’s OK to steal from people who murdered your entire village.
14.) Cannibalism – During the aforementioned orgy scene, people are partaking in a wonderful green stew made of humans. Soylent green is people! Similar to the addition of swords, the addition of cannibalism automatically makes anything better.
15.) Making Fun of Religion – Darth Vader’s cult is full of a bunch of flower-children. From the moment they appear on screen, these hippies are ridiculed by how idiotic they look and act. Conan infiltrates one of their gatherings by stealing a priest’s robe. (Also, the priest acts really gay.) But before he can enter, he must stare into a pool of water and declare what he sees within. Conan responds, “Uhh…infinity.” Which of course sounds like a good answer to the dumbass hippie, and she lets him in. I can’t think of a movie that better skewers cults and religion for being as stupid as they are than Conan the Barbarian.
16.) Drunken Debauchery – Everyone loves to get drunk. What better way is there to have fun AND avoid your problems? But for some reason, movies tend to only show the negative sides of alcohol. The booze hounds who have destroyed the lives of their loved ones. The rummies who have obliterated their livers and are on the verge of death. The alcoholics who lost it all and now live on the streets asking for unprotected gay sex just to get a sip of vodka. Geez. It’s like Hollywood doesn’t want us to drink at all. Here’s an example of a movie without drunken debauchery, Jane Eyre.
Boring. Now, check out some great drunken debauchery from Conan.
Conan the Barbarian shows us just how awesome getting drunk can be. Conan gets wasted and punches a camel. Conan gets wasted and meets some bawdy girls. Conan gets wasted and passes out face first in his soup. Conan gets wasted and gets arrested. Somehow Conan is able to simultaneously give us a realistic view of drinking, and glamorize it all at the same time. Incredible!
17.) Revenge – Every movie needs to have revenge of some kind. Conan’s story begins when Darth Vader rolls into town and massacres his entire village. He spends his entire life seeking revenge against the Dark Lord of the Sith. It’s what drives him. Sure, there is money, love, friendship and all that crap. But Conan’s true driving force is a blood-lust for revenge. It’s what propels him to gleefully kill hordes of bad guys in all kinds of incredible ways. It also makes Conan more human, as he struggles with grief and loss. Despite all the sex, murder, and mayhem, Conan himself is presented as a truly three-dimensional character. The human element underlying the stealing, orgies, and drunkenness is what allows this to be a great film.
Conan has other stuff that makes it great, too. It has a killer soundtrack. It has excellent pacing and directing. It has a very good story. It has a treasure trove of both badass and hilarious quotes. It is a complete package that most Hollywood movies can’t even come close to matching. These are all reasons why Conan the Barbarian is probably the greatest movie ever made.
Remember what is best in life, my friends, “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”