Friends, welcome to a new episode of the Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast – this time I will be discussing 1982’s epic sword and sorcery film Conan the Barbarian. The feature film that was directed by John Milius and helped to catapult Arnold Schwarzenegger into international fame as the film embodiment of Robert E. Howard’s most famous literary creation – Conan of Cimmeria. Just a heads up about this particular episode – there was a lot of info I felt needed to be shared so it runs a little longer than one of my standard podcasts. But it’s had to condense all of the fascinating facts and anecdotes that went into making Conan the Barbarian such a classic film. Before we dive straight into this show, here is something I am quite excited to share with you all, for this episode I was fortunate enough to be able to provide an advance copy to Arnold Schwarzenegger himself… who sent me back this message.
In this show I reveal just how long Conan the Barbarian took to reach the big screen – all the recognizable names behind the scenes that were at one time or another attached to the picture. In addition I made sure to give a little bit of backstory on the works of Robert E. Howard that were used in the 1982 big screen adaptation – such as Sandahl Bergman’s character of Valeria originating in the 1936 novella of Howard’s entitled Red Nails. I also used some facts taken from this excellent 2015 article from io9’s Abhimanyu Das – definitely a worthy read if you want even more behind the scenes information on how the Conan the Barbarian film came to be.
I’ve made sure to talk about the actors who made Conan the Barbarian stand out as well as Director John Milius – but I couldn’t tackle this particular film and not discuss the incredible music by Basil Poledouris. The master composer – who sadly passed away in 2006 was also responsible for the scores for such films as Robocop, The Hunt for the Red October, and Iron Eagle to name a few. While I didn’t mention it in this show I have to go on record as saying three of the scores he crafted rank in my top ten of all time.