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Conan the Barbarian: The Official Motion Picture Adaptation review



The Conan the Barbarian screenplay adaptation from 1982 is back in print! What!? Crom listened? Yes!

By L. Sprague de Camp, his wife Catherine Crook de Camp and Lin Carter 

Foreword by L. Sprague de Camp

A movie novelisation based on a screenplay by John Milius and Oliver Stone

Also available Unabridged on audiobook read by Bradford Hastings 

Also available in Portuguese: ISBN-13: 9786554481540 
Conan o Bárbaro – Novelização Oficial do Filme


Spoilers! Spoilers! 


King Conan is know as Conan the Great.
Kallias of Shamar is our narrator from southern Aquilonia, instead of Akiro, the Wizard of the Mounds.
Corin the smith, Conan's father, masters the secret of steel from the Atlanteans.
The father sword's pommel resembles the hooves of an elk, its grip is wrapped with string made from the intestines of forest tigers.
Mystic rites are performed to make the Cimmerian sword INVINCIBLE.

Conan's father beheads a Vanir raider from Vanaheim and kills a horse.
Maeve, Conan's mother, kills several Vanir and their hounds.
Nine year old Conan prays to Crom.
Maeve reminds Conan that Crom is not a god of humankind.
Arrows and vicious dogs kill Conan's father.
Conan kills a rider.
The Cimmerians surrender but not Conan's mother.
It's "Commander" Rexor.
Conan's mom cuts the hand of a Vanir.
A deformed beast-man appears.
Doom has a serpent’s gaze.
Conan's mother's head has a dreamy-eyed look of fascination. A scene attempted with an animatronic head but abandoned.
Conan tries to kill Doom.

The Wheel of Pain in Thrudvang is a millstone that grinds grain that will be used to make delicious Vanir bread.
Conan cries a single tear. LOL!
Conan learns Vannish, Aquilonian and Nemedian.
A plague kills everyone still powering the Wheel of Pain except Conan.
Toghrul, pit fighter master from Hyrkania, buys Conan.
Uldin, the Hyrkanian trains Conan for the pit.

Junga the pit fighter is from Lin Carter’s People of the Dragon and Pillars of Hell (Renegade Swords - ISBN-13: 978-1733408646). 
Conan kills a Hyperborean woman in the pit, a scene filmed but cut.
Conan is sent to Valamo to learn swordsmanship from Oktar, another Hyrkanian.

The best of life reply from Conan is much less satisfying.

Conan is put in the Kolari cave prison to be displayed as an animal.
A high ranking woman pays for Conan's services.
An earthquake frees Conan from his prison as seen in the comic adaptation.
Conan refuses to pull Toghrul out of a ground fissure. The crack kills the pit master on the next tremor.
Conan gets a bearskin cloak from a dead Hyrkanian warrior. 
The wolves rip his cloak.
Conan gets his sword from the giant skeletal warrior sitting in the burial cavern.
Conan utters the war cry of the Cimmerians and it's answered by another war cry.
The skeleton comes alive and Conan destroys it.
He kills three wolves, skins them to make his iconic wolf skin cloak and eats them.
The witch/werewoman has a disturbing shadow, she foresees Conan's crucifixion. 
Conan uses one of Uldin's wrestling tricks to free himself from the witch's grip.
Conan frees Subotai, a Hyrkanian of the Kerlait tribe.
Conan and Subotai find clothes that fit them, a pendant and weapons inside the witch’s cave.
Subotai knows the road to Zamora.

The Four Winds discussion goes further than in the film.
Why they never stole horses? Conan doesn't know how to ride. LOL!

Conan and Subotai find a dying man. This was filmed but cut.
The cult of Set procession was filmed but cut, but does appear in the comic adaptation.
Conan finds the brainwashed high priestess of Set: Princess Yasimina of Shadizar, daughter of King Osric, desirable.
The procession enters the citadel of Set aka The Tower of the Black Serpent, inside we will find the jewel, called the Eye of the Serpent aka the Eye of Set.

Subotai is a druggie he buys some Black Lotus.
Conan now penniless, sells his stolen pendant and gets swindled.

Subotai uses spikes to climb the tower, not the rope. 
Conan is attacked by a scaly beast-thing creature with a third eye. A Tower Troll monster was created for this very scene, but was it actually filmed?
Valeria steals some jewels encrusted in the battlements. This was filmed but cut.

Instead of Rexor we get a thousand years old giant named Yaro, next in rank after Thulsa.
Conan suggests killing the giant sleeping snake, Subotai says no.
Conan picks up a Set medallion.   
Subotai shoots multiple arrows at the snake.
Conan severs the snake's head.
Conan catches a falling girl (Yaro's sacrifice) 
More beast-men appear.
Conan splashes down into the tower's pool to save himself from falling.

Lin Carter plugs The Hand of Nergal.
Subotai  departs to Madame Ilga's place.
The name Ilga comes from "The Lair of the Ice Worm" by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.

Valeria shows her Pit fighter scars to Conan. Valeria being present in the Pit was filmed but cut.
Valeria now wears the Eye of the Serpent around her neck.

Subotai is carried back to Conan and Valeria by Madame Ilga’s slaves, now that's service.
The money they spend on copious meals, weapons, fine clothes and entertainment comes from the jewels Valeria had wrenched from the tower.

Subotai and Valeria, bow to King Osric of Zamora, a guardsman forces Conan to bow.
Osric mentions that Yaro threaten him. 
The "What insolence! What arrogance!" outburst is for Yaro (was changed to Rexor then cut), not for our heroes.
Captain Kobades fetches stools for our heroes. 
We learn that Thulsa is erecting multiple tall black towers. LOL!
Osric mentions that his Set possessed brother murdered his father.
Osric gives gems to our heroes to buy weapons and horses, they'll get more if his daughter is returned to him.

Conan spend hours learning to ride.
Conan leaves Valeria and his share of the king’s pre-payment.
Conan now bearded rides alone to Doom’s fortress, the Mountain of Power. 

Conan finds the tumuli burial mounds necropolis with skeletons astride horses.

Conan pays the wizard to stay at his humble hut.
The wizard mentions that Doom comes to the Mounds to make sacrifices to the ghosts of kings.
Conan shaves off his beard, makes a flower wreath, takes out a white robe.

The wizard mutters protective cantrips to protect Conan.

Conan has a dirk at his belt but kills the priest with his fists.
He uses his stolen medallion to enter the Mountain of Power.

Just like King Jaffe Joffer of Zamunda, Doom has handmaidens that shower rose petals at his feet.

Conan gets clubbed, wakes up shackled in a garden.
Rexor, chief in command, has aged but is even more powerful. He does not remember Conan. He throws the bruised and bloodied Conan into a fountain to clean him up.
Doom reads Conan's mind and finds out that the Eye of the Serpent (the key to the power of the world) is with Valeria.

The dead giant snake was raised from the egg by Yaro and Doom, not Thorgrim.

Doom makes a girl jump to her death... and makes her lover kill himself. This was filmed but cut.

On the Tree of Woe, to stay alive, Conan kills a vulture to suck its blood.
Subotai starts a signal fire, to alert Valeria and he and Conan eat the dried-up vulture.
The wizard told Subotai and Valeria where to look approximately to find Conan.

The wizard paints his ancient magic glyphs on Conan's bandage not directly on Conan's body.

Osric's seers inform him that Conan has penetrated the Mountain of Power.

Yaro tells Osric that Thulsa Doom wishes to marry his daughter.
Osric is against it.
Trusted guards Manes and Bagoas, now hypnotized, kill the King and follow Yaro.

The wizard knows of a secret entrance to Doom's place.
The wizard cries when Conan and friends depart.

The camouflage on our heroes is more elaborate, it has small branches, to make them look similar to shrubs.

Beast-men/Shadow-dwellers are preparing their human carcass soup in a huge cauldron.
Our camouflaged heroes see the women and the children of the beast-men.
A beast-child attacks, Subotai kills it.
They reach the place of pleasure.
Doom and Yasimina are both drugged next to the stolen sword of Conan’s father.
Doom transmutes into a snake.
Conan takes back his father's sword, Valeria grabs Yasimina and they burn the place down.
Conan kills 2 beast-men with his father’s sword.
Valeria uses her talwar to kill 3 anthropoid guards.

Conan snaps one of Rexor's fingers.
A crazed leopard jumps on Rexor’s back and runs away.
A pillar falls on Rexor, pinning him to the ground.
Doom tells Rexor to bring our heroes alive or dead.
Subotai kills 2 beast-men.
Doom finds them, more beast-men die.
Doom tries to kill Conan with his snake arrow, but Valeria shields him and dies instead.

Conan and the wizard prepare Valeria for cremation, dress her in a fine silk undergarment that she had bought and place her sword in her hands. Conan pockets the Eye of the Serpent.
Conan helps Subotai gather firewood. 
The funeral pyre is atop the largest mound.
Conan sings a Pit-fighter’s song.
Subotai weeps for Conan.

Conan sketches battle plans.
All morning Conan and Subotai dig a trench.
Conan offers Yasimina some food.

The wizard brings breastplates, helmets, and spears all freshly refurbished BY HIS MAGIC.

The reason why Doom doesn't attack immediately? It's a Set holiday. LOL!

The sun goes down and Yasimina sings a hypnotic song. Subotai is told not to listen.

Conan hurls a javelin. This was filmed but cut, and can be seen in the trailer. 

The wizard uses magic to call his spear back to him (could he be using "the Schwartz"?). 

Rexor tries to kill Yasimina, Subotai fires an arrow at his helmet.

Subotai’s calf gets pierced by a beast-man. Subotai is now out of commission. 

Rexor tramples Conan with his horse, Conan gets up and raises his father's sword in the Pit-fighter’s salute. 

Rexor tries to kill Conan but the ghost of Valeria blocks his blow and temporally blinds Rexor with a fiery sword. 

Valeria asks Conan if he wants to live forever.

Conan pushes Rexor off his horse and slaps it away. 

Conan kills Rexor with his father's sword.

The remaining beast-men retreat back to the Mountain of Power.

Doom appears, tells the "defiled" Yasimina that she's no longer fit to be his bride.
Subotai uses a shield to block Doom's serpent-arrow. The shaft turns back into a snake and Subotai kills it.
Doom, fearful of Conan, rides off.

Her Stockholm syndrome completely gone, Yasimina, now on Conan's side, agrees to lead our Cimmerian to Doom on the morrow.

The wizard tells Conan that the Eye of the Serpent can command the beast-men.

Yasimina wearing one of Valeria's robes and Conan masquerading as a guard are allowed inside Doom's stronghold by clueless sentries.

Doom is about to send his followers into the world (to kill lying parents and leaders) when Conan appears.

Conan uses the Eye of the Serpent to force the beast-men to restrain the followers.

Doom tries to hypnotize Conan, but the Cimmerian with his unrelenting willpower (a Mind of Steel, if you will) looks away and extends the Eye of the Serpent towards Doom's face, this forces Thulsa to reveal his true shape-shifting self: a Serpent Man (from the time of Kull of Atlantis). 
The cultists can't believe their eyes.
Conan beheads Doom the demigod with his father’s sword.

Conan uses the Eye of the Serpent once more to force the beast-men back to their underground homes and to try different types of soup. LOL!

Conan tells the followers to go back to their families.

The following day, Doom's temple is already crumbling, falling to pieces..

The Princess already knows that her father is dead (via messenger, five days prior)
The Princess now a Queen buys the Eye of the Serpent from our heroes.
Conan refuses to be her King.
Yaro is killed by his own followers.

Conan heads for the sea and Subotai goes back to his homeland.


What I did not like:

The typos from 1982 are still present. Very authentic or very lazy? You decide.

No Catherine Crook de Camp credited on the cover. Lame and disrespectful. The 1st draft of the novelization was by Lin Carter, the 2nd draft was by L. Sprague de Camp and the 3rd & final draft was by Catherine Crook de Camp.

de Camp still capitalized as De Camp on the cover.

The simulated worn look of the cover.

Young Conan never goes ice fishing.

We still do not know how the obelisk in Conan's village got bloodied at the end of the massacre.

Conan doesn't think about his father's death (mauled to death by Vanir hounds) when he slays the wolves.

Yasimina doesn't hiss at Valeria.

Doom never gives Corin's sword to Rexor.

The hammer-swinging viking Thorgrim does not appear. If, like me, you're a big fan of Sven-Ole Thorsen, you'll be gutted.

No spilling of the Split Pea and Hand Soup! 

Conan never puts the Eye of the Serpent around his neck.

King Osric is not a usurper.

No wild blueberries anywhere!

Conan doesn't pray to Crom before the battle of the mounds.

The Picts do not appear.

Yasimina extinguishes a candle she never had.

The Atlantean sword disappears from the story.

The father’s sword never breaks because it is INVINCIBLE.


Fun Facts & Trivia: 

Kallias of Shamar was last seen in The Adventures of Conan: A Sword and Sorcery Spectacular.

Conan was 24 years old in the movie while Arnold Schwarzenegger was already 34 when he played the role.

The giant snake was almost 20 years old.

Both Earl Norem and John Buscema drew their own version of Renato Casaro's movie poster for the official Marvel comics adaption of the movie.

Toghrul was an ally to Genghis Khan.

Uldin was the first ruler of the Huns. 

Bagoas was a courtier of Alexander the Great. 

Mumm-Ra's evil emblem in ThunderCats could be inspired by Set.

The Snake Men from Masters of the Universe are very similar to Thulsa, just saying.

Cobra Emperor Serpentor's snake-javelins have to be an homage to Doom.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent was so thick that it was decided that The Wizard/Shaman would be the narrator instead of Conan.

In Commando (1985), Arnold puts raccoon camouflage paint on once again.

In Cyborg (1989), Jean-Claude Van Damme is crucified just like Conan. The 1997 TV series: Conan the Adventurer starred Ralf Moeller as Conan. Ralf's first ever movie was Cyborg.

In the French dub, Richard Darbois, the voice of Albator (Captain Harlock) is the voice of Conan.

Thorgrim's mighty hammer weighed 25 kg!

People cannot charm snakes and snakes cannot charm their prey.

How did Doom and his men find Conan? They saw the fire from the funeral pyre.

Rexor is the one who nailed Conan to the Tree of Woe.

Valeria's name is never uttered in the movie.

Conan's mother and Thulsa Doom were both in Jim Jones (Cult leader) movies. Nadiuska was in Guyana: Crime of the Century (1979) and James Earl Jones was in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (1980).

James Earl Jones was the voice of a character in an obscure sci-fi low-budget film called Star Wars (1977).

I give it a 9.5/10. This vintage film novelization is fantastic, fascinating and sometimes unintentionally hilarious. The authors did an amazing job. I salute them. You want to enhance your viewing pleasure and understanding of this sword and sorcery classic? You must get this book! 

Heroic Signatures, please stop procrastinating and give us novelizations of John Milius’s screenplay: King Conan - Crown of Iron and of Fred L. Rexer, Jr.’s screenplay: Conan - The Lord Of Stone.

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