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Sweaty, musclebound ode to mythic masculinity from right-wing ironist John Milius, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger's first starring role in an action picture (if you exclude the execrable low-budget comedy HERCULES IN NEW YORK). Based on the adventures of Robert E. Howard's pulp hero, the
film opens as the title character (Schwarzenegger) becomes a slave of the brutal murderers of his mother and father. When forced to take to the gladiatorial arena, Conan realizes he's a little stronger than the average guy. In no time he and some colorful friends set out to avenge his parents'
deaths. The picture, however, never goes anywhere. A series of meaningless adventures punctuated with a lot of clanky, very bloody swordplay, CONAN THE BARBARIAN is best remembered for a scene in which Schwarzenegger punches out a camel. In 1984 a much superior sequel, CONAN THE DESTROYER, was
released. The CONAN films did well at the box office, spawning a number of sword-and-sorcery imitations and launching Arnold's career.