Learning from Movies: Conan

Posted on February 14, 2011


Why won’t Conan the Barbarian die? Why do gamers and fantasy fans keep it alive? Why am I watching it, again? I think there are three reasons.

  • Before Lord of the Rings, there were very few big budget fantasy films, let alone fantasy films (of any budget) this good. Think I’m kidding? Try watching The Barbarians with Peter and David Paul.
  • It’s the best adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s iconic barbarian to date, and decades after Howard’s death he still has a lot of fans.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger does have his own legion of fans.


  • You must trust yourself before you can trust anything or anyone else.
  • Preparation and training are the keys to taking advantage of opportunity. When the chains fall from your wrists, you must be ready to make the most of it.
  • The open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair are all nice, but what you can do is more important than what you have.
  • Ask only for the chance to prove your ability again. It’s better to die in combat than as helpless food for wolves.
  • Success can test one’s mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.
  • Familial ties outlive jewels, gold, and thrones.
  • Time enough for the Earth in the grave.
  • Steel is nothing compared to the hand that wields it. Your skill and your will are more important than any sports car or set of golf clubs.
  • Vengeance exacts a terrible price.
  • A good friend cries for you, when you can’t.
  • No matter what, even after 20 years of pitiless combat, the spring wind still blows.
  • If the gods aren’t going to help, they can stay out of the way.
  • The desire to live forever stands in the way of greatness. The greater success you desire, the greater the risks you must face.

Every legend starts somewhere.

Am I wrong?

Have you got a favorite fantasy film from before Conan the Barbarian? Tell us about it in the comments.