Basil Poledouris
Conan The Barbarian


5.0
classic

Review

by menawati CONTRIBUTOR (90 Reviews)
September 24th, 2012 | 28 replies


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Undoubtedly one of the best original soundtracks of all time.

It would be stretching the imagination to proclaim the 1982 "Conan the Barbarian" film starring Alex Schwarzeneggar as some sort of cinematic triumph. Director John Milius attempted to play the movie as a straight sword and sorcery epic without much hint of the usual cheesy humour that pervades the genre, which is quite admirable, but the less than stellar cast and sub-standard script didn't quite match up to the vision. Schwarzeneggar was, and always will be, the definitive Conan, James Earl Jones is suitably charismatic as Thulsa Doom and Jerry Lopez as Subatai does an admirable job considering he was plucked from the surfing beaches of Honolulu with no previous acting experience but the film falls flat in a number of areas. No, the film isn't a classic. But the original soundtrack composed and conducted by Basil Polidouris most certainly is. It nearly elevates the actual movie into a work of art.

Most people will be familiar with the rousing main theme "An Age Undreamed Of - Anvil of Crom" which is available on this album in two versions, one of which thankfully lacks the voice introduction by Mako the wizard. But there is a whole lot more to this soundtrack than the Conan theme. Whenever I hear this soundtrack I cannot but picture the actual movie scenes in my mind. The music fits the action in the film so well that it almost seems as if the film was based on this tone poem and not the other way around. The opening scene in which Conan's father bestows the "Riddle of Steel" upon his son, "no one in this world can you trust, not men, not women, not beasts...this you can trust" as he passes him a sword, followed by the raid on the village by the "Riders of Doom" is aptly mirrored by the wonderful music. The "Atlantean Sword" piece conjures images of barren frozen wastes and windswept mountains and perfectly captures the sense of wonder as Conan discovers the ancient atlantean sword on the corpse of the skeleton king in the mountain cave. The extended battle scene as Conan and his followers assault the palace of Thulsa Doom is also brought to life by the epic "The Kitchen - The Orgy - Stealing the Princess - You!" and the sheer joy and optimistic enthusiasm of the beautiful "Theology - Civilization" as Conan and Subatai discuss their personal mythologies over a campfire and are then to be seen running across the mountains in search of civilization is a real high point. The cinematography in each of those scenes is nothing particularly special but due to the epic soundtrack the film comes to life. You can even close your eyes and listen to "The Battle of the Mounds - Resourceful Warriors" and try to imagine the battle scene at the mounds isn't marred by the appearance of the spirit of Valeria as an appallingly tawdry incarnation of some sort of avenging Valkyrie.

If ever there was an example of how a soundtrack can elevate a film beyond it's natural state, this is it. The music that accompanies these sort of movies usually consists of worthless synthesizer themes and appallingly cheesy faux-metal. Happily that wasn't the case in this instance. Absolutely one of the best original soundtracks of all time.



Recent reviews by this author
iamthemorning BelightedMonty Python Monty Python Sings
Hominido Estirpe LiticaDisconnect Planned Obsolescence
Synaesthesia (UK) SynaesthesiaCamel A Live Record
user ratings (15)
Chart.
4.6
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
Contributing Reviewer
September 23rd 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Main theme - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZY2mRG5mzg&feature=related
Atlantean Sword - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlBcDnRzmM0
Tree of Woe (Theology reprise) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAHFNiNl9JM
Battle of the Mounds - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq9dspskCEE
Theology/Civ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYVTr1u3EYc
full movie - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2-s-ix_Qm0&feature=related

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

Lenix
September 23rd 2012


793 Comments


haha fucking yes

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2012


18474 Comments


agreed wholeheartedly

conan is the best sword and sorcery epic of all time and it has one of the best soundtracks of all time

Digging: Recondite - Caldera/DRGN 2

CaptainDooRight
September 23rd 2012


29131 Comments


m/



Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

DarthMann
September 23rd 2012


13815 Comments


this is amazing

ValeriusOwns
September 23rd 2012


20 Comments


best soundtrack

taylormemer
September 23rd 2012


4917 Comments


It's a great piece of work. Probably could never give it a 5 though.

MisterSteel
September 24th 2012


453 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh hell yeah.

CaptainDooRight
September 24th 2012


29131 Comments


need this on my ipod now

taylormemer
December 7th 2012


4917 Comments


Poledouris: easily one of the more underrated composers who didn't live long enough.

taylormemer
December 7th 2012


4917 Comments


btw this IS his best piece of work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEt41bYQBgE

DarthMann
December 7th 2012


13815 Comments


it took me so long to find this, everywhere i turned it would be conan the destroyer, not the barbarian, which is pretty tame compared to this in terms of being awesome
and i still havent heard that yet, its been sitting in my library for like 6 months without me touching it lol, but i might give it a go soon

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

listen soon man it's awesome

demigod!
December 7th 2012


44392 Comments


i've never seen this movie

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2012


16023 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

movie is pretty good but the music elevates it a lot

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2012


18474 Comments


best soundtrack of all time

manosg
December 28th 2012


6081 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Indeed, best soundtrack ever.

And yes, the movie is as epic as it gets.

Digging: John Coltrane - Ballads

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2012


18474 Comments


For us, there is no spring, only the wind that smells fresh before the storm!

CaptainDooRight
December 28th 2012


29131 Comments


legiz


Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2013


18474 Comments


god damn i fucking love this score so much



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy