Tag: John Milius


1982 was a great year to be alive if you had a thing for burly men, scantily clad women, massive edge weapons and fantastical shenanigans galore. It may not have been the year responsible for starting the Sword & Sorcery craze of the 1980s – 1981 had EXCALIBUR and CLASH OF THE TITANS going for it – but it is certainly the banner year for the genre with films like THE BEASTMASTER, THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER and CONAN THE BARBARIAN all seeing release. It was a rather strange genre, targeted at a very specific (i.e. male) audience that wasn’t all that discerning about age. For every family friendly fantasy romp like CLASH OF THE TITANS, there were at least a half dozen hard R rated films like EXCALIBUR or CONAN THE BARBARIAN. And none were quite as iconic as Conan.

September 22, 2006 / / Film Notes

Written by Kristoffer Tronerud

USA, 1982. 129 min. UA/ Dino De Laurentiis Pictures. Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Max von Sydow, Sandahl Bergman, Mako; Music: Basil Poledouris; Cinematography: Duke Callaghan; Production Design: Ron Cobb; Based on Stories by: Robert Howard; Screenplay: Oliver Stone, John Milius; Directed by: Milius

“I’m a Zen Fascist” John Milius once famously remarked, and, while his tongue was firmly planted in cheek, that description goes a long way in explaining the unique appeal of this very talented and likable rogue artist. While it may take courage to be left of center in the country at large, in Hollywood, the conservative is the true maverick, and, as a director and screenwriter, Milius has paid a price for his cheerful unwillingness to toe a politically correct line for Tinseltown convenience. Still, it is a big mistake to paint Milius with the broad brush of the political simplemindedness of, say, a John Wayne or a Jack Webb. From the start of his career, Milius’s projects have evidenced a complexity and thoughtfulness that make such easy classification impossible. His work embraces the reality that men and women are different and that courage and violence are sometimes unavoidable and necessary, in a way that makes knee-jerk liberals uncomfortable, but his work also betrays a tenderness and respect for women and a keen sense of the limits of the macho ideal that give lie to the stereotype that generally accompanies any discussion of his oeuvre.