How can you not get jacked up when “Anvil of Crom” kicks in to open up this record?
Thulsa Doom: There was a time, boy, when I searched for steel, when steel meant more to me than gold or jewels.
Conan: The riddle… of steel?
Thulsa Doom: Yes! You know what it is, don’t you boy? Shall I tell you? It’s the least I can do. Steel isn’t strong, boy, flesh is stronger!
The steel cannot wield itself, it needs a hand of flesh and blood.
I played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons as a teen, so Conan the Barbarian was right in my movie wheelhouse, with warriors and thieves and monsters and treasure. I think in the AD&D world Conan would have been a Fighter-Thief, while his partners Subotai and Valeria would have been Thieves. Conan always seemed just too huge and obvious to be an effective thief (as Malak points out in the sequel Conan the Destroyer), but that didn’t stop me from renting this a bunch of times back in the day.
ANYWAY… it’s interesting to compare this to the soundtrack from Thief (1981) I wrote about recently. Not only because both movies are basically about thieves and from the same time period, but more so stylistically. Both albums are scores, but whereas Thief is full of Tangerine Dream’s electro-ness, Conan the Barbarian is orchestral and epic. It also has a few interesting characteristics. It was the first film to credit Musync, a music tempo editing hardware and software tool, to aid in adjusting the score to fit the tempo of the scene it supported. It was also allegedly the last major studio film with a mono soundtrack.
Killer movie, killer soundtrack.