Characters / Conan the Barbarian (1982)

Characters from the movie directed by John Milius.



Played by: Arnold Schwarzenegger (adult); Jorge Sanz (kid)

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Schwarzenegger has dark brown hair instead of the plain black that the original Conan had.
  • An Axe to Grind: Mows down Thulsa Doom's cavalry troops with a big ass axe at the beginning of the Battle of the Mounds and kills two others with throwing axes.
  • Badass Normal: He has no magical aptitude whatsoever, but he fights sorcerers and supernatural creatures.
  • Barbarian Hero: A Cimmerian. The classic example.
  • Bash Brothers: With Subotai.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Any deities better listen to him if he prays, because if they don't... then to hell with them! Downplayed, though, because his deity flatly refuses to aid those who will not help themselves and has little use for reverence; Crom respects balls.
  • Cool Crown: The crown of Aquilonia when he is sitting on a throne before the end credits.
  • Cool Helmet: Wears one during the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Actually crucified, on the Tree of Woe.
  • Cultured Badass: "Language and writing were made available to him; the poetry of Khitai, the philosophy of Sung..."
  • Cultured Warrior: Has studied the poetry of Khitai and the philosophy of Sung.
  • Horny Vikings: The Cimmerians are presented as warriors searching for Valhalla as heard in this exchange with Subotai:
    Crom is strong! When I die, I must go before him and he will ask me: what is the riddle of steel? If I cannot answer he cast me out of Valhalla and laugh at me! That is Crom! He who is strong in the mountains!
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Played with. Yamakazi Kiyoshi, the sword-master for Conan The Barbarian, explicitly trained the cast in kenjutsu with Katanas; and in fact Conan does practice with a Shirazaya (wooden handled) Katana early in the film. However, due to the bulk of Schwarzenegger's arm muscles, he was unable to perform the more elegant moves that Gerry Lopez (Subotai) and Sandahl Bergman (Valeria) were able to use throughout the movie, making him look clumsy and uncoordinated in comparison in spite of Conan supposedly being the best swordsman of the trio.
  • Misery Builds Character: The movie even opens with the Nietzsche quote "That which does not kill us only makes us stronger."
  • Multi-Melee Master: His experiences as a gladiator have made him this, especially once he goes to train with the weapon masters in the East. Some of the weapons he fights with early on are fairly rare and exotic.
  • Nemean Skinning: When Conan finally finds the Atlantean Sword inside the tomb, the wolves that had been hounding him wake up, waiting for him. Cut to Conan wearing their skins.
  • The Stoic: At Valeria's funeral pyre, Subotai poignantly pointed out: "He is Conan, Cimmerian. He Will Not Cry, so I Cry for Him."
  • Warrior Poet: Conan is a literate warrior. And there are these pieces of dialogue from the director's cut:
    Conan: I remember days like this when my father took me to the forest and we ate wild blueberries. More than 20 years ago. I was just a boy of four or five. The leaves were so dark and green then. The grass smelled sweet with the spring wind. Almost 20 years of pitiless cumber! No rest, no sleep like other men. And yet the spring wind blows, Subotai. Have you ever felt such a wind?
    Subotai: They blow where I live too. In the north of every man's heart.
    Conan: It's never too late, Subotai.
    Subotai: No. It would only lead me back here another day. In even worse company.
    Conan: For us, there is no spring. Just the wind that smells fresh before the storm.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Atlantean sword.
  • You Killed My Father: And his mother, and his people. Not to mention taking his father's sword. And you better believe Conan will make you pay for it, Thulsa Doom.


Played by: Gerry Lopez

  • The Archer: His preferred weapon tends to be the bow and arrow.
  • Barbarian Hero: Hyrkanian (Hunnish / Mongol of sorts).
  • Bash Brothers: With Conan.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Manages to prevent Doom from shooting Osric's daughter with that funky snake-arrow-snake at the end of the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Blade on a Stick: Uses a spear quite well during the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Subotai is neither seen nor even mentioned in Conan the Destroyer. In The Horn of Azoth, a comic book based on a draft script of Destroyer, he appears (renamed) and is hanged for theft. This pisses Conan off.
  • The Lancer: Befriends Conan, travels with him, teaches him how to be a thief, saves him from the Tree of Woe, and stands by him during the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: In the cave-orgy battle.
  • Yellowface: Subotai is a Tuvan (Turkic) name and Gerry Lopez isn't of Northern Asian descent.


Played by: Sandahl Bergman

  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sort of. The way she accepted to pay the price for Conan's resurrection qualifies.

The Wizard (Akiro)

Played by: Mako

  • All There in the Manual: He is referred as "Akiro" in the sequel.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gets his heroic moment when he saves Subotai's ass in the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Blade on a Stick: During the Battle of the Mounds, which he uses to kill one of Doom's men.
    • The exchange after he saves Subotai's life.
    Subotai: You see, that's how we do it!
    Akiro: I did it! With my spear!
  • Chewing the Scenery: His epic narration.


Thulsa Doom

Played by: James Earl Jones

  • Big Bad: His slaughter of Conan's village (including personally decapitating Conan's mom with Conan's father's sword) is why Conan wants him dead.
  • Blue Eyes: And literally hypnotic, which of course is part of the snake Animal Motif.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Does not remember specifically plundering Conan's village and selling him and the other children into slavery.
    Conan: You killed my mother... You Killed My Father! YOU KILLED MY PEOPLE! You took my father's sword!
    Doom: Ah! It must have been when I was younger.
  • But Not Too Black: He has straight hair and blue eyes, giving him a distinctly un-African look. According to the director's commentary, this was done to make him look like a member of a long-forgotten race.
  • Chewing the Scenery: His Rousing Speech to his cult just before Conan kills him.
  • Cold Sniper: With a bow and arrow. He also uses a snake as the arrow.
  • Dark Messiah: Styles himself a prophet that will "cleanse" the world.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Thulsa Doom, leader of the cult of the Children Of Doom, who await the day of doom when they'll rain doom upon their enemies while chanting "dooooom".
  • Evil Sounds Deep: It's James Earl Jones so it's a given.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Doom almost seems regretful when he notes that all Conan has done with the passion his people's massacre has devoted him is to plot revenge and then get caught...and then orders him crucified within the same breath.
  • Karmic Death: Perishes by the very thing he searched in the first place when he devastated Conan's village, the thing he treated with disdain afterwards : the steel, Conan's father's sword.
  • Might Makes Right: His philosophy of "Strong Flesh, Weak Steel" (which the trope doesn't actually describe) is essentially this - what use are weapons against the (physical or mystical) strength of the individual if it's sufficiently powerful to make the world conform to it?
    'Doom: (after sending a follower falling to her death) That is strength, boy! That is power! The strength and power of flesh! What is steel, compared to the hand that wields it?
  • Rogues-Gallery Transplant: Never fought Conan in the original stories, making his debut in the Kull cycle.
  • Scaled Up: During the orgy scene, Thulsa Doom transforms into a giant snake and exits through a hole in the wall. In the film it's unclear why he did this, but in the novelization it explains that Doom could sense the presence of Conan and his allies, and realizing the danger he was in he transformed into a snake as a way of making a quick exit.
  • Scary Black Man: Somewhat of an aversion. Thulsa Doom has black skin, but he also has blue eyes and straight hair. According to the director's commentary they wanted Thulsa Doom to look like he was a member of a race that has since vanished from the Earth.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    Doom: Infidel defilers. They shall all drown in lakes of blood. Now they will know why they are afraid of the dark. Now they learn why they fear the night.
  • Trick Arrow: Fires snake-arrows — arrows that are originally snakes, are pulled out and magically made into arrows, then fired, then they turn back into snakes. This is too awesome and scary to be laughed at - it ends up doing in Valeria.
  • Would Hit a Girl: In his case, decapitate the girl (Conan's mother), mind control the girl into jumping off a cliff (a follower), or shoot the girl with snake-arrows (Valeria).


Played by: Ben Davidson

  • Butt Monkey: Gets the more humiliating misfortunes; the snake head column winds up landing on his head during the Orgy fight, knocking him out, and his horse face-plants during the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Cool Helmet: With two peaks.
  • Co-Dragons: With Thorgrim.
  • Cool Sword: Conan's father's sword.
  • The Dragon: According to Valeria, he's Thulsa Doom's second-in-command.
  • Genius Bruiser: Rexor is both a powerful fighter and in charge of administrations, such as the temple with the giant snake.
  • High Priest: He is in charge of the Virgin Sacrifices to Thulsa Doom's giant snake.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: Subverted; while Conan surely wants Rexor dead (Rexor led the raid on Conan's village and ordered the death of Conan's father), it's really Thulsa Doom he's after.
  • Large and in Charge: The tallest of Thulsa Doom's lieutenants and also the second in command.
  • Master Swordsman: He matches Conan with swords for some time, before his...
  • Rasputinian Death: Conan gloriously offs him with several sword blows.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His outfit at the beginning of the film features a cape of black fur and has a large red X on the torso.
  • Worthy Opponent: Seems to regard Conan's mother as such. They salute and looked like they were about to duel before Thulsa Doom arrived.
  • "You!" Exclamation: During the Orgy fight.


Played by: Sven-Ole Thorsen

  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Causes the collapsing of a pillar with one single swing of his hammer, much to his own surprise.
  • Dumb Muscle: Thorgrim is nowhere near as smart as his partner, which ends up getting him killed.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Took care of Thulsa Doom's giant snake before Conan killed it.
  • Horny Vikings: His name is evocative of the Norse mythology and his look is very similar to Viking-themed Heavy Metal bands like Manowar. Given that Sven Ole-Thorsen is Danish, this was probably intentional.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Thorgrim's habit of smashing things without thinking is used against him by Conan during the Battle of the Mounds by means of a nasty trap that ends up putting a nasty spike roughly the thickness of your average birch tree straight through the big guy's chest. Ouch. And worse, he's still moving.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: His habit of smashing things without thinking gets him killed during the Battle of the Mounds.
  • Mighty Glacier: Nearly as strong as Conan, but much slower.

Other characters

Conan's father (Nial)
Played by: William Smith

  • Back Stab: Finally taken down by an axe to the back from one of Thulsa Doom's men.
  • Barbarian Tribe: Subverted. Conan's tribe is portrayed as a peaceful village at the beginning, in contrast with the raid of pillagers led by Thulsa Doom, who come from "civilized" cities.

Conan's mother (Maeve)
Played by: Nadiuska

  • Mama Bear: She dies while protecting her son from Thulsa.
  • Off with Her Head!: How Thulsa Doom kills her. Right in front of poor Conan, no less.

"Red Hair"
Played by: Luis Barboo

  • Gladiator Games: Buys Conan, forces him into gladiator pit fights and bets on him.
  • Pet the Dog: He abruptly decides that Conan has been a slave for long enough and sets him free.

King Osric

Played by: Max von Sydow

  • Despair Speech:
    Osric: There comes a time, thief, when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father's love for his child.
  • The Good King: Though he is called "Osric the Usurper," though if the stories of Conan and Kull are any indication the Usurper may in fact be a liberator, he wants nothing more than to save his daughter and fight the Serpent Cult that is corrupting his kingdom.
  • Hero of Another Story: From the narration we learn that King Osric is a northern barbarian who became a king by his own hand. This foreshadows Conan's own later rise to power as king of Aquilonia.
  • Large Ham:
    [Rises from his throne]
    Osric: I salute you!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Instead of punishing Conan, Valeria and Subotai for breaking into the Serpent Cult's tower and landing him in hot water with the cult, he salutes them for damaging his foes, and then hires them to get his daughter back.

The Princess (Yasimina)

Played by: Valérie Quennessen

  • All There in the Script: The Princess' name is never said in the movie, but according to the script and novelization her name is Yasimina.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Is so in thrall to Thulsa Doom that she tries to fight Valeria during her rescue.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After Thulsa Doom's defeat at the Battle of the Mounds, she cries out after him, begging him not to leave her behind. He complies. Fortunately, Subotai and Akiro save her in the nick of time.
  • Heel–Face Turn: At first she is completely devoted to Thulsa Doom. But after Thulsa Doom attempts to kill her with a snake arrow she becomes loyal to Conan.
  • Living MacGuffin: Her only purpose is to get Conan to confront Thulsa Doom.

The Witch

Played by: Cassandra Gaviola

  • The Immodest Orgasm: Has one while having sex with Conan. Then she turns into a monster.
  • Kill It with Fire: Conan throws her into her fireplace. She does not die directly but rather turns into a fireball and runs away in the woods.