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.
  • 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.
  • Badass: Taught Conan about the art of thieving and takes a fraction of the enemy army alone in the climatic battle.
  • 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

  • All There in the Script: Valeria's name is never mentioned in the movie but it is mentioned in the sequel.
  • Badass: In the rescue for the Princess, she kills just as many guards as Conan and at some point is even shown fending off multiple attackers while surrounded during the battle.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Even death doesn't prevent her from saving Conan's skin.
  • Catch Phrase: "Do you want to live forever?"
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sort of. The way she accepted to pay the price for Conan's resurrection qualifies.

The Wizard (Akiro)

Played by: Mako


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.
  • Chewing the Scenery: His Rousing Speech to his cult just before Conan kills him.
  • 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?
  • 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.


Played by: Ben Davidson

  • An Axe to Grind: During the Orgy fight. It has four blades.
  • Badass: Holds up very well against Conan in their final sword fight, and was actually winning before Valeria appeared.
  • Badass Grandpa: He's probably in his 50s at least when Conan encounters him again.
  • 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


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.
  • 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

"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.
  • Hero of Another Story: From the narration we learn that King Osric is a northern barbarian who became a king by his own hand.
  • Large Ham:
    [Rises from his throne]
    Osric: I salute you!

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.
  • 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.

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.