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Everything You Never Knew About The Making of Conan The Barbarian

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What is best in life? Seeing a classic sword-and-sorcery hero brought to the big screen, with an iconic bodybuilder in the lead role. But how did Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian become such a classic film? The path to glory was long and twisted. Here's everything you never knew about the making of Conan.

For all its hundreds of imitators, John Milius' 1982 fantasy epic Conan the Barbarian is unique. The result of a fortunate confluence of musclebound star, gonzo director, zeitgeisty appeal and gloriously pulpy source material, it's the prototype for the sword and sorcery sub-genre of fantasy that took 80s cinema by storm.

Taking Howard's original stories and infusing them with Milius' Nietzsche-inspired might-makes-right philosophy and martial influences, it's a brutal and occasionally almost contemplative piece of work that actually takes its subject seriously — even if the audience can't always do the same. That very seriousness is one of the reasons it continues to inspire discussion to this day.

Dismissed as neo-fascist posturing by some, hailed as mythmaking at its most brutally elegant by others, and enjoyed as grade A schlock by many, Conan the Barbarian is as enduring a part of the cult canon as you'd expect from a movie that features Arnie taking a bite out of a vulture while nailed to a tree.


Edward R. Pressman, fresh off producing films like Badlands and Phantom of the Paradise, first became interested in the Conan character in 1975. Pressman and his friend Edward Summer — future associate producer on the movie — were watching a rough cut of the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron. Pressman, intrigued by Arnold Schwarzenegger's screen presence, wondered aloud about the possibility of making a film built around the human special effect that was Arnie at the time. Summer immediately suggested an adaptation of Robert Howard's Conan stories.

As Pressman explains in Conan Unchained:

"He (Summer) took me to his comic book store and showed me the world of Frank Frazetta and the world of Conan which, at that point, I was not familiar with. That started me on a journey, first to get the rights and, at the same time, meeting Arnold. Together, we spent close to five years trying to get the film set up."

Pressman contacted Schwarzenegger about the role, sending him the comics and the Frazetta paintings to try and reel him in. Schwarzenegger, while intrigued by the material, was still hesitant. But the pair finally met face-to-face in 1977 at a restaurant on the Sunset Strip, and Pressman convinced him to take the role. This was the development Pressman had been waiting for. He took the project to Paramount Pictures, who offered him an initial budget of $2.5 million if he would hire a "name screenwriter" to work on a script.

Oliver Stone's agent introduced the two men and, upon reading an early draft of his script for Platoon, Pressman became convinced that Stone was the man for the job. A first draft had already been written by Summer and Marvel Comics scribe Roy Thomas but it was Stone's script that got the project moving.

The ambitious young Stone approached the film as the first of twelve projected stories, picturing Schwarzenegger returning every year or two to do a new one a la the James Bond franchise. His first draft was very loosely based on two of Howard's Conan stories, "A Witch Shall Be Born" and "Black Colossus." He had a strong interest in genetics and cloning at the time – "it made sense, right?" – and, in keeping with that obsession, populated the story with armies of mutants and genetic freaks, positing Conan's savage universe as a far future Earth ravaged by nuclear fire. His storytelling had the feel of a fever dream, a quality undoubtedly exacerbated by Stone's heavy drug use at the time. Pressman described the script as "hell on Earth," something akin to Dante's Inferno. Unfortunately, this script would have cost an enormous $40 million to produce, money that studios were loath to part with.

Meanwhile, Pressman was experiencing difficulties finding a director. Stone, who had always wanted to direct, was briefly considered as an option to co-direct alongside Joe Alves, an FX man and second unit director on Jaws 2. Alan Parker's name was brought up at one point. Eventually, Stone and Pressman went to London to court Ridley Scott for the director's chair. Scott turned them down and they were so discouraged that, upon hearing that famous pulp/genre producer Dino De Laurentiis was staying at the next hotel over, decided to approach him with the property so he could take it off their hands. De Laurentiis liked the script (despite thinking it was too violent) and, after an extended period of negotiations, bought it and took over control of financing and production. Pressman retained a co-producer credit and approval rights over changes to the script, cast and crew.

De Laurentiis used his clout to pitch the project successfully to Universal Pictures, but concerns about the violent and outré (read: expensive) elements of Stone's script remained. Ever the out-of-the-box thinker, De Laurentiis decided to approach John Milius – writer of the ultraviolent Dirty Harry and Magnum Force – to direct the film and rework the screenplay. Milius had already shown interest in the project but remained wary, given the over-the-top nature of Stone's first draft. Finally, spurred on by his friend Ron Cobb, he agreed to join the project on the condition that he be allowed to rewrite the screenplay to reflect his own distinctive interests.

Milius was already infamous in Hollywood as one of the most iconoclastic of the New Hollywood film brats. An avid surfer and adrenaline junkie, he was also obsessed with Japanese culture, particularly its more militaristic aspects. A big fan of films like Seven Samurai and Kwaidan, he worked much of their aesthetic into his work on Conan. The latter film, for example, was the inspiration for the painted symbols and angry ghosts that appear in Conan's post-crucifixion resurrection ritual.

Milius retained many scenes from the first half of Stone's draft – the Tree of Woe, the Tower of Set sequence – but discarded the mutant-heavy second half. His personal 'survival of the fittest' philosophy informed much of what he brought to the new screenplay, including the extended prologue depicting Conan's evolution from weedy kid to grain-grinder to muscled warrior. While working on the script, Milius had one group of researchers digging up material on ancient cults and another compiling information on early weapons and their usage. Milius and Ron Cobb wanted a consistent and relatively believable world and, to this end, studied Celtic and Nordic design and history in order to picture the cultural forces that had shaped them. In other words: what might the world have looked like a millennium or two before the Celts and Nords as we know them?


The character of Conan first appeared in the cult magazine Weird Tales, in Robert E. Howard's 1932 story 'The Phoenix and the Sword."

Production designer Ron Cobb, who worked on Star Wars (1977), Alien (1979) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), said that he didn't want to be too explicit in showing historical influences:

"I've tried to dream up numerous stylizations, drawing on everything from Quetzalcoatl to Egyptian symbology and many other designs. I've then combined, refined and repeated those designs all throughout the picture, applying them when necessary. This has resulted in a fair amount of that design history being obscured to the viewer, and to me too, for that matter. That's interesting, that much of the symbology I'm applying has become a mystery even to me. I think it's much more important, in the sense of design, to be as original and consistent as possible in this picture and to evoke a sense of mystery and purpose, rather than spell everything out. I don't think that kind of underlining is really necessary."

Cobb said he enjoyed "being able to create a realistic, believable prehistory."

Milius was a big fan of legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta's paintings of Conan and his world. "[Frazetta's] certainly been a terrific inspiration to all of us… He's the high priest of Conan, and he has been more important to me than the Conan books were."

Neither John Milius nor Ron Cobb knew much about Conan when they took on the movie. As Cobb tells Cinefantastique's Paul Sammon: "in certain cases it really is better, if you're filming a pre-existing character, not to have had any prior experience with him. Neither John nor I really knew much about Conan before we started this. […] If die-hard Conan fans were doing this picture, I think it would suffer from a more narrow point of view."

Milius did his research, though, reading much of Howard's work before filming. He tells Sammon: "Howard is not a writer that I would say was going to be influential on my work for the rest of my life — he's not Melville or Conrad — but he had some great images and visions… Most importantly, Howard and I share the same view of civilization. Which is, to put it mildly, a highly skeptical one."

Finally, Milius also incorporated bits and pieces from post-Howard Conan stories and comics. For example, the scene in which Conan finds his sword in the tomb of a long-dead Atlantean king is taken from L. Sprague De Camp and Lin Carter's "The Thing in the Crypt."


Schwarzenegger was the only one who had already been cast before Milius was hired. He actually slimmed down from his bodybuilder's physique for the role of Conan, taking up swimming and running. Schwarzenegger loved playing Conan, telling Cinefantastique's Sammon: "One of the qualities of movie acting is that it allows you to play. And it's fun to swing a sword and see someone die in a gush of blood. This is like being a kid and playing Cowboys and Indians all over again."

In those days before his superstardom, Schwarzenegger praised Milius for his then-unusual casting choices: "Milius is the only guy who would hire me and Gerry and Sandahl for [Conan]…The majority of directors would have only looked at those actors who were bankable. Someone else, for example, might have picked Charles Bronson and then just rewritten the script, picking up Conan from the time he was 40. I think that picking us took an enormous amount of courage on John's part."

According to Milius, many of the roles were given to novice actors because their appearances and personalities lined up with the parts. The director cast his long-time surfing buddy Gerry Lopez as Subotai the thief. "I remember when I was casting for this role, all the people who came in looked like Gerry," says Milius on the DVD commentary. "So I thought why not just get Gerry?"

Lopez tells Sammon: "John and I have one thing strongly in common. We both grew up in fantasy worlds, of war and warriors, and we've both managed to carry those things through to adulthood." Like James Earl Jones, Lopez found a parallel for his character in real-world history. "[Subotai] happened to be Genghis Khan's greatest general during the conquest of the Middle East and Europe… John and I see Conan's Subotai as a forerunner of the great Subotai of Genghis Khan's time." Lopez appears to do a creditable job in the film but was, nonetheless, dubbed over in post-production by Japanese actor Sab Shimono.

Milius wanted to cast a dancer as Valeria, and ended up choosing Sandahl Bergman on the recommendation of Bob Fosse, who had directed her in All That Jazz. Like Schwarzenegger, Bergman enjoyed the physicality of the role, telling Sammon: "All this hacking and stabbing is great fun. It's also given [the cast] a chance to learn a marvelous variety of martial arts." But Bergman said she took the part because of how much she liked the script: "It's a great piece of work. Very theatrical, almost like stage drama. And I relate to the character of Valeria very much, because my own personal life has been a struggle. Like Valeria, out of all this turmoil magic has happened."

Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding colleague Sven Ole Thorsen was signed as Thulsa Doom's hammer-wielding lieutenant Thorgrim.

Given the presence of so many relative newcomers, Milius wanted to cast some veterans opposite them to provide inspiration and pointers. Sterling Hayden and John Huston were considered for the role of King Osric but renowned Swedish actor and frequent De Laurentiis collaborator Max von Sydow was eventually signed. The Japanese actor Mako Iwamatsu was cast as the wizard on the strength of his extensive experience in film and theater. The role of Conan's father went to William Smith, a veteran of the biker movie genre that Milius had started his screenwriting career in.

Sean Connery was in the running to play Thulsa Doom, but James Earl Jones — fresh off a mainstream success as the voice of Darth Vader — was cast instead.

Jones found the role of Thulsa Doom, warlord and leader of the Cult of Set, interesting because he saw parallels between Doom and real-world cult personalities like Jim Jones and Charles Manson. He tells Paul Sammon of Cinefantastique:

"Knowing John [Milius], I'm sure those parallels are intentional. But I jumped at the chance to play Doom because he's not a cartoon character. Let me explain that. You see, I always wanted to play John Gardner's Grendel, but then I heard they were going to do it as an animated feature. That was a great disappointment. So when I heard that Conan was going to be a live-action feature and read the script, I gladly accepted the part of Doom. He's human and very complex."

Stunt coordinator and second-unit director Terry Leonard said that finding doubles for the physically imposing Schwarzenegger proved to be a problem. Leonard praised the cast for their physical stamina, saying that "all these people, Sandahl with her dancing, Arnold with his weights and Gerry with his surfing, are world-class champion athletes, and they're doing an incredible job on the film… The physical limitations only come in when you think about the fact that you're just not going to find anyone in the world to double Arnold. Especially when he's in a loin cloth."


Ron Cobb had originally scouted locations in Yugoslavia but political uncertainties following the death of Marshal Tito made filming there a risky proposition. Spain, the backup choice, proved to be a more realistic option, not least because resources were more easily available. Spanish construction crews swung into action, building most of the required sets in a giant warehouse outside Madrid. A few interiors were also built inside an unused aircraft hangar on a Spanish military base. Forty-nine sets were built in total.

A number of miniatures were built by Spanish model-maker Emilio Ruiz, including the Tower of Set, the city of Shadizar, and the castle of King Osric. Both Cobb and Milius were reluctant to use matte paintings, deeming them unrealistic. With Ruiz's help, several sets were disguised and extended with hanging miniatures, with a few others built as models. A $350,000 chunk of the $3 million budget for sets was spent constructing Thulsa Doom's Temple of Set on a Spanish mountainside. Built mostly of wood in anticipation of its fiery end, it was 65 feet high and 150 feet long, with concrete foundations to bear the weight of the thousands of extras it would have to support.

Due to an especially dry Spanish winter, approximately $80,000 worth of marble shavings had to be spread over the set of the Conan's childhood Cimmerian village to simulate snow. The set was built in the mountains beyond Segovia. The set dressers and design teams went above and beyond in this way on several occasions, to the point that the orgy set where Conan and company stage an attack on Thulsa Doom had an actual drugged snow leopard present.

The first scene to be filmed (on January 7, 1981) was of Conan fighting off a pack of wolves, and also included the first of the tumultuous shoot's many accidents. One of the dogs standing in for the wolves, trained to attack an animal-skin Schwarzenegger was wearing, got a little over-enthusiastic about its role, pushing the actor off a ten-foot cliff and into a briar patch. Schwarzenegger's brawn and reflexes saved him from getting more than a few scratches and bruises. Arnold was also later grazed in the neck by an axe-head that broke off its handle during a fight. The resulting scab had to be covered up with extra make-up.

Sandahl Bergman was also injured during filming. While rehearsing a fight, she parried a blow from an opponent's sword only to have her forefinger sliced open to the bone because her weapon was missing its handle guard. The wound required six stitches, despite being inflicted by a fiber-glass prop weapon.

Injuries notwithstanding, stunt coordinator Terry Leonard confirms that not only did Schwarzenegger, Bergman and Lopez perform most of their own stunts, they did so admirably and with great stoicism. Schwarzenegger recalls that Milius' standard morale-boosting refrain (in keeping with his personal philosophy) was that physical pain was temporary, but the resulting film would be permanent. The trio trained extensively with black belt and expert swordsman Kiyoshi Yamazaki who forced them to practice routines over a dozen times before allowing them to step in front of a camera.

The physical aspect of the performances was not the sole focus of attention. Schwarzenegger had considerable trouble minimizing his thick Austrian accent and delivering his lines with the required effectiveness. He and Milius figured they could do little about the accent, but proceeded to work hard on the specificities of line delivery. They would retire to Milius' trailer every day before lunch and rehearse the longer monologues over and over, until Schwarzenegger could commit the suitable cadences and stresses to memory. By the time he delivered them on camera, he had rehearsed each speech forty or fifty times. Schwarzenegger also received some help from stage actor James Earl Jones, who demonstrated line reading options for him in return for workout tips.

Milius also suffered through much of the shoot. His severe asthma flared up consistently on location and the production was continually beset by cold, rain and bugs. Weeks into filming, he clashed with director of photography Gil Taylor (who had also, famously, fought with Lucas on the set of Star Wars) and fired him with "extreme prejudice," replacing him with Duke Callaghan.

As the actors labored to inject the proceedings with humanity and energy, and the set designers and construction crews worked to provide a properly thought out backdrop to those qualities, the special effects team wielded maximum ingenuity to augment the 'reality' of the Hyperborean setting by just the right amount.

The infamous Tree of Woe scene was filmed in March 1981 on the sandy coastline of Almeria. The tree itself was put together by encasing a framework of wood and steel in layers of Styrofoam and plaster. It could be rotated on a turntable, allowing for visual continuity with regard to the surrounding shadows over the three days of filming. Schwarzenegger was made to sit on an attached bicycle seat with fake nails stuck to his wrists and ankles. Live vultures were tied to the tree branches while a mechanical one was provided for him to bite into, its control mechanisms concealed by the tree.

Special effects supervisor Nick Allder had previously won an Oscar for his work on Alien (1977). He designed the 36-foot long hydraulic snake for the scene in the Temple of Set where Conan battles a giant serpent in a sacrificial pit. The serpent could rear 12 feet off the ground, and inject KY jelly venom out of its fangs. It cost approximately 20,000 pounds.

Allder says of his creation: "I was mulling over the skeletal structure of a snake one day when I had an inspiration; why not substitute each of the muscles which would normally be attached to a skeleton with a cable? …this way we'd be able to come up with a naturalistic movement it had been very difficult to achieve in the past on this type, and size, of animal. And I think it came out well…It's also very strong; you could put a full-grown man on the neck just behind the head and it would still be able to stand up."

The transformation sequence in which Thulsa Doom turns into a serpent was one of the more intricate bits of trickery the FX team had to perform. James Earl Jones' head was immobilized in position for the establishing shot and yellow contacts were inserted in his eyes to suggest the onset of metamorphosis. Once that shot was completed, the actor was replaced with a skeletal framework that had a rubber mold of Jones' face covering it. A snake-head-shaped puppet was then pushed through the framework and against the mask, suggesting that Doom's facial structure was changing. The flow of the sequence was improved by splicing in footage of actual snakes and filmed miniatures, and through the use of a lap dissolve technique.

The plentiful gore effects were managed by Carlo De Marchis, the makeup effects supervisor, and Colin Arthur (former studio head of Madame Tussauds). They designed and built dummies that were used to bulk out crowd scenes and stand in as dead bodies. They also fashioned the fake body parts that lend such character to the film's brutal fight scenes.

The most gruesome effect filmed was the beheading of Conan's mother by Thulsa Doom. Milius, however, edited the scene down, fearing that the full version would attract an X rating. In the original version, there is a closeup of the head lying on the ground, spouting blood, its eyes and mouth moving erratically via the manipulation of cables hidden in the snow. The version kept in the film is less graphic and arguably more effective. It was shot by placing a Plexiglas shield between Jones and Nadiuska (the German actress who played Conan's mother), stopping his sword as he swung at her. A fake head was then dropped into the shot. The other major decapitation scene comes at the end as Conan kills Thulsa Doom. This sequence was comparatively simple to shoot: Schwarzenegger simply hacked at a dummy and yanked a hidden chain to detach its head.

A lot of the blood shown on screen was collected from slaughterhouses. The arterial spurts splashing out of the cast during the fight scenes came from bags strapped to them under their costumes. Several of the fiberglass prop swords also had tubes running through them, allowing them to spew blood from their tips. These lighter trick swords were generally used in the various 'kill scenes' while heavier, more authentic-looking carbon steel alternatives were carried by Schwarzenegger during the filming of less risky sequences.


Milius hired his friend Basil Poledouris to compose the score. The two had worked together earlier on Big Wednesday. Milius brought Poledouris on before filming had even begun, giving them time to discuss the emotional overtones that were right for the score. He asked Poledouris to begin work based on the storyboards and to anticipate recording the music once production was winding down.

The composer wrote "two hours of music for Conan," he told Starlog in 1982. "It was always in John's mind that Conan would be solid music—much like an opera . . . . From the first frame of reel one to the end of the Wheel of Pain sequence, somewhere in the middle of reel three, is one long cue without any break. I was terrified when I first realized that."

Once filming was completed, Milius gave Poledouris two tapes of the finished film, one without music and the other with excerpts from the work of Wagner, Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Poledouris was intimidated by the prospect of having to compare favorably to these legendary composers, but soon found his groove once he realized that their work was just intended by Milius as an aesthetic starting point.

Conan's personal theme – "The Riddle of Steel" – began as a basic melodic line set to a poem, written as if the composer was Conan's bard. The underlying melody was later filled out with an epic dose of brass, strings and percussion. The main musical theme, the "Anvil of Crom," is just as muscular, described by film music historian Laurence MacDonald as "the brassy sound of twenty-four French horns in a dramatic intonation of the melody, while pounding drums add an incessantly driven rhythmic propulsion."

For the music that was to accompany Thulsa Doom's opening attack on Conan's village, Milius wanted a chorus based on Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. However, after discovering that Excalibur (1981) had already used Orff's work, he asked Poledouris for original material. The result consists of choral passages chanted by Doom's cohort as a tribute to his name. Poledouris wrote the lyrics in English and had them crudely translated into Latin, as he was "more concerned about the way the Latin words sounded than with the sense they actually made." The lyrics were subsequently set to a melody adapted from the 13th-century Gregorian hymn, Dies Irae, chosen to "communicate the tragic aspects of the cruelty wrought by Thulsa Doom."

The final score is still one of the most celebrated compositions written for film, praised even by the movie's detractors. It catapulted Poledouris' career to great heights and retains its status as one of the basic templates for epic fantasy scores, frequently imitated but rarely matched.


The film's reception at the time was decidedly mixed. Even some of the positive reviews were somewhat backhanded, with Roger Ebert's review — three stars notwithstanding — dubbing it "the perfect fantasy for the alienated preadolescent." The New York Post and The LA Times recommended the film, the latter claiming that "Conan the Barbarian does for the heroic epic what Star Wars does did for space fantasy."

Some of the more negative reviews, such as David Denby's, single out the film's action scenes as their redeeming quality, while others focus on said violence as the most offensive thing about it. Some, like Vincent Canby of The New York Times, felt that it wasn't violent enough, given the source material. Others found the brutality unbearable. Richard Schickel of Time Magazine called it "a psychopathic Star Wars," David Stearritt of The Christian Science Monitor complained that it was more "Neanderthal than Nietzsche," and Newsday's Joseph Gelmis practically dismissed it as "soft-core pornography."

The film's perceived politics drew as much as criticism as the violence. Many critics and observers, including Schickel, James Wolcott (writing for Texas Monthly), J. Hoberman and many others, believed it to be a thinly veiled fascist polemic that valorized force over all else, a celebration of the Nietzschean ideal of the Aryan ubermensch.

Subsequent years, however, have been much kinder to the film. The seriousness with which it takes the source material has been celebrated as a welcome deviation from the laughable cheese that characterized so many sword and sorcery movies at the time. As Zack Handlen of The AV Club put it in a 2011 appreciation, "this is fantasy, but the shit is real." The uniformly high production values – the ingenious practical effects, the makeup, the filmmaking craft on display – all draw continued admiration.

Contemporary audiences have also picked up on the film's sense of humor, quotable dialogue, pulpy energy and moments of camp appeal. Conan the Barbarian takes itself seriously, but not to the point of forgetting what kind of movie it is. As a result, the decades since its release have seen numerous tributes being paid to it by contemporary critics and viewers. As of now, the film is firmly (and deservedly) established as a beloved cult classic.


Conan the Barbarian is now widely recognized as the gold standard for the sword and sorcery subgenre. It spawned books, comics, an animatronic show at Universal Studios and a wave of low budget knockoffs — from The Beastmaster to Gor — that proved a blight on movie screens throughout the 80s. It was also one of the few such movies to turn a healthy profit, debuting at number one at the US box office, taking in almost $10 million on its first weekend and going on to gross over $100 million worldwide.

The film is arguably a major factor behind Robert Howard's creation being as visible and well known as it is today, expanding the fanbase beyond readers of the original works. The success of the movie inspired a terrible, watered down 1984 sequel – Conan the Destroyer – as well as a 2011 reimagining starring Jason Momoa. Rumors have swirled for years that Schwarzenegger will return for a new sequel titled The Legend of Conan, and it's finally starting to look like that project may actually reach fruition.

Curiously, the film may even have had an indirect hand in the creation of the Masters of the Universe franchise as Mattel bought the toy rights to Conan but later abandoned the license, thanks to the movie's graphic violence. Despite this, the Masters of the Universe line of toys that followed soon after bear great resemblance to Howard's creation as popularized by Milius. Mattel won a lawsuit which formalized their claim that He-Man had nothing to do with Conan, but fans remain convinced of the connection.

The film also boosted (if, in some cases, temporarily) the reputations of those involved in its making. It's widely recognized as Milius' greatest directorial achievement. It won Sandahl Bergman a Golden Globe, a career high she would never again replicate. The film's music made Basil Poledouris' career and continues to be held up as a perfect example of a rousing epic score. Poledouris would go on to produce many memorable scores, especially over the course of his prolonged collaboration with Paul Verhoeven on films like RoboCop and Starship Troopers.

Perhaps most significant was the film's effect on the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was a turning point for Arnie, establishing him worldwide as an action star, prompting the public to perceive him as a movie star more than a bodybuilder. The results of that shift in perception are known to all as Schwarzenegger went on to enjoy one of the most iconic careers in genre cinema.


Conan Unchained: The Making of Conan The Barbarian documentary:

Flights of Fancy: The Great Fantasy Films By Kenneth Von Gunden

DVD Commentary by Schwarzenegger, Milius et al.

Conan the Phenomenon: The Legacy of Robert E. Howard's Fantasy Icon By Paul Sammon

Cinefantastique Vol 11, #3 Nine Days in Cimmeria by Paul Sammon

The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History by Laurence E. MacDonald

Hutchison, David. "Music for a Barbarian." Starlog, September 1982.

Thomas, Tony (1997). "More Recently—Basil Poledouris". Music for the Movies