“He was the master of all beasts. He was…the Beastmaster!” Featuring Marc Singer’s signature role as Dar, the man who fights evil with the help of his pet ferrets, an eagle, and a tiger that’s been spray-painted black. Rip Torn, sporting some awesome eyebrows, makes for one creepy villain. How many times did we watch this on TBS when we were growing up? Never enough.
Way more fun than the 2010 remake. Sure, it’s got a pre-LA Law Harry Hamlin as Perseus, and Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus, but the real stars of this mythological adaptation are the delightfully cheesy stop-motion animation monsters of special effects master Ray Harryhausen. CGI just can’t capture the same sort of magic.
The movie that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a true screen star and inspired a number of copycats. Conan’s personal mission statement features a refreshingly simple sense of clarity for young men. When asked what’s best in life, he responds: “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”
By far the best film on this list. You might quibble that only a portion of it qualifies as “swords and sorcery,” but that’s good enough for us. Director Terry Gilliam’s imaginative visuals and co-writer Michael Palin’s absurdist humor make this the best of the not-quite-100-percent-certified-Monty Python comedies.
This is a god-awful motion picture. But there’s a long tradition of god-awful sword-and-sandal movies, with this Lou Ferrigno-starring flick the finest example of the 1980s. You can stream the whole thing on Netflix, or just watch the video embedded above, which has spliced together all the “best” parts. At least jump to the 1:15 minute mark to see Hercules wrestle a guy in a bear suit, or the 3:00 minute mark to see him fight a spaceship.