Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Conan the Barbarian

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Gruesomely violent sword-and-sorcery tale is terrible.

Movie R 2011 102 minutes
Conan the Barbarian Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 18+

More faithful doesn’t equal better.

Yes, it’s Conan. The adult sword and sorcery hero back again. Unfortunately it’s an incarnation that’s closer to the author’s books in setting and Mythos, but has none of the strength, maturity or grit of the Schwarzenegger film that is looser in setting and Mythos to the books. Everything is weaker here in my opinion and less interesting as a result. The plentiful gore and violence lacks impact, too. From the cut out cartoon villain to Conan himself. From brooding and often unpredictable barbarian in the 80s original, to a swashbuckler that’d be more at home in Pirates of the Caribbean or Star Wars. Or Game Of Thrones. Wink to the actor there. It’s not a badly shot film and looks good for sure but its so paint by numbers and unexciting, offers nothing new and doesn’t look or feel half as epic as it should. Many fans lauded the 80s original as capturing the physique, tone, strength and spirit of Conan even if wasn’t too faithful to the stories, with sweeping vistas and epic music. Conversely, many fans lauded the more faithful approach but lamented the loss of tone, strength and spirit along with a less than epic feel. I know which I prefer. Once again, if nudity, gore etc aren’t your thing, don’t even put in the disc. Film is subjective and this may be your gig. I just don’t think it’s friendly fare for under 18s.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
age 18+

One dumb close-in camera action scene after another

How brainless can a movie get? This move seems like one mindless close-in action scene following another. Not even epic action scenes. If you're look for story, fantasy world creation, interesting characters, good dialog, etc for the components of good movie -- they're not here. I was playing the video game Conan Unconquered (a fun co-op survival RTS tower defense game) so I wanted to see the move. Not even interesting, epic action scences like Lord of the Rings. Just close-in camera on fighting and gore. I couldn't stand to watch this movie to the end, even with low expectations. This movie is guilty of assaulting viewers with dumbness. I wouldn't want kids to get used to this low standard of a movie (and also the tons of excessive violence). Thank goodness Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is available as something good for me to watch now (as I write this). It is the opposite of this movie: great story, great fantasy world, epic plot, great characters, great dialog.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Directed by Marcus Nispel, this movie (which would be more aptly named Gron-an the Barbarian) is terrible, terrible, terrible. It starts with stale dialogue, which is delivered badly by all the actors. (Momoa tries for a steely gaze, but he winds up with a silly leer.) The lazy, ridiculous story would have been rejected by the pulps. The action sequences are clunky and incomprehensible, not to mention poorly paced, and the 3D effects are like flat images in a pop-up book.

That could have been the worst of it -- and indeed, that's plenty to make audiences howl with unintentional laughter -- but Nispel goes even further. He has delivered perhaps the most gruesomely violent movie of the year; it's extreme and horrifying. Last, though hardly least, is the movie's despicable treatment of women as props and women and children as the targets of brutal violence. Even the Schwarzenegger movies were better. Don't be conned by this Conan.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: August 19, 2011
  • On DVD or streaming: November 22, 2011
  • Cast: Jason Momoa , Rachel Nichols , Ron Perlman
  • Director: Marcus Nispel
  • Inclusion Information: Indigenous actors, Polynesian/Pacific Islander actors
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Run time: 102 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, some sexuality and nudity
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate