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The Sword and the Sorcerer

4 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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(Apr 24, 2001)
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$199.01 $38.62
(Jan 01, 2004)
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(Jan 01, 1982)
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Editorial Reviews

Lean, lanky Lee Horsley (TV's Matt Houston) is hardly the iconic image of a medieval warrior, but in this cheesy Conan the Barbarian knockoff he makes his swaggering, mercenary Talon a genial smart aleck of a barbarian hero. The plot is pure pulp cliché: evil Cromwell (Richard Lynch) raises a demon to conquer a peaceful kingdom, kill the rulers, and imprison the royal heirs, and the son of a murdered patriot returns to take his righteous vengeance with a projectile-loaded, three-bladed sword. First-time director Albert Pyun apprenticed under Akira Kurosawa and brings with him an eye for handsome images and a fluid sense of action that helps overcome B-movie dialogue ("Unlock this door, wench, and leave that to us!"), scenery-chewing performances, and bargain-basement budget. In one fight sequence a guard punches a rock wall--and dents it! Kathleen Beller (the dark-eyed beauty of The Betsy) is the rebel princess who enlists Talon to the cause, Route 66's charming wanderer George Maharis is a conniving traitor under an unflattering mop of greasy hair, and Richard Moll dons a latex monster mask to play the double-crossed demon. It's utterly silly and often awkward, but it does have energy to spare. The sequel promised at the end of the film was never produced and Pyun went on to direct some of the best straight-to-video action films of the 1990s, including Nemesis. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

  • TV Spots

Product Details

  • Actors: Lee Horsley, Kathleen Beller, Simon MacCorkindale, George Maharis, Richard Lynch
  • Directors: Albert Pyun
  • Writers: Albert Pyun, John V. Stuckmeyer, Tom Karnowski
  • Producers: Brandon Chase, Gerald T. Olson, John V. Stuckmeyer, Kenneth Yates
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2001
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059PP2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,995 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Sword and the Sorcerer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
In the ancient days of the early '80s, many Conan-imitation fantasies stalked the land. Most of them were cheap, dreary, and unwatchable. But the best of this low-budget bunch was the successful 1982 flick, "The Sword and the Sorcerer." Director Albert Pyun has gone onto to direct a slew of very cheesy movies, often featuring kickboxing, but this is his best film. People who love brawny sword-swingin' action will get a kick out of it. Yes, it's done cheaply, but there's some honest imagination in it, and the plot -- although filled with massive holes as deep as torture pits -- actually seems as if the writers took some time to think it up. The story still follows the basic clichés of this type of fantasy -- saving princesses, a vengeance-seeking hero, a resurrected evil wizard -- but it flows well and keeps you interested.

Of course,the film has tons of problems, and anyone who isn't seriously into the fantasy genre or early 80s movies will probably hate it. The sets are inexpensive and unimpressive, the photography cramps the action to stretch the budget, visual effects are minimal, and the acting is at best only adequate (but still better than most films of this kind). Lee Horsley plays the wise-cracking hero Talon, who wields a silly but rather cool three-bladed sword. Talon joins the resistance against evil King Cromwell (veteran b-movie villain Richard Lynch) in order to rescue a princess (Kathleen Beller). Behind it all lurks a monstrous sorcerer (Richard Moll under some well-done make-up) who has it in for Cromwell for betraying him and manipulates the resistance for his own ends. The story builds up to a surprisingly exciting finale that flexes some furious muscle and spills copious amounts of blood.
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This is one of the best, and surprisingly underestimated, fantasy movies of the 80's. It goes along the lines of classics like Beastmaster, Conan, Dragonslayer, Krull and Legend. Its best features are the great dialogues and solidly written characters, the marvelous sets, a surprisingly coherent and original plot, and an excellent soundtrack. The acting on the movie is not so good, but the story is so entertaining and funny that you won't really mind.
Talon, the son of a murdered King, turns into a barbarian hero who tries to end the rule of an evil conqueror and his allied demon. To achieve his goal he must free the heirs of the kingdom and avenge his father. In his quest he will encounter all the elements common in most fantasy stories: sword battles, powerful demons and treacherous villains, beautiful and exotic damsels in distress and dark ancient rituals and magic spells.
After the credits roll by, you will probably be left expecting to see the second installment of this movie: Tales of the Ancient Empire, which unfortunately, was never made.
A word of warning: the image quality of the DVD is not great, nor does this movie have any Special Features, but it's very unlikely it will ever get a better edition.
A must for fantasy film buffs.
--Reviewed by M. E. Volmar
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`Know you now of days long past, a time when the world was young, when sorcery thrived and wild adventure was forever in the offing, and of this epoch little is known save that which is veiled in the mist of legend'...that's the opening line of narration from the fantasy adventure feature The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982), and it's also how nearly every Dungeons and Dragons game I ever played back in the day started, although generally not as and directed by Albert Pyun (Alien from L.A., Cyborg, Captain America), the film stars Lee Horsley ("Matt Houston") in his first feature film, Kathleen Beller (The Betsy, "Dynasty"), and perennial screen villain Richard Lynch (Deathsport, Invasion U.S.A., The Barbarians). Also appearing is Simon MacCorkindale (Death on the Nile, Jaws 3-D), George Maharis (The Satan Bug), and Richard Moll (The Dungeonmaster, House), probably best know as the tall, bald headed bailiff Bull from the popular television series "Night Court".

As the film begins we learn through narration and visuals that a tyrant usurper named Titus Cromwell (Lynch) desperately wants overthrow a peaceful and wealthy neighboring kingdom, so much so he resurrects a demonic, reptilian faced wizard named Xusia (Moll) to aid him in his efforts. Xusia's main power seems to be the ability to yank out other peoples internal organs through mental telepathy, which is pretty nasty, but I'm unsure how it would assist in overthrowing a kingdom, but whatever...apparently Cromwell realizes this, too, as he quickly betrays Xusia with a sword to the guts, but the wily wizard manages to escape.
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Format: DVD
When you go to a local burger joint, you know the guy who makes the burgers is there in the back just cranking the things out. His cuisine is never going to reign supreme on "Iron Chef." But does that stop you from going there? No -- if you want a perfect combination of grease, cheese, and charred animal proteins, you can still enjoy the heck out of a good burger.
That, in a nutshell, is The Sword and the Sorcerer. It's a brilliantly dumb movie that has no pretensions of being High Cinema, and as such it succeeds better than any other movie of heroic fantasy (especially Conan the Barbarian, which any reader of the books knows is watery-weak in plot and vacuum-sparse in its characterization).
See it for the sometimes striking and sometimes laughable special effects. See it for its fantastic, bombastic soundtrack. See it for hammy acting and borderline clever double-entendres, tons of bit parts by B-list actors, a swirlingly complex plot that really doesn't matter, and a swaggering hero who out-Conan's the Schwarzenneger Conan and manages to do it despite some wincingly bad hair days.
If you like cheesy movies, you should love this one.
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