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The Beastmaster (film)

The Beastmaster (film)

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The Beastmaster is 1982 fantasy film
Fantasy film
Fantasy films are films with fantastic themes, usually involving magic, supernatural events, make-believe creatures, or exotic fantasy worlds. The genre is considered to be distinct from science fiction film and horror film, although the genres do overlap...

 directed by Don Coscarelli
Don Coscarelli
Don Coscarelli is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for horror films. His credits include the Phantasm series, The Beastmaster, and Bubba Ho-Tep.-Biography:...

 that starred Marc Singer
Marc Singer
Marc Singer is a Canadian-born American actor best known for his roles in the Beastmaster film series and as Mike Donovan in the original 1980s TV series V.-Personal life:...

, Tanya Roberts
Tanya Roberts
Tanya Roberts is an American actress best known for her roles in Charlie's Angels, The Beastmaster, A View to a Kill, Sheena and That '70s Show. Roberts was groomed as a Hollywood sex symbol during the early 1980s.- Early life :Blum was born in The Bronx, New York City, of Irish and Jewish descent...

, John Amos
John Amos
John Amos is an American actor and former football player. His television work includes roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Good Times, the miniseries Roots, and a recurring role in The West Wing. He has also appeared on Broadway and in numerous motion pictures in a career that spans four decades...

 and Rip Torn
Rip Torn
Elmore Rual "Rip" Torn, Jr. , is an American actor of stage, screen and television.Torn received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1983 film Cross Creek. His work includes the role of Artie, the producer, on The Larry Sanders Show, for which he was nominated...

. The film was marketed with the tagline "Born with the courage of an eagle, the strength of a black tiger, and the power of a god."

Summary


The Beastmaster tells the story of Dar (Marc Singer), the royal son of a king named Zed (Rod Loomis) who was stolen from the womb of Zed's queen (Vanna Bonta) by a witch under the command of vicious high-priest sorcerer Maax (Rip Torn). A poor villager saves Dar from being sacrificed and raises him as his own son, teaching Dar how to fight and witnessing the boy's ability to telepathically communicate with animals.

Their happiness is destroyed when their village is attacked by the evil Jun horde, a race of fanatic beast-like warriors controlled by Maax. Dar, the only survivor of the attack, vows revenge and journeys to his father's former kingdom to destroy Maax.

Plot



Dar, the son of a desert-dwelling king and queen, is robbed of his birthright by the power-hungry priest named Maax and his demonic, Norn
Norns
The Norns in Norse mythology are female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men, a kind of dísir comparable to the Fates in classical mythology....

-like witches. After rendering the King immobile and helpless with a magical potion, one of the witches magically transfers Dar from his mother's womb to the uterus of a cow. The witch then kills the Queen while leaving the King alive to suffer with the knowledge his son and wife are dead. The witch takes the cow to which baby Dar was transferred to a remote place, where she removes him from the animal, brands his hand, and is moments away from killing him when he is saved by a passing peasant.

The peasant adopts Dar as his own son and raises him in his village. While still an adolescent, Dar learns that he has a telepathic relationship with animals. After Dar reaches adulthood, his adopted father and his entire village are murdered by the barbarian "Juns". After lighting a funeral pyre for them, Dar begins a quest for revenge. He is saved from a patch of quicksand and then aided on his quest by the ferret Kodo and his mate Podo, and befriends other beasts, notably Ruh, the black tiger and Sharak, the falcon, telepathically communicating with them.

Dar meets his love interest Kiri (Tanya Roberts) when he finds her bathing in a forest. His ferrets steal her clothes, and then Ruh frightens her and Dar's rescue ingratiates himself to her. She claims to be a slave girl.

On his way to seek vengeance, Dar encounters a tribe of bizarre, voiceless, winged beings who feed on humans by encasing them within large 'wing'-like arm covers and using a tube-like mouth to suck the victims dry, leaving nothing by a pile of bones and clothing. Through Sharak, he gains their respect, since the creatures apparently see the falcon as a representation of their god. The leader of the beings gives Dar an amulet of some kind with an image of the falcon on it.

Dar travels to the city and witnesses Maax sacrificing a young child by dropping him into a fire pit at the top of the temple that dominates the city. When Maax attempts to sacrifice a second child, Dar sends Sharak to rescue her. Later that night Dar put the child into a sack to hide her from Maax's guards. Dar takes the child back to her family and thus earning the gratitude of her family. He learns from the father, Sacco, that Kiri has been taken back to the main temple in order to prepare to be sacrificed.

On his way to rescue her, Dar meets Seth, a skilled warrior, and Tal, a teen who, unbeknownst to any of them, is Dar's younger brother. Since Tal is born to succeed King Zed, Seth is sworn to protect him and free the now-imprisoned king. While looking through the shiny trinkets that Kodo and Podo have stolen along their travels, Tal is given a ring by Dar (unbeknownst to all, it is a ring with an 'eye' that Maax uses to track the travellers). Seth then notices Kiri's jewelry among the items. He is angry upon seeing it, demanding to know where the necklace came from and, when Dar claims that it was stolen by the ferrets from a slave girl, reveals that she was not a slave girl, at all. Seth insists that they travel together to find her and Tal comments that Kiri is his cousin. Dar, Seth, and Tal are able to intercept the priests who have taken Kiri (along with a few other female slaves) and save her.

With Kiri's help, they sneak into the temple to rescue King Zed. While there, Kiri secretly enters a hidden room and, when she emerges, she is dressed differently and is now armed with various weapons. When Dar questions Tal about it, privately, Tal informs Dar that Kiri is actually a member of an ancient sect of warriors who used to live in the temple before it was taken by Maax and his cult.

Dar is shocked to learn that the king has been blinded. After narrowly escaping the monstrous "death guards" (a kind of berserker driven to a killing insanity; it is revealed that, after torture, the victims are drained of their blood and their brains impaired by some kind of green liquid and leeches placed in their ears), they all meet at a camp where King Zed stirs the townsmen into a rebellion, to avenge his family (unknowning that Dar is actually the son he believes Maax sacrificed) and intending to destroy Maax. He rejects Dar's help, calling him a "freak". Dar leaves the gathering and waits with his animals.

The following day, Sacco rides to Dar to tell him that the attack failed and that all of the rebels were to be sacrificed. Dar rushes into the city and fights his way up the temple steps before confronting Maax.

Out of twisted cruelty, Maax tells King Zed that Dar is his son just before killing him. Dar battles Maax on the temple steps and defeats him. Just as the rebels are celebrating their victory, Maax recovers from his injury and tries to strike Dar down from behind, but is attacked by Kodo, who proceeds to bite him savagely. Maax falls into the fiery sacrificial pit, but Kodo is lost as well. Dar attempts to save him, but is pulled back by Kiri, knowing Kodo is sadly beyond help.

In a finale, Seth organizes the villagers to battle the Jun hordes, who are approaching to finish the work Maax began. They cover the tar-filled moat that surrounds the city with dirt and sand as a means of halting the Juns advance. While the villagers are preparing, Dar gives Sharak the amulet that the man-eating beings had given him, earlier, and Sharak flies off with it.

The disguised moat succeeds in stopping the first few waves of attackers, particularly when a flaming torch is thrown into the moat, setting the tar aflame. Despite this short victory, Tal is shot and wounded with an arrow during the fight. Dar fights the leader of the Juns in personal combat and defeats him. Rather than retreat at their leader's death, the survivors immediately surround their enemies. Although many Juns have been killed, they still vastly outnumber Dar and his friends. When all seems lost for the latter, Sharak swoops out of the sky and lands on his arm.

The man-eating beings from earlier suddenly appear from the sky, having apparently understood that Dar needed them from Sharak bringing them the amulet that they'd given Dar, and annihilate the remaining Juns, allowing Dar and his companions to escape behind the safety of the city walls. The strange creatures do not speak, but nod respectfully to Dar before departing, once more.

The following morning, as Dar prepares to leave, Seth sees the brand on his hand and realizes that he was the first born son and should be king. Dar refuses, insisting that it is Tal who has been brought up to be a king, and resumes wandering. Kiri catches up with him and the two embrace. It is revealed then that the female ferret, Podo, who is still alive, has given birth to kits, who presumably were sired not long before Kodo's death (echoing the theme "out of death, life").

Cast

Character Actor
Dar Marc Singer
Marc Singer
Marc Singer is a Canadian-born American actor best known for his roles in the Beastmaster film series and as Mike Donovan in the original 1980s TV series V.-Personal life:...

Kiri Tanya Roberts
Tanya Roberts
Tanya Roberts is an American actress best known for her roles in Charlie's Angels, The Beastmaster, A View to a Kill, Sheena and That '70s Show. Roberts was groomed as a Hollywood sex symbol during the early 1980s.- Early life :Blum was born in The Bronx, New York City, of Irish and Jewish descent...

Maax Rip Torn
Rip Torn
Elmore Rual "Rip" Torn, Jr. , is an American actor of stage, screen and television.Torn received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1983 film Cross Creek. His work includes the role of Artie, the producer, on The Larry Sanders Show, for which he was nominated...

Seth John Amos
John Amos
John Amos is an American actor and former football player. His television work includes roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Good Times, the miniseries Roots, and a recurring role in The West Wing. He has also appeared on Broadway and in numerous motion pictures in a career that spans four decades...

Tal Josh Milrad
King Zed Rod Loomis
Rod Loomis
Rod Loomis is an American actor. Loomis is best known for his role in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure as Sigmund Freud.-Selected filmography:*The Beastmaster...

Zed's Queen Vanna Bonta
Vanna Bonta
Vanna Bonta is a novelist, poet and film actress best known as the author of Flight: A Quantum Fiction Novel the story about parallel dimensions featuring an amnesiac girl with no navel...

Young Dar's father Ben Hammer
Sacco Ralph Strait
Ralph Strait
Ralph Strait was an American-Irish actor who starred in film and on television. He was known for his roll in the 1982 cult film The Beastmaster as Sacco, also that year he starred in the horror movie Halloween III: Season of the Witch as Buddy Kupfer, and that year he starred in They Call Me...

Young Dar Billy Jacoby
Billy Jayne
Billy Jayne is an American actor, musician, and director. He has been in many films, and has sometimes been credited as Billy Jacoby. His siblings, Scott Jacoby, Robert Jayne, Susan Jayne and Laura Jacoby, are also actors.-Name:...

Jun Leader Tony Epper
Tils Paul Reynolds
Paul Reynolds (actor)
Paul Reynolds is an English actor. He attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School, made his start as a child actor in a variety of small parts, but is perhaps most recognised for his role as Thatcherite Colin Mathews in Press Gang, "Kevin" in Ghostbusters of East Finchley and as Sammy Dobbs the...


Reception


This sword-and-sorcery film was only a modest box-office performer during its initial 1982 release, grossing roughly $14 million against an estimated $8-million budget, but it has steadily built a strong cult following over the years. It subsequently received significant local TV and cable airplay, notably HBO and TBS where it became a TV mainstay and viewer favorite. Its replay was so common that some waggishly dubbed TBS "The Beastmaster Station", and HBO as "Hey, Beastmaster is On". The film currently holds a 50% rating at Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

.

As such, the movie eventually spawned two sequel
Sequel
A sequel is a narrative, documental, or other work of literature, film, theatre, or music that continues the story of or expands upon issues presented in some previous work...

s Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time
Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time
Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time is the 1991 sequel to the 1982 cult classic film The Beastmaster, starring Marc Singer.-Plot:...

(1991), and Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus
Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus
Beastmaster 3: The Eye of Braxas is the 1996 sequel to the 1991 cult classic film Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time, starring Marc Singer.-Plot:...

(1996, TV
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 only), and a television series
BeastMaster (TV series)
BeastMaster is a Canadian television series that aired from 1999 to 2002. It was loosely based on a 1982 MGM movie The Beastmaster. The series aired for three complete seasons...

. A special feature, The Making of Beastmaster 2, was also produced in 1991, and another one The Saga of The Beastmaster (2005) was released on video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

.