Since its premiere in 1984, the timeless tale of ‘Conan the Destroyer’ has become a cult classic. Directed by renowned director Richard Fleischer and based on the book series by Robert E. Howard, the film has time and again evoked a mystical curiosity with its gravitas and edgy storyline. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, the sequel to ‘Conan the Barbarian’ is a sword and sorcery-themed film that follows Conan as he leads a team of incongruous misfits as they embark on a quest to retrieve a magical gem and head to an enchanted crystal palace.
However, the journey is laden with magic, sorcery, impenetrable fortresses, and monsters. Conan of Cimmeria lived in the Hyborian age, and as such, to easily encapsulate the essence of such a time, the filming of ‘Conan the Destroyer’ needed to embody the ideas of witchcraft, sorcery, monsters, and fantasy. Naturally, one of the key aspects of such a movie remains its location. It is natural for fans to be curious about the picturesque beauty that lent itself to sword fighting and multiple adventures. Luckily, we’ve got you covered!
Conan the Destroyer Filming Locations
With impeccable cinematography by Jack Cardiff and a reverent musical score by Basil Poledouris, the second cinematic adventure in the series was fully realized with the filming primarily taking place in Mexico in southern North America. The principal photography for the film began on November 1, 1983, and filming was concluded by February 10, 1984.
As a cost-cutting measure, most of the film was shot in Mexico, where Arnold Schwarzenegger and the entire cast even visited wrestler Andre the Giant at a UWA show. The scenic beauty and ambiance of Juarez helped director Richard Fleischer make Conan’s quest a legendary one.
The former Governor of California did not just shoot countless scenes in the rocky terrain of Yuma, Arizona, but also managed to gain US citizenship during the filming of ‘Conan the Destroyer’. The elements of a rugged terrain found in Yuma helped make the quest of the team even more interesting to watch.
Against its predecessor, ‘Conan the Barbarian,’ which was Rated R for its extensive violence, ‘Conan the Destroyer’ was conceived by the filmmakers to cater to a broader audience. The PG rating, coupled with the wide expanse of Coahuila, helped create an otherworldly illusion, perfect for the movie’s storyline.
Some 30 miles south of Juarez, the state of Chihuahua isn’t just known for its craft brewery. The dunes of Samalayuca, which on any other day, may be good for dune buggy rides and sandboarding, helped provide an otherworldly montage that perfectly lent itself to the movie’s theme and narrative.
Estudios Churubusco, Mexico
The studios of Estudios Churbusco – C. Atletas 2, Country Club Churubusco, Coyoacan, Mexico City, and Distrito Federal allowed producers to bring their vision to reality. Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5, Stage 6, and Stage 7 were the principal stages used to shoot the interior scenes.
From the battle between the wizard and Conan to even the castle scenes in the movie, many of the life-like elements seen were, in fact, physical models that helped exemplify the storyline. Even the hilltop of Shadizar was a foreground miniature in real life. The crew had actually created a tiny model and placed it really close to the camera to achieve a life-like shot.
Mexico City, Mexico
Other locations of the film included the town of Bavispe in Sonora, Mexico, which helped make the pursuit of the unbeknownst princess Jehna a journey of mystery and fantasy. Nestled in the green flora of the mountains, the epic sword fight on horseback shot in Durango, Mexico, added a brooding ambiance to the film.
The largest city of Hidalgo, Pachuca, also helped serve as an ideal location for shooting the fighting with a monster of mirrors, navigating the kidnapping of the princess, and even dealing with magicians, the movie flawlessly coalesces into a recipe for a classic.
Nevado de Toluca, Mexico
The extinct volcano of Nevado de Toluca, called Pachuca, was also one of the key locations for the filming of ‘Conan the Destroyer.’ Coupled with the special effects done by Carlo Rambaldi, the movie created an element of mystery and invoked curiosity easily. Despite its watered-down version of Robert E. Howard’s barbaric and savage Conan, the 1984 rendition still remains a widely loved movie by fans worldwide.
Read More: Is Conan the Destroyer (1984) Based on a True Story?