The Beastmaster

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The Beastmaster
The Beastmaster movie poster
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Produced by Paul Pepperman
Sylvio Tabet
Written by Don Coscarelli
Paul Pepperman
Starring Marc Singer
Tanya Roberts
Rip Torn
Music by Lee Holdridge
Cinematography John Alcott
Editing by Roy Watts
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • August 20, 1982 (1982-08-20)
Running time 118 min.
Country United States/West Germany
Language English
Budget $8 million
Box office $14,056,528

The Beastmaster is a 1982 fantasy film directed by Don Coscarelli and starring Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, John Amos and Rip Torn. 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."


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. On the way he befriends and teams up with an eagle, to whom he gives the name Sharak, a black tiger he names Ruh and a pair of thieving ferrets he calls Kodo and Podo; meets a slave-girl called Kira (Tanya Roberts) and encounters an eerie half-bird, half-human race who totally ingest human prey, leaving only the bones. These bird men worship eagles, and when they see that Dar commands Sharak, they give him an amulet which will let him request their aid.

In the city, Zed is imprisoned in the central pyramid and Maax exercises total power, demanding children to be sacrificed to his god. Dar, and Sharak save the child of townsman Sacco from sacrifice, then leaves to seek Kira, who he has learned is actually Zed's niece and is being prepared for sacrifice in a temple. Along the way he teams up with Zed's younger son Tal and his bodyguard Seth (John Amos). Together they save Kira and return to the city to free Zed from the pyramid. Zed, who has been blinded, is mad for revenge; he rejects Dar as a 'freak' and orders an immediate attack on the city, which fails utterly. Maax is about to sacrifice Kira and Zed on the pyramid when Dar reappears and frees Kira. He fatally wounds Maax, who nevertheless kills Zed and is about to kill Dar also when Kodo jumps on him and he falls to his death from the pyramid into the sacrificial fire. The Jun Horde attack the city but are eventually defeated; at the end the bird-men come to the city's aid and consume the last of the Juns. Dar sets off into the waste with Kira, Ruh, Sharak and Podo, who it is seen has given birth to two baby ferrets, on the path to new adventures.


Character Actor
Dar Marc Singer
Kira Tanya Roberts
Maax Rip Torn
Seth John Amos
Tal Josh Milrad
King Zed Rod Loomis
Zed's Queen Vanna Bonta
Young Dar's father Ben Hammer
Sacco Ralph Strait
Young Dar Billy Jacoby
Jun Leader Tony Epper
Tils Paul Reynolds


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.[1] 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",[2] and HBO as "Hey, Beastmaster is On". The film currently holds a 50% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

As such, the film eventually spawned two sequels Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time[3] (1991), and Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus[4] (1996, TV only), and a television series.[5] A special feature, The Making of Beastmaster 2,[6] was also produced in 1991, and another one The Saga of The Beastmaster[7] (2005) was released on video.


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