RED SONJA is a semisequel to CONAN THE BARBARIAN and CONAN THE DESTROYER. Like those two movies, the film is directed by Richard Fleischer and based on characters created by sword-and-sorcery writer Robert E. Howard. After suffering at the hands of Queen Gedren (Sandahl Bergman), warrior Red Sonja (Brigitte Nielsen) seeks vengeance. When the queen seizes a talisman that yields immense power, Sonja sets out to thwart her. On her journey, Sonja is aided by the mysterious Kalidor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and meets the 12-year-old Prince Tarn (Eddie Reyes, Jr.) and his bodyguard, Falkon (Paul Smith). After many trials, the quartet arrives in the Land of Perpetual Night where they confront Queen Gedren in her stronghold.
Less violent than CONAN THE BARBARIAN, RED SONJA is more brutal than CONAN THE DESTROYER. The film features a contest between Kalidor and Red Sonja--she has vowed never to give herself to a man unless he defeats her in a fair fight. Comic relief is provided by the young Prince Tarn as he tires of watching their extended battle with very big swords. Fleischer (THE VIKINGS, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER) is an old hand at directing flamboyant swordplay, and he keeps the action moving to the film's explosive finale.
In director Richard Fleischer's action-packed fantasy, Red Sonja, a powerful warrior, sets out to avenge the death of her family at the hands of an evil queen.
Shot in Italy, on location in Celano and Abruzzi, near Rome, and at the Stabilimenti Cinematagrafici Pontini studios.
In CONAN THE BARBARIAN, Sandahl Bergman played Valeria, the queen of thieves and the love of Conan's life. Initially she was offered the role of RED SONJA, but turned it down, choosing instead to play the villainous Queen Gedren.
After Bergman turned down the lead role, it took Dino De Laurentiis almost a year to find an actress Amazonian enough to play the title character in RED SONJA. He was still looking eight weeks before the production was due to start, when he saw Brigitte Nielsen on the cover of a fashion magazine. The 21-year-old native of Helsingør, Denmark, who was in Milan on a modeling job, soon found herself on a plane heading for Rome and a successful screen test.
Arnold Schwarzenegger had great success in the two CONAN movies, but his next film, James Cameron's THE TERMINATOR, was a real breakthrough. When De Laurentiis approached Schwarzenegger and asked him to appear in an extended cameo and take second billing in RED SONJA, the actor agreed out of a feeling of obligation. He worked on the movie for only three weeks, and was very unhappy with De Laurentiis when he discovered he had been given top billing for what was essentially a supporting role.
Ennio Morricone, who wrote the music for RED SONJA, is one of the most celebrated of film composers. He has written scores for more than 400 movies, including Sergio Leone's THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, Terrence Malick's DAYS OF HEAVEN, and Roland Joffé's THE MISSION.