The Beastmaster  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Beastmaster is a 1982 sword and sorcery film directed by Don Coscarelli and starring Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, John Amos and Rip Torn. Loosely based on the novel The Beast Master by Andre Norton, the film is about a child who is stolen from his mother's womb by a witch. The child grows into Dar, who has the ability to communicate telepathically with animals. Dar grows up in a village, where he learns to do battle, but the village is destroyed by a race of beast-like warriors under the control of the sorcerer Maax. Dar vows revenge and travels with new friends to stop Maax from causing any more problems.

Commercially The Beastmaster was not considered a box office success during its original cinematic run; however later it received extensive television exposure and success on cable in the American market on channels TBS and HBO. The original film spawned two sequels as well as a syndicated television series that chronicled the further adventures of Dar.


In the kingdom of Aruk, the high priest Maax [[[Template:IPAc-en]] Template:Respell] is given a prophecy by his witches that he would die facing the son of King Zed. Learning of Maax's scheme to murder his child as a sacrificial offering to the kingdom's god Ar, Zed exiled Maax and his followers from the city. However, Maax sent one of his witches to transfer the unborn child from the womb of Zed's queen and into a cow to be born. After his birth the witch brands the infant with Ar's mark, but is killed by a villager who takes the infant in his care and raises him as his own son. Named Dar while raised in the village of Emur, the child learns how to fight while advised by his father to keep his ability to telepathically communicate with animals a secret. Years later, a fully grown Dar witnesses his people being slaughtered by the Juns, a horde of fanatic barbarians allied with Maax. Dar, the only survivor of the attack, journeys to Aruk to avenge his people. In time, Dar is joined by an eagle that he names Sharak, a pair of thieving ferrets he calls Kodo and Podo, and a black tiger whom he names Ruh.

Eventually, Dar meets a redheaded slave girl called Kiri before getting himself lost and ending up surrounded by an eerie half-bird, half-human race who dissolve their prey for nourishment. As the bird men worship eagles, they spare Dar when he summons Sharak and give him an amulet should he need their aid. Dar soon arrives at Aruk where Maax had assumed total control with the Juns' support and subjects the people to watch their children being sacrificed. After having Sharak save the child of a townsman named Sacco, Dar learns that Kiri is to be sacrificed. On his way to save her, Dar is joined by Zed's younger son Tal and his bodyguard Seth, learning that Kiri is Zed's niece as the three work to save her. While Seth goes to gather their forces, Dar helps Kiri and Tal infiltrate the temple and save the now eyeless Zed and while escaping from the temple's beast-like Death Guards and Maax himself, leading his small coven of evil witches.

Consumed by thirst for revenge, Zed refuses to listen to Dar's warning against ordering an immediate attack on the city and rejects him as a freak. Forced to leave, Dar later learns that his friends are captured and races to Aruk to save them from being sacrificed. In the conflict that follows, Maax reveals Dar's relationship to Zed before slitting his throat and facing the Beastmaster. Despite being stabbed, revived by his remaining witch before she was killed, Maax is about to kill Dar when Kodo sacrifices himself to cause the high priest to fall into the sacrificial flames. But the victory is short-lived as the Jun horde is approaching Aruk, arriving by nightfall to face the trap Dar and the people set for them. Tal is wounded as Dar succeeds in burning most of the Juns alive while defeating their chieftain before the bird-men arrive to consume those remaining. The following day, though Seth learned that he is Zed's firstborn, Dar explains that Tal would make a better king as he leaves Aruk. Dar sets off into the wild with Kiri, Ruh, Sharak and Podo (who has given birth to two baby ferrets) on the path to new adventures.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Beastmaster" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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