A look back at the “Sword and Sorcery” posters of the 1980s

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Before the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, there was an age undreamed of. An age when movie posters for “sword and sorcery” epics featured more than just the photoshopped torso of a sweaty, muscled gentleman. Long ago, there existed a time when artists hand-drew their sweaty, muscled gentleman alongside metal-bikinied ladies and mythic beasts.

Sure, those mythic beasts may or may not actually appear in the movie and the physique of the poster’s hero likely bore little resemblance to the actor playing him (I’m looking at you, David Carradine in The Warrior and the Sorceress), but that was part of the charm of the wave of 1980s fantasy films that arrived in the wake of Conan the Barbarian. Below is a gallery of the era’s most colorful adverts, frequently inspired by the pulp novel covers of artists such as Frank Frazetta.

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