Full page view
HISTORY

       The 22 Mar 1983 DV announced an open casting call for the role of the alternately spelled, “Red Sonia,” and stated that Ralph Bakshi would direct the picture, with production scheduled to begin in summer, 1983. However, the 10 Apr 1984 DV, now calling the picture Red Sonya, reported principal photography would begin in Sep 1984, utilizing the Cinecitta Studios in Italy, and the 19 Jul 1984 DV announced that Richard Fleischer would direct.
       Producer Dino De Laurentiis was in negotiations with Cinecitta Studios to re-launch his own studio, Dinocitta, after it had been defunct for twelve years, and to use Cinecitta to co-produce the film. Dinocitta did reopen, and was renamed Stabilimenti Cinematografici Pontini, according to the 19 Dec 1984 Var. However, it is unclear if Cinecitta was an investor or co-producer, as they are not credited onscreen.
       According to the 19 Jul 1984 DV, actress Sandahl Bergman would play “Red Sonja,” but Bergman was recast as “Queen Gedren.” The 3 Aug 1984 HR reported that actress Eileen Davidson was heavily favored for the role of “Red Sonja,” and announced a sixteen-week shooting schedule set in Rome, Italy.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files report filming locations in Celano, Italy.
       The 7 Oct 1984 LAT misspelled actress Brigitte Nielsen’s name as “Brigette Nielsson,” and announced that filming had begun the week before on the $35 million picture. The 10 Nov 1984 Screen International credited the Danish star as “Gitte Nielsen,” and referred to the picture as Queen Of Thieves.
       Production ... More Less

       The 22 Mar 1983 DV announced an open casting call for the role of the alternately spelled, “Red Sonia,” and stated that Ralph Bakshi would direct the picture, with production scheduled to begin in summer, 1983. However, the 10 Apr 1984 DV, now calling the picture Red Sonya, reported principal photography would begin in Sep 1984, utilizing the Cinecitta Studios in Italy, and the 19 Jul 1984 DV announced that Richard Fleischer would direct.
       Producer Dino De Laurentiis was in negotiations with Cinecitta Studios to re-launch his own studio, Dinocitta, after it had been defunct for twelve years, and to use Cinecitta to co-produce the film. Dinocitta did reopen, and was renamed Stabilimenti Cinematografici Pontini, according to the 19 Dec 1984 Var. However, it is unclear if Cinecitta was an investor or co-producer, as they are not credited onscreen.
       According to the 19 Jul 1984 DV, actress Sandahl Bergman would play “Red Sonja,” but Bergman was recast as “Queen Gedren.” The 3 Aug 1984 HR reported that actress Eileen Davidson was heavily favored for the role of “Red Sonja,” and announced a sixteen-week shooting schedule set in Rome, Italy.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files report filming locations in Celano, Italy.
       The 7 Oct 1984 LAT misspelled actress Brigitte Nielsen’s name as “Brigette Nielsson,” and announced that filming had begun the week before on the $35 million picture. The 10 Nov 1984 Screen International credited the Danish star as “Gitte Nielsen,” and referred to the picture as Queen Of Thieves.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files report filming occurred in Celano, Italy.
       According to the 19 Dec 1984 Var, principal photography was set to wrap on 21 Dec 1984, a day and a half over the fifty-eight day shooting schedule. The slight delay was due to torrential rains that occurred in the Abruzzi Mountains during Oct 1984, as reported by the 21 Dec 1984 DV.
       The film’s special effects were all shot in-camera in order to speed up post-production “by more than fifty percent,” and ensure that the picture was ready for a Summer 1985 release. Postproduction moved from Italy to MGM Studios in Culver City, CA, so that Dino De Laurentiis could oversee the progress, and attend the American Film Market, according to the 27 Mar 1985 Var.
      The film begins with the following prologue: “Her name was Red Sonja. She lived in a savage world in an age of violence...a fierce warrior with flaming red hair. In the Hyborian Kingdom her quest for justice and vengeance became a legend. This is how the legend began.” End credits include the following acknowledgement: “Filmed on Location in Italy and at the Stabilimenti Cinematografici Pontini, Rome.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Mar 1983.
---
Daily Variety
10 Apr 1984.
---
Daily Variety
19 Jul 1984.
---
Daily Variety
21 Dec 1984
p. 14, 30.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 1985
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
7 Oct 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1985
p. 12.
New York Times
3 Jul 1985
p. 22.
Screen International
10 Nov 1984.
---
Variety
19 Dec 1984
p. 69.
Variety
27 Mar 1985.
---
Variety
3 Jul 1985
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Dino De Laurentiis Presents
A Richard Fleischer Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
Unit mgr
1st asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
Chief lighting tech
Key grip
Cameras
Lights by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Story board artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prop master
Chief sculptor
Chief plasterer
Chief constructor
Fish machine and spider des and built by
Fish machine and spider des and built by
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward coord
Ward master
Ward painter
MUSIC
Mus comp
Orch and Choir Dell'Unione Musicisti of Rome cond
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Foreground miniatures
Spec eff
Spec visual eff by
Matte dept
Matte dept
Matte dept
Matte shots by
Addl visual eff and titles by, Van Der Veer Photo
Addl visual eff and titles by
MAKEUP
Creative makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Action unit supv
Casting, London
Casting, Los Angeles
Casting, Rome
Continuity
Prod office coord, Rome
Prod office coord, London
Prod secy
Prod asst
Prod asst
Unit pub
Transport mgr
Martial arts
Martial arts consultant
Action unit coord
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the character created by Robert E. Howard.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Red Sonia
Red Sonya
Queen of Thieves
Release Date:
3 July 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 3 July 1985
Production Date:
September--21 December 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Famous Films Productions, B.V.
Copyright Date:
22 July 1985
Copyright Number:
PA257500
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Metrocolor®
Duration(in mins):
89
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27783
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After rejecting Queen Gedren’s demands to be her slave, Sonja’s house is burned down, her family is killed, and Sonja is raped by the Queen’s soldiers. Sonja lies unconscious on the ground, and is awakened by a vision telling her that she will succeed in enacting vengeance against Queen Gedren. The spirit bestows Sonja with the gift of swordsmanship to carry out her mission. Sometime later, the High Priestess, Kendra, holds a ceremony to destroy a glowing green talisman, which created all life, but is now deemed too powerful to exist. Queen Gedren and her army attack, kill Kendra, and take possession of the talisman. A battle ensues, and Varna is the only survivor. As she flees, Varna is struck with an arrow, and rescued by a warrior named Kalidor. The injured Varna insists they must destroy the talisman, and asks Kalidor to find her sister. Elsewhere, Red Sonja trains with a sword master, who proclaims her the best he has ever seen, and gives her a newly forged sword. Kalidor arrives, seeking Red Sonja, and reports that her sister, Varna, is dying. Kalidor takes her to see Varna, who tells Sonja about the talisman’s growing powers that will destroy the earth unless Sonja casts the green orb into the darkness. Varna dies, and Sonja tells Kalidor he is no longer needed. He insists on helping, but Sonja remains distrustful of all men, and pursues the talisman alone. Sonja meets a child prince named Tarn, whose kingdom was attacked by Queen Gedren, leaving only him and his footman, Falkon, as survivors. They tell ... +


After rejecting Queen Gedren’s demands to be her slave, Sonja’s house is burned down, her family is killed, and Sonja is raped by the Queen’s soldiers. Sonja lies unconscious on the ground, and is awakened by a vision telling her that she will succeed in enacting vengeance against Queen Gedren. The spirit bestows Sonja with the gift of swordsmanship to carry out her mission. Sometime later, the High Priestess, Kendra, holds a ceremony to destroy a glowing green talisman, which created all life, but is now deemed too powerful to exist. Queen Gedren and her army attack, kill Kendra, and take possession of the talisman. A battle ensues, and Varna is the only survivor. As she flees, Varna is struck with an arrow, and rescued by a warrior named Kalidor. The injured Varna insists they must destroy the talisman, and asks Kalidor to find her sister. Elsewhere, Red Sonja trains with a sword master, who proclaims her the best he has ever seen, and gives her a newly forged sword. Kalidor arrives, seeking Red Sonja, and reports that her sister, Varna, is dying. Kalidor takes her to see Varna, who tells Sonja about the talisman’s growing powers that will destroy the earth unless Sonja casts the green orb into the darkness. Varna dies, and Sonja tells Kalidor he is no longer needed. He insists on helping, but Sonja remains distrustful of all men, and pursues the talisman alone. Sonja meets a child prince named Tarn, whose kingdom was attacked by Queen Gedren, leaving only him and his footman, Falkon, as survivors. They tell her the queen’s whereabouts, and Sonja travels on, while Kalidor secretly follows. Passing through Brytag’s land in her pursuit, the man demands a payment. However, Red Sonja proposes a sword fight. When she kills the man, his guards attack, but Kalidor joins Sonja in battle. As he helps her escape, Red Sonja begins to trust Kalidor. Sometime later, Sonja comes upon Prince Tarn being tortured in the woods, and comes to his rescue. The ungrateful prince fails to thank Red Sonja, but he and Falkon join her quest. Back in her kingdom, Queen Gedren uses a wizard to conjure up an oracle, and sees Red Sonja traveling on the road toward her. The queen is surprised to learn that Sonja is still alive, and demands she be captured, unharmed. Arriving in “the land of perpetual night,” Sonja attempts to spank the arrogant young prince, but Falkon pleads with her not to. Sometime later, Tarn humbles himself and asks Sonja to help him with his sword skills. Tarn discovers a large pearl in a water filled cavern, and insists Falkon retrieve it for him. Sonja arrives to warn them about the rising rain waters, and a sea creature attacks. Kalidor arrives and fights the creature, but soon realizes it is a machine. Red Sonja helps him blind the mechanical beast, and they make their escape. Sonja asks Kalidor why he followed her, and he explains that he is a High Lord, and was to oversee the talisman’s destruction with High Priestess Kendra before she was killed. Red Sonja believes he had ulterior motives, and Kalidor admits she is right, then kisses her. She returns his kiss, then offers her vow that she will only give herself to a man who has beaten her in a fair fight. Kalidor mocks her logic, and challenges her to a sword fight. Tarn interrupts the fight to defend Sonja, and she claims she and Kalidor are only practicing. Breathless from their battle, the would-be lovers collapse in exhaustion. They continue their journey to the talisman and make their way inside Queen Gedren’s kingdom, forged inside of a mountain. The powerful talisman hidden inside causes earthquakes, and Gedren’s right-hand man, Ikol, advises her to destroy it, but she refuses. Red Sonja warns Falkon and Kalidor not to touch the talisman once they find it, as only women can lay their hands on it. The men battle Gedren’s guards, while Tarn seeks revenge against Ikol, who stole the young prince’s gold. While trying to escape, Ikol is crushed to death by a boulder. Red Sonja confronts Queen Gedren, and the women face-off in a sword fight. Gedren’s wizard watches the battle and uses magic to make Gedren disappear as Sonja strikes. Red Sonja turns her attack on the wizard, and beheads him. The women continue their fight inside the locked room containing the talisman. Kalidor lifts the gate, and Tarn crawls below to help Sonja. An earthquake causes the ground around them to open up, and Red Sonja makes a final blow, wounding Gedren and pushing her into the chasm, where lava flows below. Sonja picks up the talisman and throws the green orb into the abyss. The castle begins to crumble, and Kalidor holds up the walls as they make their way out. Tarn becomes trapped, but Falkon refuses to leave the prince behind. They free the boy, and escape as the castle explodes. Sometime later, Red Sonja and Kalidor bid farewell to Tarn and Falkon, and Kalidor challenges Sonja to continue their battle in order to win her heart. She accepts. After a few strikes, they cease fighting, and kiss. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.