Red Sonja is a 1985 sword and sorcery/action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and introducing Briegitte Nielson as the title character.thumb|300px|right
The movie begins with Red Sonja's brother and their parents being slaughtered by the evil Queen Gedren's army because Sonja rejected the Queen's sexual advances. Sonja survives being violently raped by Gedren's troops, and even gives Gedren a kind of a souvenir: a brutal scar on the evil queen's face. Later that night, Sonja is visited by a spirit who grants her the strength to seek her revenge.
The story then jumps to a large temple full of white-robed priestesses. They are getting ready to destroy a large, glowing green orb called the Talisman, used by the Creator to forge the world. This dangerous artifact's destructive power increases from exposure to light and the priestesses intend to destroy it before it gets out of control. However, Gedren – now wearing a gold mask to cover her scar – and her aide-de-camp Ikol attack with their army. The warrior-priestesses resist, but are ultimately subdued by Gedren's forces.
Gedren gets her hands on the Talisman, but not before proving the myth that only women can touch it and survive. Gedren orders the remaining priestesses to be imprisoned in the vault which held the Talisman. One of those priestesses, Varna, manages to escape. She doesn't get far before she's mortally wounded by an arrow in the back. As luck would have it, she literally falls into the arms of the mighty Lord Kalidor. She begs him to help find her sister, Red Sonja.
Sonja has been training with a Chinese swordmaster when Kalidor informs Sonja about her sister. Sonja arrives just in time for Varna to tell her about what happened at the temple. Before dying, Sonja's sister urges her to find the Talisman and destroy it, or else the world will be shattered with storms and earthquakes. Sonja cremates Varna's body on a funeral pyre, and then begins her journey to Berkubane, Gedren's Kingdom of Eternal Night.
Just then, Sonja notices a storm off in the distance, indicating someone is using the Talisman. Kalidor offers to help her, but Sonja tells him that she does not need the help of a man. She rides to the now-ruined kingdom of Hablock. There she meets the young Prince Tarn, a cocky and overconfident brat, and his loyal and robust servant, Falkon. They confirm that Gedren just departed, having wiped out Hablock and its army with the Talisman because Tarn (being Tarn) refused to surrender. Tarn announces that he is raising a new army to crush Gedren underfoot and invites Sonja to join, since "We'll probably need a cook". Being Sonja, she declines and goes her own way with Kalidor surreptitiously following her.
Soon she encounters the rogue Lord Brytag, self-appointed ruler of the mountain passes, who takes an unhealthy interest in Sonja—very unhealthy for Brytag himself, because Sonja challenges him to a sword fight and slays him. Brytag's thuggish troops surround Sonja. Just as they move in for the kill, Kalidor suddenly attacks their rear. Sonja escapes, leaving her rescuer behind to deal with Brytag's remaining soldiers.
Sonja comes across Tarn and Falkon in the mountains (the film does not explain how they were somehow able to leapfrog ahead of Sonja through the pass Brytag kept shut—this is only one of the film's logical flaws). Having sent his servant out hunting, the boy is being tortured by bandits. Falkon rejoins Sonja to help her kill the brigands and free the prince. The threesome travel onward toward Berkubane.
At Castle Berkubane, Gedren places the Talisman in a room full of candles to increase its strength. Ikol warns her against this, because too much light will give the Talisman more power than can be controlled, but Gedren won't take him seriously. Back in the castle's main hall, they discover that Sonja and her party are approaching. The queen's Wizard shows her Sonja, Tarn and Falkon in a magic screen. Gedren recognizes Sonja and orders that she be brought back to the fortress unharmed. She and Ikol use the Talisman to conjure up a storm, forcing Sonja's band to take shelter in a watery cavern.
Gedren and her Wizard also unleash an "Icthyan Killing Machine" in the cavern. When Sonja and her group try to cross the pond, the monster attacks them. Sonja struggles with the monster, but is unable to find any way to kill it. Kalidor again dramatically appears, leaps into the water and wrestles with the beast while Sonja digs out the eyes. They flee with Tarn and Falkon, leaving the metal monstrosity to thrash blindly about the pond.
Sonja now accepts the company of Kalidor, but also gives him a warning: she will never lie with any man unless he can defeat her in a swordfight. Kalidor challenges her and they spar, but neither of them is able to defeat the other. They call it a draw. Kalidor at least wins her heart.
The Talisman's power is growing too dangerous to control, but still Gedren rejects Ikol's counsel to put it in a darker place. Kalidor, Sonja and Falkon infiltrate Castle Berkubane. To protect young Tarn, they trick him into volunteering to stay behind in order to "prevent Gedren from escaping".
Sonja has a final confrontation with Gedren, while Kalidor and Falkon deal with her evil guards in the Castle's kitchen/dining hall. Ikol tries to escape with gold looted from Hablock, but is intercepted by Prince Tarn... who engages him in combat, finally crushing the evil lieutenant under the Castle's rolling stone gate.
Back in Gedren's Chamber of Lights, the Talisman's power breaks the floor open, revealing a hellish chasm of molten lava beneath the castle. Sonja unleashes a brutal barrage of sword swings, which Gedren is barely able to ward off. She finally disarms Gedren, literally shattering her sword into pieces, and runs her through with her own blade, sending the evil ruler plunging to her doom, then casts the Talisman in after her. Immediately, the Talisman's destruction causes a chain reaction that begins to tear Castle Berkubane apart. The heroes barely manage to escape; Kalidor must hold a couple of pillars on his shoulders while the others pass underneath. Finally, Castle Berkubane is consumed by the rising volcano beneath it.
At the film's end, Sonja and Kalidor kiss. Prince Tarn and Falkon look on before departing.