Though the film was one of Margheriti's most financially successful films, it received poor reviews from Variety and The New York Times and drew three nominations at the 1983 Golden Raspberry Awards.
Yor (Reb Brown), a roving hunter, and barbarian jogs through a seemingly prehistoric desert landscape, past the stone towers of Cappadocia, Turkey. In a nearby village, Kala (Corinne Cléry), a seemingly primitive cavewoman, and her mentor and protector Pag (Luciano Pigozzi; credited as Alan Collins) are hunting. Suddenly, they are attacked by a "stegoceratops," a cross-breed of a Stegosaurus and a Triceratops. Yor appears and kills the dinosaur with his axe, drinking some of its blood immediately afterwards. Yor is befriended by the village, and together, the villagers cut the choice meats to be feasted upon in celebration.
While Yor rests, a band of cavemen with bluish skin attack the village. Only Yor and Pag escape. Yor immediately swears to get Kala back. Yor and Pag track the blue cavemen to their lair, where Yor shoots a giant bat with his bow and arrow. He uses the dead bat like a hang glider to storm the lair and starts flooding sections of the cave, the diversion helping his escape out the back with Kala. The flood kills everyone inside the cave, including the other kidnapped villagers (who had been locked in cages) as well as the blue cavemen.
Kala and Pag decide to follow Yor in his adventure to find his origins. Along the way, they find a mysterious society of sand mummies led by a blonde woman named Tarita with an amulet similar to Yor's own. Yor proceeds to kill everyone except Tarita, deciding that she will be important for their journey. Kala tries to kill Tarita at one point, but they are both suddenly attacked by more blue cavemen. Yor and Pag come to the rescue, but a caveman strikes Tarita down from behind and she dies in Yor's arms.
Yor, Pag, and Kala make friends with another tribe after saving some children from a dinosaur, but this tribe is killed by (unseen) flying saucers shooting lasers. Yor and company use a boat to make their way to an island surrounded by storms. There Yor discovers, to his initial disbelief, that his parents were from a small band of nuclear holocaust survivors, thereby revealing the "twist" that Yor's world is actually post-apocalyptic Earth after a nuclear holocaust. A ruthless tyrant called the Overlord (John Steiner) has taken control of the remaining nuclear technology with his android army.
Yor finds allies in a group of rebels led by the scientist, Ena (Carole André) and the mysterious blind Elder, who have been plotting to overthrow him for years. Yor and the rebels join forces and attack the Overlord and his androids. Ena leads them to the fortress's atomic stockpile, where they plant explosives powerful enough to destroy it and the fortress. The Elder remains behind and slowly deactivates the android army, buying time for the others to escape. The Overlord pursues them in an attempt to stop the stockpile's destruction and briefly engages Yor in combat, overwhelming him temporarily. As the Overlord enters a nearby elevator, Yor grabs a nearby pole and hurls it through the window, impaling the villain. Mortally wounded, the Overlord struggles onward toward the stockpile as Yor and Ena continue to lead the others to safety. Pag orders them to keep going while he fends off the androids, but he loses his weapon and ends up getting cornered by them. Ena and the rebels quickly rush to his aid, but just as the androids are about to kill Pag, the Elder deactivates them as well. The group quickly boards one of the Overlord's ships just as the Overlord himself reaches the stockpile control room. But before he can stop the bomb, it explodes and he succumbs to his injuries and slowly dies. At the same moment, the Overlord's spacecraft, carrying Yor, Kala, Pag and the rebels flies out of the hangar to safety, while the Overlord's facility explodes behind them. As the movie ends and the ship flies off into the distance, the narrator intones: "...Yor returns to the primitive tribes on the mainland. He is determined to use his superior knowledge to prevent them making the same mistakes as their forefathers. Will he succeed?"Reb Brown - Yor
Corinne Cléry - Kala
Luciano Pigozzi - Pag (as Alan Collins)
Carole André - Ena
John Steiner - Overlord
Ayshe Gul - Rea of the Sand-People
Aytekin Akkaya - Leader of the Sand-People
Marina Rocchi - Tarita
Sergio Nicolai - Kay
Yor, the Hunter From The Future is an adaptation of the Argentinian comic book Yor, created in 1974 by writer Eugenio Zappietro and artist Juan Zanotto. The comic appeared in the Italian magazine Lanciostory in 1975. Director Antonio Margheriti later told an interviewer that the comic was fascinating to him. The film was part of a wave of sword-and-sorcery themed films that appeared after the success of John Milius's 1982 film version of Conan the Barbarian. Other Italian productions that appeared in 1983 in its wake along with Yor, including Lucio Fulci's Conquest and Franco Prosperi's The Throne of Fire (both 1983). The film differs from the comics where the second part of the film begins to resemble Star Wars.
Yor, the Hunter From the Future was shot in Turkey, including scenes shot in Cappadocia. Along with co-writing and directing the film, Margheriti supervised the films special effects with his son Edoardo.
The film was originally planned as a four part miniseries, with four 50-minute segments to be broadcast on Italy's RAI television.
Yor, the Hunter from the Future was released in Italy in February 10, 1983. Outside of Italy, the film was released in a 98-minute cut of the film while the United States had an 88-minute version for theatrical release. On the films release in the United States on August 19, 1983 it was distributed by Columbia Pictures. Margheriti stated that Columbia distributed 1400 prints of the film in the United States and that it was "one of the most successful pictures of my life." Yor, the Hunter from the Future grossed a total of $2,810,199 in the United States.
The film was released on DVD as part of Sony's on-demand manufacturing service on September 6, 2011.
In a contemporary reviews, Variety referred to the film as "one of the cheesiest pics to bear a major studio imprimatur recently, and will have to grab the under-12 crowd on opening weekend or two to pay off. Nobody older than that will buy it." Janet Maslin of the New York Times admitted to not having finished watching the film for her review, noting that she could not imagine who would want to finish the film. The film was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards in 1983, for Worst New Star (Reb Brown), Worst Musical Score, and Worst Original Song ("Yor's World"). The Washington Post opined, "Even gluttons for dumbness may find it easy to refrain from second helpings." The Globe & Mail described it as "even worse than you think" and suggested that it was a rip-off of Star Wars and Quest for Fire.
Margheriti commented on the film years after its release that the extended television version of the film was "even more hilarious" and that the film was "a fun project made with almost zero budget. It was a party film and I sometimes enjoy looking at it again."