Down 3,440 this week

Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 568 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 4 critic

When a deadly ray strikes Earth, Flash and his friends return to space to battle Ming the Merciless and his ally the queen of Mars.


, (as Robert Hill) , 1 more credit »


(original story and screenplay), (original story and screenplay), 7 more credits »
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Live Chat with Keanu Reeves

We conducted a Live Chat with Keanu about his upcoming film John Wick.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 02 Oct 2011
a list of 1520 titles
created 28 Nov 2012
a list of 152 titles
created 15 Oct 2013
list image
a list of 44 titles
created 10 months ago
a list of 24 titles
created 10 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938)

Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) on IMDb 7.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Sci-Fi | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Flash and his friends return to planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death. But Ming the Merciless has other plans for them...

Directors: Ford Beebe, Ray Taylor
Stars: Buster Crabbe, Carol Hughes, Charles Middleton
Flash Gordon (2007–2008)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Hometown Celebrity Steven "Flash" Gordon discovers a secret his father tried desperately to keep hidden. He then embarks on a journey to another dimension in hopes of finding his father who... See full summary »

Stars: Eric Johnson, Gina Holden, Karen Cliche
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a boy is given the power to become an adult superhero with a single magic word.

Directors: John English, William Witney
Stars: Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict
Flash Gordon (1980)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow
The Phantom (1943)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Professor Davidson (Frank Shannon) and his daughter Diana (Jeanne Bates)search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz, reputed to be the source of a large hidden treasure. Also searching is a ... See full summary »

Director: B. Reeves Eason
Stars: Tom Tyler, Jeanne Bates, Ernie Adams
Flesh Gordon (1974)
Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Emperor Wang (the Perverted) is leader of the planet Porno and sends his mighty "Sex Ray" towards Earth, turning everyone into sex-mad fiends. Only one man can save the Earth, football ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Benveniste, Howard Ziehm
Stars: Jason Williams, Suzanne Fields, Joseph Hudgins
Flash Gordon I (1936)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Three earthlings visit the planet Mongo to thwart the evil schemes of Emperor Ming the Merciless.

Directors: Frederick Stephani, Ray Taylor
Stars: Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Superman battles Lex Luthor who is using a teleportation device and a new identity as Atom Man in his criminal plans.

Director: Spencer Gordon Bennet
Stars: Kirk Alyn, Noel Neill, Lyle Talbot
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

In the African Jungle, a group of Europeans come across the fabled white man who was raised by apes. Tarzan takes an immediate liking to the blond Mary Brooks and rescues her during a nasty... See full summary »

Director: Robert F. Hill
Stars: Buster Crabbe, Julie Bishop, Edward Woods
Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Flash Gordon is back!

Directors: Ford Beebe, Robert F. Hill
Stars: Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
Flash Gordon (TV Series 1996)
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
Stars: Lawrence Bayne, Lorne Kennedy, Julie Lemieux
Action | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The Scarlet Speedster teams up with the city's previous superhero, The Nightshade, in two adventures.

Director: Bruce Bilson
Stars: John Wesley Shipp, Amanda Pays, Alex Désert


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Rogers ...
Frank Shannon ...
Beatrice Roberts ...
Donald Kerr ...
Richard Alexander ...
C. Montague Shaw ...
Clay King (as Montague Shaw)
Wheeler Oakman ...
Kenne Duncan ...
Airdrome Captain (as Kenneth Duncan)
Warner Richmond ...
Jack Mulhall ...
Bomber Captain [Chs. 4-5, 13]
Lane Chandler ...
Flight Commander [Chs. 2-3]
Ben Lewis ...
Professor [Ch. 1]


Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov return from their former space adventures only to find that their enemy, Ming the Merciless of planet Mongo, has a new weapon: a deadly ray that crosses space to wreak havoc on earth. Earth's only hope is for our heroes to take off again and stop the ray at its source on Mars, where they (and a stowaway) must battle Ming's ally, Queen Azura, who turns her enemies into lumpish clay people. Can they survive 15 chapters of deadly perils? Find out next week... Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your Favorite Newspaper Adventures Here On The Screen Again! See more »






Release Date:

21 March 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Space Soldiers' Trip to Mars  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The serial debuted in March of 1938, just seven months before the infamous Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" Halloween broadcast. To cash in on the controversy caused by the radio show, the studio edited the serial into a feature film, Mars Attacks the World (1938), and released it to theaters in November of that year. See more »


In a couple of scenes we hear Dale scream, but we don't see her mouth open. See more »


Emperor Ming: Take him to the Disintegrating Room.
See more »


Referenced in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) See more »


Romeo and Juliet Overture
(Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
Heard in episodes 1 to 3 to introduce various characters
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Flash, Mars, and the Zeitgeist
1 December 2009 | by (Portland, OR, United States) – See all my reviews

From certain standpoints, this serial is superior to the 1st Flash Gordon chapter-play. The available prints are and photography are generally of better quality, some of the special effects are superior, there are certain exotic space novelties, like the Clay People's subway to the queen's palace and the light bridge, and there are some interesting and creepy visuals in the Forest Kingdom. Also, Flash and Dr. Zarkhov get to wear long pants. Dale Arden and Prince Barrin are played by the same fine actors as in the 1st serial. And one of the best highlights is the surprisingly effective special effect of showing the Clay People kind of 'ooze' out of the cave walls.

From other standpoints, however, this one is not quite as good as the 1st. This is one of the longer movie serials, and it could probably have been shortened by about 3 chapters, if some of the back-and-forth removed. Also, there are not as many fight scenes as in the 1st serial, and no sword fights. And apparently, the Hays Office must have finally gotten a look at Dale and Princess Aura's outfits from the 1st serial, because, to my dismay, Dale is fully dressed throughout every chapter. There are no bare midriffs and she appears have worn a bra in every scene. Just as sad, there is no Princess Aura, who was a wonderful character and helped amp up the sex in the 1st Flash serial.

Nonetheless, if you are one of those quirky or nostalgic types who enjoy movie serials, you will enjoy this. There certainly was no greater movie serial hero than Flash Gordon as played by Buster Crabbe, and there certainly was no greater villain than Charles Middleton's portrayal of Ming the Merciless. Besides top-notch heroism and villainy, this serial features plenty of fantasy and space opera, and something is always happening.

This serial premiered at the height of a zeitgeist peculiar to the 1930's. The concept of the super-hero had risen to the foreground of pop culture. Although the term super-hero had been coined around 1918, probably in reference to Tarzen of the Apes, the 1930's saw an explosion of super-heroes in pulp magazines, radio shows, newspaper funnies, film and serials, and finally comic magazines. The Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet, the Shadow, Flash Gordon, Doc Savage, and of course Superman, all premiered in the 1930's and all were huge commodities at the time.

The opening chapter of this serial features a newspaper headline shot referring to Flash, Zarkhov and Dale as 'Super-Men of the Century.' The term 'superman' could still be used without fear of a lawsuit by DC comics; this serial was released in March 1938, about a month before the 1st issue of Action Comics, featuring the copyrighted Superman, hit the newsstands.

Also noteworthy: the Martians and our heroes sometimes utilize Martian 'flying capes,' which look a lot like a bat's wings. The comic book character Batman premiered a year after this serial, in 1939, looking very much like our hero wearing a flying cape and helmet. (Superman himself would not actually 'fly' until about 1942 or so; in 1938 he could only take prodigious leaps.) In this serial, Flash (along with many other characters), wears a shirt with a stylized lightning bolt across the chest. This lightning bolt looked very much like the symbol adorning the chest of the comic book character Captain Marvel, whose magazines outsold those of Superman, and who would premiere in 1940. A lesser character named 'The Flash' also premiered in 1940, and he also wore a shirt with a lightning bolt insignia (this 'Flash' character would not reach his real fame until the late 1950's, however).

A few months after this serial premiered, on Halloween 1938, Orson Welles broadcast his legendary 'War of the Worlds' radio play, which panicked half the country with a realistic tale of a Martian invasion. The infamy of this play helped draw audiences to see a re-released version of this serial, albeit cut and edited into a feature length movie, that was shown in late 1938.

The fact that this serial takes place on Mars is an anomaly: the original Alex Raymond Flash Gordon story upon which it is based took place entirely on the fictional planet Mongo, which is also the setting for the other 2 Flash serials. Indeed, as of 1938, the comic strip Flash had never been to Mars. Nothing survives to inform the modern film historian as to the reason for changing the setting to Mars.

However, it is known that virtuoso animators the Fleischer Bros. were, prior to this serial, working on a full color animated version of Edgar Rice Burroughs enormously popular space opera "John Carter of Mars." Some test footage for this project survives, and if the film had been completed, the final product would have indeed been immensely spectacular. I speculate that it is possible that Universal changed the setting of the Flash Gordon story to Mars so as to place themselves in advance into a position that might favor them should they start copyright infringement litigation against the Fleischers. Indeed, in the absence of good information, this potential threat might even be the reason the Fleischers abandoned the John Carter project.

Regardless of my speculation, Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars remains a fun, interesting, well-crafted in its own way, and a fine trip into the popular consciousness of the late 1930's.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Flash GORDON Music. lrcdmnhd72
Only thing from the original this sequel sort of misses... Kevjess74
Best of Flash Gordon Trilogy Kevjess74
One Subtle Difference Between Mars and Mongo Kevjess74
Ming's Super Power Kevjess74
The image of Mars beaming the destructive light... Kevjess74
Discuss Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: