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Mars Attacks the World (1938)

Approved | | Romance, Sci-Fi | 7 November 1938 (USA)
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(original screenplay), (original screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Credited cast:
Flash Gordon (archive footage) (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
Dale Arden (archive footage)
Ming the Merciless (archive footage)
Frank Shannon ...
Dr. Alexis Zarkov (archive footage)
Donald Kerr ...
'Happy' Hapgood (archive footage)
Prince Barin (archive footage)
Azura, Queen of Mars (archive footage)
Tarnak (archive footage)
The Clay King (archive footage)
The Martian Airfield Captain (archive footage)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Professor Dunard (archive footage)
Professor Ritcher (archive footage)
Edwin Stanley ...
Gen. Rankin (archive footage)
Ray Turner ...
Zarkov's Butler (archive footage)


As a deadly ray from space hits the Earth, Flash Gordon travels to its source, the planet Mars, only to find his old enemy emperor Ming of Mongo. With the help of the clay people and other fantastic creatures, he fights for the freedom of two planets. Written by Anonymous

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They conquer worlds and destroy planets with atomic power! See more »


Romance | Sci-Fi






Release Date:

7 November 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apo ti Gi ston Ari  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
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Did You Know?


Feature version of the 1938 serial titled Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars. See more »


Edited from Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (1938) See more »

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23 October 2015 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Mars Attacks the World (1938)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A large ray from Mars comes crashing through to Earth and messes up the atmosphere causing major storms, which could end up killing everyone. It turns out that Ming the Merciless (Charles Middleton) plans to destroy the Earth so a group of people led by Flash Gordon (Buster Crabbe) head there to do battle.

MARS ATTACKS THE WORLD is the feature length movie, which was taken from the serial FLASH GORDON'S TRIP TO MARS. As luck would have it, Universal managed to release this just a week after the infamous Orson Welles' War of the Worlds prank so this feature version ended up doing pretty good business as people were a lot more interested in the subject.

As for the film itself, I've seen several features that were taken from a serial and more times than not they're awful because they're just so poorly edited and often they don't make sense. That's not the case here as the film actually plays extremely well and especially when you consider how much footage from the serial is thrown out to come up with a 67 minute movie.

This here plays out extremely fast and fun as the majority of the running time is all action. The Ming character would become a cult figure and it's easy to see why since the costume is rather fun and Middleton does a great job with the role. Crabbe also manages to turn in a fun performance as Flash Gordon. The special effects are rather forgettable but that actually adds a bit of charm.

MARS ATTACKS THE WORLD certainly isn't going to be mistaken for THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD still but it's a fun little movie.

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