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Flash Gordon (1980)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi  |  5 December 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 34,785 users   Metascore: 63/100
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A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.



(screenplay), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: Flash Gordon (1980)

Flash Gordon (1980) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Emperor Ming (as Max Von Sydow)
John Osborne ...
Arborian Priest
John Hallam ...
Philip Stone ...
Zogi, the High Priest
Suzanne Danielle ...
Serving Girl


In this update of the 1930s comic strip, Flash Gordon is a football hero who is skyjacked aboard Dr. Hans Zarkov's rocketship along with beautiful Dale Arden. The threesome are drawn into the influence of the planet Mongo, ruled by Emperor Ming the Merciless. Ming has been testing the Earth with unnatural disasters, and deeming it a threat to his rule, he plans to destroy it. He also intends to take Dale as his concubine. Flash must avoid the amorous attentions of Ming's daughter, and unite the warring kingdoms of Mongo to rescue Dale and save our world. Written by David Thiel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He'll save every one of us! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

5 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blixt Gordon  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 2,341,328 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


(Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The wristwatch Flash is wearing in the early scenes of the film is a Seiko automatic chronograph, model 6139-6002. The watch disappears when Flash gets to Mongo. See more »


When one Ming's guards looks through a porthole of the ship, it seems that he is just outside. The next shot reveals a crowd of guards, but they are behind the ship and far away from the capsule. See more »


[first lines]
The Emperor Ming: Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?
Klytus: An obscure body in the S-K System, Your Majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet Earth.
The Emperor Ming: How peaceful it looks.
[He activates a console, and watches as earthquakes, floods, etc. start to occur. They both get a good laugh out of it]
Klytus: Most effective, Your Majesty. Will you destroy this Earth?
The Emperor Ming: Later. I like to play with thing a while before annihilation.
[laughs evilly]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: THE END ? See more »


Referenced in Comic Book: The Movie (2004) See more »


Written by Brian May
Produced by Brian May and Mack (Reinhold Mack)
Performed by Queen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A 1930's Comic Strip Brought Perfectly To Life
28 September 2004 | by (Seattle, WA) – See all my reviews

Flash Gordon is one of the most perfectly realized films De Laurentiis made, and it is disappointing that so few have recognized it for what it is; a 1930's comic strip brought perfectly to life. The fact that it is so accurate a realization of America's hopes and fears during the 1930's may help to explain why it has been dismissed so readily as, at best, mere camp, and at worst, a vulgar cinematic catastrophe: Today's audiences are too removed from that decade to catch the references. A classic example of America's view of Asia during the 1930's can be found in Dale Arden's confrontation with Princess Aura just prior to her wedding to Ming. Aura is trying to convince Dale to slip a poison into Ming's "Power Potion" but Dale tells Aura she can't because she's given Ming her word to "try to be a good wife if [Ming] would spare Zarkov and Baron. He vowed he would." Aura, shocked at her naiveté, shouts, "My father has never kept a vow in his life!" To which Dale responds, "I can't help that Aura. Keeping our word is one of the things that make us better than you." Flash Gordon is filled with this type of wonderful 1930's fun, and this fun is only enhanced by the decision to use bad actors in roles that would only benefit from the lack of skill, as well as Oscar-caliber actors in the most demanding roles. Max Von Sydow is an obvious example of the latter, but the hidden gems come in the form of Mariangela Melato, Brian Blessed, and Ornella Muti. Melato does an outstanding job as Klytus's reptilian, but beautiful, second in command when she flawlessly delivers lines like, "Confess, and we won't hurt you anymore.

We don't like doing this at all!" And Ornella Muti is simply unbelievable as Ming's gorgeous but deadly daughter. Replying to Flash's query as to whether he can use the telepathy machine to contact Dale with a perfectly candid, "If I showed you how. But I'm not going to." Add to these amazing actors the costumes and sets that are obvious homages to the original comic's drawings and you have a movie that is as surprising as it is delightful. Enjoy!

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