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Flash Gordon (1980)

6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 31,295 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 234 user | 120 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

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

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(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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Action

American football player Flash Gordon and his beautiful girlfriend Dale Arden become unwillingly passengers on-board Dr. Hans Zarkov's rocket-ship, where they arrive on the planet Mongo, ruled by the evil Emperor Ming the Merciless.

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Cast

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

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 <d-thiel@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Pathetic earthlings... Who can save you now? See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

5 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blixt Gordon  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 2,341,328 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(colour) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Mike Hodges, referring to the numerous production problems that plagued the film, once called it "the only improvised $27-million movie ever made". See more »

Goofs

At the very beginning of the film, Ming and his henchman are discussing "an obscure body in the SK system", which the inhabitants refer to as the planet "Earth", pronounced as if the word is completely foreign to them. However, at that moment, Ming activates a button on his console labeled "Earth Quake". See more »

Quotes

[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

The opening credits are being played along with various clips of the original comic book strips, along with drawings of character models, all accompanied by the trademark song "Flash" by Queen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lost in Space Forever (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Flash
(uncredited)
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

Cardboard, disposable and tremendous fun
30 December 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After a plane crash in extreme weather, Flash Gordon and his travelling companion Dale Arden after abducted by Dr Zarkov to help pilot his spaceship to confront what he believes is an attack from space. Once in space Flash comes faces to face with the cause of the extreme weather, Ming the Merciless and is sentenced to death. Saved from death by Ming's lustful daughter Flash sets out to save his friends and stop Ming with the help of the leaders of the kingdoms.

Even when this was brand new I suspect it looked out dated and a throwback kind of appeal. More than 20 years later this definitely is appreciated as a laugh by about as many people who genuinely enjoy it on it's own merits. The plot is well known to most people I suspect – I know it from the 25 minute b/w `classic' series that BBC2 repeated in the mornings when I was only a lad in the 80's. But it is easily nutshelled as above. The story moves alone at a good pace despite the poor effects and is actually pretty exciting.

The effects are poor – even for 1980's the back projection is rubbish and the costumes are silly. Compare it to the advances made in Star Wars and stuff years before and it looks weak. However the vision is ambitious and it works well if you accept the weaknesses from the start. Another weakness is the acting from ranges from wooden to just plain hammy. Jones is perfect as Flash, despite being wooden as a tree. He comes over like a 30's matinee idol type, which is just what the fun mood of the film needed. Anderson is awful but again just accept the weaknesses. Von Sydow is good as Ming and Topol is a little unhinged as Zarkov. Blessed hams it up so much you could slice him and serve him with pineapple but he also suits the film well. Dalton, O'Brien, Blue Peter's Peter Duncan and Robbie Coltrane and several other unexpected Brits turn up which is nice.

If you're not sure if this film is for you then watch the first 20 minutes. By that time you'll have seen two key things that sum up the film. Firstly you'll have sat through the extremely cool theme song from Queen. That gets me in the mood every time I hear it! Secondly you'll see a fight with Ming the Merciless' men where Flash takes them on in a form of American Football fighting! Both this scene and the music are a little silly and quite camp but if you like these then the rest of the film will suit you fine.

Personally I love this movie and watch it every repeat I see. It is silly and has plenty of weakness, but more than all these things it is incredibly fun to watch! Sing it with me now – `FLASH! AH-AH! HE'LL SAVE EVERYONE OF US!'


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