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Flash Gordon (1980) Poster

(1980)

Trivia

George Lucas had hoped to remake the original Flash Gordon (1936), but when he learned that Dino De Laurentiis had already bought the rights, he wrote Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) instead.
Max von Sydow's Ming costume weighed over 70 pounds and he could only stand in it for a few minutes at a time.
The backstory of Flash's T-shirt was that it was a gift from an anonymous female fan. Flash wore it a lot in the hopes that he would eventually meet the woman.
All the main actors were signed for multiple films but the sequels were never made since the first movie didn't do as well as expected.
Most of Sam J. Jones's dialog was dubbed. This was down to the fact that Jones had had a falling out with producer Dino De Laurentiis over lack of payment and refused to go into the recording studio to loop his lines.
This was the first movie that the rock band Queen made the music for, in it Prince Vultan says "Who wants to live forever?". The only other movie Queen did the soundtrack for was Highlander (1986), for the movie they wrote songs including "Who Wants to Live Forever" plus many others.
Dino De Laurentiis originally hoped that Federico Fellini would direct this film. The director had actually contributed to the original Flash strip cartoon during WWII.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned down for the lead role because of his impenetrable Austrian accent.
Kurt Russell auditioned to play Flash Gordon. According to an interview with Russell in Starlog magazine from August 1981, Dino De Laurentiis really wanted Russell for the part, but Russell ultimately turned it down because he thought the character was lacking in personality.
Three 007 actors appeared in this movie. Timothy Dalton, Topol and a young Robbie Coltrane.
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During the opening credits each actor's credit is accompanied by artwork of their character from the original comic strip. Therefore you see all of the major characters as cartoons before you see the actors who play them.
The psychedelic color effects throughout the Ming universe were accomplished by swirling multicolored dyes through creatively-lit tanks of water.
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One of the feast items in the Hawkmen's Kingdom was Twinkies colored with food dye.
Director Mike Hodges, referring to the numerous production problems that plagued the film, once called it "the only improvised $27-million movie ever made".
There is a rumor that the monitor behind Hans Zarkov (Topol) as he is having his memory dumped shows scenes from Topol's previous movies.
In the original script, when Flash is sentenced to death by Ming, Dale bursts out that Ming is "absolutely merciless". Ming is enthralled with the description, and immediately starts calling himself "Ming the Merciless".
At one point Ming the Merciless says when he destroys a planet, he calls upon "the great god Daizan". Daizan is Japanese for "great cruelty".
Mike Hodges considered commissioning Pink Floyd to compose the music.
According to the original storyline, when Dale is entranced by Ming's hypnotic ring, she is having a vision of being on an erotic picnic with Ming in a 1920's setting.
Sam J. Jones' dark hair was bleached blonde for this role, and Melody Anderson's blonde hair was dyed brown. Flash was also supposed to have blue eyes, but Sam could not wear the contact lenses.
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Ming's attack on Earth was accomplished by bombarding the moon with force beams, knocking it out of orbit. The meteors which disrupt Flash's airplane flight were burning chunks of lunar debris.
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Sam J. Jones was cast in the role after being spotted by the mother-in-law of Dino De Laurentiis on an episode of The Dating Game (1965)
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Princess Aura's "pet" is named Fellini. Production Designer Danilo Donati worked on a number of Federico Fellini films.
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Ming's symbol (which Klytus also wears on his gauntlets) is borrowed from the Freemason's square and compass. Ming also makes a Masonic gesture during the course of the movie.
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Dr. Zarkov's backstory was that he was a NASA scientist who was fired for his paranoid fantasies that Earth was going to be attacked from outer space. Sixty Minutes derided him as "A Poor Man's Billy Mitchell".
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Mike Hodges was the eighth director chosen.
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Klytus and Kala, Ming's two chief henchmen, were competitors for their ruler's favor. Ming played them off against each other to keep them from teaming up against him. This was downplayed in the film to keep the storyline fluid.
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If you pay close attention to the scene when Flash's luggage is being loaded onto the airplane at the beginning of the film, you'll see that one of the duffel bags is green and white and has the word "JETS" written on it. This is meant to indicate that Flash Gordon plays for the New York Jets football team. The team's colors are white and green and their logo resembles the wing of a jet.
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The movie came about when producer Lou Scheimer, seeking additional funding for his animated NBC movie of the week Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All (1982), turned to Dino De Laurentiis, who agreed to help out if Scheimer could finagle the rights for him to make a theatrical film. Impressed with Scheimer's results and the prospect of cashing in on the theatrical version, NBC shelved the animated movie for a handful of years, had Scheimer's company recut it and turn it into the Saturday morning series Flash Gordon (1979).
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The insignia on Klytus's uniform is based on Masonic symbols.
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First film of Jim Carter.
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Leon Greene was re-voiced by David de Keyser.
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Dennis Hopper was considered for the role of Dr Zarkov.
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In the original script, Flash and Dale first meet at a Canadian resort called Dark Harbor. Although they flirt with each other, they don't become acquainted until they're sharing the ill-fated plane ride to New York City. Dale later talks briefly about Dark Harbor during her tear-filled meeting with Flash before his execution.
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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.
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Nicolas Roeg was originally going to direct, but didn't due to creative difference. One of his proposals was to excise the trademark cliffhangers and melodrama, seeing Flash as more of "a metaphysical messiah."
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John Osborne only has two lines.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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