15 user 18 critic

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)

Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Zarkov return to the planet Mongo for an antidote to the Purple Death, which wreaking destruction on Earth. However, Ming the Merciless has other plans for them.


Ford Beebe, Ray Taylor


George H. Plympton (screenplay), Basil Dickey (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

More Like This 

Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

When a deadly Nitron ray strikes Earth, Flash Gordon and his friends travel to Mars to battle Ming the Merciless and his new ally Queen Azura.

Directors: Ford Beebe, Robert F. Hill, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
Flash Gordon (1936)
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Flash Gordon, Dale Arden and Dr. Alexis Zarkov visit the planet Mongo to thwart the evil schemes of Emperor Ming the Merciless, who has set his planet on a collision course with Earth.

Directors: Frederick Stephani, Ray Taylor
Stars: Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers, Charles Middleton
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

To protect a magic talisman from being used for evil, a teenage boy named Billy Batson is given the power to become an adult superhero, Captain Marvel, with a single magic word: "Shazam!"

Directors: John English, William Witney
Stars: Tom Tyler, Frank Coghlan Jr., William 'Billy' Benedict
Flash Gordon (1979–1982)
Animation | Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The adventures of the comic strip space hero and his friends as they battle the tyranny of Ming the Merciless on the planet Mongo.

Stars: Robert Ridgely, Alan Oppenheimer, Diane Pershing
Flash Gordon (1954–1955)
Action | Adventure | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Space hero Flash Gordon and his crew of the Galaxy Bureau of Investigation patrol space, battling space monsters, power-mad alien dictators and other threats to the stability of the universe.

Stars: Steve Holland, Irene Champlin, Joseph Nash
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An expedition seeking to bring Jane back to civilization, and Tarzan into captivity, gets more than it's bargained for.

Directors: Richard Thorpe, John Farrow, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Buckler
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jeff King in his experimental rocket suit battles the evil Dr. Vulcan.

Director: Fred C. Brannon
Stars: Tristram Coffin, Mae Clarke, Don Haggerty
The Phantom (1943)
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Professor Davidson and his niece Diana Palmer search Africa for the Lost City of Zoloz, reputed to be the source of a large hidden treasure. Also searching is a local crook, Singapore Smith... See full summary »

Director: B. Reeves Eason
Stars: Tom Tyler, Jeanne Bates, Ernie Adams
    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
Certificate: Passed Action | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The masked hero leads a fighting force to fight a villian who plots the conquest of The Republic of Mexico.

Directors: John English, William Witney
Stars: Reed Hadley, Sheila Darcy, William Corson
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Tarzan's jungle home, and his family, Jane and Boy, are threatened by men greedy for gold.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield
Flash Gordon (2007–2008)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 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


Cast overview, first billed only:
Buster Crabbe ... Flash Gordon (as Larry 'Buster' Crabbe)
Carol Hughes ... Dale Arden
Charles Middleton ... Emperor Ming
Anne Gwynne ... Sonja [Chs. 2, 6-12]
Frank Shannon ... Dr. Alexis Zarkov
John Hamilton ... Professor Gordon [Chs. 1, 4]
Herbert Rawlinson ... Dr. Frohmann [Chs. 1, 4]
Tom Chatterton ... Professor Arden [Chs. 1, 4]
Shirley Deane ... Princess Aura
Lee Powell ... Captain Roka
Roland Drew ... Prince Barin
Don Rowan Don Rowan ... Captain Torch
Victor Zimmerman Victor Zimmerman ... Lieutenant Thong
Edgar Edwards ... Captain Turan
Ben Taggart ... General Lupi [Chs. 1-2]


A mysterious plague, the Purple Death, ravages the earth. Dr. Zarkov, investigating in his spaceship, finds a ship from planet Mongo seeding the atmosphere with dust. Sure enough, Ming the Merciless is up to his old tricks. So it's back to Mongo for Flash, Dale, and Zarkov, this time with ready-made allies waiting: Prince Barin of Arboria and Queen Fria of the frozen northern land of Frigia; where, it so happens, is found polarite, antidote to the plague. But Ming will use all his forces to keep our heroes from thwarting his plans of conquest... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


ZOOMING OFF THE EARTH! - Sky-Rocketing Through Space...Braving New Perils Of The Stratosphere! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

9 April 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon) and Shirley Deane (Princess Aura) died only three days apart: Crabbe on April 23, 1983 and Deane on April 26, 1983. See more »


Referenced in Battlestar Galactica: Gun on Ice Planet Zero: Part 1 (1978) See more »


Les Preludes
Written by Franz Liszt
Used behind main title and throughout the serial
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

FLASH GORDON # 3, Is It Three Strikes You're OUT, or Third Time's a Charm?
5 November 2006 | by redryan64See all my reviews

The success of the 2 prior Flash Gordon serials and the continued and ever expanding popularity of the Newspaper Comic Strip no doubt were the prime movers behind the filming of the third installment. Universal Pictures had done well with the production of many other titles belonging to Hearst's King Features, so they were given the go ahead for the new project.

Buster Crabbe was brought back for his powerful, faithful characterization. This was after he had time out to portray rival Spaceman* in the title role of BUCK ROGERS (Universal 1939).Also returning were Charles B. Middleton (Emperor Ming) and Frank Shannon (the good Dr. Zarkov).

Replacement for Miss Jean Rogers was Carol Hughes, a dark haired beauty of a starlet, who had a lot of success in the '30's and '40 in many supporting roles and Female leads, mostly in 'B' Films.

Prince Barin(Roland Drew) and Princess Aura(Shirley Deane)** were also played by newcomers to the roles. But it wasn't just a difference of actors, for their appearance as well as the overall look of the Planet Mongo, was now radically different.We'll try to explain, at least offering some theory.

The surface of Mongo now looked more like medieval western and northern Europe. Barin's domain, the Kingdom of Arboria was like one, giant Sherwood Forest. Baron, himself, and his soldiers often sported the green costuming of a Robin Hood and his Mery Men.They were armed with long bows and swords in addition to their ray guns.The frozen land to the north was called Frigia and was the Domain of one Queen Fria. The Queen looked very much like popular Sweedish Ice Skating Champion turned Movie Star, Sonja Hejne. The Queen also had a very Scandanavian sounding accent.

All of these changes would seem extremely puzzling to any modern day viewer, 'for back in the day', everybody read the comic page and knew the story lines. It was the comic strip,in the news print,that caused all the changes. Creator, Alex Raymond, had made gradual changes in the design and artwork. This equaled a sort of evolution from a setting that looked like a of combination Romanesque,Chinese, Egyptian and Art Decco to a very modern, western-styled decor*** and costuming. Now Ming had secret police, slave labor camps and spies. We also hear Ming referred to as 'Dictator' Ming. In short, the comic page and serial now mirrored developments in Western Europe and the rest of the World in that period of time between World Wars.

The story line in this FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE is most action filled and loaded with a load of new developments. Robot attackers, invisibility screened rockets, a new race of 'Rock Men' and incendiary projectiles were all featured prominently in the see-saw action. There is a sort of back and forth series of battles in which combatants from either side are captured and subsequently rescued or ransomed.

Maybe I'm being a little too critical here, as we must remember that these Serials were meant to be seen a chapter a week, not all at once in one or two sittings.

There is one point thus far overlooked in this review, and that is the general look of the production. The Robin Hood type sets were as good as there were around. The cinematography is as beautiful as any in a serial, ever.

As a kid growing up in Chicago one could identify with this last of the FLASH GORDON Trilogy. Afterall, our area is annually transformed into a veritable Frigia for at least 6 to 8 weeks every December, January and February.

NOTE: * Flash and Buck were not and could not be rivals as Buck Rogers's adventures are set 1n the 25th Century. They were real competitors in the market place,for "Box Office"(more newspaper subscribers),if you will.

NOTE: ** The evolution of this Royal Couple also was effected by the 1938 Waener Brothres' Film, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, as Barin's appearance morphed from looking like a Power Lifter in Roman garb to a sort of 'Road Show' Errol Flynn. Aura changed from a scantily clothed nymphomaniac to a perfect picture of nobility.

NOTE*** 'Western'as in Western Civilization, not Country & Western.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed