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Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

The legendary Greek hero leads a team of intrepid adventurers in a perilous quest for the legendary Golden Fleece.

Director:

Don Chaffey

Writers:

Jan Read (screenplay), Beverley Cross (screenplay)
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4,573 ( 1,266)

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The quest to find the Golden Fleece is over, but now Jason and his band of Argonauts must embark on a new and more difficult journey, the journey home.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Todd Armstrong ... Jason
Nancy Kovack ... Medea
Gary Raymond ... Acastus
Laurence Naismith ... Argos
Niall MacGinnis ... Zeus
Michael Gwynn ... Hermes / Priest
Douglas Wilmer ... Pelias
Jack Gwillim ... King Aeetes
Honor Blackman ... Hera
John Cairney ... Hylas
Patrick Troughton ... Phineas
Andrew Faulds ... Phalerus
Nigel Green ... Hercules
Edit

Storyline

Jason has been prophesied to take the throne of Thessaly. When he saves Pelias from drowning, but does not recognize him as the man who had earlier killed his father, Pelias tells Jason to travel to Colchis to find the Golden Fleece. Jason follows his advice and assembles a sailing crew of the finest men in Greece, including Hercules. They are under the protection of Hera, queen of the gods. Their voyage is replete with battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army, all brought to life by the special effects wizardry of Ray Harryhausen. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The epic story that was destined to stand as a colossus of adventure! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 June 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jason and the Golden Fleece See more »

Filming Locations:

Campania, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Ray Harryhausen received the Gordon E. Sawyer Award recognizing his contributions to the film industry at the Oscars' Science & Technical Ceremony in 1992, Tom Hanks, the host of the event, said, "Some people say Citizen Kane (1941) or Casablanca (1942). I say 'Jason and the Argonauts' is the greatest movie ever made." See more »

Goofs

The name "TALOS" above the entrance to the treasure chamber is written in Latin letters. Whichever alphabet could be in use in those legendary times the Greek one would have been more likely. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Pelias: Well?
Priest: Zeus, king of the gods of the Greeks, brighten the ashes that I may read the future. I see... a great tree at the end of the world. And in its branches there hang the skull and skin of a ram. They gleam and shine for it is a prize of the gods, a Golden Fleece.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A brief scene was cut from the skeleton fight where the decapitated skeleton is seen feeling around for its head. In addition the UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove the shrieking made by the skeletons from a face-on shot during the initial charge, and video versions featured the same print. DVD versions are uncut. See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: TCM Employee Picks (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Beautifully-Made Recreation of Mythical Greece; Exciting and Strong
28 June 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

"Jason and the Argonauts" is a very-colorful idea-level-fantasy of the 1960s. This was a stop-motion animation project, and an unusually strong production, whose subject was a mythical Argive hero of ancient Greece. Historians have theorized his voyage actually took him to South America, the Black Sea or other destinations; an epic poem was written about him. Here Colchis is not located, except "at the end of the world". The storyline takes this disenfranchised rightful young king on a voyage aboard the ship Argo; he recruits the greatest athletes of Greece to be his rowers and companions, and sails off to the Land of Colchis to bring back The Golden Fleece and win a kingdom. What he does not know is the man who sent him after the great prize is destined to be replaced on his throne by Jason and so is looking for ways to get rid of him and kill him, even sending his son along for the purpose. The casting is curious. Todd Armstrong looks manly, but was dubbed because of an intrusive US accent. Nigel Green excels as Hercules, Nancy Kovack and Douglas Wilmer are very good as Medea and the evil king; as the gods of Olympus, the co-director Ray Harryhausen cast Niall Nacginis as Zeus, athletic Honor Blackman as Hera, and effective Michael Gwynn as Hermes. The film is stolen by Laurence Naismith as Argus, the ship's designer who goes along to participate in many adventures. And there are Harryhausen's monsters"--a talking figurehead of Hera, the bronze god Talos, Poseidon who parting the clashing rocks, the harpies, a seven-headed hydra that guards the Fleece, and especially the army of skeletons sown from the dragon's teeth of Cadmus by King Aeetes of Colchis, with whom Jason and his men wage a fascinating battle of swords. The story is slender but it holds up well as a fun-level adventure for all ages. The musical main theme by Bernard Herrmann is magnificent and memorable; the costumes and sets are surprisingly authentic. But the finest delight is the ideas in the script by Beverly Cross and Jan Read; the most-quoted line is spoken by Zeus when he tells an eager Jason that the gods love those best who call on them for help the least. Don Chaffey directed with Harryhausen very energetically. This important line stands as the opposite in meaning to the philosophy that did not help an expensive sequel made by Harryhause years later, "Clash of the Titans". Some scenes in this narrative are very memorable such as the clashing rocks, the court of Colchis, the attack on a city by the evil king, the contests (all too brief) to choose the champions as crew for the ship and the Olympus segment where Jason, standing onto a god's hand, is introduced to the gods and is granted only three pieces of help from Hera during his quest, the escape of the Argo in the fog from Aeetes' fleet, and the aforementioned battle with the skeletons. It is curious as Derek Elly also pointed out that the US filmmakers have never made a single fictional film about the ancient Greek or republican Roman past that is their ethical heritage; could it be the individualism of men in the classic Age that Hollywood tsars could not grasp--in that classic age as in their own? This is not quite a great film; but it is vivid, well-made and everywhere entertaining.


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