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Flash Gordon (1980)

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

Director:

Mike Hodges

Writers:

Lorenzo Semple Jr. (screenplay), Michael Allin (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
1,721 ( 414)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam J. Jones ... Flash Gordon
Melody Anderson ... Dale Arden
Max von Sydow ... The Emperor Ming (as Max Von Sydow)
Topol ... Dr. Hans Zarkov
Ornella Muti ... Princess Aura
Timothy Dalton ... Prince Barin
Brian Blessed ... Prince Vultan
Peter Wyngarde ... Klytus
Mariangela Melato ... Kala
John Osborne John Osborne ... Arborian Priest
Richard O'Brien ... Fico
John Hallam ... Luro
Philip Stone ... Zogi, the High Priest
Suzanne Danielle ... Serving Girl
William Hootkins ... Munson
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Storyline

Flash Gordon is an American football hero who is skyjacked aboard Dr. Hans Zarkov's rocketship along with his beautiful girlfriend Dale Arden. The threesome are drawn into the influence of the planet Mongo, ruled by Emperor Ming the Merciless. The evil Ming has been testing Earth with unnatural disasters, and deeming our world a threat to his rule. He also intends to take Dale as his concubine, attempts to execute Flash and intends to destroy Earth. 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:

Get ready to kick some Flash. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flash Gordon See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,934,030, 7 December 1980, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$27,107,960, 31 December 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Brian Blessed, it took about three days to prepare the Ajax sequence and put everything, including dozens of hanging Hawkmen, in place. Blessed put in his own special effects, going "pew pew pew" as he "shot" his cardboard bazooka. Because of this, they had to take another day to reset. Blessed didn't feel too bad, as Sam J. Jones was also a pretty hot hand with his prop gun, also filling in the "pew pew's" See more »

Goofs

In the shot of the Ajax cruiser after the Hawkmen have taken it, it is seen with a swarm of Hawkmen following it. During this shot, the superimposed Hawkmen are not composited in for the first frame. 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, er, 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 »

Alternate Versions

Most versions also don't have the scene where Klytus wakes up on his ship and is informed that Barin and Flash are Hawkmen prisoners. The Image DVD restores this scene as well. See more »

Connections

Featured in Life After Flash (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Flash's Theme
Written by Brian May
Produced by Brian May and Mack (Reinhold Mack)
Performed by Queen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Cardboard, disposable and tremendous fun
30 December 2002 | by bob the mooSee 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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