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


Mike Hodges


Lorenzo Semple Jr. (screenplay), Michael Allin (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
2,398 ( 846)
Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »





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


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


The greatest American hero of all time! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


In the finished film, George Harris' dialogue as Prince Thun of Ardentia was dubbed. His voice is on the Queen soundtrack album, indicating that the change must have been made fairly late in post-production. See more »


The wires holding the flying tracker are clearly visible as it flies upwards after destroying Zarkov's gun. See more »


[first lines]
The Emperor Ming: Klytus, I'm bored. What plaything 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]
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits appear with a montage of "Flash Gordon" comic book images, accompanied by the trademark song "Flash" by Queen. See more »

Alternate Versions

In some versions, Ming's face is not visible in the scene where the pilots are sucked out of the plane. It is just the red clouds coming toward the plane. See more »


Flash's Theme Reprise (Victory Celebrations)
Written by Brian May
Performed by Queen
Orchestra arranged and conducted by Howard Blake
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User Reviews

The best guilty pleasure of them all
15 September 2019 | by azeemnavarroSee all my reviews

Yes, Flash Gordon is campy, and chessy, and trashy...it may be a lot of things, but most importantly, it is fun. You have to take in consideration what the movie tries to be: a homage of the original 1930's comic strips. And while I haven't read them, I totally get the vibe and I know it succeeds wonderfully. Knowing that, I can't really criticize the cardboard characters, the stupid premise, the hilarious effects..because that's the only approach a movie like this should have. Flash Gordon is the most innocent and likable hero ever, and an unrecognizable Max von Sydow gives a terrific performance as Ming the Merciless; everyone else is pretty much terrible, but they were having fun, and that's what it matters to me. I have to also praise the soundtrack, made by no other but Queen. Can you think of a more appropiate band for a job like this? Queen itself it's campy and self-aware, that's why their music fits so perfectly with the film. Flash theme is even more memorable than most of their songs from the 80's and 90's. I have to admit that the movie don't always overcome it's silliness and that the pacing suffers a lot throught, those being my only real complaints. Flash Gordon is far from being perfect, but it has a lot of heart, and I can't help but love it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

5 December 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flash Gordon See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,934,030, 7 December 1980

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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