Flash Gordon

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Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

Heroic earthling Flash Gordon saves the world from the nefarious Ming the Merciless in this lavish, intentionally campy adaptation of the famous sci-fi comic strip. The story is as basic as space operas get: Ming (Max von Sydow) has developed a plan to destroy the Earth, and Flash (Sam J. Jones) and his attractive companion, Dale Arden (Melody Anderson), are called upon to stop him. Along the way, Flash must battle Ming's goons and the temptations of a luscious space princess. Previously the basis for a more straight-faced 1930s adventure serial, Flash's story is mined here for exaggerated, cartoon humor by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr., a central figure in the similarly campy '60s Batman television series. The simplistic plot mainly serves as an excuse for spectacular sets and cartoonish action sequences, all set to an appropriately over-the-top rock score by Queen. Certainly not a film to turn to for serious excitement, fine performances, or character development, Flash Gordon has nevertheless developed an appreciative cult of fans who admire the film's humorous approach and the detailed, colorful production design.~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

Cast

  • Sam J. Jones
  • Melody Anderson
  • Max von Sydow
  • Topol
  • Ornella Muti
  • Timothy Dalton
  • Brian Blessed
  • Peter Wyngarde
  • Mariangela Melato
  • John Osborne

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • Dino De Laurentiis originally hoped that Federico Fellini would direct this film. The director had contributed to the original Flash strip cartoon during World War II.
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Goofs

  • When Flash is hiding from the Ajax in the cloud, in one shot you can see the stage on which the scene was filmed for two frames.
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Quotes

    • The Emperor Ming: I'd much rather see you on my side, than scattered into... atoms.
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Metacritic

75

Flash Gordon is played for laughs, and wisely so. It is no more sophisticated than the comic strip it's based on, and that takes the curse off of material that was old before it was born. Is all of this ridiculous? Of course. Is it fun? Yeah, sort of, it is.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
63

The frantic pleasures of this film add up to what used to be considered good fun; good Saturday morning fun; good Saturday morning fun to eat pancakes and pour maple syrup by; good fun that, once the day begins, is good fun soon forgotten. It's a pity Flash Gordon can't be screened at the breakfast table. [6 Dec 1980, p.E7]

Metacritic review by Jay Scott
Jay Scott
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
50

A dumb and purposefully cheesy version of the comic strip space hero. Although the film has a few early moments of put-on humor, the story has nowhere to go. Sam Jones is not very bright as Flash. Only Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless brings any style to the adventure. Only for the juvenile set. [19 Dec 1980, p.10]

Metacritic review by Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune