The 300 Spartans

The 300 Spartans

Director: Rudolph Maté Cast: Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker
3.6 7

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The 300 Spartans 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
joet37382013 More than 1 year ago
Long Before General George Armstrong Custer's Last Stand against The Native American Indians including The Great Sioux Nation and The Last Stand Of The Great Sioux Nation at Wounded Knee
Guest More than 1 year ago
1961 film on the famous stand by the Spartans against the Persian hordes of Xerxes at the pass of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Although the screenplay is somewhat of a Cold War fossil with some cliche dialogue as well as plenty of forced acting, the film is mostly faithful to the historical facts; the plot moves at a rather steady pace and is carried by good action. The film follows the general historical facts pretty accurately. To avenge his father Darius' humiliating defeat at Marathon, King Xerxes of Persia prepares a major invasion of the Greek mainland with a gigantic army of over 100,000 men: the largest army ever assembled in antiquity. Upon crossing crossing the Hellespont into the Greek mainland, the Greek city states meet and discuss what to do next. King Leonidas of Sparta (Richard Egan) calls for an expeditionary force to delay the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae (The Hot Gates), a narrow mountain pass in north-eastern Greece so called because of the hot geysers nearby. The delay will allow all of the Greek cities to prepare their defenses and mobilize their citizen armies. Debate ensues but Leonidas knows there's no time to waste. Ignoring the religious festival, he heads out with a group of 600 hoplites to the mountain pass: inspired by the Spartans' bravery, other Greek cities contribute a force of approximately 6000 men. Having the advantage of holding a narrow pass offering limited maneuverability, the Greek hoplites defeat the ill-organized Persians several times: the Persians being primarily adept at cavalry and archery were ill prepared to fight close infantry formations such as the Greek phalanx. Victory seems plausible but the majority of the Greek army chooses to retreat to prepare better defenses; with their departure, only Leonidas and his 300 hoplites remain to fight the Persians. After being betrayed and encircled, the remaining Spartans choose to stand their ground and fight to the bitter end. Again, this is a pretty decent film to be enjoyed by all ages. The screenplay is somewhat heavy with Cold War propaganda and the acting quite stiff. What makes up for the latter is the cinematography and choreography along with some reasonably good dialogue. A good film to rent or own. I heard that Michael Mann is planning to adapt and direct Stephen Pressfield's book 'Gates of Fire' for film; I look forward to seeing a modern version of this epic battle.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The 300 Spartans' is the story of an impossible, yet inspiring, stand by 300 Greek soldiers against the greatest army in the ancient world. Richard Egan, a buff, second string matinee idol, is King Leonidas of Sparta. His attempts at backing a full scale military defense of Thermopylae is hampered by political squabbling. Undaunted, Leonidas sets out to destroy Persian king, Xerxes (David Farrar) - all the while realizing just how futile his journey is and how tragic his destiny shall be. Ralph Richardson is particularly engaging as the philosopher, Themistocles. Diane Baker cuts a rather regal swath as Ellas, Leonidas niece. The usual prerequisites of half naked women and massively overdone battle sequences - that all Hollywood epics circa the mid 50s to late 60s had - are reinstated for this film. Visually, it's stunning: dramatically, below par and very long on spectacle over substance. Fox gives us a very clean, very nice looking anamorphic transfer of this would be classic. Colors are rich, vibrant and bold. Contrast and black levels are dead on. There is some fading present during several night sequences. Film grain is noticeable but not distracting. Age related artifacts are kept to a minimum. Digital anomalies (edge enhancement, pixelization) are present but do not distract. The audio is 5.1 and nicely brings back the stereophonic appeal of classic Cinemascope movies. There's a sonic breadth to the musical score that does not extend to dialogue sequences. Theatrical trailers and a few TV spots are the only extras you get. Big deal! This is a movie for people who truly love and admire Hollywood epics. But it does not represent the height or even the best that the genre can offer. If you're starved for this sort of entertainment, I would recommend either 'Ben-Hur' or 'Cleopatra' over this film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
But really folks, no fire works in this poor adaption of the battle of Thermopylae where a Greek contingent (finally reduced to approximately 300-500 Spartan and other Greeek warriors) stubbornly held a designated land pass into Greece during the invasion of Xerxes' Persian armies in 480BC. It is to be expected that Hollywood and History seldom if ever meet hand in hand on any project the former undertakes, but for a film that was done during the same time line as Spartacus and Ben-Hur, you'd at least hope that something more captivating and engrossing would grab out at you and bring you into the plot of the movie... there was a plot... right? Perhaps The 300 Spartans was the last flame on a topic (Sword & Sandal) that was fading fast in the decade of the 1960's; as such it appears that those making and producing the flawed epic had the same mind set: the quicker we film this and get it completed... the better. I do not blame the actors in the movie for their somewhat mundane and wooden portrayal of the historical figures who were prominant in this slice of history. They are as good as the director gets... and it was obvious that the director was steeped in stereo-types. Xerxes for example was made out to be a ruthless and somewhat mindless tyrant whose actions should only inspire the Greeks into a frenzied patriotism... only they really weren't that inspired about anything, or at least that's the impression I was given. Although Xerxes was no doubt ruthless, he was far from mindless... and he was not one to rely on the gods for he believed in only one diety thinking that the Greek pantheon was a barbaric approach to worshipping a superior being... and that being the same one from whom he himself descended. Leonidas on the other hand sure did smile alot. Kind of uncharacteristic of a Spartan king who had been raised since boyhood in the art of war and the many ways in which a Spartan can kill an opponent in battle. If he was smiling, it should have been for all the right reasons: 1) He was in a situation where his life-long training could be fully employed 2) He was in the position to fully personify the Spartan values of giving all for the state -thus leaving a lasting legacy for those Spartitates who came after him 3)He already hated the invading barbarian (non-Greek speaking) hordes and thought little of their skill as men of arms. Finally, the battle scenes were somewhere between unimpressive and breath-taking... that is they made me yawn a lot. Did the director ever hear of the Hedgehog tactic of the Greek Phalanx? Apparently not. The dress and accoutrements of the armies was fair to good, but not that accurate in some cases. For instance, the Greek leaders wore helmets of Romanesque design; no doubt to show the faces of the actors; a bad choice, not because of the actors, but because it compromised the consistent image of Spartan warrior. The 300 Spartans is an excellent topic for someone in Hollywood to take on in the caliber of Saving Private Ryan (except on the scale of the timeline of 480 BC), Braveheart and even the recently released Troy. There is enough there to make an epic that would impress audiences if done with the touch of brutality that is typical for that time period and type of warfare and especially in that specific application. Finally, in this case, there needs to be less of the good and evil aspects of one side being the beacon of light and the other being the personification of the dark side. In this case, both sides demonstrated good human characteristics as well as those considered to be barbaric. (For instances, Persian envoys sent to Sparta to request that they submit to Xerxes' rule were sumarily dropped down a well... while Xerxes himself accepted the alliance of those Greek states that submitted to his proposal... and most of the north of Greece stood with him in this war. Is that ruthless, or logical politics?) Alexander the Great would employ such a tactic a century and a half late
Guest More than 1 year ago
The only reason I have not heaped more stars on this 1961 classic is the lack of extra's on the DVD, although the Widescreen reproduction is good, the picture and sound crisp, and overall a great package. Recently referred to in 'The Last Samurai' whilst drawing parallels of futile 'last stands', this movie is beginning to attract a new audience, as well as enthrall those who remember it the first time around. With the renewed interest in the genre (Troy / Alexander the Great) at theaters now, and in post production respectively, this is a timely release. Another plus is that this movie is seldom seen on countless reruns on TV like so many, and is a worthy addition to any fans collection. In a similar way to Troy, there is an air of inevitability to the story which heads for the ill fated battle at Thermopylae. Some policital bungling and bad planning pits Richard Egan and his elite but small army against the ravages of Xerxes (he who commanded an army of 1,000,000)at the aforementioned pass, and the end result though predictable is stirring. Some interesting metaphors abound (as was the practice at that time) comparing the political problems of 1961 to the historical aspects of the movie, but otherwise this is a solid picture. The battle sequences are a bit tame by todays standards, but there is a wonderful dramatic quality to the direction and script, often missing in todays CGI festooned reproductions. Oldy but Goody - Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The 300 Spartans depicts the spirit of the Spartan warrior: Bravery, Loyalty, and Determination. The one part I enjoyed was when Leonidas is told that they have been cut off from escape and shouts to his soldiers "we can no longer defend the pass. So we shall attack and kill Xerxes." As they begin to march, the look of determination falls on to there faces. This film is one of the greatest epics of all times and is a must see for everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago