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 <email@example.com>
Richard O'Brien found the whole experience of making the film tedious. He did, however, get a lot of pleasure from sitting in the personalized chairs of the principals. His impish behavior wasn't curbed at all. He knew Mike Hodges very well, much to the consternation of the stars, who regularly complained about him on-set. See more »
At the very beginning of the film, Ming and his henchman are discussing "an obscure body in the SK system", which the inhabitants refer to as the planet "Earth", pronounced as if the word is completely foreign to them. However, at that moment, Ming activates a button on his console labeled "Earth Quake". See more »
The Emperor Ming:
Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?
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]
Most effective, Your Majesty! Will you destroy this, er, Earth?
The Emperor Ming:
Later. I like to play with thing a while... before annihilation.
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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 »
Flash Gordon is one of the most perfectly realized films De Laurentiis made, and it is disappointing that so few have recognized it for what it is; a 1930's comic strip brought perfectly to life. The fact that it is so accurate a realization of America's hopes and fears during the 1930's may help to explain why it has been dismissed so readily as, at best, mere camp, and at worst, a vulgar cinematic catastrophe: Today's audiences are too removed from that decade to catch the references. A classic example of America's view of Asia during the 1930's can be found in Dale Arden's confrontation with Princess Aura just prior to her wedding to Ming. Aura is trying to convince Dale to slip a poison into Ming's "Power Potion" but Dale tells Aura she can't because she's given Ming her word to "try to be a good wife if [Ming] would spare Zarkov and Baron. He vowed he would." Aura, shocked at her naiveté, shouts, "My father has never kept a vow in his life!" To which Dale responds, "I can't help that Aura. Keeping our word is one of the things that make us better than you." Flash Gordon is filled with this type of wonderful 1930's fun, and this fun is only enhanced by the decision to use bad actors in roles that would only benefit from the lack of skill, as well as Oscar-caliber actors in the most demanding roles. Max Von Sydow is an obvious example of the latter, but the hidden gems come in the form of Mariangela Melato, Brian Blessed, and Ornella Muti. Melato does an outstanding job as Klytus's reptilian, but beautiful, second in command when she flawlessly delivers lines like, "Confess, and we won't hurt you anymore.
We don't like doing this at all!" And Ornella Muti is simply unbelievable as Ming's gorgeous but deadly daughter. Replying to Flash's query as to whether he can use the telepathy machine to contact Dale with a perfectly candid, "If I showed you how. But I'm not going to." Add to these amazing actors the costumes and sets that are obvious homages to the original comic's drawings and you have a movie that is as surprising as it is delightful. Enjoy!
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