The 300 Spartans [Blu-ray] 
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A colourful action film about the Battle Of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. King Leodinas (Richard Egan), with the help of locals, tries to stop the attack of thousands of Persian invaders led by King Xerxes (David Farrar).
The futile yet inspiring stand of 300 Greek soldiers against the hugest army ever assembled in the ancient world inspired this typical example of Hollywood epic movie-making. King Leonidas of Sparta (Richard Egan, Demetrius and the Gladiators), prevented by political squabbling from sending his entire army to defend the narrow pass of Thermopylae, sets out with his personal bodyguard to fight off the ambitious Persian king, Xerxes. Along the way are a pair of young lovers, scantily clad dancing girls, and treachery though a secret mountain path. The 300 Spartans, made in 1961, has an overstated cold war subtext--there's much talk of freedom vs. slavery--and there are a few too many shots of armoured men marching through the Greek countryside, but the historical conflict has a fundamentally stirring quality. Also featuring Sir Ralph Richardson (Dr. Zhivago, Dragonslayer) as a wily Athenian politician. --Bret Fetzer --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Granted the acting in this film from director Rudolph Maté is wooden, on a par with the Trojan Horse and the ships that turned out to the wooden walls of Athens that defeated Xerxes at Salamis. But there is still something substantial to the battle sequences, as when Xerxes sends his Immortals against the Spartans and when the Spartans make a final valiant charge to kill the Persian monarch. The basic political history of the times is covered in the film; Greece was debating whether or not to send soldiers that far north to stop the invaders and the Spartans decided not to send troops until a religious festival was over. Consequently, King Leonidas (Richard Eagan) left with his personal bodyguard of 300 soldiers. There is a trivial romantic subplot involving a young Spartan soldier and the girl he tried to leave behind, as well as an exiled Spartan King, Demaratus (Ivan Triesault) who tries to educate Xerxes (David Farrar) about the worth of these 300 soldiers. In the end, the Spartans are betrayed by a Greek traitor who tells the Persians of a pass through the mountains where they can attack from the rear.Read more ›
The movie takes place on lacation, at a very scenic area, with many extras, performing excellent in man to man combat and chariot combat, too.
The classic phrases "Molon Lave", told by Leonidas to Xerxes and "I tan i epi tas", told by the Spartan mothers to their sons, are told, and explained in the movie.
The armor of the Spartan warriors is the historically accurate one, with the big Greek "L" on the front (standing for "Lacedemoniis" (Spartans in ancient Greek), they wear the red cloaks, (so no Spartan blood would be visible to the enemy). The daggers are of the correct size and not mistaken by the Sariza, and the battle cries are the appropriate ones.
The musical score is by Manos Hadjidakis, capturing the epic history in a bewildering way.
After all the "historical" epic - junk i watched lately, i was pleasantly surprised to watch this marvel that was filmed more than 40 years ago. Well done!
I purchased the Region 2 PAL version from Amazon UK and I’ve compared its screen image on a 16x9 HDTV with the Blu-ray screen images reproduced at blu-ray dot com. There are differences: (1) the Blu-ray images are wider (i.e. showing more of the original CinemaScope image) and consequently with deeper letterbox mattes than the DVD; and (2) the Blu-ray images appear to have some greater colour saturation and a fair dose of digital noise reduction (since skin tones are blander than in the DVD).
The Blu-ray, according to Amazon, is available for Region A with English and Spanish soundtracks and for Region B with just English. These Blu-rays may not be interchangeable since Twentieth Century Fox is well known for releasing most of its titles region-coded.
The Region 2 PAL release has English, German, Italian and Spanish audio, and subtitles in 12 languages.
The battles are brilliantly staged with its 1001 extras, in massive mano a mano fights, as well as on horseback and in chariots.
A secondary plot consists of a young couple (Diane Baker and Barry Coe) in love against all odds, and are the diversion to an otherwise rather one-note story of Spartans/Greeks vs. Persians.
Richard Egan ably leads his men as Leonides the Lion King of Sparta, but somehow does not have the stature as an actor to really captivate our attention, and other actors include Ralph Richardson as Themistocles of Athens, and David Farrar as Xerxes I.
The cinematography by Geoffrey Unger ("2001: A Space Odyssey") is spectacular, and the transfer to DVD excellent with rich reds in the costumes and the deepest of blue seas, and the score by Manos Hadjidakis ("Never on Sunday") is marvelous and adds a lot to the film.
Director Rudolph Mate had a long career as a brilliant cinematographer going back to the silent film era with the 1928 masterpiece "Passion de Jeanne d'Arc" to later films like "Pride of the Yankees", and this was to be his next to last film as a director.
One can learn history even from a Hollywood epic, as I never knew of the existence of Artemisia the Warrior Queen of Halicarnassus, here played by Anne Wakefield.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Front cover makes the film look like its going to be amazing and then the intro is old and classical, therefore we took the disc out straight away and watched another film. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Aedán
A somewhat hammy but overall really good film. I still prefer this to the OTT 300. I believe because of the original film stock there's not much can be added by blu-ray but I... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Customer
David Farrar as king Xerxes ? I think not. This is a trash movie. If you want the best account of Thermopylae I suggest that you read Herodotus, either in the Greek original or in... Read morePublished 7 months ago by lycidas