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The 300 Spartans [Blu-ray] [1962]

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker, Barry Coe, David Farrar
  • Directors: Rudolph Maté
  • Producers: Rudolph Maté, George St. George
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Mar. 2014
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CLDQC9M
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,511 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

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).

From Amazon.co.uk

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The narrow pass of Thermopalyae is long gone, with centuries of sendiment building a large plain. The location of the statue of King Leonidas of Sparta set up along the highway does provide a sense of how narrow the geography was in 480 B.C. when a small force of Spartans and other Greek warriors held up the advance of King Xerxes and his Persian army (the parallels to the Alamo are palatable). When I visited Greece last week I was glad we were able to stop at the monument for a few minutes, not so much because of what I had read in the history books about the Battle of Thermopalyae but because of the 1962 film "The 300 Spartans."
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.
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Format: DVD
At last, I watched a Hollywood film that tells the story the way it happened. The theme of the movie is the battle of Thermopylae, maybe the most important battle in the history of Europe. The Persian troups were delayed for 3 days by 300 Spartan warriors, led by Leonidas, at the narrow passage of Thermopylay (Gates of Fire). This gave time for the Athenians, Ionians, Corinthians, Macedonians and the rest of the Greeks to assemble the fleet and give the advancing Asian barbarians the final blow at Salamis.
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!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
There are currently four options for this film: the 2014 Blu-ray for Regions A and B; a 2004 Region 1 NTSC release; and a 2007 Region 2 PAL release. The Blu-ray and the Region 1 NTSC release have a run time of 114 minutes. The Region 2 PAL release has a run time of 109 minutes (because PAL runs 4% faster than NTSC). All four are described as having an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 resembling the film’s original CinemaScope format.

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.

# 38
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Format: DVD
Hampered by a somewhat lame script and perhaps not enough high wattage star power to head the cast, this epic is nevertheless quite watchable; based on actual events in the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, where a King Leonides of Sparta held the vast Persian army of Xerxes I at bay for three days defending a narrow pass.
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.
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