Flash Gordon was released in 1980 anbd is described as a space opera action film and is based on the King Features comic strip of the same name created by Alex Raymond. The film was directed by Mike Hodges, and produced by Dino De Laurentiis with Lorenzo Semple Jr. writing the screenplay based on the story adaptation by Michael Allin and Characters created by Alex Raymond. Flash Gordon stars Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Max von Sydow, Topol, Timothy Dalton, Mariangela Melato, Brian Blessed and Peter Wyngarde.
The film was intentionally made in a camp style similar to that seen in the 1960s TV series Batman (for which Lorenzo Semple Jr. had developed and written many episodes) in an attempt to appeal to fans of the original comics and serial films. It is rumoured that George Lucas had attempted to make a Flash Gordon film in the 1970s; but was unable to acquire the film rights from Dino De Laurentiis, so Lucas decided to create Star Wars instead.
The soundtrack was composed, performed and produced by Queen and Flash Gordon became one of the earliest high-budget feature films to use a score primarily composed and performed by a rock band. Additional orchestral score pieces were composed by Howard Blake.
When Flash Gordon was released it received mixed reviews from the critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a rating of 80% with the general consensus being, “Campy charm and a knowing sense of humor help to overcome a silly plot involving a spacefaring ex-football player, his adoring bevy of groupies, and a supervillain named Ming the Merciless.”. Roger Ebert praised Flash Gordon awarding a score of three out of four stars and said “Flash Gordon is played for laughs, and wisely so…This is space opera, a genre invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Hugo Gernsback and other men of unlimited imagination harnessed to definitely limited skills. It’s fun to see it done with energy and love and without the pseudo-meaningful apparatus of the Force and Trekkie Power… Is it fun? Yeah, sort of, it is”.
Commerically, Flash Gordon was a huge success, having been porduced with a $20 million budget, it took $3,934,030 in its opening weekend and went on to gross $27,107,960 in USA box office reciepts. It also perform well financially in Europe where it grossed nearly £14 million in the United Kingdom alone. Additionally, the film also performed very well in Italy, due to the two Italian actors prominent in the credits.
Flash Gordon has since become a cult classic with science fiction and fantasy fans. It remains a favourite of director Edgar Wright, who used the film as one of the visual influences for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Acclaimed comic book artist Alex Ross names the film as his favorite film of all time. He painted the cover for the film’s 2007 Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD release, and starred in a feature talking extensively about his affection for the film.
Year of Film
Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Chaim Topol, Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow, Ornella Muti, Brian Blessed
Origin of Film
UK | USA
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Budget: $20,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: $3,934,030 (USA) (7 December 1980)
Gross: $27,107,960 (USA) ( 1981)
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