- The 300 Spartans
name = The 300 Spartans
caption = Theatrical release poster
producer = Rudolph Maté
George St. George
writer = George St. George
Gian Paolo Callegari
Remigio Del Grosso
starring = Richard Egan
Ralph Richardson Diane Baker Barry Coe
cinematography = Geoffrey Unsworth
editing = Jerry Webb
20th Century Fox
released = flagicon|USA August 1962
runtime = 109 mins.
country = USA
language = English
amg_id = 1:113536
imdb_id = 0055719
"The 300 Spartans" is a 1962 film depicting the
Battle of Thermopylae. Made with the cooperation of the Greek government, it was shot in the village of Perachorain the Peloponnese. It starred Richard Egan as the Spartan king Leonidas, Ralph Richardsonas Themistoclesof Athensand David Farrar as Persian king Xerxes, with Diane Bakeras Ellas and Barry Coeas Phylon providing the requisite romantic element in the film. In the film, a force of Greek warriors led by 300 Spartans fights against a Persian army of almost limitless size. Despite the odds, the Spartans will not flee or surrender, even if it means their deaths.
The picture was noted for its
Cold Warovertones, [cite news
last = Beam | first = Alex | title=Meanwhile: Hot times at the 'Hot Gates'
8 March 2007| publisher= International Herald Tribune| url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/03/08/opinion/edbeam.php| accessdate = 2007-06-03] repeatedly referring to the independent Greek states as "the only stronghold of freedom remaining in the then known world", holding out against the Persian 'slave empire'.
Frank Miller saw this movie as a boy and said "it changed the course of my creative life". [ [http://www.ugo.com/ugo/html/article/?id=16424§ionId=106 UnderGroundOnline interview] ] His graphic novel "300" is about the
Battle of Thermopylae, and was the basis for the 2007 film "300".
Xerxes I of Persialeads a vast army of soldiers into Europeto crush the small city-states of Greeceto fulfil not only the idea of "one world ruled by one master",, Darius I of Persia, at the Battle of Marathonten years previously. Accompanying him are Artemisia I, the Queen of Halicarnassuswho beguiles Xerxes with her feminine charm, and Demaratus, an exiled king of Spartawhose warnings Xerxes pays little heed to.
Corinth, Themistocleswins the support of the allies and convinces both the delegates and the Spartan representative, Leonidas I, to grant Sparta leadership of the force. Outside the hall, Leonidas and Themistocles agree to fortify the pass at Thermopylaeuntil the rest of the army arrives. After this, Leonidas learns of the Persian advance and travels to Sparta to spread the news.
In Sparta, fellow king
Leotychidasis fighting a losing battle with the Ephors over a festival that is due to take place, and that the army should wait until after the festival is over to march, by which time the Persians will have conquered Greece. Leonidas secretly decides to take his personal bodyguard of 300 men to the pass, who are exempt from the decisions of the Ephors and the Gerousia. They are reinforced by Thespii and other Greek allies.
After days of fighting, Xerxes grows angry as his army is "slaughtered like sheep" by the Greeks, with the Spartans in the forefront. Leonidas further pressures his men after receiving word that the remainder of the Spartan army will only fortify the isthmus in the
Peloponneseand will advance no further. The Greeks constantly beat off the Persians, and Xerxes begins to consider withdrawing to Sardisuntil he can equip a larger force at a later date. Just then, he receives word from Ephialtes of a goat-track through the mountains. Rewarding Ephialtes greatly, Xerxes sends his army onward.
Once Leonidas realises this, he sends away the Greek allies to alert the cities to the south. Being too few to hold the pass, the Spartans instead attack the Persian front, where Xerxes is nearby. Leonidas is killed in the meleé. Surrounded, the survivors refuse to leave his body and are annihilated by arrowfire. After this, the
Battle of Salamisand the Battle of Plateaend the Persian invasion, which could not have been organised without the help of the 300 Spartans who defied the tyranny of Xerxes at Thermopylae.
*Richard Egan as King Leonidas, Agiad King of Sparta
Ralph Richardsonas Themistoclesof Athens
Diane Bakeras Ellas daughter of Pentheus, Queen Gorgo's niece
Barry Coeas Phyllon son of Grellas, a Spartan in love with Ellas
Anna Synodinouas Queen Gorgo, Leonidas' wife
*David Farrar as King Xerxes of the Persian Empire
Anne Wakefieldas Artemisia, Queen of Halicarnassus
Ivan Triesaultas Demaratus, exiled Euripontid ex-King of Sparta
Nikos Papakonstantinouas Mardonius, Persian general
Donald Houstonas Hydarnes, Persian general leader of the Immortals
*Robert Brown as Pentheus, Spartan soldier second-in-command to Leonidas
*John Crawford as Agathon, Spartan spy and soldier
*Charles Fawcett as
Megistias, Spartan priest
Kieron Mooreas Ephialtes of Trachis
*Yorgos Moutsios as Grellas, a Spartan in Xerxes' camp
*Dimos Starenios as Samos, a goatherd living in the vicinity of Thermopylae
*Anna Raftopoulou as Toris, Samos' wife
*John Contes as Artovadus, Persian general
*Michalis Nikolinakos as Myron, a Spartan
Laurence Naismithas unnamed Greek delegate
*Marietta Flemotomos as unnamed Greek woman at shield ceremony
*imdb title|id=0055719|title=The 300 Spartans
* [http://300spartanwarriors.com/ The 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae]
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