The 300 Spartans

The 300 Spartans

Infobox Film
name = The 300 Spartans

image_size =
caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Rudolph Maté
producer = Rudolph Maté
George St. George
writer = George St. George
Gian Paolo Callegari
Remigio Del Grosso
Giovanni d'Eramo
Ugo Liberatore
starring = Richard Egan
Ralph Richardson
Diane Baker
Barry Coe
David Farrar
music = Manos Hadjidakis
cinematography = Geoffrey Unsworth
editing = Jerry Webb
distributor = 20th Century Fox
released = flagicon|USA August 1962
runtime = 109 mins.
country = USA
awards =
language = English
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
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 Perachora in the Peloponnese. It starred Richard Egan as the Spartan king Leonidas, Ralph Richardson as Themistocles of Athens and David Farrar as Persian king Xerxes, with Diane Baker as Ellas and Barry Coe as 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 War overtones, [cite news
last = Beam | first = Alex | title=Meanwhile: Hot times at the 'Hot Gates'
date=8 March 2007| publisher=International Herald Tribune | url=| 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". [ [ UnderGroundOnline interview] ] His graphic novel "300" is about the Battle of Thermopylae, and was the basis for the 2007 film "300".


Xerxes I of Persia leads a vast army of soldiers into Europe to crush the small city-states of Greece to fulfil not only the idea of "one world ruled by one master",, Darius I of Persia, at the Battle of Marathon ten years previously. Accompanying him are Artemisia I, the Queen of Halicarnassus who beguiles Xerxes with her feminine charm, and Demaratus, an exiled king of Sparta whose warnings Xerxes pays little heed to.

In Corinth, Themistocles wins 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 Thermopylae until 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 Leotychidas is 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 Peloponnese and will advance no further. The Greeks constantly beat off the Persians, and Xerxes begins to consider withdrawing to Sardis until 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 Salamis and the Battle of Platea end 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 Richardson as Themistocles of Athens
*Diane Baker as Ellas daughter of Pentheus, Queen Gorgo's niece
*Barry Coe as Phyllon son of Grellas, a Spartan in love with Ellas
*Anna Synodinou as Queen Gorgo, Leonidas' wife
*David Farrar as King Xerxes of the Persian Empire
*Anne Wakefield as Artemisia, Queen of Halicarnassus
*Ivan Triesault as Demaratus, exiled Euripontid ex-King of Sparta
*Nikos Papakonstantinou as Mardonius, Persian general
*Donald Houston as 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 Moore as 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 Naismith as unnamed Greek delegate
*Marietta Flemotomos as unnamed Greek woman at shield ceremony


External links

*imdb title|id=0055719|title=The 300 Spartans
* [ The 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae]

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