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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 8.33%
Average: 15.63%
Pretty Bad: 5.21%
Total Crap: 2.08%

5 reviews, 66 user ratings

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Flash Gordon
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by Scott Weinberg

"Mention this movie to anyone over 25 and watch what happens."
5 stars

Trashy, campy, silly, and wild. Flash Gordon is brilliant. The cast is perfect. The soundtrack by Queen? Classic. The costumes and set design look like they fell out of the comic strip. It has bizarre dialogue, lots of crazy action, weirdo aliens, gross monsters, nutty escapes, and my personal favorite: The villain who ends up fighting with the good guys.

I saw this when I was 10 years old as the second half of a double feature with Popeye. I think that was the day I began loving movies. To those who may dismiss Flash Gordon as anything less than great, let me offer my simple movie philosophy: How well does a movie do what it sets out to do? Flash Gordon succeeds by this measure considerably. The scenes that are silly and campy and corny? They're meant to be like that. Director Mike Hodges would later go on to direct movies like A Prayer Before Dying and Morons from Outer Space, so it's safe to say this is his best film to date. Every detail is perfect from the drinks served in Ming's palace to the creepy tree monster (in a pretty damn intense scene).

The cast members all seem well aware of what's going on also, which helps a great deal. Our hero Flash (Sam Jones, destined to a life of softcore cable movies) is always brave and ever-prepared. His damsel, Dale (Melody Anderson, looking helpless and vacuous, which is her strong suit, I think). Dr. Zarkov is played by The Fiddler himself in a role so over-the-top and wild-eyed, you can't help but love him. Pre-Bond Timothy Dalton and big, hairy Brian Blessed show up as two princes, along with a metal-faced henchman named Klytus who is so cruel and evil, it's a great joy when he's slain and his eyeballs melt all over the floor. But Ming. Ming is played by Max von Sydow so perfectly, you love every scene he's in. He pulled out all his Grinch moves on this one, and he oozes a nasty vibe.

Basically Flash, Dale, and Dr. Zarkov blast into outer space on a cute little homemade rocketship, they fall asleep (and Flash cops a little boobie-feel), and wake up on some freaky disco planet and hop out to look around. Not surprised at all they can breathe the atmosphere, they quickly meet some nasty guards. A gun is produced and we learn that guns on this planet do not shoot bullets, but a laser-powered metal glove that strangles and pins the enemy to the ground. How's that for advanced technology? ("Look out! He's got a board with a nail through it!")

The newcomers are then brought to court in front of Ming. When Flash is attacked, he breaks into sudden football mode and begins tossing this giant green egg at bad guys, as Dale does her cheerleading in the background. ("Go, Flash, Go!") After much ballyhoo, our heroes are separated. Flash goes through A LOT of trouble and icky adventures while Dale and the loony Doc wait for him to rescue them.

A thrilling and tight sci-fi adventure. Something that's just simple fun done in an imaginative and entertaining fashion. The kind of movie that is remembered well by many movie fans, and it is clear to see why. Flash Gordon is a movie that was made with attention and a loving eye for detail and mood. The action sequences are extremely well-done, and the special effects hold up pretty well, even today. Done with a perfect combination of corn, affection, action and even a little Kapowza, to keep the kids interested.

A special mention goes out to Ornella Muti, who plays Ming's daughter, Aura. Not only is she sexy in her tight (and loopy) costumes, but her accent is awesome. ("No, not the bore worms!") If you can't find something in your heart in Flash Gordon to like, I question if you really like movies at all.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/19/99 20:00:50
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2014 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/23/14 Avery Hemming Great movie sadly without a sequel 5 stars
12/27/12 fwyook Am I the only one who thought Clytus was a bad-ass #2 (the mask, the hood, the voice!)? 5 stars
9/30/12 The Big D Light years ahead of Star Wars--more action, more humor, and cooler characters! 5 stars
8/17/12 Mark Vanselow They don't make them like this anymore. Not a "great bad film", just great, period. 5 stars
3/18/11 Onyx2626 Just saw and loved it. Now I know why my sisters came home singing "Flash,aa aaa!" 5 stars
1/25/10 art I WALKEd or should i say DROVE out on this at a DRIVE-IN! 1 stars
1/16/10 CJ A fabulous piece of escapism. Want a 'serious' piece of science fiction? Watch Blade Runner 5 stars
7/07/09 gc One of those "so bad its good" movies 4 stars
1/14/09 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 5 stars
11/26/08 Leo T Ahhhh... he'll save everyone of us !! 2 stars
7/19/08 sebastian Campy fun..the comic strip brought to life! 3 stars
6/05/08 Knowa Billiant on several levels! A true classic! 5 stars
12/16/07 Jason One of the greatest movies ever! A true sci-fi classic. 5 stars
7/25/07 Mike Wilson The best "bad" movie of all time... not the bore worms!!! 5 stars
3/23/07 David Pollastrini Not great not terrible 3 stars
3/20/07 Dez The cheese n' camp went over my then 12 year old head, but I loved it! Still do. 5 stars
12/15/06 Richard Paquette so, so 3 stars
12/05/06 David Cohen I liked it 4 stars
8/25/06 Al Guy You have to love the 80s! Flash! AHHHHH! 4 stars
8/15/06 Sugarfoot Flash, AHH! He's our miracle! 5 stars
5/11/06 dionwr VERY silly--but still enjoyable 3 stars
5/05/06 Uri Lessing Defender of the Universe. (GoSS!!! See it asap!) 5 stars
5/02/06 Ryan_A He'll save every one of us, you know. 5 stars
5/02/06 David Cornelius What do you mean, "Flash Gordon approaching?" 5 stars
5/02/06 William Goss Haven't seen it. 3 stars
5/02/06 HBS-SH de palma's drill 5 stars
4/18/06 AJ Corny as hell, but ya gotta love it!! 5 stars
12/11/05 Joel I have seen this movie 50+ times 5 stars
8/12/05 ES I was 4 years old and embarassed that someone would see me watching this movie= not good 2 stars
4/02/05 Julian So much fun!! 5 stars
3/13/05 Danny A classic! And the soundtrack by Queen is killer! 5 stars
11/17/04 Mike E This is a masterpiece!!!!! 5 stars
10/13/04 M. Moore Peter Wyngarde is awesome as Klytus 5 stars
5/08/04 R.W. Welch No match for the classic 30's serial but has cult following. 3 stars
2/09/04 Thomas somes parts of the movie is ok some parts not so good but overall the movie is good. 4 stars
1/20/04 Terry Sarmento Great Movie!!! 5 stars
9/28/03 Kyle Jones' acting is laughable, but I can forgive that cause this movie rocks! 5 stars
8/25/03 April camp at its best!!!!! 4 stars
8/22/03 REBLYELL This film was done in a perfect manner for the material involved. 5 stars
8/17/03 3man I think this is more geared for older folks who watched the original Flash shows. 3 stars
7/01/03 Mike I'm only 22 but I've seen this movie tons and it's great! 5 stars
6/20/03 Sammy soundtrack by Queen??? 2 stars
6/09/03 Brendan Foster One of the best examples of a comic book brought to life 4 stars
5/16/03 Andrew Carden Campy and Fun, but Ultimately Overblown (and Stupid) Update Of The Comic Book. 3 stars
3/18/03 Doug Greatest. Movie. Ever. 5 stars
1/18/03 David Psychedelic! The He-man's Xandu! 4 stars
11/23/02 Trella Ocelot Silly movie! "All creatures shall make merry...on pain of death!" 4 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum Very campy fun 5 stars
10/23/02 fandom stranger All-time top 10 fave! Ornella = Most gorgeous woman ever! Pure fun, eye-candy flick! 5 stars
7/14/02 R.W. Welch Campy treatment of the old strip, doesn't equal the '30's Saturday matinee serial. 3 stars
3/25/02 Tomas Rosenberg Absolutely wonderfull movie ( Im 25 : ) ) 5 stars
1/16/02 David A. Corny, SIlly, and Comic-book style, but it's just oodles of fun! 5 stars
10/19/01 SirJaredG Best Movie of All Time!!! Pay special attn. to all of Sam J. Jones' quotes, and song lyrics 5 stars
9/20/01 Butterbean Unintentially funny as hell!! Watch it with friends! 5 stars
6/17/01 Tina Bate Completely Brilliant!!!! 5 stars
4/18/01 Cygnus Great, Anderson & Jones 5 stars
12/03/00 The Shrieking Ape Blasphemy MY EYES!!! AIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Fear this movie like you would the thousand eyes of Zoth! 5 stars
11/07/00 Charles Heppenstall Dale...what a damn shame. 5 stars
7/09/00 Anil Sharma The Great movie of all time 5 stars
4/10/00 Matthew Bartley Gordon's Alive!! 5 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan Alex Raymond should be rolling in his grave. The only really good thing: the Queen score. 2 stars
10/21/99 bullit17 I loved this movie when I was seven, 19 years later it still holds up. 5 stars
10/20/99 Stu Totally wunnerful. Just so much fun. Gordon's Alive! etc. 5 stars
10/19/99 The Bomb 69 hilarious 5 stars
7/04/99 randy grubbs campy crap, even the queen soundtrack is bad 2 stars
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  05-Dec-1980 (PG)
  DVD: 06-May-1998

  02-Jul-1980 (PG)

  02-Jul-1980 (PG)

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