1981: Ray Harryhousen made the special effects, monsters and clay "creations" for this Greek epic myth about the heroic deeds of Perseus. Harryhousen had previously made the magic possible for such films as "Jason and the argonauts", another film revolving a Greek myth, and the sci-fi classic "Earth vs. the flying saucers." Harry Hamlin, tv actor from the 80's series L.A. Law (and a hot hunk I had a crush on as a girl), makes an impressive performance as the confident, toga-wearing, muscle-bound, swordsman Perseus, who defeats monsters, including the three headed dog from Hell and the sea monster Kraken.
British actress Dame Maggie Smith (from Sister Act films and Hook) and the esteemed British actor Laurence Olivier play the roles of the goddess Thetis and Zeus, who are involved in a bitter feud. Zeus protects Perseus, as he is his son by a mortal woman, but Thetis is upset that Zeus shows no mercy to the deformed Calabos, her son, who was once a handsome prince. Calabos has the princess Andromeda (Claire Bloom) under a dark spell. She will be married to the man who solves the nightly riddles she is given. Perseus solves the riddle and becomes engaged to Andromeda. But when the queen Cassiopeia elevates her daughter's beauty above that of their patron goddess Thetis, Thetis becomes so enraged she puts Andromeda in a tight spot. She will be the sacrificial victim for the hunger of the sea monster, the Kraken. Perseus journeys to the Underworld, defeates the snake-haired Medusa and with his friends, the old wise man, the winged white horse Pegasus and a robotic owl (who chirps and buzzes almost like R2D2 in Star Wars). He frees Andromeda, who as the classical myth dictates, was chaind to a rock by the sea, and the ending is a very happy one.
Thanks to the fine acting by Harry Hamlin, whose heroism comes through as shining as Perseus (not to mention his good looks), Andromeda (Claire Bloom), Maggie Smith as the vindictive goddess and Zeus (Laurence Olivier) as an eloquent, authoritarian king of the gods. The London Symphony Orchestra fills the soundtrack with lofty themes, romantic melody and dramatic highlights. One of these highlights is the moment when Perseus tames Pegasus. This film was a classic in the 80's and is still great to watch, especially with the magic of DVD. A must have for fantasy fans, a great addition to fantasy films. Look for "Jason and the Argonauts" with Harryhausen effects, equally a match to this film, although dating from an earlier time, the 60's.