300 Spartans [Blu-ray]
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Essentially true story of how Spartan king Leonidas led an extremely small army of Greek Soldiers (300 of them his personal body guards from Sparta) to hold off an invading Persian army now thought to have numbered 250,000. The actual heroism of those who stood (and ultimately died) with Leonidas helped shape the course of Western Civilization, allowing the Greek city states time to organize an army which repelled the Persians. Set in 480 BC.
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The Persians were set on conquering Greece, and Xerxes was out for revenge. 10 years earlier, in 490BCE Darius had launched an ill-fated invasion force that was turned back at Marathon. This time, Xerxes believed he had a large enough army that the outcome of the war between Greece and Persia would not be in doubt.
Unfortunately for Xerxes, he had never faced a fighting force of the like fielded by the Spartans. The valiant Lacedamons along with a handful of Greek coalition forces held the pass for the better part of 3 days.
On the third day, the Spartan king Leonidas dismissed the rest of the Greek forces so that they would live to fight another day. The Thespians declined to leave and they stayed and fought to a last man alongside the Spartans.
It is this obstinate and awe-inspiring battle that is depicted in the film. All-in-all, it is quite well done and does a reputable job of introducing most of the major characters in the period such as Themosticles, Leonidas, Xerxes, Mardonious, Aspasia and Ephialtes.
The best part of the film lies in its authenticity regarding Spartan battle dress and weaponry. In the film the Spartan shields have an upside down "V," which was the symbol of the Homoioi (full citizens). This was, in fact, what their shield depicted.
The Laconians had a long (roughly 8 foot) spear + a short-sword, and this is what the actors wielded. The Spartans also wore red to (supposedly) hide their blood, and this is accurately brought out in the film as well.Read more ›
Richard Egen does excellent job as Leonidas. He is charismatic yet characterisically laconic leader of Lacedaemons whose "warrior cult" society was legendary even to its Greek City-State peers,embodying The "RETURN HOME WITH YOUR SHIELD...OR ON IT!" victory or death ethic. David Farrar is fine as haughty despot Xerxes who none the less conveys astonishment(and once when a desperate,final Flying-Wedge assault by the Spartans threatens him personally)and respectful fear. Sir Ralph Richardson's role as Athenian senator who struggles to cobble unity from fiercely independent Hellenic poleis is "instructive" and understated.As noted,the background romance involving Diane Baker and a Spartan soldier initiate is essentially filler; Mate employs it well,however, to introduce a Greek traitor who discloses the mountain pass which allows Persians to flank...annihilate...the Spartans and their small cohort of allies.
THE 300 SPARTANS may not be epic film making but it's quite good.Read more ›
My key problem is the way it depicts the Spartans fighting. They preferred not to engage in individual swordplay, as shown in the film. The Spartans' power came from the phalanx--shields locked together, men surging forward in step, and spears plunging again and again into the Persians. (They didn't throw the spears, by the way; they simply stabbed over the tops of their shields.)
Also, as a kid I thought it ludicrous that the Persian Immortals would use wicker shields, but later I found out they're quite ingeneous. A sword or spear plunged into a wicker shield is very hard to pull out, which effectively disarms an opponent.
The Spartans defeated the Persians basically by bowling them over with the phalanx.
Anyway, a fun movie if you don't expect too much.
Most recent customer reviews
Great movie focusing the beautiful landscapes of Greece and the war of the Spartans would take this over the Gerard Butler version any day!Published 6 months ago by Patrick The Wombat
The story of how 300 Spartans sacrificed themselves at Thermopylae in the battle against Persia here becomes an only mildly interesting film, though it has its merits: Sir Ralph... Read morePublished on May 23 2013 by Jon Corelis
The truth is that Spartan society left nothing behind but stories of its vicious battles. No art, no knowledge, no invention, nothing to enlighten the future men came from Sparta-... Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2009 by Winston
"The 300 Spartans" is the story of an impossible, yet inspiring, stand by 300 Greek soldiers against the greatest army in the ancient world. Read morePublished on March 5 2005 by Nix Pix
Of course, that is because I was a very young child when this movie was originally being played. It's still fun to watch. Read morePublished on June 17 2004 by Lodge2
Okay. So the actual truth was a little different. But in 61 the kids loved it and as one of the so called epics it wasn't bad. Read morePublished on June 8 2004 by G. Drummy
The film incorrectly depicts the Spartans as freedom fighters in a free society, as if they represented human rights in a modern sense, and contrasts them with the Persians,... Read morePublished on May 22 2004
This was one of the last of the great sword-and-sandal epics. Unlike many before it or since, it managed to get the facts generally correct. Read morePublished on May 20 2004 by J.P.