Movie: Flash Gordon
Release Date: December 5, 1980
Director: Mike Hodges
Starring: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Max von Sydow, Topol, Timothy Dalton, Mariangela Melato, Brian Blessed, Peter Wyngarde.
Tag Lines: “He’ll save every one of us!”
“Get ready to kick some Flash.”
“For years, he’s been the last word in professional football. Now he’s Earth’s only chance for a future.”
“Pathetic earthlings…Who can save you now?”
Relevance: I was a Queen and Freddie Mercury fan since 1977 as soon as I heard “We are the Champions/We Will Rock You.” My admiration grew for them after hearing 1978’s “Bicycle Race” and “Fat Bottomed Girls.” They then catapulted into becoming my favorite rock band of all time, maybe now tied with U2, when their album “The Game” was released in 1980. I used to carry around a small cassette recorder everywhere I went, the songs “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites the Dust” on a constant loop.
Later that same year, “Flash,” the theme song from ‘Flash Gordon’ was released. It too became a song that was listened to over and over again. I am not sure how and why I missed this movie in the theater, but I did. I mean, a super hero movie with the music of Queen was this 9 year old’s dream come true. If you have been following this blog and actually reading its posts, you will not be surprised to learn that my first time watching this movie was on HBO, a place I saw most of my movies growing up.
After I watched it for the first time, although I can’t recall when that exactly happened, I was hooked. It seemed to be on all the time, and every time that it was on, I was watching. It was one of those movies that I would sit and “quote” along with. Who am I kidding? I not only quoted it, I acted it out. I played every character, saying all the lines and performing all the stunts (that was humanly possible in our living room) to the annoyance of my family. If you could go back in time and talk to the 10 or 11 year old me, and asked what my favorite movie was, ‘Flash Gordon’ would have been the answer.
Today’s Thoughts: This is hands down the absolute best worst movie of all time. I haven’t watched it in years and what a treat it was for me to sit down and watch it today. As soon as that music started, I was 10 years old again. Completely campy, silly, ridiculous with a horrible screenplay and acting…and I freaking love it.
Sam “Flash Gordon” Jones and Melody “Go Flash, go!” Anderson are just plain awful, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Even established actors like Topol and Max von Sydow aren’t at their best, but you almost don’t want them to be. They completely blend into this over-the-top, campy movie, and somehow it works, at least for me. The sets, costumes, acting and music all play into this fantasy that is ‘Flash Gordon’ and it is still, if nothing, entertaining as hell.
Like I just mentioned, I was 10 years old again watching this movie. I will say I did not “perform” it like I used to, but the quotes were flowing right out of me as if I had watched it yesterday.
“Look! Water is leaking from her eyes.”
“No! Not the bore worms!”
“I’m flying blind on a rocket-cycle!”
I don’t think there is a better screenplay out there.
I would also be extremely remiss if I did not give a shout out to a future James Bond, Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin. Those green “Peter Pan” pants are very becoming on him, probably something I didn’t notice as a 10 year old. But they were definitely not missed today.
Please do yourself a favor and watch ‘Flash Gordon,’ not to be confused with 1974’s ‘Flesh Gordon.’ Yes, that’s a real thing. Look it up.
Awards: BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor, Howard Blake (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Danilo Donati (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design/Art Direction, Danilo Donati (nomination).
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability,