The late 70’s early 80’s was a glory time in the movie business. Star Wars went through the roof, Superman the Movie arrived in 1978, then there was Apocalypse Now, Alien, Star Trek the Motion Picture, Mad Max, The Warriors, and then there was Flash Gordon. Director Mike Hodges turned in a campy version of the 1930’s comic strip. The film is considered a flop critically and at the box office but I liked it in 1980 and it seems to get better each time I watch as the years pass.
One of the problems with the film is it used two unknowns as leads – Sam J. Jones played Flash as football star with the New York Jets. Melody Anderson, who was mostly an actress on TV played the love interest Dale Arden. The other two leads were well known. Topol played Dr. Hans Zarkov and Max von Sydow the juicy role of Ming the Merciless. We also get some support from Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed.
THE best part of the movie is the theme which was composed and performed by the band Queen. Sometimes I slip the movie into my player and just listen to the theme and I have it on my music player too. Freddie and the boys also scored the whole film.
The story is pretty simple and some of the acting is stiff and cringe worthy – for example Dale Arden “cheering” on Flash while he plays football against Ming’s henchmen early in the movie – but that doesn’t mean the movie is unwatchable. Besides the music, the scenery and colors used make look like it should. I’m not a comic geek so I don’t want my comic book characters to be “real” and want to see a comic book on screen.
The camp, bad acting, and plot holes is what I enjoy and I hope you do too.
Here is a video of the theme performed by Queen with scenes of the movie included:
Queen – Flash (1980)
More information on imdb:
Flash Gordon (1980)