“F” is for Flash Gordon (1980)
lash, Flash I love you, but we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!” What a quote that is, possibly one of the most memorable from my childhood. This 1980 film was out when I was just 6 years old and I love it still today.
So much so that my wife and I actually chose to watch it one New Year’s Eve instead of ringing in the bells like every other sane person in the world. Still, I would do it again. They got it right in the movie Ted, Flash Gordon is an EPIC movie.
There are many things that make Flash Gordon a great movie. The script is cheesy as hell. The acting is cheesy as hell. The cast is brilliant and somehow they are able to take the crappy script and hammy acting and make it brilliant. Of course, a lot might have to do with the simply stunning soundtrack by British rock band Queen that helps to distract us from the rest of the film.
Cast members include an ex James Bond in Timothy Dalton, the magnificent Brian Blessed, Max von Sydow, Topol and Peter Wyngarde. Oddly enough, the two main characters, Flash Gordon and Dale Arden are actors I had never heard of at the time and have never heard from since. Funny how things turn out. This movie has massive cult status. So much so that star Sam Jones made a cameo in the movie Ted. For 1980, the special effects were pretty decent although some of the super-imposed images are now very cheap looking, the film is still enjoyable to watch and I must have watched it at least 20 times over the years and it never gets tired for me.
Lets talk about the soundtrack. It has to be one of the most well-known movie soundtracks ever written. Queen were on the top of their game in the early 80s and the now iconic bass drum beats of the title track are unmistakable. Double that with the fact that the music tells the complete story of the film even without having to see the film at the same time, then you have a recipe for success. It is just a truly superb science fiction film and strangely enough has never been remade as a movie. I hope Hollywood sees Flash Gordon as sacred ground that should never be sullied in any way. There was a TV series a couple of years ago, but it didn’t amount to much. watch the film, that is all you need.
Fun Fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned down for the lead role because of his impenetrable Austrian accent.