Mike Hodges was coming-off an unsuccessful attempt at making Damien: Omen II (he was fired during production) and he fully embraced the comic book aesthetic of the Flash Gordon comic strip and the visual style of the 1930s serial starring Buster Crabbe with zeal. Many talk about it being kitsch, but Hodges film is just mirroring the style which helped make Flash Gordon so popular in the first place. It’s ironic that the film was released in the wake of George Lucas Star Wars, because it was Flash Gordon which inspired so much of Lucas’ space opera.
The adaptation of the Alex Raymond comic strip and the 1930s movie serials, sees Sam J. Jones’ all-American football star, Flash Gordon attempting to save the universe from Max Von Sydow’s deliciously evil Ming The Merciless.
Flash Gordon is a wonderfully executed piece of science fiction cinema. It’s a film which has become a much deserved cult classic since its original release way back in 1980. It will forever be known for a variety of reasons – from Brian Blessed’s bombastic Vultan (Gordon’s Alive!) and Queen’s infectious pop soundtrack to Gilbert Taylor’s lush cinematography.
Flash Gordon grossed $27 million at the US box office on 1980.