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Flash Gordon

Played By: Sam J. Jones

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/b6b83ac6_9883_4eb6_93a8_2c4928ec8b1f.jpeg
"He'll save every one of us!"
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  • Action Hero
  • Adaptational Job Change: In the comics, Flash was a polo player, but polo was deemed a less popular sport by 1980, so he was made a football player.
  • Back from the Dead: Before he gets executed, a doctor gives him an injection and says to him "This will help you on your way."
  • Chekhov's Skill: Flash was a quarterback before coming to Mongo. Luckily, there happened to be an awful lot of football-shaped objects among Ming's tribute.
  • Distressed Dude: Flash in little leather shorts strapped to a chair....
  • Dumb Blonde: "Dumb" may be a bit harsh, as much more of a handsome, golden haired hunk and totally guileless.
  • Dumb Is Good: While being a slightly boorish jock, Flash is a saint compared to the intelligent and conniving but evil Emperor Ming.
  • Dumb Muscle: Downplayed. Perhaps compared to the likes of Ming, Klytus and certainly Dr. Zarkov, but he's no fool, despite his brawny hunkiness.
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  • Face Death with Dignity: Flash goes to his execution calmly.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite his hot-headed and painfully straightforward tendencies, Flash is said to be a graduate of Yale University and champion polo player (in comic/serial)/New York Jets quarterback (1980 movie).
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Doesn't give Ming's We Can Rule Together offer a second of serious consideration before he shoots it down.
  • Magnetic Hero: Gordon has a stellar track record of this trope in this movie, several examples causing full-on conversions of enemies to allies. Princess Aura's "fascination" with Flash sparks her High-Heel–Face Turn; his duel with and subsequent sparing of Prince Barin generates a Defeat Means Friendship flip, and Prince Vultan, awed by Flash's courage and mercy, swears eternal loyalty and friendship as well.
  • Messianic Archetype: Flash Gordon, due to being brought Back from the Dead by Princess Aura.
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    • The Expository Theme Song's lyrics refer to Flash as savior of the universe, a miracle, and king of the impossible, who'll save every man, woman and child with a mighty hand.
  • Mr. Fanservice: See Walking Shirtless scene
  • Nice Guy: What can you say about a guy who not only asks the man who's trying to kill him during a Duel to the Death to promise to team up with his enemies to overthrow Ming (if he dies), and spare that same man's life when he wins?
  • Only Mostly Dead: Flash. (King of the Impossible!)
  • Same Language Dub: Sam Jones's entire dialogue was dubbed by an unknown actor because Sam refused to do ADR for post production.
  • Shirtless Scene: In the scene where he gets executed, he's wearing nothing but short tight underwear.
  • Universal Driver's Licence: Flash using the Hawkmen rocketcycle and piloting War Rocket Ajax.

Dale Arden

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/flash_gordon_movie_special_1980_009_010_7.jpg
"We only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"
Played By: Melody Anderson

Emperor Ming

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/d47be68d_3dd5_4b14_88ad_f2defcbff1c3.jpeg
"Pathetic Earthlings!"
Played by: Max von Sydow

Princess Aura

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/flash_gordon_movie_special_1980_009_010_3.jpg
Played by: Ornella Muti

Dr. Hans Zarkov

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/hans_zarkov.jpg
Played by: Chaim Topol (credited as Topol)

  • All There in the Script:
  • Dr. Zarkov's backstory was that he was a NASA scientist who was fired for his paranoid fantasies that Earth was going to be attacked from outer space. 60 Minutes derided him as "A Poor Man's Billy Mitchell".
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Played by Topol for a start. His Mental Picture Projector scene implies memories of the Holocaust, and the Talmud is among the list of things he says he used for Psychic Static.
  • The Determinator: Manages to resist Klytus's brain-emptying and brainwashing treatment
  • Herr Doktor
  • Ignored Expert: Hans Zarkov's warning about an attack from space.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Zarkov (and Munson) both have one of these. Given that the science they're engaged in mainly requires looking at radar screens and printouts — except whenever they assembled that rather nifty rocket, which would have been better done wearing overalls — there can be no other reason for their labcoats than to visually label them "scientists."
  • Mad Scientist: He can't understand why NASA fired him or why Flash and Dale seemed frightened of him...the scientific community and the media perceive him as a crackpot. That said, he is actually more than a little eccentric.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Played with. Ming claims to only destroy planets that are advanced enough to realize his attacks aren't natural disasters. If his claim is true, and he's not just doing whatever he feels like, it's Zarkov's own attempt to contact whoever was launching the attacks that nearly dooms the Earth. However, Ming and Klytus' commentary at the beginning of the film contradicts this, and suggests Ming said that just to screw with Zarkov.
  • The Smart Guy: He didn't get all those degrees out of a cereal box.
  • They Called Me Mad!: He's a rare heroic example.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Essentially kidnaps Flash and Dale after threatening his lab assistant with a gun to try to get him to go to space, but is still basically a hero.

Klytus

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mv5bzmzimdg1otqtmtkxms00nju3lwi2oditmjblztdmntvingjjxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtewodg2mdy_v1.jpg
Played by: Peter Wyngarde

  • Admiring the Abomination: During Zarkov's brainwashing session (viewing his memories of the Holocaust), he opines that Hitler showed promise.
  • Black Cloak
  • Catchphrase: "With Pleasure."
  • Darth Vader Clone: At least looks-wise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Can spew excellently barbed witticisms even from behind an expressionless metal mask. Check out this exchange between Klytus and Flash, as the latter is chained up in the dungeon with a "pain helmet" over his head:
    Flash: "I demand to see the Governor! I can hardly breathe in this thing!"
    Klytus: "Yes, you don't look well. And I'm told you refused your final meal. The chef will be upset."
    Flash: "Tell him to go to hell!"
    Klytus: "Maybe it's just as well. Gas works more quickly on an empty stomach."
  • The Dragon
  • Evil Brit : Rocks that inexplicably upper class Brit accent, as evil space people often do in movies.
  • Eye Scream: Klytus' eyeballs bugging out of his mask when he dies. Yucko!
  • The Faceless: He is never seen without his mask.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Klytus. See Impaled with Extreme Prejudice just below.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Flash and Barin toss him onto a spike-covered platform.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Always wears a gold mask, and is definitely no hero.
  • Rage Helm: Which never gets removed, even upon his death.
  • Stalker with a Crush: To Aura.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Warns that Prince Vultan will sacrifice his daughter (who looks to be no more than ten years old) if he refuses to stand down during his skirmish with Prince Barin in the Imperial Court. And no one in attendance doubts he'll follow through on his threat.

Prince Barin

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mv5bzdflmjrlmzatzdy2zs00mjq5lwewzgetnjnjzgu1mgfmndnlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtewodg2mdy_v1.jpg
Played by: Timothy Dalton

  • Action Hero
  • Badass Mustache: Barin sports a sweet pencil-thin job.
  • Berserk Button: God help you if he thinks you're beating his time with Aura. And if you hurt her...
  • Defeat Means Friendship: He spends much of the film trying to kill Flash as a rival for Aura's affections, but finally teams up with him after Flash defeats him in a Duel to the Death but spares his life.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is haughty and more than a little hot-headed to the point of murderous rage. But ultimately wants what's best for everyone on Mongo and will fight by your side to the death.
  • Master Swordsman: Knows how to handle a blade.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: His reason for entrapping Flash into a deadly ritual. He realizes he underestimated Flash after he successfully passes the test twice, refuses to keep alternating with Flash - essentially forcing him to to the test over and over til he dies.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The cultured version to Vultan's outright barbarian.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: You have to be handsome to play James Bond, after all.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Fatally blasts General Kala, though it was totally in self-defense.

Prince Vultan

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brianblessed_flashgordon_vultan.jpg
"GORDON'S ALIVE?!?"
Played by: BRIAN BLESSED

  • Badass Beard: Full and impressive. MUCH LIKE HIS VOICE!!!
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Usually he carries a large, wicked-looking war club - and relishes chances to use it - but he also enjoys knocking mooks out with a hammerlike blow of those meaty fists.
  • Death Glare: Gives Klytus a brief but intense one when Kyltus threatens to sacrifice Vultan's daughter if he refuses to stand down.
  • Large Ham: See above.
  • Mondegreen: When the Hawkmen launch their attack on Ming's fortress, viewers think he's screaming "DIIIIIIEE!!!", when he's actually saying "DIIIIIIVE" (ordering his men to attack). Confusing matters even more, Vultan does actually say "DIIIIEEE" later, in the midst of battle.
  • No Indoor Voice: He bellows a lot. Which means BRIAN BLESSED is having a good day.
  • Papa Wolf: Vultan is ready to throw down (probably to the death) with Barin during Ming's court, and still won't back off after he and Barin are ordered to. A direct threat to Vultan's young daughter to make him swiftly comply. But he is clearly pissed that Klytus would dare.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: You want to fight about it? To the death, on a platform over a fifty-mile drop, with the tilting and the spikes?
  • Winged Humanoid: He and all the other hawkmen.

General Kala

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mariangela_melato_5.jpg
Played by: Mariangela Melato

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