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Trivia / Flash Gordon (1980)

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  • All-Star Cast: BRIAN BLESSED, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton and many other 80s stars packed and ready.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Playing Vultan was BRIAN BLESSED's lifelong dream.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • Although Ming does say "Pathetic Earthlings" a lot (e.g. "Pathetic Earthlings, hurling yourself out into the void..."), he never actually says "Pathetic Earthlings, who will save you now?" Except in the trailer.
    • Vultan's line "GORDON'S ALIVE!!!" is regularly quoted as a triumphant cry, and has become a Catchphrase of BRIAN BLESSED himself. In the actual movie, however, Vultan expresses the line with (for Brian Blessed) quiet incredulity ("Gordon's alive?!). (The catchphrase is probably better remembered from the sound clip incorporated in the Queen song, in which an echo effect is used. It also seems to be conflated in the popular imagination with Vultan's later and similarly iconic cry of "DIVE!!!")
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $35 million. Box office, $27,107,960 (domestic), at least $50 million (worldwide). It was a hit internationally and fared very well with critics, but plans for a film trilogy never went through after performing just OK in the United States box office. Became a Cult Classic and future film villains, including Aladdin's Jafar, were based off this movie's Big Bad. A remake is on the Hollywood docket.
  • California Doubling: The airfield scene at the beginning of the film, although set in the U.S., was shot at the Broadford Airfield in Skye, Scotland.
  • The Cast Showoff: Sam J. Jones played football in real life.
  • Darkhorse Casting: Sam J. Jones was cast after Dino De Laurentiis' mother-in-law saw him on an episode of The Dating Game. The filmmakers were banking on casting an unknown, following Christopher Reeve's success as Superman.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Sam J. Jones' dark hair was bleached blonde for this role, and Melody Anderson's blonde hair was dyed brown. Flash was also supposed to have blue eyes, but Sam could not wear the contact lenses.
    • Max von Sydow's Emperor Ming outfit was extremely heavy, and had problems moving around in it.
  • Fake American: Melody Anderson is Canadian.
  • Follow the Leader: The film was made to capitalise on Star Wars' success (fitting as George Lucas always intended Star Wars to be a Spiritual Successor of Flash).
  • Looping Lines: Most of Sam J. Jones's lines as Flash were looped in post-production by Peter Marinker.
  • Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: Ornella Muti and Mariangela Melato, who portrayed Princess Aura and Kala respectively, dubbed themselves in the Italian dub of the movie.
  • No Stunt Double: Because of his height, the six-foot Sam J. Jones choreographed, and did most of his own stunts.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • BRIAN BLESSED has admitted in interviews that when he and his brother used to play a game based on the TV series he always wanted to be Vultan. Decades later he got to play the same childhood game on the big screen. He admitted that the most embarrassing moment of his film career was when he only realized he'd been unconsciously making "boom" and "pew pew" sounds with his mouth when the director called "Cut! Okay, Brian, next time, we will put in the special effects."
    • Max von Sydow was also a fan of the comic strip.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The actors signed up for a trilogy of films a la Star Wars, and there was a spinoff children's TV show. Problems with star Sam J. Jones during post-production (which led to most of his lines being re-dubbed by Peter Marinker) pretty much killed the trilogy. The film's box office failure in the States didn't help, either.
  • Throw It In:
    • Flash jumping into the camera screaming "YEAH!" was an improvisation by Sam Jones, as nobody could figure out how to end the movie.
    • Melody Anderson came up with Dale's cheerleading during the football fight.
    • BRIAN BLESSED improvised the scene where Vultan gooses Dale. Melody Anderson's Death Glare reaction is genuine.
  • Troubled Production: See here.
  • Vindicated by Cable: Its popularity in America was due in part to airings on HBO.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The first draft of the script had, among other things, no Kala, Klytus being psychic, a Tiger Man aiding Flash, Ming having a group of Amazon warriors, and a proper swordfight between Flash and Ming.
    • Directors considered for this film included Sergio Leone, Federico Fellini and Nicholas Roeg.
      • Roeg's version would have seen Deborah Harry as Priness Aura and Keith Carradine as Ming. One of his proposals was to excise the trademark cliffhangers and melodrama, seeing Flash as more of "a metaphysical messiah".
    • Dino De Laurentiis originally wanted Kurt Russell to play Flash. He turned it down, because he thought the character was lacking in personality. Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned down for the lead role because of his impenetrable Austrian accent.
    • Mike Hodges considered commissioning Pink Floyd to compose the music, even playing their music onset.
    • Dennis Hopper was considered for Dr Zarkov.
    • A cut scene had a dream sequence where Dale turns into a giant spider.
    • In the original script, when Flash is sentenced to death by Ming, Dale bursts out that Ming is "absolutely merciless". Ming is enthralled with the description, and immediately starts calling himself "Ming the Merciless".
    • In the original script, Flash and Dale first meet at a Canadian resort called Dark Harbor. Although they flirt with each other, they don't become acquainted until they're sharing the ill-fated plane ride to New York City. Dale later talks briefly about Dark Harbor during her tear-filled meeting with Flash before his execution.
    • When it was in development in the early Seventies, George Lucas planned to acquire the film rights with the adaptation planned to be his first film since American Graffiti, only to realise that Dino De Laurentiis had bought the rights. However, Lucas eventually evolved his planned film adaptation into Star Wars and the rest is history.
  • Word of Dante: According to Peter Wyngarde, the hand that picks up Ming's ring at the end of the film is from Klytus. Despite dying in the film, it was planned to "revive" him for a possible sequel.
  • Word of Saint Paul: In August 2020, Peter Marinker confirmed that he was actually the one who re-dubbed Flash's lines in post-production.