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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Doing It for the Art: Playing Vultan was BRIAN BLESSED's lifelong dream.
  • 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.
  • Fake American: Melody Anderson is Canadian.
  • Follow the Leader: The film was made to capitalise on Star Wars' success.
  • No Stunt Double: Because of his height, the six-foot Sam J. Jones choreographed, and did most of his own stunts.
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  • 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."
  • 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 Same Language Dub) 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.
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    • Melody Anderson came up with Dale's cheerleading during the football fight.
    • BRIAN BLESSED improvised the scene where Vultan gooses Dale. Melody Anderson's reaction is genuine.
  • Trope Namer: Who Wants to Live Forever?.
  • 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 Harris 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.
    • 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.

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