Flash Gordon, where 1930s Comics Meet Disco Balls for a Visual Extravaganza

Flash Gordon (1980) is a campy sci-fi classic with killer Queen music and unforgettable cheesy fun.

A still from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie.
Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson stared in Flash Gordon (1980).

Flash Gordon (1980) blends a 1930s comic strip and a disco ball, leaving you with an unforgettable visual experience.

Directed by Mike Hodges, this 1980 classic redefines the meaning of colorful in ways that only the creators of neon spandex could truly appreciate.

A 4K Flash Gordon trailer.

Our hero, Flash Gordon (played by Sam J. Jones, who manages both a perfect part in his hair and a perfect confusion about his situation), is thrust into cosmic chaos alongside Melody Anderson’s Dale Arden, who's as quick with her wits as she is with her scream.

And let's not forget Max von Sydow, who gives Emperor Ming the Merciless a vibe that's part Darth Vader, part Oscar Wilde, in the most unapologetically over-the-top performance you'll ever applaud while snacking on popcorn.


In the madcap world of "Flash Gordon," our adventure kicks off with what can only be described as a typical Tuesday gone wild. Earth is minding its own business when suddenly—bam—hot hail, weird weather, and an unapologetically off-schedule solar eclipse make headlines.

It turns out Emperor Ming the Merciless from the planet Mongo thinks Earth would make a cute target for his brand of cosmic bullying.

Flash Gordon is a quarterback with more charm than sense who, along with travel journalist Dale Arden, finds himself shanghaied by Dr. Hans Zarkov, a scientist whose sanity might be stored with his lost socks.

Zarkov –convinced Earth's bizarre weather is an attack (because, why not?)– decides the best response involves a homemade rocket and a plan that has about as much forethought as a toddler's attempt to bake cookies unsupervised.

After crash-landing on the planet Mongo, our three heroes are not greeted with hospitality but with a tyrannical dictatorship. Ming, the planet's ruler, enjoys organizing violent gladiatorial games, hosting grand executions, and even altering the cosmos.

Flash, now considered Earth's hero, navigates through palace politics, makes allies with rebels such as Prince Barin and the leader of the Hawkmen, Vultan, and generally creates chaos.

A still from the 1980 movie Flash Gordon showing the leader of the Hawk Men.
Brian Blessed from Flash Gordon 1980.

Between dodging death and diving into daring rescues, Flash and company engage in a series of escapades that make your average circus look like a study hall.

There’s a romance that’s as subtle as a brick, diplomacy that involves more fists than words, and a climactic showdown that's basically what would happen if you gave rock concert pyrotechnics to medieval warlords.

Through it all, Flash must rally the diverse and wacky citizens of Mongo to overthrow Ming and, just maybe, prevent Earth from being the next item on the intergalactic demolition schedule.

Now, if only saving the world was as straightforward as scoring a touchdown.

But hey, add in a rocking soundtrack by Queen, and you’ve got yourself a story that proves space operas are just rock operas with better costumes.


Flash Gordon isn't exactly plumbing the depths of human existential angst.

Nope, it's all about the timeless tussle between Good and Evil, with a generous splash of glitter. Imagine it as a cosmic pep rally, with Flash Gordon quarterbacking a high-energy charge against the wicked Ming.

A film still showing Max von Sydow as Ming.
Max von Sydow as Ming.

Flash Gordon, our earthbound hero, musters an eclectic band of rebels from Mongo, turning what could be a standard galactic skirmish into an interstellar version of team-building—think less corporate ice-breakers, more overthrowing cosmic despots and sidestepping deadly rays.

The film isn't just about battles; it's an unabashed throwback to old-school heroics, complete with a campy vibe. Really, to save the universe, sometimes you just need a killer soundtrack and enough moxie to don spandex with pride.

Who wouldn't want to sign up for this intergalactic extravaganza?

Who Will Watch

Who should watch Flash Gordon?

If you like your science fiction with a hefty dose of cheese, a sprinkle of camp, and enough color saturation to make a rainbow look drab, then this is your flick.

Perfect for anyone who thinks modern movies take themselves a bit too seriously or who can appreciate the artistry in a deliberately tacky set design. It's also a must-watch for Queen fans who want to see how a rock band can turn a movie into an opera.

Vintage science fiction enthusiasts and anyone with a fondness for 80s nostalgia will also find themselves right at home, cheering on Flash as he tries to save the day, one ridiculously over-the-top moment at a time.