The Battle of Thermopylae

The Battle of the Thermopyles ( The 300 Spartans ) is an American film directed by Rudolph Maté , released in 1962 in the United States .


The film Battle of the Thermopylae is about the battle of the Thermopylae ( 480 BC ), which saw 300 Spartans – but also 700 Thebes and 700 Thespians , led by the Spartan king Leonidas , defend the Greek territory against the hordes Persians with between 70,000 and 300,000 combatants. Their heroic defense allowed the Greeks to rebuild an army to repel the Persians.

The film celebrates the bravery, loyalty and determination of the Spartans.

Technical sheet

  • Title: The Battle of Thermopylae
  • Original title: The 300 Spartans
  • Directed by: Rudolph Maté
  • Scenario: George St. George (based on texts by Gian Paolo Callegari , Remigio Del Grosso , Giovanni d’Eramo and Ugo Liberatore )
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Genre: historical drama
  • Release date: August 1962 ( United States )
  • Budget: $ 8,500,000
  • Box Office: $ 76,520,000
  • Duration: 109 minutes
  • Distribution: 20th Century Fox


  • Richard Egan (VF: Claude Bertrand ) : King Leonidas
  • Ralph Richardson (VF: Henri Virlojeux ) : Themistocles of Athens
  • Diane Baker (VF: Nelly Benedetti ) : Ellas
  • Barry Coe : Phylon, son of Grellas
  • David Farrar (VF: René Arrieu ) : Xerxes st , the Persian king
  • Sandro Giglio : Xenathon
  • Donald Houston (VF: Georges Aminel ) : Hydrates
  • Anna Synodinou (VF: Mony Dalmes ) : Gorgo , the wife of Leonidas
  • Kieron Moore : Ephialtès
  • John Crawford (VF: Jean-Claude Michel ) : Agathon


The film tells the story of the battle of the Thermopylae : a Greek contingent led by 300 Spartans fights against a Persian army of almost unlimited size. Despite the fierce struggle, the Spartans will not flee their enemies and will not surrender, even if it means their death. When it was released in 1962 , critics saw it as a commentary on the Cold War , referring to the independent Greek states presented as “the only bastion of freedom remaining in the world until then known”, standing up to the Persian “slave empire” . It was produced with the cooperation of the Greek government and was shot in the small village of Perachora,Peloponnese . It was impossible to film on the real location of the Thermopylae because the sea had retreated about 5 km from the time of the real battle in 480 BC. BC Some 5000 soldiers of the Greek army were loaned by the King of Greece to represent both the Spartans and the Persians.

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