300 (film)

2006 film by Zack Snyder

300 is a 2006 film adaptation of the graphic novel 300 by Frank Miller about the Battle of Thermopylae. This film was released on March 9, 2007.

Directed by Zack Snyder. Written by Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, with consultation from Frank Miller.
Prepare for glory! taglines
  • We will block the Persian coastal assault by rebuilding the great Phocian Wall. And from there, we will funnel them into the mountain pass we call the Hot Gates. Now, in that narrow corridor, their numbers will count for nothing, and wave after wave of Persian attack will smash against Spartan shields. Xerxes' losses will be so great, his men so demoralized, he will have no choice but to abandon his campaign!
  • [after Daxos and his men withdraw] No retreat, no surrender. That is Spartan law. And by Spartan law, we will stand and fight... and die. A new age has begun: an age of freedom! And all will know that 300 Spartans gave their last breath to defend it!
  • THIS! IS!! SPARTA!!!
  • Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty, for tonight, we dine in Hell!
  • [last words] My Queen!... My Wife!... My love...
  • Councilmen, I stand before you not only as your queen. I come to you as a mother. I come to you as a wife. I come to you as a Spartan woman. I come to you with great humility. I am not here to represent Leonidas. His actions speak louder than my words ever could. I am here for all those voices which cannot be heard. Mothers, daughters, fathers, sons. Three hundred families that bleed for our rights. And for the very principles this room was built upon. We are at war, gentlemen. We must send the entire Spartan army to aid our king in the preservation of not just ourselves, but of our children. Send the army for the preservation of liberty. Send it for justice. Send it for law and order. Send it for reason. But most importantly, send our army for hope. Hope that a king and his men have not been wasted to the pages of history. That their courage bonds us together. That we are made stronger by their actions, and that your choices today reflect their bravery.


  • [Regarding Leonidas' upbringing] From the time he could stand, he was baptized in the fire of combat. Taught never to retreat, never to surrender. Taught that death on the battlefield in service to Sparta was the greatest glory he could achieve in his life.
  • They have served the dark will of Persian kings for 500 years. Eyes as dark as night, teeth filed to fangs - soulless. The personal guard to King Xerxes himself. The Persian warrior elite. The deadliest fighting force in all of Asia. The Immortals. The god-king has betrayed a fatal flaw: hubris. Easy to taunt, easy to trick. Before wounds and weariness have taken their toll, the mad king throws the best he has at us. Xerxes has taken the bait. "Immortals" - we put their name to the test.
  • [As the Arcadians join the fight with the Immortals] They shout and curse, stabbing wildly, more brawlers than warriors. They make a wondrous mess of things. Brave amateurs, they do their part.
  • "Immortals". They fail our king's test. And a man who fancies himself a god feels a very human chill crawl up his spine.
  • "Remember us." As simple an order as a king can give. "Remember why we died." For he did not wish tribute or song. No monuments, no poems of war and valour. His wish was simple: "Remember us," he said to me. That was his hope. Should any free soul come across that place, in all the countless centuries yet to be, may all our voices whisper to you from the ageless stones: Go tell the Spartans, passer-by, that here, by Spartan law, we lie. So my king died, and my brothers died, barely a year ago. Long I pondered my king's cryptic talk of victory. But time has proven him wise. For from free Greek to free Greek, the word was spread that bold Leonidas and his 300, so far from home, laid down their lives, not just for Sparta, but for all Greece and the promise this country holds! Now, here on this ragged patch of earth called Plataea, Xerxes' hordes face obliteration! Just there the barbarians huddle, sheer terror gripping tight their hearts with icy fingers, knowing full well what merciless horrors they suffered at the swords and spears of 300. Yet they stare now across the plain at 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 free Greeks!
The enemy outnumber us a paltry three to one; good odds for any Greek. This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny, and usher in a future brighter than anything we could imagine! Give thanks, men! To Leonidas, and the brave 300! To victory!


Persian messenger: If you value your lives over your complete annihilation... listen carefully, Leonidas. Xerxes conquers and controls everything he rests his eyes upon. He leads an army so massive, it shakes the ground with its march. So vast, it drinks the rivers dry. All the God-King Xerxes requires is this: a simple offering of earth and water... a token of Sparta's submission to the will of Xerxes.
Leonidas: Submission. Now, that's a bit of a problem. See, rumor has it... the Athenians have already turned you down. And if those philosophers and boy-lovers have found that kind of nerve, then—
Theron: We must be diplomatic.
Leonidas: [cutting him off] And, of course, Spartans... have their reputation to consider.
Persian messenger: Choose your next words carefully, Leonidas. They may be your last as king.
[Leonidas turns and ponders the offer. He looks at various people standing around, watching him nervously, the last of whom is Gorgo.]
Leonidas: [in his head] "Earth and water." [having made up his mind, he draws his sword on the Persian messenger, whose back is to a large well. The Spartan guards follow suit and draw their swords on the other messengers.]
Persian messenger: Madman! You're a madman!
Leonidas: Earth and water. You'll find plenty of both down there. [indicates the well with his sword]
Persian messenger: [nervous] No man, Persian or Greek, no man threatens a messenger!
Leonidas: You bring the crowns and heads of conquered kings to my city's steps. You insult my queen. You threaten my people with slavery and death! Oh, I've chosen my words carefully, Persian. Perhaps you should have done the same.
Persian messenger: This is blasphemy! This is MADNESS! [Leonidas lowers his sword and looks toward Gorgo, who nods]
Leonidas: [to Persian messenger] Madness...? THIS! IS!! SPARTA!!! [kicks the Persian messenger into the deep well]

Leonidas: It seems, though a slave and captive of lecherous old men, the oracle's words could set fire to all that I love.
Gorgo: So that is why my king loses sleep and is forced from the warmth of his bed? There's only one woman's words that should affect the mood of my husband. Those are mine.
Leonidas: Then what must a king do to save his world, when the very laws he has sworn to protect force him to do nothing?
Gorgo: It is not a question of what a Spartan citizen should do, nor a husband, nor a king. Instead, ask yourself, my dearest love, what should a free man do?

Persian Emissary: [encountering a group of Greeks building a wall to hold off the Persians] I am the emissary to the ruler of all the world, the god of gods, king of kings, and by that authority I demand that someone show me your commander! [Greeks ignore him] Listen. Do you think the paltry dozen you slew scare us? These hills swarm with our scouts! And do you think your pathetic wall will do anything other than fall like a heap of dry leaves in the face of... [sees that the stone wall is partially made up of Persian corpses]
Stelios: Our ancestors built this wall, using ancient stones from the bosom of Greece herself. And with a little Spartan help, your Persian scouts provided the mortar.
Persian Emissary: You will pay for your barbarism! [swings his whip to strike Stelios, who surges forward and cuts off his arm] My arm!
Stelios: It's not yours anymore. Go now, run along and tell your Xerxes that he faces free men here, not slaves. Do it quickly, before we decide to make our wall just a little bit bigger.
Persian Emissary: No, not slaves. Your women will be slaves. Your sons, your daughters, your elders will be slaves, but not you. By noon this day, you will all be dead men! The thousand nations of the Persian Empire descend upon you! Our arrows will blot out the sun!
Stelios: [grins] Then we will fight in the shade.

[The ground begins to shake]
Captain: Earthquake?
Leonidas: No, Captain. Battle formations! [The first wave of Persian infantry begins to advance on the Spartan position] This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where they die!
Captain: Earn these shields, boys!
Spartans: Haroo!
Leonidas: Remember this day, men. For it will be yours for all time! [The Persian Officer rides through the ranks on his horse to address the Spartans ahead.]
Persian Officer: Spartans! Lay down your weapons. [a spear flies from the Spartans, killing the Persian officer.]
Leonidas: [at the front row] Persians! [assumes phalanx stance with the men on his row] Come and get them! [The Persians sound the advance and charge towards the Spartans.]
Captain: Hold!
Leonidas: Give them nothing! But take from them... everything!

[Xerxes has advanced to meet Leonidas, seated on a solid gold throne carried on the backs of many slaves.]
Leonidas: Let me guess... you must be... Xerxes?
Xerxes: Come, Leonidas. Let us reason together. It would be a regrettable waste, it would be nothing short of madness, were you, brave King, and your valiant troops to perish... all because of a simple misunderstanding. There is much our cultures could share.
Leonidas: Oh, haven't you noticed? We've been sharing our culture with you all morning.
Xerxes: Yours is a fascinating tribe. Even now, you are defiant, in the face of annihilation and the presence of a god. It isn't wise to stand against me, Leonidas. Imagine what horrible fate awaits my enemies when I would gladly kill any of my own men for victory.
Leonidas: And I would die for any one of mine.
Xerxes: You Greeks take pride in your logic. I suggest you employ it. Consider the beautiful land you so vigorously defend. Picture it reduced to ash at my whim! Consider the fate of your women!
Leonidas: Clearly you don't know our women. I might as well have marched them up here, judging by what I've seen. You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won't be long before they fear my spears more than your whips.
Xerxes: It is not the lash they fear, it is my divine power. But I am a generous god. I can make you rich beyond all measure. I will make you warlord of all Greece. You will carry my battle standard to the heart of Europa. Your Athenian rivals will kneel at your feet... if you will but kneel at mine.
Leonidas: You are generous as you are divine, O King of Kings. Such an offer only a madman would refuse. But the, uh, the idea of kneeling, it's... You see, slaughtering all those men of yours has, uh, well, it's left a nasty cramp in my leg, so kneeling will be hard for me.
Xerxes: [incensed at what Leonidas just said] There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories. Every piece of Greek parchment shall be burned, and every Greek historian and every scribe shall have their eyes put out and their tongues cut from their mouths! Why, uttering the very name of Sparta or Leonidas will be punishable by death! The world will never know you existed at all!
Leonidas: The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many and, before this battle is over, that even a god-king can bleed.

[Gorgo meets Theron]
Theron: Beautiful night.
Gorgo: Yes, but I did not ask you here for a small talk, Theron. [grabs her dress and walks with Theron]
Theron: You can be sure of that, you never spared words with me.
Gorgo: Can I offer you something?. A drink perhaps?.
Theron: [nervously] Is it poison?
Gorgo: I'm sorry to disappoint you, it's only water.
Theron [drinks his water in a cup] I'm told it's been arranged for you to go before the council.
Gorgo: Yes. I need your help in winning votes to send the army north to our king.
Theron: Yes. I can see it, the two of us standing together. Me, politician. You, warrior. Our voices as one. But why would I want to do that?
Gorgo: It proves you care for a king who right now fights for the very water we drink.
Theron: True, But this is politics, not war. Leonidas is an idealist.
Gorgo: I know your kind too well. You send men to slaughter for your own gain.
Theron: Your husband, our king, has taken 300 of our finest to slaughter. He's broken our laws and left without the council's consent. I'm simply a realist.
Gorgo: You're an opportunist.
Theron: You're as foolish as Leonidas if you think men don't have a price in this world. All men are not created equal. That's the Spartan code, my little queen. [reels from being slapped by Gorgo] I admire your passion. But don't think that you... A woman, even a queen can walk into the council chamber and sway the minds of men. [coldly] I own that chamber as if it were built with these hands. [grabs Gorgo by the throat and pins her back into the pillar] I could crush the life out of you right now. [into Gorgo's face] You will go before the council, but your words will fall on deaf ears. Leonidas will receive no reinforcements, and if he returns without my help, he will go to jail or worse! Do you love your Sparta?
Gorgo: Yes.
Theron: And your king?
Gorgo: I do!
Theron: [releases grip on Gorgo's throat and tightens his strap cape] Your husband fights for his land and his love. What do you have to offer in return for my word that I'll help you send our army north?
Gorgo: What does a realist want with his queen?
Theron: I think you know. [pauses; watches in amazement as Gorgo slowly slips off her dress, then he turns her around and pins her against the pillar] This will not be over quickly. [roughly penetrates Gorgo] You will not enjoy this. I am not your king. [begins to rape Gorgo]

[Leonidas sees the other Greek forces pulling out upon hearing reports of Ephialtes tipping off the Persians about the goat path and planning an encirclement]
Daxos: This battle is over, Leonidas!
Leonidas: The battle is over when I say it is over!
Daxos: By morning the Immortals will surround us. The hot gates will fall!
Daxos: Glory? Have you gone mad? There is no glory to be hunted now! Only retreat or surrender... or death.
Leonidas: Well, that's an easy choice for us, Arcadian! Spartans never retreat! Spartans never surrender! Go spread the word. Let every Greek assembled know the truth of this. Let each among them search his own soul! And while you're at it, search your own.


  • Tonight we dine in Hell!
  • Prepare for glory!
  • They were 300 men, against a million!
  • A God-King must die!
  • A beautiful death!
  • Madness? THIS IS SPARTA!
  • SPARTANS, What is your profession?
  • Give them nothing but take from them everything!

About 300 (film)

  • 300 opens on a scene that literally glorifies fascism. The first thing we see is a chasm full of baby skulls, the remains of the infants who were deemed unfit. Leonidas has no visible disabilities, so he gets to live. Then, as a kid, he’s indoctrinated into the warrior society, taught to fight or die, then sent off to survive on his own. He goes into the snow and kills an enormous CGI wolf; a real trained wolf, apparently, would not have looked badass enough. Snyder presents all this as badass shit. And later, he implies that the Spartans were right to kill off all their disabled children, since it’s a hunchbacked troll escapee who ultimately betrays Leonidas.
  • The Persian side, on the other hand, looks like a lot more fun; the orgy pit, which we’re apparently supposed to see as some sort of appalling gender-fluid hell, looks like a more pleasant place than anywhere in Sparta. We see the emperor Xerxes as a 9-foot dandy with a seductive foghorn for a voice and a face full of jangling piercings. And the way Miller and Snyder depict them is just fascinatingly weird. A couple of early messengers are inky in their exaggerated blackness, and the Immortals, Xerxes’ regiment of elite fighters, are mutant ninjas who, when they get their masks knocked off, look like Jabba The Hutt’s palace guards. There’s also an executioner with crab-claw blades for arms and a massive warty ogre who looks like Sloth from The Goonies and who was played by the former WWF giant Kurrgan (Robert Maillet). The bad guys are so othered that they don’t even seem human.
  • I was surrounded by hundreds of stuntmen, who were amazing. Stuntmen are my favourite people on a film set, but I had this thing that really helped me get through, which was this thought in my head that, ‘If I can train in such a way that they’re actually going, “He is a badass…” – because I know stuntmen and they like actors but mostly they see them as wet blankets. [I wanted] to train in a way so they would actually take their hats off to me, and in a way so that you would believe that they would actually follow you. I was [working out] six hours a day: two hours with them, two hours doing the 300 work-out, two hours with my own bodybuilder… pumping 25 times before each take. But I was also surrounded by a lot of guys putting in a lot of effort. It was great having that unity of purpose both as an army and in terms of what we were trying to make in this movie and in terms of fitness, training and that warrior spirit. It was a very powerful place to be.
  • There was a time [on 300] when three nights in a row people were taken to hospital during the fights. One time I was supposed to turn and hit a guy with my sword and I turned to whack him and he was gone, and then I looked down and he was lying there going [grabs arm], 'Arrgghh,' and he’s broken his arm. And the night before a guy got a spear in his eye. He almost lost his eye; he had to get stitches. It was insane.
  • What was your actual involvement?
Frank Miller: I took an exec producer title and kibitzed on the script. I had talks with Zack. And then one day I just said, Well, you’re heading toward production here — this is your movie now. By that time I’d become a director [on Sin City], and I realized the last thing Zack needed was more democracy in the process. The closer he could get to the wonderful situation I had on Sin City, the better. After that, it became me seeing various cuts of scenes, and coming to the set once, during a big battle scene, and generally not doing a lot of work. There should be no confusion between 300 and Sin City in that way: 300 is Zack’s movie.
  • 300 is largely faithful to your material. But it takes the character of Queen Gorgo, who only appears in a couple of panels in your version, and gives her a major subplot with a character called Theron, an evil politician. What did you think of that addition?
Frank Miller: At first I very much disagreed with it. My main comment was, ”This is a boys’ movie. Let it be that.” The story itself, in historical terms, really didn’t involve her all that much, from most accounts. But Zack had his reasons. He wanted to show that King Leonidas was fighting for something, by giving him a romantic aspect and by lingering in Sparta a little bit.
  • JA: Obviously, doing this movie probably caused you to do a lot of research on Greek and Persian armies. What was the most interesting thing you learned about this culture and the history of this? Did you get a good feel for that outside of Frank's work?
ZS: I did a lot of research. A lot of it I felt like I had a responsibility to know, like you have to know the rules before you break them. I feel like Frank beautifully distilled that moment in history down to its essence. Even with my research, there's nothing I would really add or change about what Frank did, although I would say that the sort of Spartan way of rearing a child I found really fascinating and what I would call the sort of state-sponsored abuse.
ZS: Excalibur probably more than anything, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. The thing that I love, it's very operatic. 300, I'd say, is the opera of Thermopylae, that's what Frank wrote. That's the movie I made. It's more of an opera than Gladiator, but with violence, of course. Great violence. I just made it into an aesthetic and sort of tableau-ish presentation. And I felt that way about Excalibur. It takes a world and it turns it into mythology. That's what Frank did with 300. I think the mythological elements in Excalibur are so fun. It was one of those movies [that] always struck me as a child. And it was sexy too.
  • The director says that the film’s (homo)sexual undertones were intended to make young straight males in the audience uncomfortable, because “What’s more scary to a 20-year-old boy than a giant god-king who wants to have his way with you?”
  • The movie, true to Miller’s vision, is also loaded with sweaty hunks running around in those tight leather Speedos and capes. None of this is played for gay appeal, but could induce snickering among some teens. Snyder shrugs it off. ”Some people have said to me, ’Your movie is homoerotic,’ and some have said, ’Your movie’s homophobic.’ In my mind, the movie is neither. But I don’t have a problem with people interpreting it the way they’d like to.” As long as they buy tickets first.
  • Q. Has the response from Iran surprised you?
Zack Snyder: It has surprised me a bit because I would hope that people would understand that the last thing I’d want is to offend anyone with the film. If anyone is offended by it, I’m deeply sorry because that’s not the intention of the movie at all. To me, it’s a work of fantasy; it’s not intended to depict any culture in a realistic way. That’s just not what the movie is. I do have an appreciation for those cultures because of the historical research that I’ve done in preparing the film. I think it’s the responsibility of someone who sees the movie to actually crack open the history book and see what really happened.
But the truth is, I am a little bit “wow” by the reaction. It’s not my intention at all to make a film that people would find offensive.


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