The 300 Spartans

Synopsis: Essentially true story of how Spartan king Leonidas led an extremely small army of Greek Soldiers (300 of them his personal body guards from Sparta) to hold off an invading Persian army now thought to have numbered 250,000. The actual heroism of those who stood (and ultimately died) with Leonidas helped shape the course of Western Civilization, allowing the Greek city states time to organize an army which repelled the Persians. Set in 480 BC.
Director(s): Rudolph Maté
Production: Twentieth Century Fox
114 min

(narrator) Greece,

that hard and timeless land

where even the stones speak -

of man's courage,

of his endurance, of his glory.

And none more eloquently

than this lonely pillar in a desolate pass

some 200 miles north of modern Athens.

Across the hush of 24 centuries,

this is the story of a turning point in history.

Of a blazing day

when 300 Greek warriors fought here,

to hold with their lives

their freedom...

and ours.

At last we are in Europe.

- Mardonius.

- My lord.

How long will it be before

the whole of our troops pass into Greece?

About seven days and seven nights, my lord.

Whip them on if they are slow.

I am anxious to avenge my father's defeat.

My lord, this army will give you

not only Greece, but the whole world.

You are right.

It was my father's dream:

One world, one master.

But at Marathon, 10 years ago,

he sent a mere wave.

I am leading an ocean!

So this is the Spartan spy

caught trying to count my troops?

Yes, my lord.

All our best torture is wasted on him.

He's worn out two of my men

without uttering a sound.

Bring him here.

Why do you not speak?

I have nothing to say.

Tell me, is it true that the Spartans

are the bravest warriors in all Greece?

You will find that out for yourself.

Fool! You have but few men.

Your little country is divided.

You have no single ruler.

How can you defy me,

the master of the whole world?

That's not for you to understand, sir.

For you are the master of slavery.

And you know nothing of freedom.


Let us see how insolence meets death.

Seize him!


Release him.

Come here, my friend.

I have spared your life, but not out of pity.

I am told the Greeks are holding

some assembly at Corinth.

Go there,

and tell them what you have seen here.

The power that neither man

nor the gods can thwart.



Gryllus. What evil wind has blown you

into this scorpions' nest?

- I am here with Demaratus.

- You are with Xerxes.

I am in his camp, but not with him.

You know, after all, Demaratus was once

our king in Sparta, before he was exiled.

I'm not interested in Demaratus.

Kings have their ways, but you,

you are in the camp of our enemies,

and therefore an enemy of Greece.

- You know my son Phylon in Sparta?

- Yes.

Please give him a message from me. Tell him

not to judge me until he knows all the...

That Greek spy, this morning.

He was a brave man.

He was a Spartan, my lord.

Demaratus, you were once king

of those people.

Tell me, do you really believe

that Sparta will fight?

Do you wish for a truthful answer

or an agreeable one?

- Tell me the truth. I shan't hold it against you.

- Sparta will fight, even if the rest submit.

How can they do anything together

when they have two kings ruling them?

The one who stole my throne is a usurper, but

the other, Leonidas, is a true Spartan king.

His name means "lion", and he lives up to it.

There is no man who can match him

in courage and skill in battle.

Nor in devotion to his country.

You seem to have great regard

for Spartan kings, Demaratus.

I have, my lord. I was one myself.

Yet you do not look to me

like a formidable fighter.

I have never yet met the man

I could not master.

I'll give you a chance to prove your words.

I have in my bodyguard

a remarkable young man.

I've seen him kill four good swordsmen

with as many thrusts -

just for displeasing me

with their bragging words.

Now you can prove your boast.

Hurry. Hurry.


(woman screams)

Once again, Demaratus,

you've succeeded in spoiling my dinner.

My lord.

- Artemisia.

- May I enter this war council?

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