It is spring, 480 BC Persian King Xerxes, continuing his fathers, Darius, master plan to conquer the Hellenic city-states, arrives in Hellas. The previous Persian invasion and diplomatic attempts have already turned most northern Hellas tribes and states to the Persian side. But the people of Athens and Sparta, the largest Hellenic powers at the time, feel quite insulted by the Persian emissaries requesting their surrender to Xerxes and slay them. In Sparta, King Leonidas consults the local oracle, which gives two options: either a spartan king will have to be sacrificed or Sparta will be burned to the ground.
A year earlier (481, BC) a panhellenic consortium of all southern city-states have already recognized the superiority of the spartan army (the best organized and trained army at the time) and have announced King Leonidas supreme commander of the combined Hellenic army. It is then decided that a small force should block Xerxes' way to southern Hellas in the Thermopylae passage.This passage was at that time 12 meters wide.The great historian Herodotus, possibly exaggerating, states that there were 1700000 Persians (their true number could be anywhere around 100000 and 1000000) against 7000 Hellenic hoplites and slaves, including the 300 men of the spartan king elite guard. King Xerxes waited for 4 days for the Hellenes to be frightened and eventually surrender and was quite astonished by his opponents complete apathy who were following their daily program practicing and making their hair!
After that Xerxes tried to convince Leonidas to drop weapons, give up his position, kneel before him and live on as a local governor under Xerxes. King Leonidas replied "molon lave", which means "Come and get them". Then the 3 days battle begun with the 300 Spartans, and 700 thespians (the other Hellenes where sent by Leonidas to protect passages to their flanks) slaying thousands of Persians with minimal losses. The whole Persian campaign would have fail if there wasn't Efialtes who showed Xerxes a secret passage to the Hellenic flanks. After a final battle lead by king Xerxes himself the Hellenic force was completely slain and their heroism and glory was written forever in history.
From the beginning of the battle the Hellenes buried their dead in the spot they fell dead. After the battle signs where made for the dead of each Hellenic faction. For the pelloponisians generally (including the 300 Spartans) the sign reads(free translation) 'In this place 4000 thousand pelloponisians fought 30 millions), for the 300 Spartans(lakaedaemonians) especially the sign reads(free translation) 'Oh foreigner tell the lakaedaemonians that we are buried here obeying their laws' meaning that they never hesitated and never retreated from the enemy. The impact of the battle was enormous for both sides. The Persians' morale dropped to zero and the Hellenes lost their fear for the Persian conqueror and organized their defense. After several successful battles the Hellenes ultimately defeated the Persian army and repelled their invasion in the Battle of plataea in 479 BC.
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Trivia & Facts
× Filming Locations:
• Los Angeles, California, USA
Montréal, Québec, Canada
• In the movie the narrator says the Spartans are descended from Hercules. Hercules is actually the Roman name of the Greek hero, Heracles. This is presumably done because English speakers would most likely recognize the former name then the latter.
• Several characters have vaccination scars.
• Lena has a action figure made of her as character Queen Gorgo.
• The film was shot in 60 days.
• The film was shot on blue and green screen in Montreal.
• Sienna Miller
and Silvia Colloca
were each considered for the role of Queen Gorgo.
• Queen Gorgo had, indeed, said the line: "Because only Spartan women give birth to real men" but not to the Persian messenger. According to the Greek historian Plutarch (in book III of his Moralia, called "Sayings of the Spartans") she said this phrase to an Athenian lady who asked her "why can Spartan women speak amongst men".
• Some weapons used in 300
are actually weapons from previous war epics like Alexander
(2004) and Troy
(2004). They were used in this film to cut costs.
3 wins & 7 nominations (view
Lena Headey Quotes
• On getting the part of Queen Gorgo
"When I got the call to say I'd got the part in the film, I felt such an enormous wave of relief, I burst into tears."
• About working with blue screens
"The director would look at the space behind us while were shooting and say, 'There are 4.000 Persians sweeping down behind you!' It was surreal, but the end product is amazing."
• On working with a lot of half naked men all day long
"At the start of filming it was great. But, as the days wore on and they were wandering around with not very much on, I started to think to myself, 'Oh, do put a jumper on, for goodness sake!'"
• Queen Gorgo: Come back with your shield, or on it.
• Messenger: Who does this woman think she is that she can speak among men?
Queen Gorgo: Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.
• Queen Gorgo: Freedom is not free, it requires great sacrifice. The price is paid in blood.
• Theron: This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this. I am not your King.
Theron: My whore Queen...
Queen Gorgo: This will not be over quickly! You will not enjoy this! I am not your Queen!
• Spartan King 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?
Queen 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?
• Queen Gorgo: 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.
Co-Stars and Directors Quotes
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