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Clash of the Titans (1981 film)

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Title: Clash of the Titans (1981 film)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Clash of the Titans (2010 film), Harry Hamlin, Ray Harryhausen, Burgess Meredith, Ursula Andress
Collection: 1980S Fantasy Films, 1981 Films, British Children's Films, British Epic Films, British Fantasy Films, British Films, Children's Films, Epic Films, Fantasy Adventure Films, Films Based on Greco-Roman Mythology, Films Based Upon European Myths and Legends, Films Directed by Desmond Davis, Films Set in Ancient Greece, Films Set in Classical Antiquity, Films Using Stop-Motion Animation, Films with Live Action and Animation, Giant Monster Films, Greco-Roman Mythology in Popular Culture, Kraken in Popular Culture, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Films, Monster Movies, Pinewood Studios Films, Stop-Motion Animated Films, Warner Bros. Films, Witchcraft in Film
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Clash of the Titans (1981 film)

Clash of the Titans
Film poster by Brothers Hildebrandt
Directed by Desmond Davis
Produced by Ray Harryhausen
Charles H. Schneer
Written by Beverley Cross
Starring Harry Hamlin
Laurence Olivier
Judi Bowker
Maggie Smith
Burgess Meredith
Music by Laurence Rosenthal
Cinematography Ted Moore
Edited by Timothy Gee
Peerford Ltd
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • June 12, 1981 (1981-06-12)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $41 million (North America)

Clash of the Titans is a 1981 British-American fantasy adventure film involving the Greek hero Perseus, and features the final work of stop motion visual effects artist, Ray Harryhausen. It was released on June 12, 1981 and grossed $41 million at the North American box office,[1] which made it the 11th highest grossing film of the year.[2] A novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster was published in 1981.

Warner Bros. released a remake in 3D on April 2, 2010.[3][4]


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • Locations 4
  • Production 5
  • Remake 6
  • See also 7
  • Footnotes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


King Acrisius of Argos (Donald Houston) imprisons his daughter Danaë (Vida Taylor), jealous of her beauty. When the god Zeus (Laurence Olivier) impregnates her, Acrisius sends his daughter and his newborn grandson Perseus to sea in a wooden coffin. In retribution, Zeus kills Acrisius and orders Poseidon (Jack Gwillim) to release the last of the Titans, a gigantic sea monster called the Kraken, to destroy Argos. Meanwhile, Danaë and Perseus safely float to the island of Seriphos, where Perseus grows to adulthood.

Calibos (Neil McCarthy), son of the sea goddess Thetis (Maggie Smith), is a young man engaged to marry Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker), the daughter of Queen Cassiopeia (Siân Phillips) and heir to the rich city of Joppa; but has not only reduced the Wells of the Moons to a near-lifeless swamp, but also hunted and destroyed Zeus's sacred flying horses (excepting only Pegasus). To punish him, Zeus transforms Calibos into a monstrous satyr and he is exiled by his people. In revenge, Thetis transports an adult Perseus (Harry Hamlin) from Seriphos to an abandoned amphitheatre in Joppa, where he is befriended by an elderly poet named Ammon (Burgess Meredith) and learns that Andromeda is under a curse and cannot marry unless her suitor successfully answers a riddle, whose failures are burned at the stake. In order to aid his son, Zeus sends Perseus a god-crafted helmet from Athena (Susan Fleetwood) which makes its wearer invisible, a magical sword from Aphrodite (Ursula Andress), and a shield from Hera (Claire Bloom). Perseus, wearing the helmet, captures Pegasus and follows Andromeda to learn the next riddle. Perseus is nearly killed by Calibos but escapes, losing his helmet in the process. He also manages to sever Calibos' hand.

Perseus befriends Tallo and presents himself as suitor and correctly answers the riddle, presenting the severed hand of Calibos. Perseus wins Andromeda's hand in marriage. Calibos, finding that Thetis cannot act against Perseus, instead demands that she take vengeance on Joppa. At the wedding, Queen Cassiopeia compares Andromeda's beauty to that of Thetis herself, whereupon Thetis demands Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken on pain of Joppa's destruction.

The Medusa

Perseus seeks a way to defeat the Kraken, while Pegasus is captured by Calibos and his men. Zeus commands River Styx at the edge of the Underworld. The next day, the group continues on their journey without Andromeda and Ammon, who return to Joppa.

On the Gorgon's island with three soldiers by his side, Perseus fights Medusa's guardian, a two-headed dog named Dioskilos, who kills one of his companions but Perseus intervenes in the nick of time and kills the beast. Perseus leads his two remaining allies into the Gorgon's lair. His two other companions die on encounter with Medusa herself; she shoots one of the soldiers with an arrow and turns the other to stone. Perseus uses the reflective underside of his shield to deceive Medusa, decapitates her, and collects her head; but the shield is dissolved by her caustic blood. As Perseus and his party set to return, Calibos enters their camp and punctures the cloak carrying Medusa's head, causing her blood to spill and produce three giant scorpions called Scorpiochs. The scorpions attack and Perseus' friend Thallo is able to kill one of them, but he is killed by Calibos himself. Perseus slays the other two scorpions and thereafter kills Calibos.

The Kraken comes to claim Andromeda

Weakened by his struggle, Perseus sends Bubo to rescue Pegasus, who is being held prisoner by Calibos' henchmen. Bubo succeeds in his task and manages to destroy Calibos' camp as well. Perseus reaches the amphitheatre in Joppa, but collapses unconscious from exhaustion. Andromeda is shackled to the sea cliffs outside Joppa, and the Kraken itself is summoned. Bubo diverts the Kraken's attention until Perseus, whose strength was secretly re-restored by Zeus before the Kraken was released, appears on Pegasus. In the subsequent battle, Perseus petrifies the Kraken with Medusa's head, causing it to crumble to pieces. He then tosses the head into the sea, frees Andromeda, and marries her.

The gods predict that Perseus and Andromeda will live happily, rule wisely, and produce children, and Zeus forbids the other gods to pursue vengeance against them. The constellations of Perseus, Andromeda, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia are created in their honor.



Clash of the Titans was released on June 12, 1981. By the time it finished its theatrical run, it had grossed $41,000,000 in North America.[5] The film has a 66% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[6] In a book published in 2000, Stephen R. Wilk suggested that "most people today who are aware of the story of Perseus and Medusa owe their knowledge to the 1981 film Clash of the Titans."[7]


Other locations include:


In 1978, Andor Films submitted a copy of the script to the British Board of Film Classification, seeking advice on how to secure either a "U" or an "A" certificate. The draft script included scenes which the BBFC considered would not be acceptable under those certificates, including the Kraken tearing Pegasus to pieces and Andromeda being naked during the climax of the film. Changes to the script and, on submission, some cuts to Perseus' final battle with Calibos were made and the film secured the "A" certificate: "Those aged 5 and older admitted, but not recommended for children under 14 years of age".[8]

Ray Harryhausen used the special effects technique of stop motion animation to create the various creatures in Clash of the Titans. Harryhausen was also co-producer of the film, and retired from filmmaking shortly after the movie was released, making this his last main feature film. Despite the mechanical owl Bubo's similarities to the droid R2-D2 of the 1977 film Star Wars, Harryhausen claimed that Bubo was created before Star Wars was released.[9] The BBFC, reviewing the film for certification in 1981, said that Harryhausen's effects were well done and would give entertainment to audiences of all ages, but might appear a little "old hat" to those familiar with Star Wars and Superman.[8]

Stars Harry Hamlin and Ursula Andress were romantically involved at the time of production. Their son, Dimitri, was born in 1980 after filming was completed, and their relationship ended in 1982.

Jack Gwillim, who appeared as Poseidon, had earlier played the role of King Aeëtes in the original Jason and the Argonauts in 1963.

The film's screenwriter, Beverley Cross, was married to Maggie Smith, who played Thetis, until his death in 1998. Cross worked with producer Charles H. Schneer before, writing the screenplay for Schneer's production of Jason and the Argonauts.


Warner Bros., the current rights holder of this film (which sister company Turner Entertainment acquired from MGM as part of their pre-1986 film library in 1986), produced a remake that was released in 3-D on 2 April 2010.[3][4] Directed by Louis Leterrier, it stars Sam Worthington as Perseus, Alexa Davalos as Andromeda, and Liam Neeson as Zeus.[10][11][12]

Bubo, Athena's mechanical owl in the original film, makes a cameo appearance in the 2010 remake and its 2012 sequel, Wrath of the Titans.

Starting in 2007, comic publisher Bluewater Productions has released follow-up sequels to Clash of the Titans, authorized by Ray Harryhausen, entitled Wrath of the Titans.

See also


  1. ^ The film's distribution rights were transferred to Warner Bros. in 1996.


  1. ^ (1981) - BoxOfficeMojo.comClash of the Titans.
  2. ^ 1981 Yearly Box Office Results -
  3. ^ a b Official site: Film poster"Clash of the Titans". February 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b go to third dimension"Potter and Titans"3-Deathly Hallows: . Heat Vision Blog. January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 31, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Clash of the Titans".  
  6. ^ "Clash of the Titans".  
  7. ^ Wilk, Stephen R. (June 26, 2000). Medusa: Solving the Mystery of the Gorgon. p. 209.  
  8. ^ a b From the Archive….we look back at Clash of the Titans, BBFC, retrieved 2012-03-13
  9. ^ Ray Harryhausen and Tony Dalton, Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life, page 270 (London: Aurum Press Ltd, 2003) ISBN 1-85410-940-5.
  10. ^ Commences Production for Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures"Clash of the Titans".  
  11. ^ "Medusa's Head Hiding Within Perseus' Sack? Three Blind Witches!". October 2, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  12. ^ Remake Stills"Clash of the Titans"New . October 2, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 

External links

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