|Release Date:||March 9, 2007|
|Running Time:||117 minutes|
300 is a 2007 action war directed by Zack Snyder. It is a film based on Frank Miller's graphic novel of the same name.
Dilios, a Spartan soldier, narrates the story of Leonidas, from boyhood to the throne of Sparta. Years later, a Persian messenger arrives at the gates of Sparta demanding it submit to King Xerxes. In response to this demand, Leonidas and his guards kick the messenger down a well. Knowing this will prompt a Persian attack, Leonidas visits the Ephors—ancient, leprosy-ridden priests whose blessing he needs before the Spartan council will authorize going to war. He proposes they repel the numerically superior Persians by using the terrain of Thermopylae (the Hot Gates), and funnel the Persians into a narrow pass between the rocks and the sea. The Ephors consult the Oracle Pythia, who decrees that Sparta must not go to war during their religious festival. As Leonidas departs two agents of Xerxes appear, one of them, Theron, who bribe the Ephors with concubines and money.
Leonidas follows his plan anyway, setting out with only 300 soldiers, which he calls his personal guard to avoid needing the council's permission. Though he knows it is a certain suicide mission, he hopes the sacrifice will spur the council to unite against Persia. Along the way to Thermopylae, the Spartans are joined by Arcadians and other Greeks. At Thermopylae, they construct a wall to contain the approaching Persian advance. Meanwhile, Leonidas meets Ephialtes of Trachis, a hunchbacked Spartan whose parents fled Sparta to spare him certain infanticide. Wanting to redeem his father's name, he asks to join the fight, and warns him of a secret path the Persians could use to outflank and surround them. Though Leonidas is sympathetic and suggests he aid the wounded, he turns him down, as Ephialtes cannot properly hold a shield, which would compromise the Spartans' phalanx formation.
Before the battle, the Persians demand that the Spartans lay down their weapons. Leonidas refuses, and with their tightly-knit phalanx formation the Spartans use the narrow terrain to repeatedly rebuff the advancing Persian army. Xerxes personally parleys with Leonidas, offering him wealth and power in exchange for his loyalty and surrender. Leonidas declines and Xerxes sends his elite guard, the feared Immortals, to attack them. The Spartans successfully dispatch them, but Ephialtes defects to the Persians and informs them of the secret path. When they realize Ephialtes' treachery, the Arcadians retreat and Leonidas orders Dilios to return to Sparta to tell the Council of their sacrifice. Though Dilios had recently lost his left eye in combat, he is still fit for battle, but Leonidas decides to use Dilios' gift for storytelling to appeal to the Spartan council. Though reluctant to leave his brothers behind, Dilios leaves with the Arcadians.
In Sparta, Gorgo, Queen of Sparta and Leonidas' wife, reluctantly submits sexually to the influential Theron in exchange for his help in persuading the Spartan council to send reinforcements to Leonidas. Following her address to the Council, Theron publicly betrays the Queen, prompting the councilmen to cry out in outrage and Gorgo to kill him in a fit of anger. The dagger pierces his purse, spilling Persian coins from his robe, and the Council agrees to unite against Persia.
At Thermopylae, the Persians use the goat path to surround the Spartans. Xerxes' general demands their surrender, again offering Leonidas titles and prestige. Leonidas seemingly bows in submission, allowing one of his men to leap over him and kill the general instead. Furious, Xerxes orders his troops to attack. Leonidas rises and hurls his spear at Xerxes, cutting the King on the cheek, thus making good on an earlier promise to make "the 'god'-King bleed." Visibly disturbed by this reminder of his own mortality, Xerxes watches as all the Spartans are slaughtered by a massive barrage of arrows. Moments before his death, Leonidas pledges his undying love to Gorgo.
Concluding his tale before an audience of Spartans on the edge of the battlefield a year after Thermopylae, Dilios relates how the Persian army is depleted by desertions, out of fear, and the heavy casualties they suffered at the hands of a mere 300 Spartans. Word of the valiant resistance of the 300 Spartans spread across Greece, inspiring the different city-states to unite against the Persians. Now the Persians face 10,000 Spartans commanding 30,000 Greeks. Although still outnumbered, Dilios declares that the Greeks shall be victorious, and praises the sacrifice of King Leonidas of Sparta. He then leads the Greeks in a charge against the Persian army, beginning the Battle of Plataea.
- Gerard Butler as King Leonidas
- Tyler Neitzel as Young Leonidas
- Lena Headey as Queen Gorgo
- Giovani Cimmino as Pleistarchus
- Dominic West as Theron
- David Wenham as Dilios
- Vincent Regan as Captain Artemis
- Tom Wisdom as Astinos
- Andrew Pleavin as Daxos
- Andrew Tiernan as Ephialtes
- Rodrigo Santoro as King Xerxes
- Stephen McHattie as The Loyalist
- Michael Fassbender as Stelios
- Peter Mensah as Persian messenger
- Kelly Craig as Pythia
- Robert Maillet as Berserker
- Patrick Sabongui as Persian General
- Leon Laderach as Executioner
The film was shot in Montreal and Los Angeles, California.