Clash of the Titans

1981

Clash of the Titans

Critics Consensus

A goofy, old-school sword-and-sandal epic, Clash of the Titans mines Greek mythology for its story and fleshes it out with Ray Harryhausen's charmingly archaic stop-motion animation techniques.

68%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 40

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 56,777
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Movie Info

The eschewing of modern optical effects techniques in favor of the classic stop-motion animation work of special effects legend Ray Harryhausen was a delightful highlight of this action adventure that attempted to give Greek mythology the Star Wars (1977) treatment. Harry Hamlin stars as Perseus, a mortal who, due to the interference of the mighty god Zeus (Laurence Olivier), finds himself in the city of Joppa, far away from his island home. There, he falls in love with Andromeda (Judi Bowker), an imprisoned princess. To free her, win her hand, and thus half of the kingdom, Perseus solves a riddle, but Joppa's enraged ruler orders Andromeda fed to the Kraken, a towering sea monster that's the last of the powerful Titans. In his quest to save Andromeda, Perseus must endure a series of trials with the help of the winged horse Pegasus and a friendly playwright, Ammon (Burgess Meredith). His ultimate goal is to secure the head of the grotesque Gorgon named Medusa and use it to turn the Kraken into stone, but dangers await, including the hideously deformed Calibos (Neil McCarthy). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Clash of the Titans

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Clash of the Titans

  • Jun 01, 2014
    Engaging action, fantasy, Clash of the Titans is a highly entertaining film, but it does have a significant flaw, and that is that it shows its age. On the other hand, the cast do a good job in their performances. Despite the fact that it shows its age, it's still an entertaining movie that should appeal to genre fans. The effects are quite good for its time, however like I said, this is a dated affair. Overall the film is decent at best, and it had the potential of being really good, unfortunately it never realizes, and it has too many shortcomings that make this a somewhat entertaining, yet very flawed movie. I just didn't think it was a great movie, as it is, it a decent picture that tries to be too ambitious, and in turn, it loses track of telling a richly detailed and wonderful story. If you can manage 80's films that shows it age, then by all means, give Clash of the Titans a viewing. The film has its moments, but is also disappointing because it could have been much better. At times the performances are overbearing, and it becomes a bit ridiculous. At least a select few actors here can act, like Dame Maggie Smith, which I quite enjoyed here. I8f you're expecting a grand, epic movie, look elsewhere. Yes, it's a big story, but it feels hollow and empty at times, and it's what brings the film down as well. There are far better fantasy films out there than this one, and it's a shame that the film just fails to really enthrall the viewer. Decent, but never good, Clash of the Titans is one of those movies that should have been very good, and it makes you wonder, if the project had a different director, would this have turned out differently?
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2013
    The first significant Hollywood big-screen adaptation of the myth of Perseus is filled with visual mythological wonders and fantastic creatures: you will face the colossal might of the Kraken, you will fight giant scorpions, you will challenge Dioskilos (the two-headed dog), you will chase the Vulture flying on top of the wings of Pegasus, you will stare at the eyes of the Medusa and live to talk about it, you will see Sir Laurence Olivier as the most unfair motherfucker god of them all, the immortal Zeus, and you will find out that golden mechanical owls have the anatomical capacity to cough! Surprisingly enough, this feast for the eyes surpassed all of my personal expectations. Acting is not the strong aspect here, no. After all, everything is portrayed in its most extreme side of its spectrum: love at first sight which passion surpasses all realms of realistic credibility, fearless men, unbelievable bravery... All of the classic literature components that can make an unforgettable classical adventure. The beauty of it is to witness optical effects and stop-motion spectacles, with drastically noticeable superimposed images and scenarios throughout 60% of the running time. And you know what? I love it! I love it with every fiber of my being, consciously recognizing my weak-sided bias for these kind of visuals, because, for some weird psychological reason, even if they do not look so realistic or polished as millionaire CGI effects, they cause a bigger impact, and therefore enhance the epicness intended since the days of the silent film <i>The Thief of Bagdad</i> (1924) until today. 74/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2012
    *1/2 out of **** If an older film can be considered "dated" - even by those who claim to be film aficionados - then was it really any good to begin with? I asked myself this very thing while watching the original 1981 "Clash of the Titans" and figured that this theory does indeed apply to it and a great number of other films that for whatever reason get recognition from large amounts of viewers. This is basically the kind of film that you had to grow up with to enjoy or appreciate in the slightest; thus leaving everyone else - those who cannot relate to the sweet nostalgia that the movie supposedly evokes - in the dark. "Clash" has been remade recently and not very well from what I can remember; sure, aspects were changed, but if this exact movie were made today, it would have been just as much of a failure. Actually, if someone were to remake the film properly; it would be panned universally by critics. Why? Because just about every last goddamn motherfucking aspect of it feels ancient and wrong. When the God Zeus (Laurence Oliver) impregnates the King of Argos's daughter Danae, the latter banishes his child and her own to the open sea in a fancy coffin. When Zeus learns of this, he calls upon Poseidon to summon the Kraken from the depths of the ocean so that it may destroy all of Argos. Meanwhile, Danae and her child Perseus (Harry Hamlin) make it to land, where she raises the boy into adulthood. Perseus does not grow up knowing that he has an incredibly destiny set out for him, and it's about to unfold before his very eyes. After Calibos (Neil McCarthy), son of Thetis and suitor to the heir of the city Joppa, kills all of Zeus's flying horses (except for the prolific white pegasis); he puts a curse upon the young man that transforms him into a vile being. Perseus, armed with sacred armor that renders him invisible among other things, goes to try and court the heir with a riddle (which happens to be the ring on the hand of Calibos, which is severed). What puts the last half of the story in motion is the revelation that Thetis wishes to sacrifice the heir to the Kraken. To prevent her demise, Perseus must set out to find out what can kill the Kraken; since mere mortal men will not do the trick, so he is told. It is a mighty beast, and something otherworldly must be used. Something like the head of the titan Medusa; who lives in an underworld like kingdom where she reigns supreme. Medusa's blood can also apparently produce gigantic scorpians, which sets up another one of the film's famous scenes. To me, the story was far too simplistic. Never are we given a reason to care about these characters or even the protagonist and his quest. Hamlin is mis-cast and therefore his performance seems to be more about the looks than the talent; this is proven by the early lingering shots of his naked chest, which the ladies must have ogled over in his time. Laurence Oliver is good as Zeus, but he's clearly in the wrong movie (given that nobody else is as dedicated to delivering a solid performance as he is). Alas, the film does have its pleasures: the Medusa sequence is exciting, Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects were impressive for their time and still hold up nicely for what they are, and the sets are impressive looking. But that doesn't hide from the fact that "Clash of the Titans" has mainstream intentions on its mind, and I don't like that it's selling itself off as something that it's not: genuine entertainment. The whole thing kind of feels a little like "Star Wars", although that was probably the intent of the filmmakers given how popular those films were (although only the first had been released prior to "Clash"). Throw in some Greek mythology and bring down the intelligence to the lowest level possible, and you've got this movie in a nutshell. Sadly, George Lucas - love him or hate him - made better movies than this. Here, Desmond Davis's direction is sloppy and unsure of where to take the story. For all the walking and talking, the film never feels like it is really moving. I guess that explains why Davis didn't get much work afterwards; because this rotten, brainless, boring piece of shit was fucked before the cameras even started rolling.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2012
    "Clash of the Titans (1981)," although dated, has a very good mythical story about rescuing the princess whom he is in love with. Along his journey, he encounters a two headed dog, a snake woman (medusa), giant scorpions, and the Kraken, something that you will be waiting to see throughout the entire film. What I love so much about this film is the fact that instead of giving small action scenes here and there, just to be let down by the short battle at the end, is the fact that they wait until the last three quarters of the movie to show any action sequences, so my needs are met by the end. Overall, I still am not a huge fan of fictional mythical stories, but this one has really caught my attention and deserves several watches. The action is cool, the characters are likeable, and the shots are key, for keeping the scale of the actual monsters a secret. I had a lot of fun with "Clash of the Titans (1981)" and I would definitely recommend it!
    KJ P Super Reviewer

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