Perseus is the favored son of the god Zeus, but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis. Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis’s son. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished.
Clash of the Titans is a 1981 British-American heroic fantasy adventure film directed by Desmond Davis which retells the Greek mythological story of Perseus. It stars Harry Hamlin, Judi Bowker, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier. The film 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, which made it the 11th highest grossing film of the year. A novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster was published in 1981.
About the Story
King Acrisius of Argos (Donald Houston) imprisons his daughter Danaë (Vida Taylor), jealous of her attracting suitors. When the god Zeus (Laurence Olivier) impregnates her, Acrisius banishes his daughter and his newborn grandson Perseus to sea in a wooden chest. In retribution, Zeus kills Acrisius and orders Poseidon (Jack Gwillim) to release the last of the Titans, a gigantic sea creature 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 for committing several atrocities against Zeus, including hunting and destroying Zeus’s sacred flying horses (excepting only Pegasus), 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 manages to sever one of Calibos’ hands, losing his helmet in the process.
Perseus befriends Thallo (Tim Pigott-Smith) 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.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Directed by: Desmond Davis
Starring: Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Claire Bloom, Susan Fleetwood, Pat Roach
Screenplay by: Beverley Cross
Production Design by: Frank White
Cinematography by: Ted Moore
Film Editing by: Timothy Gee
Costume Design by: Emma Porteous
Art Direction by: Giorgio Desideri, Fernando González, Peter Howitt, Don Picton
Music by: Laurence Rosenthal
Distributed by: United Artists
Release Date: June 12, 1981