300 is a 2006 American epic fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars, the film was directed by Zack Snyder, while Miller served as executive producer and consultant. It was filmed mostly with a chroma key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book. The plot revolves around King Leonidas, who leads 300 Spartans into battle against the Persian god-King Xerxes, as the battle rages, Queen Gorgo attempts to rally support in Sparta for her husband. The story is framed by a narrative by the Spartan soldier Dilios. Through this narrative technique, various fantastical creatures are introduced, placing 300 within the genre of historical fantasy, the events are revealed to be a story told by Delios, the only one of the 300 Spartans to survive the battle. 300 was released in conventional and IMAX theaters in the United States on March 9,2007, and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc. A sequel, entitled Rise of an Empire, which is based on Millers unpublished graphic novel prequel Xerxes, was released on March 7,2014. In 479 BC, one year after the famed Battle of Thermopylae, Dilios, the Ephors consult the Oracle, who decrees that Sparta will not go to war during the Carneia. As Leonidas angrily departs, a messenger from Xerxes appears, rewarding the Ephors for their covert support, at Thermopylae, they construct the wall made up of stones and slain Persian scouts as mortar, angering the Persian Emissary. Stelios, an elite Spartan soldier, orders him to go back to the Persian lines, meanwhile, Leonidas encounters Ephialtes, a deformed Spartan whose parents fled Sparta to spare him certain infanticide. Ephialtes asks to redeem his fathers name by joining Leonidas army, warning him of a path the Persians could use to outflank. Though sympathetic, Leonidas rejects him since his deformity physically prevents him from holding his shield high enough, potentially compromising the phalanx formation, the battle begins soon after the Spartans refusal to lay down their weapons. Using the Hot Gates to their advantage, as well as their superior fighting skills, in response, Xerxes sends in his elite guard, the Immortals, later that night. Despite some Spartans being killed, they defeat the Immortals. On the second day, Xerxes sends in new waves of armies from Asia and other Persian city-states, including war elephants, to crush the Spartans once and for all, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Ephialtes defects to Xerxes to whom he reveals the secret path in exchange for wealth, luxury, the Arcadians retreat upon learning of Ephialtes betrayal, but the Spartans stay. Leonidas orders an injured but reluctant Dilios to return to Sparta and tell them of what has happened, in Sparta, Queen Gorgo tries to persuade the Spartan Council to send reinforcements to aid the 300
Theatrical release poster
Above: the film version of a panel from the graphic novel (below).
Above: A scene during filming. Below: The finished scene.