Top 10 Movies Based On Greco-Roman Mythology
The first of two movies featuring Hercules open in 2014 with the first one starring Kellan Lutz opening today. Renny Harlin's film looks to be squarely in the cheesy category with an abundance of green screen effects and middle of the road actors. In the history of movies there have been numerous movies based on or inspired by Greek and Roman myths, some good and a lot bad. Here are the top 10 movies from that sub-genre based purely on the enjoyment of watching them. If your favorite didn't make the cut, please mention it in the talk back below.
What an awful movie that is so bad, it is great. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his wooden debut as an actor in this comedy about the Greek demi-god coming to New York City as hijinks ensue. You know what the saddest part is? It is already better than THE LEGEND OF HERCULES.
Not a great movie but damn if it doesn't look great. Director Tarsem Singh essentially photocopies 300 while adding his signature visual flair. Does it work? Not completely, but it did serve as our introduction to Henry Cavill. Mickey Rourke chews the scenery with gusto and that makes this at least a fun diversion whenever it pops up on cable.
Few directors do big budget as well as Wolfgang Petersen. Featuring Eric Bana, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Peter O'Toole, Brian Cox, Rose Byrne, and Diane Kruger, TROY conveniently ignores the gods in favor of a "historical" action epic along the lines of GLADIATOR and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. The director's cut is superior to the theatrical release and the war sequences still rank as some of the best put to film.
Lou Ferrigno will always be The Hulk to many, but for me I instantly think of HERCULES. This Golan-Globus schlockfest features Hercules battling robots and bad special effects while wading through bad Italian dubbing, but this movie is a childhood favorite.
Believe it or not but THE HUNGER GAMES is based on Greek mythology. Author Suzanne Collins drew her inspiration from Roman gladiators as well as the myth of the Minotaur and the labyrinth. Katniss and her fellow tributes are forced into a battle for survival which is a theme common in Greek myth. The myth of Theseus has to do with games every seven years when girls and boys are sent to Crete for a competition never to be seen again.
Probably the most unique interpretation of a Greek/Roman myth, BLACK ORPHEUS transplants the story of the man who is able to charm all living things using music to one of the most lyrical places on the planet: Rio De Janeiro. Set during Carnaval, BLACK ORPHEUS is a beautiful movie that went on to win the Palm D'Or at Cannes and Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Check out the Criterion edition of the movie and you will not regret it.
Ray Harryhausen's classic creature designs abound in this oldie but goodie. The skeleton fight alone makes JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS worthy of this list. But, it is the incredibly cool design of Talos that makes this movie rank so high on the list. A big budget remake of this movie may be a cool thing to see, but for my money you can always go back to this one for a good time at the movies.
Of the Greek myths, one of the easiest to translate into film is that of Pygmalion. The myth concerns a man who sculpts the woman of his dreams out of ivory only to have her brought to life by the goddess Aphrodite. Kelly LeBrock was absolute perfection when WEIRD SCIENCE was made so you cannot argue the connection to the myth.
Unlike the soulless remake starring Sam Worthington, the 1981 take on the Perseus and Medusa myth is where many of us movie fans learned to love Greek mythology. The Ray Harryhausen effects and the action sequences may look cheesy by today's standards, but this is and will always be one hell of a fun fantasy adventure.
Hate on Zack Snyder all you want, but 300 is a damn fun piece of movie magic. From Gerard Butler's immortal portrayal of Leonidas to the unique visual style of the film, 300 is one of those movies that will always be remembered. From quotable lines (THIS IS SPARTA!) and buckets of blood, 300 is the perfect amalgam of modern movies and ancient myths,