Posted on: Aug 15, 2016

Top Hollywood movies inspired by Greek Gods and Greek mythology


There’s something alluring about the Greek god theme that makes for an entertaining box office hit. Take hold of a spear and bust out your leather sandals while you check out these top Greek god flicks of all time. From the cheesy to the inspiring, Greek mythology hits the silver screen as powerfully as a lightning bolt.

Ulysses (1954)

Director Mario Camerini

Kurt Douglas plays the cursed hero in “Ulysses”, and does it with an eagerness that translates well on the silver screen. A battle-worn hero, all Ulysses wants is to return home but, alas, his path is marred by vengeful enemies and supernatural terrors. The dangers extend to his beloved wife and son as they have their own monsters to deal with, since suitors for the presumed widow have piled up at home. Ulysses’ battle of wits with the Cyclops is a scene that pulsates with burgeoning threat and menace, and shows off the ingenuity present in film at a time when CGI wasn’t around to help. Much like “Immortals,” “Ulysses” is a Greek god movie that proves divine intervention can be as much a bane as a boon.

Spartacus (1960)

Director Stanley Kubrick

Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) is a rebellious slave purchased by Lentulus Batiatus (Peter Ustinov), owner of a school for gladiators. For the entertainment of corrupt Roman senator Marcus Licinius Crassus (Laurence Olivier), Batiatus' gladiators are to stage a fight to the death. On the night before the event, the enslaved trainees are "rewarded" with female companionship. Spartacus' companion for the evening is Varinia (Jean Simmons), a slave from Brittania. When Spartacus later learns that Varinia has been sold to Crassus, he leads 78 fellow gladiators in revolt. Word of the rebellion spreads like wildfire, and soon Spartacus' army numbers in the hundreds. Escaping to join his cause is Varinia, who has fallen in love with Spartacus, and another of Crassus' house slaves, the sensitive Antoninus (Tony Curtis). The revolt becomes the principal cog in the wheel of a political struggle between Crassus and a more temperate senator named Gracchus (Charles Laughton).

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Director Don Chaffey

From the regal bearing of the gods to the eloquent dialogue, “Jason and the Argonauts” is a Greek god movie that gives as much weight to the words spoken as it does to the battles fought. A true classic, the story brings you swiftly into the realm of men and gods as Jason goes on a quest for the golden fleece, an item that will ensure his rise to power.

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Director Desmond Davis

With its glorious 1980’s effects, you will love “Clash of the Titans” with the same childlike glee you feel for grape Cool-Aid and Saturday morning cartoons. A classic rerun, “Clash of the Titans” is almost omnipresent on network television. The hellishly frightening Medusa’s fight with Perseus is flat-out great, from the stop motion effects down to the detail of the sound effects used for her scaly tail. A remake was produced yet again in 2010 proving that Hollywood just can’t get enough of the Greek gods.

Alexander (2004)

Director Oliver Stone

When the mighty fall, it is from a greater height. So it was with Alexander the Great, and so it is with Oliver Stone's "Alexander." Here is an ambitious and sincere film that fails to find a focus for its elusive subject. Stone is fascinated by two aspects of Alexander: his pan-nationalism and his pan-sexualism. He shows him trying to unite many peoples under one throne while remaining equally inclusive with his choices of lovers. But it remains unclear if Alexander has united those peoples or simply conquered them, and his sexuality is made murky by the film's shyness about gay sex and its ambiguity about Alexander's relationships with his "barbarian" bride and his tigress mother. We welcome the scenes of battle, pomp and circumstance because at least for a time we are free of sociopolitical concepts and the endless narration of Ptolemy the historian, who functions here like the Bill Kurtis of antiquity ("No tyrant ever gave back so much …”).

Troy (2004)

Director Wolfgang Petersen

Troy is an epic adventure war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen that was originally released in 2004. It was written by David Benioff and the cast includes such names as Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, Sean Bean and Peter O'Toole. The story is based on the Homeric epic Iliad, but extends its narration to include all of the events of the Trojan War.

300 (2006)

Director Zack Snyder

A comic book brought to life, “300” is a movie that gives audiences that same sense of childlike wonder one gets when reading a new comic up in a tree fort. The action sweeps you up as violence and swordplay are abundant and unrepentant in their glorious bloodletting. “300” is one small step for man and one giant leap for fight scene sequences and slow motion graphic effects. There is some anti-hunchback propaganda but you’ll be able to separate that fiction from your real life, unless of course you had a bad experience with carnival folk. This film will have you calling out.

This… is… SPARTA!”

months after.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

Director Chris Columbus

If there’s something worse than an absentee dad, it’s an absentee dad who happens to be a god. Percy, the son of Poseidon, gets to live a normal life until Zeus decides that Percy was the kleptomaniac who stole his lightning bolt. You’d think that most gods would be immune to simple mortal foibles like losing your car keys or misplacing your lightning bolt, but you’d be wrong. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is a fun movie that keeps the mythology of the Greek gods alive and captivating. As Percy and friends encounter Medusa at a greenhouse/garden, the scene includes a dose of fright coupled with the idea that there is no better place for a monster to turn her enemies to stone than a garden center where statues are expected.

Immortals (2011)

Director Tarsem Singh

Slave-hero Theseus is on a quest to avenge the slaying of his mother by the evil King Hyperion, played by actor Mickey Rourke, who is killing off innocent people in search of the Bow of Epirus, a magical object that will make him unstoppable. Brought to you by the filmmakers behind “300”, the film’s graphic fight sequences are manipulated by jaw-dropping slow motion technique that revel in both the beauty and gore of the action on-screen. Each scene is like that of a painting, with a twist of modern decor to the environments of the ancient realm. Frustration builds as Zeus, Athena and Poseidon, perched in the clouds, await for Theseus to save the day, as they cannot interfere with the human world.

The Hunger games (2012)

Director Gary Ross

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.

The Legend of Hercules (2014)

Director Renny Harlin

In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero - the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.