Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: Flash Gordon The Greatest Adventure of All

flash-gordon-the-greatest-adventure-of-allFirst, let me make it clear that Flash Gordon The Greatest Adventure of All is the title of the above made-for-television movie. This adaptaion of the classic Flash Gordon comic strip was made in 1979 by Filmation, the animation studio responsible for some of the absolute worst cartoons ever made for TV. However, this is by far the best thing they ever put their name on. It’s actually quite good, even with some sort of Asian subtitles.

In fact (let me get my body armor on) this is much more faithful to the source material, and is a much better movie than the 1980 live-action movie that is most famous for having a soundtrack by the rock group, Queen. Due to an unusual series of events, while this animated version was completed before shooting began on the live-action Flash Gordon, it did not debut on NBC until three years after the Dino DeLaurentis-produced abomination of a live action movie came and went on to become a mainstay of HBO.

Back in 1979, when NBC saw what an amazing job Filmation had done on the television movie, they put it on the shelf and instead arranged for Filmation to produce a Saturday morning cartoon series, which re-used many elements of the movie, but also cheapened it up a bit and watered down the action and cheesecake of the movie. The finished movie sat unaired until 1983, by which time the live action movie had sort of poisoned the well for what the audience was going to expect.

flash-gordon-the-greatest-adventureI have to admit a bias here. I am a huge fan of the original Flash Gordon comic strip, which I discovered thanks to several hardcover reprints. The Filmation adaptation is faithful and respectful to the original work, which is among the most influential material ever created in comics. I hated the live-action movie. I felt it was an insulting parody, hacked out by a producer whose only interest was cashing in on the Star Wars craze. I know that there are a lot of people who disagree with me, but they’re wrong. The live-action movie is awful.

You want to see Flash Gordon, watch this movie, then go hunt down some reprints of Alex Raymond’s comic strip.


  1. Thomas Wheeler

    This was a very enjoyable animated series. I remembered the first time I saw it, I was very impressed!

  2. Kenneth Demuchest

    I remember, watching this with my dad. It was Sunday night movie special and I enjoyed the whole show. That’s when I started watching the cartoon, when it came on Saturday morning on NBC.

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