15 Best Greek Mythology Movies
Greek mythology continues to be a major part of modern day pop culture. Tales about gods with superpowers who interact with men have fascinated people for centuries. That is why the stories of Zeus and his fellow Mount Olympus are ideal for movies and TV series. They combine fantasy elements with drama, action, and enough humor to keep even the most suspect entertained. Greek mythology movies have played a big part in keeping the ancient greek stories relevant. They have also been big at the box office.
Over the years Greek mythology movies have not only kept the myths alive but helped others learn about the Greek gods who once ruled the world. Many of the biggest actors in show business have signed on to star in these films, drawn in by the intriguing storylines about gods and men in a fantasy age. If you are keen to discover the best Greek mythology movies of all time, we’ve got you covered with this detailed list.
1. Jason And The Argonauts (1963)
While the special effects look weak today, in 1963 the stop-motion animation used in this movie blew people away. Jason And The Argonauts is based on the classic Greek myth about the Golden Fleece. The mortal Jason seeks out the Golden Fleece in hopes of overthrowing King Pelias. He recruits a group of warriors and they set off on an enthralling adventure where they encounter many different creatures and monsters from Greek mythology.
While a critical failure, the film found a cult following and is well regarded today by film fans. This is due to the interesting storyline (a slight departure from the original Greek myth) and incredible stop-motion animation. Ray Harryhausen does a remarkable job bringing to life the creatures of ancient Greek mythology in this 60s classic.
2. 300 (2006)
This is the film that made Gerard Butler a star and ushered in a plethora of B-grade ripoffs. 300 is based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller (the man responsible for Sin City). This in turn is an adaptation of the real-life Battle of Thermopylae. This fictional version of the confrontation is about 300 Spartan warriors taking on the entire Persian army.
A surprise box office smash (300 earned $456 million worldwide), the second-ever movie directed by Zack Snyder is visually stunning. The movie is shot similarly to Sin City, with the actors superimposed into scenes. It also contains some exciting and violent action scenes and fantasy elements that lend themselves to Greek myth. This is one film Greek mythology fans are sure to have seen multiple times.
3. Troy (2004)
As far as epic casts go, few movies match Troy. Loosely based on Homer’s Iliad and focusing on the Trojan War, this movie stars the likes of Eric Bana, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Rose Byrne, Brian Cox, and Diane Kruger. It is a who’s who of the acting world who took part. Stars aside, Troy was a monster hit with some of the best action scenes in Greek mythology movies. The storyline is well thought out and full of emotional moments, with the acting from the stellar cast incredible. The soundtrack from composer James Horner is also notable for including Josh Groban on the closing track.
For fans of Troy, there is also a Director’s Cut that features almost 30 minutes of additional footage. It’s believed this version of the film also cost an extra $1 million to complete. Along with new scenes, the soundtrack is very different, with the Josh Groban song dropped and Danny Elfman’s theme for Planet of the Apes included.
4. Wonder Woman (2017)
Believe it or not, Wonder Woman isn’t actually part of Greek mythology. While Diana was raised on the Greek island of Themyscira, home to the Amazonian people, that’s about as close to Greek myth as she gets. While her origin story revolves around her being made from clay by Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, that was all made up for the DC character. She was created to be a feminist hero for young women to look up to. That was writer William Moulton Marston’s reasoning. This is the same idea Patty Jenkins had with her take on the famous character.
Gal Gadot stars as the titular hero in a film praised for its plot, acting, and visuals. Set during 1918, Wonder Woman ventures out into the real world and joins forces with US pilot Captain Steve Trevor. They take on the evil Nazis and must battle the ancient Greek God Ares in the climactic scenes.
5. Clash of the Titans (1981)
Not to be confused with the modern day remake, this take on Greek mythology is another movie helped by the stop-motion visual effects of Ray Harryhausen. Harry Hamlin stars as Perseus, who must overcome a number of obstacles to save the love of his life, Andromeda. Perseus battles Medusa, whose hair is made from snakes, Dioskilos, a two-headed dog, and even the Kraken, a great underwater sea beast.
Similar to Jason And The Argonauts, the special effects are dated, but for the time, they amazed cinema-goers. Clash of the Titans is also one of the more faithful interpretations of Greek mythology on film and was a big success upon its release. The movie’s legacy continues today, with a remake and its sequel released in 2010 and 2012 and a four-issue comic book series picking up five years after the original movie also being a big success.
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6. Hercules (2014)
The Greek hero Heracles is known as Hercules in Roman mythology and features heavily as part of the mythology of both cultures. In 2014 the Great One, Dwayne Johnson, attempted to tackle the famous character on the big screen. While watching The Rock beat the crap out of people is fun, this cinematic version of the great warrior might have some Greek mythology fans wanting to pass.
Instead of focusing on the Twelve Labors he is so famous for completing, the plot of Hercules finds the Greek demigod and his group of mercenaries fighting for the King of Thrace against the warlord Rhesus. This is one of those movies where you can leave your brain at the door. Just sit back and enjoy a loincloth-wearing Johnson beat his enemies to a pulp for 98 minutes. Rock truly is the star of the show, with his presence magnetic. This might not be the best Hercules adaptation, but Johnson’s star turn is worth your time.
7. The 300 Spartans (1962)
Before Gerard Butler made a name for himself as King Leonidas of Sparta, Golden Globe winner Richard Egan took on the Persian masses in this 1962 flick. Set in ancient Greece, The 300 Spartans is a closer representation of the real battle, free from the fantasy elements of Zack Snyder’s version. The Greek Government also had a hand in the production of The 300 Spartans. It was originally meant to be an Italian sword and sandal epic, but the assistance of Greek officials allowed the budget to be doubled so the film could reach its potential.
At the time of its release, The 300 Spartans was seen as a commentary on the Cold War. When it finally aired in Russia in 1970 it was a surprise hit with a reported 27.1 million total viewers enjoying the Spartan’s last stand.
8. Immortals (2011)
Henry Cavill is Theseus, a mortal man who is prophesied as the savior of mankind. He must fulfill his destiny by defeating King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) who is laying waste to Greek civilization in pursuit of the long-lost Bow of Epirus. The weapon can kill any Greek god and could bring about an end to their rule of Mount Olympus. The movie isn’t exactly based on any particular Greek myth, instead, it is influenced by the stories and tales that make up Greek mythology.
Immortals was a critical bomb but a massive success at the box office. The mixture of an intriguing storyline, some surprisingly well-written dialogue, and visually stunning action sequences make this movie well-liked amongst Greek mythology fans.
9. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
This might come as a surprise, but the Cohen Brothers O Brother, Where Art Thou? is actually based on Greek mythology. The hilarious satire takes influence from Homer’s epic Greek poem The Odyssey. This is something most people would not be able to tell while watching the movie as it is set in the deep South and focuses on three jail escapees. Ulysses, Pete, and Delmar escape from their chain gang and attempt to find a buried treasure.
The cast is amazing, with George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, and Holly Hunter all awesome. As the trio of Ulysses, Pete, and Delmar head out after the treasure, they encounter a variety of weird and wonderful characters and have lots of adventures. The film also includes several hilarious musical numbers, with the movie winning Academy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media.
10. Helen Of Troy (1956)
As the title suggests, this is another cinematic take on the classic Trojan Horse story from Homer’s classic poem. A retelling of the Trojan War, this movie takes a few liberties when it comes to the original story. It shows Paris in a greater light and makes him out to be a hero while portraying the Greek lords as mean and nasty. Helen of Troy also focused more on the love story between Helen and Paris, while the action sequences are quite brutal for the time.
Although it failed to make back its $6 million budget, the film was fairly well-received by critics. Interesting fact: some of the scenes from the Greek’s first assault on Troy were used in the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts.
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11. Clash of the Titans (2010)
This remake of the 1981 movie has a much better cast and special effects that make it one of the more visually impressive Greek mythology movies. Depending on what you want from your movies will determine how you feel about Clash of the Titans. If you are after an in-depth storyline with fleshed-out characters you’ve come to the wrong place. But if a big, dumb, action-fantasy film with awesome special effects and a stacked cast is what you are after, then this is the film for you.
Aussie actor Sam Worthington stars as Perseus, the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson). As a war between the gods and mankind begins to get out of control, Perseus recruits a ragtag bunch of warriors to help him stop Hades (Ralph Fiennes), the god of the underworld. from destroying the earth. Also along for the ride is Mads Mikkelsen as Draco, Gemma Arterton as Io, Jason Flemyng as King Acrisius, and Nicholas Hoult as Eusebios.
If you only need one reason to watch this movie it is the scene with the Kraken. You won’t be disappointed.
12. Orpheus (1950)
This movie is a classic take on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. There are many different versions of this tale but the basic outline revolves around the love Orpheus and Eurydice have for each other and the problems this causes. This leads to Orpheus traveling to the underworld to save Eurydice from eternal damnation but things don’t exactly go to plan.
This black and white movie is a contemporary take on the ancient Greek myth set in Paris, which makes sense considering this story is about love. Orpheus is considered a classic amongst film scholars and one of the classic French films. Even the great Roger Ebert put Orpheus on his 2000 list of the greatest films of all time.
13. Hercules (1997)
The second Hercules movie to appear on this list is from Disney. This animated musical takes inspiration from the Greek myth of Heracles. In the (Tate Donovan) is a half-man, half-god wanting to prove himself so he can enter Mount Olympus. Along with his sidekick Philoctetes (Danny DeVito), Hercules seeks out adventure that finds him falling in love with Megara (Susan Egan) and heading to the underworld to battle Hades (James Woods).
Like most hit Disney animated features, Hercules features several big musical numbers. While not exactly in the league of Aladdin, the songs are quite humorous. Woods vocal work is also a standout and helps add to this classic animated Disney flick.
14. Wrath of the Titans
After the success of the Clash of the Titans remake ($493.2 million box office), a sequel was inevitable. This one is set a decade after the first film and finds the Titans escaping from isolation and attempting to overthrow the gods in Mount Olympus. After his heroic deeds 10 years earlier, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is called on by his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) to help the gods takeout the Titans and save mankind once again.
Despite doing well internationally, Wrath of the Titans was savaged by critics. Most viewed it as an overhyped, big-budget, special effects-laden turd with poor acting, direction, and dialogue. While the script is a little rough, the action sequences are decent and the cast is once again superb. Along with the returning Worthington, Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes, Wrath of the Titans also stars Rosamund Pike, Tobey Kebbell, Bill Nighy, Lily James, and Edgar Ramirez. It’s a great popcorn movie.
15. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Based on the fantasy series of the same name, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief takes Greek mythology and sets it in the 21st century. The main character is Percy Jackson, a teenage boy who also happens to be a demigod. The general plot of the film revolves around Jackson discovering this and dealing with his newfound powers. He is then thrust on an adventure to find Zeus’ missing lighting bolt.
A positive success at the box office, Percy Jackson, received mixed reviews from critics. But it was praised for setting the story in modern times, offering a unique take on the Greek myth. The cast is also exceptional. Alexandra Daddario, Sean Bean, Uma Thurman, Ray Winstone, Rosario Dawson, and Pierce Brosnan all make an appearance. The film was followed by the sequel Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. A third film was rumored but never came to fruition, while it is believed Disney+ is working on a television adaptation.
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