Clash of the Titans (1981)

Cover art for the 1981 movie Clash of the Titans, directed by Desmond Davis.
Cover art for the 1981 movie Clash of the Titans, directed by Desmond Davis.
About the movie
  • Director: Desmond Davis
  • Starring: Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Judi Bowker, Maggie Smith
  • Yes or no?: Yes
  • Links: on Letterboxd, IMDb page
Other reviews:

Man, this thing kind of holds up. I went in thinking it’d be totally crap and dated, but it’s not all that bad. In fact, it’s pretty cool.

This was another childhood favorite. I realize more than ever how much I gravitated toward these super dude-driven ego movies, but a few of them are more than total camp. This one is kinda there. Here’s why:

  • The story is filled with some nuance that you have to get Greek mythology to a tiny degree to start to understand. It’s a decently-told story that holds my attention.
  • I actually develop a feeling toward certain characters. Calibos is a total asshole and I loathed him as a kid. If there was a scary element to the movie, it was him and I was a little scared. I still hate the guy when he’s on screen.
  • I get the gods so much better as an adult, and, again, their part of the story is interesting. I read that they went big for the roles of the gods, casting powerhouses like Laurence Olivier, Claire Bloom, Ursula Andress, and Maggie Smith. The politics and pettiness are played way cool by this group, and it’s a great side game in the story.
  • The visual effects are obvious, but very, very cool. The style of stop motion special effects is a look I appreciate a great deal and respect. This is done by Ray Harryhausen, considered a master of the style, and the effects are great. The weird thing with them is they are often up against some really odd, either low quality footage or something stock. It’s can look weird at times, but the motion stuff is always pretty cool.

I’m happy that a childhood favorite holds up pretty well. It’s a movie that went really big and mostly didn’t whiff. I loved watching it this time.