Behind the Scenes of "The 300 Spartans" - Greece 1962

Among the many Movie Epics shot in Europe the mammoth Cinemascope
masterpiece "The 300 Spartans" is the most impressive for me.
I'm happy and proud to be able to offer something special today. 
An extensive Behind the Scenes report with background informations and photos 
you have probably never seen before.
This should not be a history lesson but a pure glorious on Set
For the historical background and further information I recommend:
The fantastic book of Mike Nunn ("The Stories behind the scenes of the
great film epics") is my recommendation if you want to read the Stories
of other Epic Movie Productions.
But now it is time for "The 300 Spartans".
Hail King Leonidas - The Lion of Sparta.
All Behind the Scenes photos are from the archive.

Carsten Thiemann, July 2011.

The main Location of "The 300 Spartans" is the Lake Vouliagmenis (The Pass of Thermopylae) near Perachora.
The Cast and Crew had their quarters in the town of Perachora.

King Leonidas (Richard Egan) - Lake Vouliagmenis 1962
The Persians - Lake Vouliagmenis
"The 300 Spartans"
Director Rudolph Mate on location near Lake Vouliagmenis
Director Rudolph Mate in discussion with ? during the filming of "The 300 Spartans", 1962.
Spartans on order. Members of the Royal Hellenic Army, of Greece, await to be
outfitted as Spartan soldiers for the filming of the Battle of Thermopylae.
Persian Soldiers on order. Members of the Royal Hellenic Army, attired as Persian 
soldiers, select their weapons before filming the Battle of Thermopylae.
Different Army Advisers of the Royal Hellenic Army helped to control the 
mammoth cinemascope masterpiece.
Persian Soldiers take the left way, Spartans the right one!
Heavy rain on the Lake Vouliagmenis Set. 
Director Rudolph Mate under a Spartan shield umbrella. 
There are but these five words to remember about a Spartan Shield:
e tan e epi tas - with this or on this. 
Which means either come home victorious with this shield, or dead on it!
Richard Egan (King Leonidas)
Richard Egan taking a Greek language lesson from a Soldier of the Royal Hellenic Army on the "Lion of Sparta" Set, 1962.
King Leonidas - Here we stay! And here we stand...until we win or die! 
From this wall we do not retreat.
The Persians attack the wall.
Special tactics to win a day
Spartans in position for a good photo! - Lake Vouliagmenis
The Persians attack again - Lake Vouliagmenis
The Persians are coming! - 300 Spartans to stand against the whole Asia.
Director Rudolph Mate is filming a scene with the Spartans awaiting the Persian attack!
Men prefer to die among their friends.
The Immortals Close the Ranks!
King Leonidas has a plan for the next battle.
Director Rudolph Mate discusses the Scene with (left to right) Robert Brown (Pentheus), John Crawford (Agathon), Richard Egan (King Leonidas) and Barry Coe (Phylon).
Richard Egan and John Crawford having fun on the Lake Vouliagmenis Set.
Battle Dust on Order. Actor John Crawford has his Spartan uniform properly
battle-worn before filming a scene for "Lion of Sparta".
For a Spartan life is a kind of preparation for death.
Their is a little connection mistake in this scene. When the Immortals attack a straight wind is blowing...and a cut/second later no wind at all!
A sign of the Gods?
Director Rudolph Mate is sitting with full equipment on a camera sled
which is rolling on tracks to follow King Leonidas and Pentheus for a Scene.
This is the Scene Director Rudolph Mate shot while sitting on the camera sled.
Richard Egan and Rudolph Mate (Director) discussing the Scene, 1962.
A cast of thousands....of Army Soldiers from the Royal Hellenic Army.
Spartans here my orders...
The Army Advisor is barking commandos in the microphone. 
Obviously they had large speakers on the Set to control the tremendous cast.
The Immortals are ready for the last battle.
A big scene again. The Spartans should attack in a wedge-shaped formation.
King Leonidas: "When I was a boy, I always wanted to reach the Stars with my Spear."
Filming of the Scene
Give us the body of Leonidas and you can depart. We stay with our King!
"Our arrows will blot out the sun"
Special Effects Supervisor Fred Etchberry inspects one of the battery of 20 compressed
air arrow shooters he devised for the final battle scene.
Each of the bazooka-type shooters can fire a charge of 100 arrows, making it possible to have as many as 2000 arrows in the air at one time, since the entire battery can
be discharged with the press of a single switch.
"But it was more than a victory for Greece it was a stirring example to free people
throughout the world of what a few brave men can accomplish once they refuse to submit to tyranny."

A commemorative plaque near Thermopylae: "O Stranger, tell the Spartans that we lie here obedient to their word."

The next Epic Movie we feature with a big Behind the Scenes report will be the marvelous "El Cid"!
On the photo you see Charlton Heston (El Cid) and a little visitor on the Set,
his son Fraser.