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A Spartan orator named Dilios narrates of the young Leonidas undergoing his childhood training, explaining the rigors of Spartan life. Leonidas is cast out into the wild, and survives the harsh winter to return to his home, when he is crowned King. Dilios then tells of when a group of Persian messengers arrive at Sparta, demanding Sparta's submission to King Xerxes. Outraged and offended at their behavior, King Leonidas and his guards throw the messengers into a pit, resolving to face the Persians. Leonidas then visits the Oracle, proposing a strategy to repel the numerically-superior enemy, and offers the priests a customary payment in gold. The priests, called Ephors, having already been bribed by Xerxes, interpret the Oracle's message to mean that Sparta should not go to war, so as to not interrupt the sacred Carneian festival. Despite the warning, Leonidas gathers 300 of his best soldiers to fight the Persians, selecting only those who have already sired male children, so that their family name can continue even after their death. As they march north, they are joined by a group of Arcadians and other Greeks. Arriving at the narrow cliffs of Thermopylae in sight of the Persian army, they build a wall to halt the Persians' advance. Ephialtes, a hunchbacked Spartan whose parents had fled to save him from customary infanticide, approaches Leonidas, requesting to redeem his father's name in battle, and warning him about a secret goat path that the Persians could use to surround them. Leonidas turns him away as his inability to properly hold the shield would create a weak spot in the phalanx. Before the battle starts, the Persians ask that the 300 drop their arms. Leonidas responds; "Persians! Come and get them!" The Spartans use the phalanx formation, the narrow terrain, and their fighting skill with shield, spear and sword to effectively fight off numerically superior waves of attackers including Xerxes's elite guard, the Immortals. The 300 defend their position while suffering relatively few losses. Xerxes, impressed, personally approaches Leonidas and attempts to bribe him with wealth and power in exchange for his surrender. The Spartan king declines, saying that he will instead make the "God King" bleed. Shortly thereafter, an embittered Ephialtes reveals the location of the goat path to Xerxes, having been promised a lucrative and powerful position in the Persian Empire.

Back in Sparta, Queen Gorgo, upon the advice of a councilman, attempts to enlist the influential Theron to help her persuade the Spartan council to send reinforcements to Leonidas. Theron agrees to help, but demands that Gorgo submit sexually to him; Gorgo reluctantly consents to his advances. Meanwhile, the Greeks realize that Ephialtes has betrayed them, and the Arcadians decide to retreat in the face of certain death. The Spartans refuse to follow, obedient to their law. Leonidas orders only one man, Dilios, to retreat and use his rhetorical skills to tell the story of the 300 to the Spartan people, ensuring that they be remembered. Dilios reluctantly leaves with the Arcadians. At Sparta, Queen Gorgo appears in front of the council, but is not supported by Theron, who furthermore accuses her of adultery. The Queen, enraged at this betrayal, snatches a sword from a nearby soldier and kills Theron. Persian coins fall from his purse, the Council denounces him as a traitor, and unites against Persia. At Thermopylae, the Persians have surrounded the 300 on all sides. Xerxes's spokesman demands their surrender, saying that Leonidas may keep his title as King of Sparta and become warlord of all Greece, answerable only to Xerxes. In defiance, Leonidas throws his spear at Xerxes, cutting his cheek, delivering on his promise to "make the 'God King' bleed." Shaken at the reminder of his own mortality, Xerxes orders his archers to fire. The remaining Spartans are killed in the hail of arrows, with Leonidas dying last. Dilios eventually returns to Sparta and inspires the council with the bravery of the 300. Dilios finishes his tale of the 300 on a new battlefield surrounded by raptly listening soldiers. He concludes that the Persian army, who lost countless numbers defeating a mere 300 Spartans a year earlier, must now be terrified to face 10,000 Spartans and 30,000 Greeks from the other city-states. The roused Greek host charges the Persian army, beginning the Battle of Plataea.

Starring ... Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West,
Rodrigo Santoro, Andrew Tiernan

Director: Zack Snyder

Producers: Gianni Nunnari,
Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann, Jeffrey Silver


Year Released - March 2007

Length - 117 minutes

Music Composer: Tyler Bates

Movie Distributed by Warner Brothers



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