300 is a 2007 American action film adapted from a graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. It was filmed mostly with a super-imposition chroma key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book.
300 was released in both conventional and IMAX theaters in the United States on March 9, 2007, and on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD DVD on July 31, 2007. The film's opening was the 24th largest in box office history, although critics were divided over its look and style. Some acclaimed it as an original achievement, while others criticized it for favoring visuals over characterization and its controversial depiction of the ancient Persians.
Dilios, a Spartan soldier, narrates the story of Leonidas, from boyhood to the throne of Sparta. Years later, a Persian messenger arrives at the gates of Sparta demanding it submit to King Xerxes. In response to this demand, Leonidas and his guards kick the messenger into a pit. Knowing this will prompt a Persian attack, Leonidas visits the Ephor—ancient, leprosy-ridden priests whose blessing he needs before the Spartan council will authorize going to war. He proposes they repel the numerically superior Persians by using the terrain of Thermopylae (the Hot Gates), and funnel the Persians into a narrow pass between the rocks and the sea. The Ephors consult the Oracle Pythia, who decrees that Sparta must not go to war during their religious festival. As Leonidas departs two agents of Xerxes appear (one of them - Theron - a Spartan) who bribe the Ephors with concubines and money.
Before the battle, the Persians demand that the Spartans lay down their weapons. Leonidas refuses, and with their tightly-knit phalanx formation the Spartans use the narrow terrain to repeatedly rebuff the advancing Persian army. Xerxes personally parleys with Leonidas, offering him wealth and power in exchange for his loyalty and surrender. Leonidas declines and Xerxes sends his elite guard, the feared Immortals, to attack them, but the Spartans successfully dispatch them although they suffer a few casualties of their own. Xerxes then sends a number of exotic weapons at the Spartans, including black powder bombs and giant war beasts, but all of these attacks fail. Angered by Leonidas' rejection, Ephialtes defects to the Persians and informs them of the secret path. When they realize Ephialtes' treachery, the Arcadians retreat and Leonidas orders Dilios to return to Sparta to tell the Council of their sacrifice. Though Dilios had recently lost his left eye in combat, he is still fit for battle, but Leonidas decides to use Dilios' gift for storytelling to appeal to the Spartan council. Though reluctant to leave his brothers behind, Dilios leaves with the Arcadians.
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