300 is a 2006 American epic period action film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Both are fictionalized retellings of the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars. The film was co-written and directed by Zack Snyder, while Miller served as executive producer and consultant. It was filmed mostly with a superimposition chroma key technique, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book.
The plot revolves around King Leonidas (Gerard Butler), who leads 300 Spartans into battle against the Persian “God-King” Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his invading army of more than 300,000 soldiers. As the battle rages, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) attempts to rally support in Sparta for her husband. The story is framed by a voice-over narrative by the Spartan soldier Dilios (David Wenham). Through this narrative technique, various fantastical creatures are introduced, placing 300 within the genre of historical fantasy.
300 was released for the first time in Austin Butt-Numb-A-Thon on December 9, 2006, later released in Berlin International Film Festival on February 14, 2007, and finally released in both conventional and IMAX theaters in the United States on March 9, 2007, and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and HD DVD on July 31, 2007. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics, which included praise for its original visuals and style but criticism for its depiction of the Persians, which some characterized as bigoted or Iranophobic. Even so, the film was a box office success, grossing over $456 million, and the film’s opening was the 24th-largest in box office history at the time. A sequel, titled Rise of an Empire, based on Miller’s previously unpublished graphic novel prequel Xerxes, was released on March 7, 2014.
Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel, “300” is very loosely based the 480 B.C. Battle of Thermopylae, where the King of Sparta led his army against the advancing Persians; the battle is said to have inspired all of Greece to band together against the Persians and helped usher in the world’s first democracy.