300 (2006) - Plot Breakdown/Synopsis

in hive-133716 •  3 months ago 

300 (2006) - Synopsis (FULL SPOILER)

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The movie begins with an introduction to the harsh traditions of Spartans. Tells the story of a spartan boy growing up, step by step. Every born child is inspected carefully to check whether he’s small, sickly, or misshaped. If so, the child is discarded from the Spartans. The moment the boy could stand he gets baptized in the fire of combat, and at age 7, he’s taken from his mother and put into training. In a world of violence, he’s taught to never retreat or surrender, to give respect and honor to the fellow soldier next to him, and to show no pain, no mercy. The boy is then sent to the wild as a test, where we see him luring a wolf into a cave with a narrow passage and killing it with a spear. After that, this young boy we saw on the screen named Leonidas, returns to be the King of Spartans.

Years later, A Persian messenger comes to visit King Leonidas demanding him to submit ‘Earth and Water’ to their powerful King Xerxes. Unpleased with the messenger’s attitude and disrespect to the Spartans, King Leonidas refuses to serve Xerxes and throws the messenger and his escorts into a deep well. Acknowledging the upcoming threat as the reply for the refusal, King Leonidas goes to visit Ephors, a group of priests. As it’s customary that the King should obtain Ephors’ blessing before going to war, Leonidas meets them and explains his plan to build a wall and funnel the enemies into a narrow pass between sea and the rocks. With that strategy, Leonidas believes that the outnumbered enemy will ‘count for nothing’. Without giving their favour directly, Ephors consult the Oracle for the matter. Oracles are young Spartan girls, chosen for their beauty and gifted to the Ephors to live among and be consumed by them. The Ephors receive her response as Sparta must not go to war and interrupt the sacred Carneia. Hearing that, Leonidas turns back and leaves the place in anger. Later we see a Persian agent of Xerxes visiting Ephors with Theron, a traitor of Sparta to give rewards to Ephors for their negative response.

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Leonidas is confused by the words of the Oracle, being restricted to do what he needs to do to protect his country as he has to obey the laws of the King. Leonidas’s queen notices the struggle of Leonidas and encourages him to think like a free man, not a husband nor a King.

As the Ephors and the councilmen of Sparta have restricted him to go to war mobilizing the army, Leonidas gathers 300 of his best soldiers to go with him to the Hot Gates, his strategic location. When the elders of the council approach him to question this action, Leonidas simply replies that he’s just going for a walk and taking these soldiers as his ‘Personal Bodyguards’. The captain of the Spartan force, Leonidas’s friend informs that his own is also joining the war. Leonidas says that he’s too young to be in war, but the Captain assures that he’s as brave as others and he’s just about the same age as him and Leonidas stood next to each other in a war for the first time. The queen comes with Leonidas’s son to say goodbye to the soldiers, and she gives her necklace to Leonidas and before he departs, she tells him to ‘Come with the shield or on it’.

On the way to the Hot Gates, the Spartans are joined by Arcadians, who are surprised by the amount of the Army that Leonidas has brought to fight the massive Persian force. Leonidas replies to this by asking the professions of some Arcadians in the force, proving that Ephilates has brought more 'soldiers' than Arcadians whose ally mostly consisted of sculptors, blacksmiths and potters.

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After passing a village on fire that was slaughtered by the Persians, Spartans reach their destination to see a massive fleet of Persian warships anchored in the sea. But for their fortune, a heavy storm strikes and destroys the fleet, but afterwards, Spartans learn that those ships were only a small percentage of the enemy they're about to face. Then another messenger from Persians comes to confront the Spartans while they're constructing the wall, only to get murdered. Then a disfigured man named Ephilates comes to meet Leonidas, asking to redeem his parents' name who were Spartans but fled at his birth to save his life. For that asks permission from Leonidas to let him fight by his side. Leonidas gently explains to him that he cannot be used for combat as his disfigurement will become a weakness for the phalanx of the soldiers. Instead, Leonidas asks him to take part in taking care of wounded and fallen but disheartened Ephilates leaves.

As the first set of the Persians come into the attack, Spartans creates their formation to the phalanx, occupying a solid defence for the funnelled in Persian force. After the defence, they attack the front row and then again defend with the shield. By repeating this tactic, they manage to slaughter all of that first wave.

Impressed by the fighting skills of the Spartans, Xerxes personally comes to offer Leonidas great wealth and power in exchange for surrender. Xerxes seems to believe himself as a god, and he wants everyone to kneel before him. Leonidas declines the offer and promises to bleed the ‘God-King’ before turning back and joining his army. Meanwhile back in Sparta, Leonidas’s queen Gorgo is met by a friendly loyal councilman and he arranges her an opportunity to speak before the council and convince the councilmen to send help to Leonidas. But the friend says that she will need to get the favour of Theron as he owns the minds of the rest of the councilmen. Hearing that she gets a chance to meet the council, Theron comes to meet the queen. He agrees to help her to gain the council’s favours, only if she’ll sleep with him. Realizing how important it is to send backup for Leonidas’s group, she agrees.

Feeling dishonoured, Xerxes sends his elite war force, ‘The Immortals’ to take out the Spartans. Nonetheless, The Spartans set out to ‘put their names to test’ and defeat them with a side help of the Arcadian forces. Although with a couple of losses, it becomes Spartans’ day as well.

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After failing with the muscle, The Persians attempt to use other methods to get to the Spartans, such as lightening up explosives and getting through the animals that Xerxes like large Rhinos and Elephants. But still, Spartans manage to remain unbeatable since the enemy formations are contained to the narrow path and as they're superior with the fighting skills.

Meanwhile, Ephilates goes to meet the enemy side, Xerxes and tells them that he knows a secret pathway that Persians can approach the Spartans without being funnelled in. Xerxes promises him to reward much wealth and women, pointing out that Leonidas was cruel to reject him. Ephilates gets fascinated and kneels before Xerxes and agrees to guide the Persians through the secret pathway.

Just as the last wave with the war elephants seemed to be finished, the young son of the captain of Spartans gets killed by a Persian horseman from being his head chopped off. Seeing his son’s corpse kissing the ground, the captain goes insane and blood drunk, he breaks out from his rank and slaughters all the rest of the Persians.

That night while camping in the Hot Gates, they learn that they’ve been betrayed as the scouts inform them that Persians are coming through the alternate way. They realize they’re doomed and now at the face of death since Leonidas’s strategy won’t work this time. The Arcadians retreat with their force but the Spartans refuse to follow them. Spartan soldier Dilios has gotten an eye injury in the battle, so Leonidas orders him to return to Sparta and tell the grand story of the battle they did, and now inevitable but glorious deaths they’re about to face. In Leonidas’s words, ‘A Tale of Victory’. When Dilios asks if there’s any message for him to give to the queen, Leonidas gives Dilios the necklace that the queen gave him before they left Sparts and says that no words need to be spoken.

In Sparta, Queen Gorgo appears before the council. She addresses them as a Spartan woman and tries to convince them that they need to send the Spartan army most importantly for the hope that Leonidas and those brave men would not have wasted their lives to the pages of history. Most of the councilmen seem to be impressed by her speech, But then Theron stands up. Despite what he agrees, Theron accuses queen Gorgo of submitting herself to him to gain the council, calling her a whore. Before helpless Gorgo is taken away, she stabs Theron out of rage. When he hits the floor, a bag of Xerxes bribery money is discovered, proving the councilmen that Theron is a traitor. Realizing the wrong they’ve done putting up with the words of Theron so far, the councilmen agree to unite against Persia.

The Persians have reached the Hot Gates with the guidance of Ephilates, and they have surrounded the Spartans with Archers. The Spartan force has formed into a dome-like defensive formation, with King Leonidas standing in front of them to welcome the enemy. A General of Xerxes comes to confront Leonidas and again demands surrender, assuring that Sparta will be wealthier and more powerful than ever and offering that Leonidas will be the great warlord of all Greece. But only having to answer to the ‘true king’, Xerxes. Leonidas takes a pause to think, and then puts down his helmet, the shield and finally his spear as well. After that he gets down on the knees, seemingly submitting himself to Xerxes. As Xerxes sees this and raises his hands in pride, Leonidas calls Stelios, a great warrior of Sparta who bursts out of the shield dome jumps above his King and kills the General of Xerxes. Seeing this, Xerxes commands his force to slaughter the Spartans. As thousands of arrows come at the Spartans, killing many of them, Leonidas stands up and throws his spear at Xerxes who’s far away from him. Although misses the kill. the spear travels onto Xerxes cutting across from his cheek. Gotten hit by the arrows, Leonidas gets knocked on his knees, looking at Xerxes after fulfilling his promise to make the ‘God-King’ bleed. We see definite fear in Xerxes’s face as he looks at his own blood since his believed mortality is shaken.

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The Captain of Spartans who lost his son fights like a madman to kill as many Persians as he can out of hatred, and soon gets outnumbered and killed. King Leonidas stands up as the last man and looks up to the sky. As his final words he marks his love for his queen as a rain of arrows falls upon him, the screen goes black.

Dilios reaches Sparta and meets awaiting queen Gorgo to give her the necklace as he was told. Then the movie cuts into Dilios telling the story of the soldiers in Sparta, revealing that he was the narrator of the movie all along. The grand story inspires the Greeks to mobilize and unite against Persians, and we see one year later, we see Dilios doing a final speech praising Leonidas and the warriors who fought till their last breath. This speech marks the ignition to the battle of Plataea, where Dilios leads 30,000 Greeks and a vanguard of 10,000 Spartans against the Persian army.

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