The Giant of Marathon (1959)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Sword-and-Sandal, Costume Adventure  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |  
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Rather than telling a dramatized version of the exploits of the Greek runner Phidippides (or Philippides, as used here), this standard Italian costume drama has the great athlete almost single-handedly defeating the Persians. Set in 490 B.C. when the Persian armies were ready to finish conquering Greece and head into Europe, Phidippides (Steve Reeves, who else?) rallies the Athenians and they fight a series of spectacular, massive battles. In reality, Phidippides had run 140 miles to Sparta and back to ask for their help before any battles began. The Persians had already landed on the plains of Marathon, 26 miles from Athens but thanks to Phidippides forewarning, they were defeated by advancing Athenian forces. Phidippides' final run from Marathon back to Athens to warn them about a second attack by the Persian forces is not depicted in this drama -- that last run on top of the futile, 280-mile round trip to Sparta, cost him his life.

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Keywords

marathon, race [competition], athlete, Greece, folklore, war, race-against-time