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Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

When he presented special effects giant Ray Harryhausen with a special Oscar in 1992, Tom Hanks called this mythological adventure the greatest movie ever made. Though there are critics who might propose Citizen Kane (1941), Vertigo (1958), or Jeanne Dielman (1975) as worthier choices, they would at least have to agree that Jason and the Argonauts is the highlight of Harryhausen’s career.

After years of creating science-fiction monsters, the Arabian Nights romp The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), and a loose adaptation of Jonathan Swift in The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960), Harryhausen turned to Greek mythology for this tale of the usurped prince Jason (Todd Armstrong), who searches for the Golden Fleece to reclaim his kingdom. Along the way he battles a bronze giant, a flock of harpies, the seven-headed hydra, and an army of skeletons.

Harryhausen brought these creatures to life through stop-motion photography, painstakingly photographing models one frame at a time to create the illusion of movement. The skeleton army, inspired by the single skeleton that fights the hero in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, took four months to animate but only lasts three minutes on screen. Adding to the magic is one of Bernard Herrmann’s best scores, the last of the four he wrote for Harryhausen.

d. Don Chaffey, 104 minutes, DCP

This 2K restoration was created from the original negative. The audio is a 5.1 upmix.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures


Special Guest John Landis (Bio Coming Soon)