Harry Hamlin, Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith and more of the 1981 original cast

By EW Staff
April 02, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Harry Hamlin (Perseus)
Hamlin, 58, starred on L.A. Law, and appeared on Dancing With the Stars in 2006. He and his wife, Lisa Rinna, are developing a reality show called Harry Loves Lisa for TV Land.

Laurence Olivier (Zeus)
Zeus ended up being one of the 11-time Oscar nominee’s final movie roles. He died in 1989 at the age of 82, and his ashes rest in London’s Westminster Abbey.

Ursula Andress (Aphrodite)
The Bond-girl pinup had a son with Hamlin in 1980 and went on to appear on TV in the U.S. (The Love Boat, Falcon Crest) and abroad. Now 74, she lives in Europe.

Burgess Meredith (Ammon)
Also known as Rocky’s trainer, Meredith appeared in the 1995 film Grumpier Old Men not long before passing away in 1997 at the age of 89.

Maggie Smith (Thetis)
Smith, 75, has starred in numerous films and got two Oscar noms (A Room With a View and Gosford Park), and now plays Harry Potter‘s Professor McGonagall.

Claire Bloom (Hera)
After a run on As the World Turns, Bloom, 79, split from husband Philip Roth, wrote a tell-all memoir in 1996, and recently appeared on BBC America’s Doctor Who. — Catherine Garcia and Daniella Grossman

Why I Love the Original
Released in 1981, the first Clash of the Titans was campy, fun, and informative.

The original Clash of the Titans is not a good movie. It’s a great movie. Critics didn’t think so at the time (”not very witty,” hissed Vincent Canby over at The New York Times). But Mr. Canby wasn’t a 12-year-old boy with a sweet tooth for tantrum-throwing Greek gods, ripsnorting sea monsters, and acting that’s as broad as the river Styx. Had he been, then he would’ve paid to see the movie six times during the summer of 1981, like I did. Now, I’ll grant you that Harry Hamlin’s Perseus is a pouty pretty boy who should’ve gotten his butt kicked by a snake-haired she-beast like Medusa. But everyone knows that the real action in the movie took place on Mount Olympus, where Laurence Olivier slapped on a toga and a cotton-candy beard to ham it up as the original godfather, Zeus. Watching the legendary thespian blow his stack at Maggie Smith’s Thetis or make goo-goo eyes at Ursula Andress’ Aphrodite is a Hellenistic hoot. So much so that to this day, whenever Clash pops up on TV, the rest of my afternoon is shot. Because for those two hours, I’m 12 again. And if there really is a god — or even a Brit with a toga and a cotton-candy beard playing one — he’ll grant this foolish mortal’s wish and follow it with an encore presentation of The Beastmaster. — Chris Nashawaty

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 106 minutes
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