Jason and the Argonauts (1963) Script


Zeus, king of the gods of the Greeks...

...write in the ashes so that I may read the future.

I see...

...a great tree at the end of the world.

And in its branches there hang the skull and the skin of a ram.

They gleam and shine...

...for it is a prize of the gods, a Golden Fleece.

We've no time for riddles and mysteries. Tell me of tonight.

Pelias, you will conquer tonight.

You will overthrow the kingdom of Thessaly.

You will kill the king, Aristo, and wear his crown.

You will do all these things without fear or wound...

...because Zeus commands it.

If I’m protected by Zeus, I will have no need of this.

I will lay it on the fire as a thank offering to the gods.


...it is also foretold that although you will win the throne of Aristo...

...you will, when Zeus ordains, lose it...

...to one of Aristo's children.

-Then Aristo will have no children. -He has three, Pelias.

Two daughters, Philomela and Briseis...

...and a son, Jason.

Then two daughters and a son will die with their father tonight.

Hera, queen of gods, protect this child, my sister Philomela.

And if I, Briseis, am worthy...

...take me into your protection.

Are you Briseis, the daughter of Aristo?

Be silent. She is praying.

For her sister and for her murdered father, Aristo.

Are you a priestess?

I serve the gods.

Then tell me, has Briseis called upon the goddess Hera?

She has.

And has the goddess heard her prayer?


Then pray for me.

It is the will of Zeus.

It is not the will of Zeus. It is your will.

Zeus has given you a kingdom.

The rest will be your own doing.

The gods abandon you, Pelias.

A one-sandaled man shall come...

...and no god shall protect you from him.

A one-sandaled man?

The child who has escaped you: Jason.

Then why was I not told the whole prophecy?

Why did Zeus drive me to kill this girl...

...when the only one I needed to kill was Jason?

Zeus cannot drive men to do what you have done.

Men drive themselves to do such things...

...that the gods may know them...

...and that men may understand themselves.

The killing of Jason would do you no good.

Kill Jason and you kill yourseIf.

Zeus, my godly husband, did you, for some reason...

...order the profanation of my temple in Thessaly?

That was entirely the thought of Pelias.

Not content with winning the throne of Thessaly, as I wished...

...he tried to avoid losing it as I have commanded.

I know that you've been insulted, my dear.

But be content. The boy, Jason, has escaped.

-He will avenge you. -How?

You must know by now I never arrange exact and precise details--

And because you are neither exact nor precise, a young girl was killed...

...and my temple was profaned.

-I want to help Jason. -No.

You may help the infant, Philomela, if you wish. She's a girl.

The rest is man's work.

No. I want to help Jason.

As you wish.

How many times did Aristo's daughter Briseis call upon you?

-By name? -Five.

Well, then you can help her brother five times.

Five times only you can help him to overthrow Pelias.

And that is my final word.

It will be 20 years before Jason becomes a man.

Oh, an instant of time here on Mount Olympus...

...but a long 20 years for King Pelias.

He cautiously travels the roads of Thessaly.

Yes, Pelias, you have had years of watching and waiting...

...for the man who must come to kill you.

The man with one sandal.

I owe you my life.

That was as good a way to ford a river as any.

But I seem to have lost a sandal in doing it.

Where are you traveling?

To the palace of the king.

-Pelias? -Pelias of Thessaly.

Then I can put you on your way.

But first, you must accept the hospitality of my camp.


Be seated.

You have not yet told me your name.

I am Jason, the lawful king of Thessaly.

One of my father's soldiers rescued me and brought me up in exile.

Now I’ve returned to claim my kingdom.

I have waited for you for 20 years.

And in that 20 years, Pelias has turned my kingdom...

...from the pride of Greece to a savage, evil land.

I shall need your help.

When your father defended his throne, no man fought harder than I.

This time it will not be enough to fight.

I could fight.

I could find Pelias and kill him.

But the people need more than a leader.

They must believe the gods have not deserted them.

-They need a miracle. -And where will you find this miracle?

I have heard there is a tree at the end of the world...

...with a fleece of gold hanging in its branches.

I have heard this too.

So have many men.

They say it is a gift of the gods.

It has the power to heal, bring peace and rid the land of plague and famine.

If I could find this prize and bring it home to Thessaly...

...then it would inspire the people, wipe out the years of misrule.

They would know the gods have not abandoned them.

My land would be rich and strong again...

...as it was before this tyrant, Pelias, murdered my father.


...be advised by me.

First, search for this Golden Fleece.

Do not reveal yourseIf to Pelias, but build a ship...

...and find a crew, and when you have this prize...

...then and only then...

...return and kill Pelias.

And now rest yourseIf.

My companions are yours to command.

Father, why do you let him live?

If I destroy him, Acastus, I destroy myself.

While he is searching for the Golden Fleece...

...he is at the ends of the earth and I am safe.

And if he finds it?

You will be there.

Have you come to pray to the gods, Jason?

If I had, I wouldn't have chosen a fallen one.

Only a statue.

Sometimes the gods argue amongst themselves.

Then great winds blow...

...and temples fall.

-Hermes. -Yes?

No, I said the statue was the god Hermes.

-Hermes. -Yes.

A bringer of dreams and a prowler of the night.


No man can tell you how to find the fleece.

Is it not time you asked the gods?

They will not answer those who believe in them.

Why should they answer one who doesn't?

Come with me.


So that you will believe...

...and be answered.

You win, my lord.

That is, the battle, not the war.

Oh, those waters are far too shallow for galleys.

Hera, my dear, you really must learn to win without cheating.

Or at least to lose gracefully.

-Greetings, Hermes. -Greetings, my lord Zeus.

There seems to be a piece missing.

Perhaps I can help.

Welcome to Olympus, Jason.

Jason come to Mount Olympus at last.

No man calls upon the gods unless he wants something.

We arranged for you to be brought here by Hermes.

I wouldn't have believed a mortal could ask the help of the gods...

...much less visit them.

Well, at least you're honest.

Which is more than I can say for most other mortals.

What is it you want?

A ship? A crew?

No. Those I can find myself.

And what are you going to use in place of gold?

The hearts of men.

I am Hera, queen of the gods and your protector on this voyage.

But my lord Zeus has decreed a limit to the number of times...

... I may help you when you call upon me. Do not speak now.

I know what you must ask of me.

Does the Golden Fleece exist? And if so, where is it?

That's two questions.

And I shall help him with only one answer.

Search in the land of Colchis.

Then it does exist.

But Colchis....

That's the end of the world. No Greek has ever sailed there.

Now that you've heard that...

...are you so sure that you will not need my help?

Think carefully.

I offered him a ship.

A ship and a crew.

And he refused me.

Refused the help of the gods?

What ship is strong enough to reach to the edge of the world?

What crew brave enough to sail in her?

I shall tell the shipbuilders of Greece...

...that the richest cargo in the world waits in Colchis.

The Golden Fleece is worth a kingdom.

I shall say that only the strongest ship ever built will survive the voyage.

The athletes of Greece are proud.

I'll tell them only the best can expect a place...

...in the most perilous voyage in history.

I shall announce a games...

...invite the strongest and bravest of the Greeks.

No greater games shall ever be held...

...unless the gods decree otherwise.

I did well to choose you, Jason.

The gods are best served by those who want their help least.

Welcome, Polydeuces.

Castor of Sparta.

Acastus of Thessaly.

Well done, Acastus.

Phalerus of Athens, champion archer of Greece.

Euphemus of Taenarum.

Spyros of Syracuse.


He's here!

I mean to sail with you, Jason. Tell me which champion you want me to beat.

No one. I know you can beat us all. Your place is reserved.

Hercules. Yes.

-Hercules? -Yes.

My name is Hylas.

Like you, I came too late to compete in the games.

But it occurs to me that if I can beat you at something...

...Jason couldn't refuse me a place on the ship either.

After all, he might need brains as well as brawn.

Shall we compete?


Come on.

-See that rock? -Yes.

No thrower has ever reached it.

And is the contest to hit it or pass it?

You'll be lucky if you get halfway.

-Now, go on. -No, after you, Hercules.

I’ve never thrown a discus before.

I’d like to see how it's done.

Let Hylas have his moment of triumph while he may.

You shall have your place, Hylas.

Hail Hylas!

I have found the finest crew in all Greece.

Now for a ship that is worthy of them.


-Argos. -Hello?

Is that you, Argos?

-Who's there? -It's Jason.

Come aboard.

So you've come back again.

She's a fine ship.


She is a fine ship. She's ready to sail.

We've yet to give her a name.

I’ll call her the Argo, after her builder.

The Argo?

Well, you'd better have a look at the figurehead.

It might make you change your mind. No, this way.

-Is it forward? -No, it's astern.

We'll have to move it.

It's supposed to watch over the water ahead of the vessel.

I can't help that. Something made me put it here.

Hera, queen of the gods.

-What? -Nothing.

You don't object to it here?

-No. -Nor do I.

It makes me feel someone friendly is watching over us.

-When do we sail? -Tomorrow.

Don't waste it.

There isn't enough left to make any difference, Jason.

Oh, let him rest.

But the sooner we find some island with water, the better.

We can't row much longer on three sips a day.

Take my advice. Put back to Icos.

But we'd lose five days' sailing.

We haven't water enough for tomorrow...

...let alone the time it would take to reach Icos.

Don't worry, Hylas. I don't expect him to take my advice.

But I wish he'd listen to someone.

Still grumbling?

Sailors always grumble.

These sailors have something to grumble about.

Hardly any water. Blistered hands.

-They should use brine. -Brine?

It toughens the skin.

Well, go down and treat them. I’ll steer.


You said you could help me a certain number of times.

So far, you've told me of Colchis.

And I threw Pelias from his horse and dragged him beneath the water.


So that was King Pelias.

I know your need. Set sail and steer north.

-You will reach land at noon. -Where?

The Isle of Bronze.

I’ve never heard of it.

No mortal has. It was the foundry of the gods.

Hephaestus labored there, making armor and weapons for Zeus.

Oh, do not fear. Hephaestus himseIf has long departed.

I will see that you reach the Isle of Bronze.

But listen to me, Jason. Listen very carefully.

-Take the helm. -Yes, sir.

Set sail.

We reach land at noon.

Then you can fill your bellies until they grumble as much as your tongues.

Now, mark this.

It will be safe to take food and water.

But nothing else. Absolutely nothing else.

That doesn't include women?

If there are any on the island, yes, it does.

If I meet a girl with a firm leg, a full bosom and a warm heart...

...let no man try and stop me.

-Talos will. -Who's Talos?

You do mean there's a man there who wants a fight?

I spoke of no man.

Food and water, Hercules. That's all.

Jason, who told you of this island?

The goddess Hera.

Port helm.

Steady as you go.

Furl the sail.

Ashore for food and water.

-Are goats good sailors? -Goats? What are you talking about?

What do you want with goats onboard ship?

Well, some of us might be hungry...

...or thirsty.

Come on.

Here's one for the pot.


Isn't he one of the Titans?

He might be. He's big enough.

Didn't Jason say something about Talos?

This must be where Hephaestus molded the statues of the gods.

Yes. And set them up for all the world to see.


It's a treasure chamber.

The treasure chamber of the gods.

Look at this.

And this.

A pearl.

It's a javelin.

Don't be silly. ln a jewel box?

It's a brooch pin.

Well, whatever it is, it'll make a useful weapon.

Let's get back to the ship.

-Hercules. -Well, what is it?

-You'd better put it back. -Why?

-Remember what Jason said? -It won't be missed.

Anyway, if the gods leave all this lying about unguarded...

...they obviously don't want it. Come on.

It must have been the wind.

And you saw nothing of them after that?

Perhaps Hercules found a woman after all.


-Back water. -Back. Back water.


I warned you, Jason. This is Hercules' doing.

Talos will try to kill all of you.

How can I fight him?

Think before you waste the gift of the gods.

Against a man of bronze, our weapons are useless.

I repeat that question.

Then I must answer it.

Fight Talos with your wits rather than your courage.

And look to his ankles.

His ankles?

There is nothing else I can tell you.


You disobeyed my order.

Lure him to these rocks, but stay out of reach.

-And what will you do? -I shall hide here, Acastus.

I shall do my very best to send him to you, Jason.

My very best.

Mind his foot!

Quick, get back to the rocks.


Hercules, you've left your--

-Well? -We searched, Argos.

And I will search again.

Hylas was with us. We saw him running.

But then he disappeared.

He could've been hurt, not able to get back to the ship.

Like Palinuros. We had to carry him aboard.

Hercules, Hylas is dead.

The gods decided it.

Why kill a boy for my grave fault?

But I should have stayed with him.

Search until nightfall. We won't sail till then.

Sail when you please, Jason.

I cannot leave this island till I’ve found Hylas.


Will you abandon Hercules, the best man among us?

-I, for one, won't sail without him. -Nor shall I.

Nor I.

Come with me.


Is there any man here who does not obey the gods?

We will do as the goddess Hera commands, if she will speak to us.

This is your last chance, Jason.

The last time that I can help you.

I understand.

Then know this, Argonauts.

-Hylas is dead. -Hylas is dead.

As for Hercules, he is not fated to go further with the Argo.

Zeus has other tasks for him.

And for us, Hera?

Sail to Phrygia. Seek out Phineas, the blinded man.

Only he can guide you now.

We set sail.

Come on, back to your places.

Back to your places. Get forward there.

Go away!

Devils! Demons!

Lord Zeus, I was a sinner.

I’ve never tried to deny it.

But I didn't sin every day.

Why, then, do you punish me every day?

What in the name of the gods are they?


-Are you Phineas? -Yes.

Take my arm. I can't see yours.

Don't flinch.

Zeus gave me the gift of prophecy, but I misused it...

...so I was blinded.

Zeus ordered the Harpies to torment me.

You, Jason, now listen to me.

The gods have ordered me to tell you whatever you want to know.

But the gods have gone too far with me.

They can punish a man so much, and then one day he abandons them.

He says, "All right, Zeus.

Throw a thunderbolt. Let the earth swallow me.

I defy you."

You growl away all you like, Zeus.

I mean what I say. Jason.

I’ll tell you what you want to know...

...only if you'll meet my price.

What is your price then?

Free me from these tormenting Harpies.

If Zeus sent those creatures to plague him...

...we'd be unwise to interfere.

That's my price.

Then we'll meet it, Phineas.

We'll make you the master of the Harpies.

Get to the ropes!


Castor. Phalerus.

Find some wood to build a cage.

Here you are, you hungry fellow.

A big fish for you and some more wine.

Well, Phineas, we've completed our part of the bargain.

-What is it you want to know? -The way to Colchis.

The way to Colchis is through the Clashing Rocks.

Steer northwest and you'll reach them in five days.

Northwest, eh?

After the Clashing Rocks, you turn northeast.

Before long, you'll sight the shores of Colchis.

But tell me, what gods protect you?

None now.

Then you won't pass the Clashing Rocks.

-What are the Clashing Rocks? -They speak for themselves, don't they?

All I can offer you is this.

It's not much reward for what you've done...

...but it's all I have.

If that's all you can tell us, then goodbye.

The gods be merciful to you.

Phineas, from now on, they'll witness a banquet every night...

...and eat the scraps you leave.

Good appetite.

There's not much water here.

Steady as you go. Row easy.

Easy, all.

Easy, all!

It's a narrow channel...

...but I can't see what made Phineas so frightened.

It looks calm enough.

Too calm.


I know the sea god's moods.

But most of them are dangerous.

Acastus, take a sounding.

The rest of you, be prepared to row when I give the word.

But an easy stroke. Save your strength.

They may need it later.

Ship ahoy!

There she is.

She doesn't seem to be in any great difficulty.

A whole ship's crew.

And Lynceus from the masthead.

There was no hope of saving him, not in that sea.

Are we going through?

-Yes. -But it's--

All right, we're going through.

Back to your places.

There's no turning back now.

No, Acastus.

There's no turning back on this voyage.

Drummer, beat out the stroke...

...but keep it easy.

The gods want their entertainment.

Jason goes too far.

Because he speaks the truth when the gods themselves go too far?

Turn back, Jason. We're trapped.

-Trapped, Hera. -It seems so.

You've left me only one move.

Pray to the gods, Jason.

The gods of Greece are cruel.

In time, all men shall learn to do without them.

Pull! Pull!

Get back to your place.


Pull till your hides crack and your backs break.


Keep the stroke going.

Jason dared to speak of the end of the gods...

...and yet you let him live.

If I were to punish every blasphemy, I’d soon lose all loyalty and respect.

You are the god of many men.

Yet when those men no longer believe in you...

...then you'll return to nothing.

You understand that, and yet you remain with me.

You think it weak of me, my lord?

Not weak.

Almost human.

Whichever god or goddess helped us...

...is to be thanked.

Those others weren't so fortunate.

What's that?

Who are you?

Your ship was lost.

We found only two other survivors. They're being looked after.

Here. Drink this.

When did you sail from Colchis?

Dawn, this morning.


Then our journey is nearly over.

-Where have you come from? -Thessaly.

But that's the other side of the world.

You don't look like a merchant.

Your vessel's a fighting ship.

We'd be foolish to sail unarmed.

By all accounts, your king, Aeetes, fears the gods...

...and we were sent by the gods.

But I’m gonna talk to him alone, peacefully.

Now you answer a question.

What was your ship doing in such dangerous waters?

We came to sacrifice to the gods of the rocks...

...to throw flowers onto the sea to make it safe for our ships.

I’m afraid our gods were angry, not so powerful as yours.

Are you a priestess?

I serve in the temple of Hecate.

A dancer.

Is Hecate the god of the Colchians?

The goddess.

But I’d heard they worship some strange idol...

...the skull and skin of a ram.

No ordinary ram.

Its fleece is of gold. A gift of the gods themselves...

...and it's brought our city great peace and prosperity.

We'll put you ashore at dawn tomorrow.

Perhaps you will show me the way to the city.

Now, tell me your name.


And you can answer my first question.

-Who are you? -My name is Jason.

Within a few hours, we shall sight Colchis.

I’m coming in quietly by night.

Now the voyage is over, I don't want the trouble to begin.

Won't be any trouble, Jason.

Just tell us where the city is and when we attack.

We don't attack.

But that's foolish. You have the finest fighting men in the world.

Forty fighting men against a nation?

Better 40 than one, Jason.

We're not pirates, Phalerus.

What's that girl done to you? We thought you were a fighting man.

I’m going up alone in the morning to see what the situation is.

Oh, you mean spy out the land. Well, why alone?

Why not take a few of us scouting?

The fewer who go, the less can get caught.

-What's the fewest you can think of? -One, of course.

Right. I accept your advice.

But I don't.

Having sailed this far together, we're free to speak our minds.

And what's on yours, Acastus?

We nose our way upstream, rush the guards and seize the fleece.

We'd be out into the open sea while Aeetes is still asleep.

-A night attack? -Yes.

And in the dark, during the attack, a man will die.

That man will be me.

A javelin in my back.

A Greek javelin, Acastus. Maybe your javelin.

-You'll die for that, Jason. -Keep back.


It's Euphemus. He's dead.

Look at this. Slashed and bloody.

Acastus must be at the bottom of the sea.

I wonder.

-Make sail. -And Euphemus?

The sea was his kingdom while he was alive.

Let it take his body now he's dead.

Make sail.

Make sail!

You're wounded.

We have a flower in Colchis which heals and soothes.

Tomorrow, I’ll show you.

What do you call the flower?

It has no name. It grows on a double stalk.

They say it sprang from the blood of Prometheus.

And it has been used over the years for its soothing and curing powers.

The sun's getting higher. We must be on our way.

Follow the road to the east.

You're not coming further?

I go another way.

The goddess Hecate has spoken.

There will be one among us today...

...from the ends of the world.

His name is Jason.

Any man of whom he asks his way...

...shall say this:

"Aeetes, king of Colchis...

...awaits him in the temple of Hecate."

And that is all any man shall say to him.

Come forward, Jason.

You have done all of us a great service.

Tonight, we shall feast you.

We know of your great heroism, and it deserves celebration.

Return, then, to your companions and bring them to my palace.

I thank you, my lord...

...but I do not understand.

-Medea? -Welcome to Colchis.

I give you Jason and the Argonauts.

Jason and the Argonauts!

Tell me, Jason, why did you come to Colchis?

In peace.

I said "why," not "how."

Altogether, how many men have you?


And you say you do not threaten us?

Envoys who come to me in deceit remain in death.

I know you've come for the fleece.

I know, too, that if you cannot win it by bargaining, you plan to steal it.

But we'll never part with it, Jason.

It is a gift of the gods.

It has brought wealth and peace to Colchis.

Should we ever let it go, it would mean plague and famine...

...and the destruction of our country!

We can no longer welcome or entertain you...

...but treat you as you deserve.

As thieves...

...as pirates...

...as murderers.

We give our thanks to one person.

The person who exposed a criminal attempt on our kingdom:

The son of King Pelias of Thessaly...



Hecate, queen of darkness...

...you've always helped me.

Tell me now what I must do.

You, who gave me the gift of foresight...

...why didn't you reveal to me Acastus' treachery?

He who sits drinking with Aeetes...

...while Jason...

...imprisoned, condemned to death.

If I help him now in the quest for the fleece...

... I shall be a traitor to my country...

...and to you, Hecate.

And if not...

...to myself.

Help me, Hecate.


Why did you come here? Was it Aeetes who sent you?

I came to ask you to give up your quest...

...and sail away with the Argonauts in peace.

Never return.

Never to think of the Golden Fleece?

Never to think of the fleece.

Then it was Aeetes.

You tell him I will fulfill the task the gods have sent me...

...and never betray the Argonauts, whatever he offers me.

Even if it's Medea, high priestess of Hecate.


...forget the Golden Fleece. I fear for your safety.

If you're set on carrying it away...

... I must come with you.

I’ll go alone.


I have to go with you. I have no country now.

And I love you.

Castor, Phalerus, Dmitrius, get to the door.

The rest of you, back to your places.

-The priestess. -Argos, listen to Medea.

When you're clear of the palace, go to the ship and row downstream.

There's a break in the cliff and a path through the woods.

Anchor there. We'll join you.

Well, what is it?

-Jason has escaped. -And his men?

They were all gone. I was making my rounds, found the guards drugged.

Drugged? Then there's an accomplice.

-Where's Acastus? -He's not in his quarters.

Acastus help Jason?

But there's no reason to it.

Unless it was Medea who mixed the drug.

The high priestess of Hecate?

I saw how Medea looked at Jason.

If Medea's helping them, then she's guiding them to the Golden Fleece...

...and the Argonauts will take ship.

The landward way is shorter.

Muster your men, captain.



Phalerus, Castor, you come with me.

-No, not you, Polydeuces. -But, Argos--

You stay aboard with the rest of the men and guard the ship.


Aeetes and the Colchians.

We heard them from the ship. They must be somewhere near.

Get the fleece.

Guards, follow them up there and that way.


Hecate, queen of darkness...

...revenge yourseIf against the Thessalians.

Deliver to me the children of the Hydra's teeth...

...the children of the night.

The teeth. Fetch me the Hydra's teeth, quickly.

Against the children of the Hydra's teeth...

...there is no protection.

The fleece. Give me the fleece.

It has the power to heal.

It's true. It does have the power to heal.


Hold the guards back, captain, or they may die...

...killed with Jason and his pirates.

Rise up, you dead, slain of the Hydra.

Rise from your graves and avenge us.

Those who steal the Golden Fleece must die.

Argos, get down to the ship.

-Take Medea. -Come with me.


And there.

And still another.


And more.

Destroy them!


Kill, kill, kill them all!

Get back.

I think that proves at last that I’m a worthy opponent, my lord.

Where are you going?

-To clear the board. The game is over. -It certainly is not.

For the moment let them enjoy a calm sea...

...a fresh breeze and each other.

The girl is pretty, and I was always sentimental.

But for Jason there are other adventures.

I have not yet finished with Jason.

Let us continue the game another day.