The Legend of Suriyothai
June 20, 2003
Historical epics have always been a staple in every country’s film repertoire. This is Thailand’s most ambitious and expensive film to date. Being written, directed, and funded by Thailand’s royal family gave this film access to many sacred and historically significant locations.
The movie tells a true story of the sixteenth century. It follows the life of one of the country’s most revered leaders, Queen Suriyothai. During her life, the country was on constant alert for invasions from neighboring Burma. These attacks culminated in 1548 in a battle where Suriyothai turned the elephant she was riding on and took a sword that was thrust at her husband, King Chakrapat, by the Burmese king.
The original edit of this film was around five hours long. Francis Ford Coppola took on the daunting task of editing this film down for American audiences. Apparently he has cut it down to a more “manageable” 154 minutes.
This film had a HUGE opening in Thailand, where it broke box office records by beating the 10-day opening record held by Godzilla. It even held big Hollywood productions at bay. Jurassic Park III decided not to open in Thailand theaters until this film’s third weekend. There are currently three sequels at various stages of development that cover other historical periods of Thailand. (Marty Doskins/BOP)