I just saw the movie 300 and have to say it was an amazing experience.
If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't go see the movie at a place that serves food while you are watching... 300 is a VERY intense, very bloody, graphic "war" movie, and eating while watching was not the best choice I've ever made, but that has more to do with thinking about the theater I see a movie at and less to do with the movie!
I have a college degree in Classical Civilization, so I went in figuring this is a movie made for the mass public, not for classics majors, and prepared to give a lot of room for creative license. I figure Troy was called Troy not "the Iliad" for a reason (Achilles is barely in the Illiad after all!) and so I expected the same from 300, a movie inspired by history.
With that in mind I have to say the "information" they give you up front during the opening of the movie is a fantastic intro to Spartan culture and society. About the only thing they "left out" that always intrigued me was that the sons (and, as I recall, daughters) were not only taken away from their parents and put into a communal living situation at age 7, but the parents were not allowed to provide, in any way, for their children after that point. A parent caught giving food or clothing to their child was dishonoring one and all. So the openings point that these children had to fight, and steal, to survive, despite being in the town of their birth was very accurate.
The Spartan culture has always fascinated me, in part because it is so different from what I grew up with. The Ancient Greeks, and Romans, would have thought nothing of the strong Queen depicted in the movie... women were orators in the times before Christ, strong woman some of whom campaigned AGAINST the "right to vote" as they felt that would limit them and stiffle their influence! (There is a great speech in which an Ancient Roman woman explains that women have multiple votes, so long as they are denied their one vote, for they influence their husband, brothers, and sons by pointing out that they need to vote FOR the woman, but if a woman has her one vote, she loses the votes of her husband, brothers and sons. Now I find myself wanting to dig out my old textbooks and read about those remarkable women again!)
I highly recommend this movie to one and all... it is entertaining, though I will quickly concede that the use of slow motion grows tiresome at times, and their were other times when I was simply ready for the storyline to move further forward... and there are parts that, based on my recollections of Spartan culture were politically correctified to make the movie appealing to our modern audience, but all in all, this is a great story of a people who believed in fighting for their rights, fighting for their freedoms, and refusing to surrender simply because it was the easier path.