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In the 1980 theatrical film, Ming (Max von Sydow), complaining of boredom, discovers Earth and unleashes various attacks on the planet. The film gives Ming a second-in-command, General Klytus, who is masked at all times and has an attraction towards Ming's daughter, Princess Aura. As in most versions, Ming is infatuated with Dale, whom he plans to marry. Ming's cruelty extends to his own daughter: in an effort to find Flash, he allows Klytus to continue torturing her, since she knows of his whereabouts. When Klytus is killed in the Hawkman city, Ming orders it to be destroyed. He offers Flash a chance to join him, rule a kingdom, and save Earth. Flash declines when he learns the Earth will be enslaved. Ming leaves him there to die, but Flash escapes on a rocket cycle.

At the climax of the film, Ming is impaled by his own war rocket, Ajax, of which Flash had taken control. After a vain attempt to stop Flash attacking him, he ultimately points his ring at himself and he vanishes. However, just before the credits begin, his ring is retrieved by an unknown individual, and the words "The End?" appear, as his evil laughter plays in the background, hinting he is not dead.

Queen's soundtrack album includes "Ming's Theme".

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