The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Fall of the Roman Empire

DVD - 2008
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Marcus Aurelius Antonius is philosopher-emperor of Rome who summons his empire's governors and princes to his German war headquarters for a Pax Romanus. He confides to his daughter, Lucilla, that his adopted son, Livius, will succeed him instead of his more unstable heir, Commodus. Overhearing this, Cleander, a blind prophet loyal to Commodus, presents Marcus with a poisoned apple. After the funeral, Livius, who does not share Lucilla's ambition for himself or Rome, allows Commodus to proclaim himself emperor. While pestilence ravages Rome, Commodus continues his vain, licentious behavior. He ultimately neglects to deal with all symptoms of unrest and banishing anyone reminding him of his responsibilities.

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Far in advance of the usual Roman costume epic. A literate script, good direction, and first-rate acting, particularly Guinness and Mason. Spectacular action sequences. Definitely top-rated. Highly recommended.

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ChristinaDL
May 31, 2019

Anybody who hates this movie has absolutely ZERO taste for the old classics

EuSei Feb 17, 2016

This was an incredible production, especially for that time, but it is probably one of the most idiotic, corny, and boring movies I have ever watched. It boils down to something like this: “Guys, let us offer to hold hands and dance kumbaya with the barbarians and the rest of the world so they will start loving us and will not destroy our civilization! Let us give them absolute access to Rome, embrace them all, have the whole world become Roman!” “Wow, what a great idea; let us, let us!” Absolutely moronic. (At least "Gladiator" had the decency of not pretending to be based upon historical facts!)

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msemos
Jan 07, 2016

ok it is an epic film with lots of people and costumes but I now know what led to the fall of the empire, they were bored by this film.

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uzebdrumz
Jul 01, 2015

More horses than the old Saturn V rocket, & a poisoned apple, what is this, Snow White & the 7 dwarfs. As they say in the narration, the fall of the Roman Empire took ~200 years & at times this feels like real time during the film. James Mason (Timonides) is the only character with any real credibility, meaning, I actually cared that he stay alive, if only to provide the somewhat humorous logical reasoning that was almost useless in the Roman world of demons, spirits, & gods. The sets are still credible, but I was often reminded of Caesar's Palace Garden of the Gods pool in Las Vegas whenever they used wide-angle city shots. Maybe they can do a sequel in Vegas & get it right this time.

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ManMachine
Mar 06, 2014

In my opinion, if what went on in this epic, $19 million, fiasco production was really supposed to be the way that the Romans actually carried on, then it's certainly no wonder to me why their precious, little empire fell.

Set in the year 180 A.D., this film (with all of its grandiose, large-scale pomp & pageantry), shamelessly promised major historical events to unfold before my very eyes - But, unfortunately, it got seriously side-tracked and became "Hollywoodized" into a weepy, clinging, sappy "love story".

With it's staggeringly unbearable 188-minute running time, I found that I couldn't give a sweet damn about any of this film's characters, including Alec Guinness's Marcus Aurelius who came across to me as being just a much younger version of his Obi-Wan-Kenobi character from Star Wars.

In this story the ego-driven actors either over-acted their parts or else they under-acted, but never once did any of them come across to me as being "real" people.

Needless to say, this "Sword & Sandal" epic was a total box-office failure upon its initial release back in 1964. Personally, I would never, ever recommend this dreary picture to anyone, regardless of it featuring some truly amazing sets.

aaa5756 Apr 08, 2012

This movie was entertaining and interesting but not one of my favorite for this year. “Not too bad---good performance”. "I fast forwarded a lot but not all the way."

s
stuvw27
Dec 07, 2011

Great sets!

Particularly “Fort Apache, the Rhine” in the first hour. The Barbarian village toward the end is good too. By far the best work by the team that brought you “El Cid” and “55 Days at Peking”.

But with Anthony Mann at the helm & Yakima Canute leading the second unit, it seems more like a western with chariots soon beginning to look like buckboards and the Roman Legions morphing into the US Cavalry. By the time the Romans take on the Persians one almost expects the Magnificent Seven to come riding through.

There’s a nice scene in which Sofia Lauren is followed through the streets of a partying Rome by Zardoz. All else, cinematography, casting, costumes, stunts, writing etc. are mundane to the point of tedium. Tiomkin’s music, despite being Oscar nominated, is loud and annoying and includes such inappropriate instruments as an electric harpsichord (enjoying a pop vogue in the 60s) and a bugle call during a cavalry charge.

About the only thing historically accurate here is that, like the fall of Rome, this movie goes on and on. I never realized that every barbarian had long red hair.

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rslade
Oct 18, 2011

How not to make an epic (with some advice in case you want to make a good one): write about a little-known period/episode in the history of the Roman Empire rather than the Bible (have a good author), grab a random high-priced cast with nothing to do with each other and use the only two that can act in a parts where one can't and the other just giggles and acts mad, have a chariot race whether or not there is any reason or reality to it, build huge forts out in the middle of nowhere, take your daughter along on a military campaign in the boonies for no reason, build huge Roman sets to take up budget for no reason, build ramps up the side over every Roman building so that you can have your actors ride chariots right up into the livingroom, and teach all your northern barbarians that the way to fight a packed group of troops all carrying spears sticking up is to jump on top of them from any height. This is maybe a bit long, but possibly worth watching just for the unintentional humour value.

leatherneck May 03, 2011

One of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. Boring Epic with a multitude of really badly staged battle scenes. The script was a joke. Really corny. Big actors, along with Sophia Loren had ridiculous lines. Don't waste 3 hours. Life is to short.

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uzebdrumz
Jul 01, 2015

Timonides: We are asking only that you give us your words, and your chains will be removed. You don't seem to understand. Gaius Martellus Livius wishes to remove your chains. He wishes to make free men, free women of you. Wishes to make you Romans. Is it that you doubt the word of Livius? Tell me, I want to help you.

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