The Sign of the Cross (1932)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History  |  10 February 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,449 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 14 critic

A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.


(as Cecil B. De Mille)


(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ian Keith ...
Arthur Hohl ...
Harry Beresford ...
Favius Fontelas
Tommy Conlon ...
Ferdinand Gottschalk ...
Vivian Tobin ...
William V. Mong ...
Joyzelle Joyner ...
Ancaria (as Joyzelle)
Richard Alexander ...
Clarence Burton ...


After burning Rome, Emperor Nero decides to blame the Christians, and issues the edict that they are all to be caught and sent to the arena. Two old Christians are caught, and about to be hauled off, when Marcus, the highest military official in Rome, comes upon them. When he sees their stepdaughter Mercia, he instantly falls in love with her and frees them. Marcus pursues Mercia, which gets him into trouble with Emperor (for being easy on Christians) and with the Empress, who loves him and is jealous. Written by John Oswalt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A picture which will proudly lead all the entertainments the world has ever seen


Drama | History


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Im Zeichen des Kreuzes  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(without intermission)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Charles Starrett and Adrianne Allen were initially announced for the roles eventually played by Fredric March and Claudette Colbert. See more »


When the boxers are fighting with the spiked gloves, the loser gets punched in the face. He is shown with scars on his face and spits blood onto his chest. In the next shot (from a slightly different angle) the scars are there but the blood on his chest is gone. See more »


[the Empress, soaking naked in a tub of ass's milk and calling to her handmaiden]
Poppaea: Dacia, you're a butterfly with the sting of a wasp. Take off your clothes. Get in here and tell me all about it.
See more »


Spoofed in Roman Legion-Hare (1955) See more »


Ancaria's Song and Dance (The Naked Moon)
(1932) (uncredited)
Music by Rudolph G. Kopp
Lyrics by Sidney Buchman
Played at the orgy and danced and sung by Joyzelle Joyner
See more »

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User Reviews

6 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Lots of people here have criticized CB for the arena scenes.

I, myself, found these scenes disturbing. On the other hand, CB is simply using the Roman accounts (primarily Suetonius) of what actually happened in the arena.

In other words, the horror that CB shows on film is what happened.

Sorry if the accuracy of this film disturbs some folks; but what happened in the arena was disturbing. The apes, the women, the children, all these events are described to us by the Romans themselves.

If you get your dander up with this film, what of "The Passion of the Christ?" Also an accurate depiction of Roman Justice.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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