Quo Vadis (1951)

Passed  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  25 December 1951 (USA)
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Reviews: 88 user | 51 critic

A fierce Roman general becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.


, (uncredited)


(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marina Berti ...
Buddy Baer ...
Felix Aylmer ...
Nora Swinburne ...
Ralph Truman ...
Norman Wooland ...
Peter Miles ...
Geoffrey Dunn ...


Returning to Rome after 3 years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her. She is a Christian and doesn't want to have anything to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero to give her to him for services rendered Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Colossal [Quo Vadis] See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Qvo Vadis  »

Box Office


$7,623,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Buddy Baer's character is named "Ursus". "Ursus" is Latin for "bear". See more »


Lions attacking obvious dummies in several frames. See more »


Petronius: [Nero begins to sing again, and his voice is horrible] Body of Bacchus, I've been listening to *that* since morning!
Vinicius: [amused] He seems in rare voice!
See more »

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User Reviews

"Nothing do I see that is not perfection"
1 May 2009 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

At Last one of the great classic Hollywood blockbuster epics of the early fifties has finally found its rightful DVD home with this exceptional two disc release from Warner Home Video.

Produced by Sam Zimbalist for MGM in 1951 and expertly directed by Mervin LeRoy "Quo Vadis" was Hollywood's first wallop in the fight against the onslaught of Television. Available at first, and for many years only on VHS tape, it then began to appear on a plethora of foreign DVDs but with varying quality it must be said. One such unfortunate issue, which originated in Korea, was released without any opening credits whatsoever! I kid you not! That said - we now thankfully have it in our possession and a superb issue it is! With perfect pristine colour resolution, Robert Surtees' Acadamy Award nominated colour Cinematography comes across with well defined and plush imagery. The various cast members are attired in the most gorgeously coloured costumes. Particularly dazzling is the golden uniform worn by the picture's star Robert Taylor as he proudly bears himself aboard his golden chariot during his triumphal parade through Rome.

Also here is Miklos Rozsa's outstanding Acadamy Award nominated score! His main Roman motif, bold and strong, dominates the scenes in the Forum and in the Arena. In gentler mode is his beautiful love theme for the scenes with the star-crossed lovers Marcus and Lygia. Then there's the frenetic bacchanal-like Hymn of the Vestal Virgins followed immediately by the robust and heroic Triumphal March. Also heard on this issue - and for the first time since the original roadshow release 56 years ago - is the composer's Overture and Exit music. The great Rozsa would barely eclipse his "Vadis" music eight years later with his Oscar winning score for "Ben Hur".

The assembled cast are uniformly excellent except, perhaps, the syrupy and simpering characterization of Deborah Kerr as Lygia. But Robert Taylor is fine in what is probably his best known role as Nero's legion commander Marcus Vinicus. Outstanding is Leo Genn as Petronious - the sardonic and sarcastic confidante of the tyrannical Emperor Nero. And of course there is the wonderful Peter Ustinov chewing up every bit of scenery there is as the crazed and loony Nero. Both Ustinov and Genn were nominated for Acadamy Awards. The picture is also buoyed by some colourful and elaborate set pieces such as the Vestal Virgins singing and wildly dancing in homage to the goddess Vesta, the spectacular triumphal parade of the Roman legions taking the salute from Nero as it passes the great palace, the exciting chariot chase, the brilliantly staged burning of Rome and the harrowing scenes in the Arena as the lions are released on the hapless hymn-singing Christians.

These scenes all come across extremely well on this excellent DVD which comes with a trailer, a splendid 45 minute featurette "Quo Vadis And The Genesis of the Biblical Epic" and a commentary by one F.X. Feeney who persists in calling the leading lady's character Leega instead of Lygia and neglects to tell us that the opening narration is spoken by MGM favourite Walter Pidgeon (uncredited). However this is only a minor quibble and does nothing to diminish the greatness of this issue. Bravo Warner Home Video!!

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