The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.
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Brutus, Cassius, and other high-ranking Romans murder Caesar, because they believe his ambition will lead to tyranny. The people of Rome are on their side until Antony, Caesar's right-hand man, makes a moving speech. The conspirators are driven from Rome, and two armies are formed: one side following the conspirators; the other, Antony. Antony has the superior force, and surrounds Brutus and Cassius, but they kill themselves to avoid capture. Written by
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Producer John Houseman had also produced a version of the play on Broadway in 1937 which had starred Orson Welles to great acclaim. The two had fallen out in the intervening years so Welles was never considered for the film. See more »
When the soothsayer walks in the middle of the crowd to the right of the screen, we see from above when he is passing by Brutus. In the next shot he is walking towards the camera and Brutus, now behind him, grabs his arm to turn him. See more »
Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home:/ Is this a holiday? what! know you not,/ Being mechanical, you ought not walk/ Upon a labouring day without the sign/ Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
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Mankiewicz fills the screen with vitality on the plains of Shakespeare's imagination...
William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer of all time... His plays, written in the 16th and early 17th centuries for a small repertory theater, are today performed more often and in more countries than ever before...
"Julius Caesar" is rich in its insights, the struggle for political power, the embellishment of the mind, and the characters of men...
Joseph L. Mankiewicz captures Shakespeare's characters in elegant visuals projecting the beauty of the language, producing civilized entertainment... Its message fills the screen with vitality on the plains of Shakespeare's imagination...
The film is set in Rome 44 B.C. The city is rich with the privileges of its empire, much of it caused by the pretentious Caesar (Louis Calhern) appointing himself dictator... Caesar's greater character flaw, thinking that he is far above others and somehow invincible...
Loyal to Caesar is Mark Antony (Marlon Brando), a brave, intelligent, pleasure-loving cunning man - a character with many hidden traits, misunderstood by all...
Mark Anthony looks at life as a game in which he had a signified part to play... He seems slow to emerge, until he is forced to show his true potential... He is devoted and prefers to be dependent upon Caesar... He wants the crown of emperor to be given to him, so all conflicts could be avoided...
But Brutus (James Mason), an old friend of Caesar, is torn between his personal feelings and his integrity and idealism where the Romans would possess peace, liberty and freedom...
The scrupulous, unselfish Brutus resents Caesar's ambition as absolute ruler... Being very honorable, but very naive, he underestimates Mark Antony, perceiving him as a person who didn't always take life seriously and therefore - he is not a cautious thinker...
The story begins on a festival day as Caesar and his entourage make their way to the stadium... On the way, a blind beggar warns Caesar of 'The Ides of March' (On the middle of the month, the daggers came from every side...) but he is ignored...
In the stadium, the sarcastic Cassius (John Gielgud) sees Brutus as the influential Roman able to unite the nobles in the conspiracy... He implores him to join his cause... For him, Caesar has become too powerful and too popular... He must be removed from power...
Cassius is the most significant character for his ability to perceive the true motives of the characters... He thinks the nobility of Rome is responsible for the government of Rome... Brutus, the back-bone of the plan, agrees to the plot, but refuses Cassius's proposal to slain Mark Antony...
After the conspirators have left, Brutus' wife Portia (Deborah Kerr) asks to know what it is that worries him...
Caesar's wife, Calpurnia (Greer Garson) begs her husband to stay home and not to go to the Senate, for fear of danger... As a superstitious woman she was convinced that some falling meteors are warnings of her husband's death... But Caesar believes his friends have assembled to offer him the crown of emperor... So he moves forward, leaving unopened letter which lists the conspirators...
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