The Robe (1953)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, History  |  4 December 1953 (France)
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Marcellus is a tribune in the time of Christ. He is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus. Drunk, he wins Jesus' homespun robe after the crucifixion. He is tormented by ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Jay Robinson ...
Torin Thatcher ...
Sen. Gallio
Betta St. John ...
Jeff Morrow ...
Dawn Addams ...


Marcellus is a tribune in the time of Christ. He is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus. Drunk, he wins Jesus' homespun robe after the crucifixion. He is tormented by nightmares and delusions after the event. Hoping to find a way to live with what he has done, and still not believing in Jesus, he returns to Palestine to try and learn what he can of the man he killed. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The First Picture on the New Miracle Curved Screen ! See more »


Drama | History


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 December 1953 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Das Gewand  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


$36,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)



Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The opening shot after the title credits (and the background "red robe" curtain parts) is actually a scene lifted from this film's sequel, Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954). That's Jay Robinson as Caligula presiding over the ceremony preceding the gladiatorial games. This differs from the opening in the "flat" 1.37:1 Academy ratio version. Susan Hayward as Messalina sitting to his left, Barry Jones as Claudius on his right, William Marshall as Glycon in the front row of gladiator on the far right, Victor Mature as Demetrius standing directly behind him and Ernest Borgnine as Strabo who is leading the gladiatorial procession. See more »


While Miriam and Marcelus are chatting under the tree and Miriam is weaving a basket she runs out of basket material but the next long shot she has a long section of it, not once but twice, without picking up another piece of weaving material. See more »


Demetrius: [to Marcellus] You crucified him. You, my master. Yet you freed me. I'll never serve you again, you Roman pig. Masters of the world, you call yourselves. Thieves! Murderers! Jungle animals! A curse on you! A curse on your empire!
See more »


Referenced in Smash His Camera (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Epic and religious story about a Roman tribune who gains the rob of the just-crucified Christ
16 March 2012 | by See all my reviews

This is a dignified portrayal about Ancient Rome from best-selling novel by Lloyd C Douglas adapted by Philip Dunne and Albert Matz's literate screenplay , it deals with dissolute Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton) , a tribune in the time of Christ and son of a notorious senator (Torin Thacher) , as he's sent to Palestine . There he is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus . From his official duties , drunken Marcellus wins Jesus' homespun robe in a dice-game after the crucifixion . He is tormented by delusion and nightmares after the tragic deeds . Hoping to find out a manner to live with what he has done , and still not believing in Jesus, he goes back to Palestine to learn what he can do of the mysterious man he murdered . Later on , he returns Rome and frees the holy-robe-carrying slave named Demetrius (Beefcake Victor Mature) . After that , Caligula (Jay Robinson) takes him prisoner , but his sweetheart (Jean Simmons) takes time out to visit in a dungeon .

This religious mammoth epic focuses a moving Roman pageant dealing with a sponger tribune , following his stirring career , spiritual awakening and reaches an exciting peak at the ending . It has marvelous images , spectacular scenes , enjoyable performances as well as the adequate cast of thousands . Richard Burton and Jean Simmons are both good , though Burton sometimes is a little wooden . Michael Rennie as Peter and Jeff Morrow as Paulus give sensible acting , though brief , which adds more to the reality than anything else . The best acting comes , indeed , from Jay Robinson , the best portrayal of his career , who gives a hammy acting as nasty Caligula . Colorful cinematography by Leon Shamroy and being the first film to be shot in glamorous CinemaScope . Sensitive and lyric musical score by the classic Alfred Newman . The film deservedly won 1953 Academy Award for Art Direction , Set Decoration, Color and Costume Design.

The motion picture is brilliantly directed by Henry Koster , an expert on super-productions and epic biographies , such as he proved in ¨Desiree¨, ¨The Virgin Queen¨, ¨A man called Peter¨, The story of Ruth¨ , ¨The Naked Maja¨ and of course ¨The Robe¨. It's followed by a sequel (1954) titled ¨Demetrius and the gladiators¨ by Delmer Daves with Debra Paget , William Marshall, Richard Egan , Susan Hayward as the trampy empress Messalina and in which the Marcellus's slave , Victor Mature , makes again a surprisingly good acting and reprised diverse characters as Jay Robinson as Caligula and Michael Wilding as apostle Peter.

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