Attila, the leader of the barbarian Huns and called by the Romans "The Scourge of God", sweeps onto the Italian peninsula, defeating all of the armies of Rome, until he and his men reach the gates of the city itself.
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The king of the Huns, whose hordes from various tribes and allies have been sweeping the Asian steppes and both Roman empires, dies, leaving the throne to two sons. Bleda, tired of war and hungry, bloody campaigns, wants to settle as allies of Rome in peace, his brother Attila believes only in the power of the sword. Roman general Aethius, who knows the Huns well as a result of former hostage exchanges, fails to get a true peace but buys a shaky one promising doubled tribute. The court of weakling emperor Valentinianus, moved north from Rome to Ravenna, where the true ruler is empress-mother Galla Placidia, widow of a barbarian king, refuses the terms and imprisons Aethius, who still refuses to seize power with Valentinian's sister Honoria. The ambitious princess now offers her hand and the empire as dowry to Attila, just what Bleda hoped for. Scorning peace, Attila has popular Bleda murdered during a hunt, and persuades the hordes to march with him on the empire. While clueless, ... Written by
After starring in La Strada Anthony Quinn went on to do two more films while in Italy, Ulysses where he supported Kirk Douglas and Attila where he starred as the bloodthirsty Hun chief who nearly conquered Rome. This one is possibly the least of the three.
Attila as Quinn plays it is one dude who only really gets his Mojo going with some hand to hand combat. The Huns have a treaty with Rome and to show how times have changed, the Romans pay them tribute to not attack. But in his view of things that is not quite a legitimate way for conqueror to do things. Quinn who co-rules with brother Ettore Manni murders Manni and puts the Huns on a war footing.
But Rome by 450 AD has grown soft and futile and ruled by a kid Emperor with Mom issues. The Dowager Empress is French actress Colette Regis and her idiot son is Claude Leydu. She also has a daughter played by Sophia Loren in an early role and Sophia is out to use her considerable charms to cut her own deal with Attila. But she doesn't realize that Quinn just ain't interested when he can go out run people through with sword and lance.
To General Henri Vidal comes the disagreeable task of saving this worthless bunch. And there is also the Pope who as legend has come down to us got the deed done, but only temporarily.
Attila is a film I saw half a century ago on WOR TV in New York on Million Dollar movie. Could not appreciate the color on our black and white TV set at the time. I could also not appreciate Sophia Loren who's half the reason for seeing this film.
It's passable Peplum, not down to the level of Maciste or Hercules later on. But not one of Anthony Quinn's better remembered films.
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