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Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, History  |  4 November 1954 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,117 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 26 critic

The story picks up at the point where "The Robe (1953)" ends, following the martyrdom of Diana and Marcellus. Christ's robe is conveyed to Peter for safe-keeping, but the emperor Caligula ... See full summary »



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Title: Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

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Complete credited cast:
Jay Robinson ...
Richard Egan ...
Charles Evans ...


The story picks up at the point where "The Robe (1953)" ends, following the martyrdom of Diana and Marcellus. Christ's robe is conveyed to Peter for safe-keeping, but the emperor Caligula wants it back to benefit from its powers. Marcellus' former slave Demetrius seeks to prevent this, and catches the eye of Messalina, wife to Caligula's uncle Claudius. Messalina tempts Demetrius, he winds up fighting in the arena, and wavers in his faith. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

messalina | caligula | arena | robe | faith | See All (73) »


It begins where "The Robe" left off!


Action | Drama | History


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

4 November 1954 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Demetrio y los gladiadores  »

Box Office


$4,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Jay Robinson (Caligula), the break in principal photography between The Robe (1953) and this film was only three weeks. This would account for "The Robe"'s opening shot of the gladiatorial arena, a scene lifted from its sequel. The scene features Victor Mature and Robinson, in addition to Ernest Borgnine, William Marshall, Richard Egan and Susan Hayward; these last four were not in "The Robe". See more »


In the beginning of the movie, Claudius presents Caligula a report from Pontius Pilate. When Caligula became emperor (37 AD), Pilate was already dismissed of his charge as Prefect of Judea (26-36 AD). See more »


Messalina: Why did you run? I don't think you're a coward. You had no real chance of escaping, you must have known that!
Demetrius: This is a place where men are trained to kill each other like animals!
Messalina: And men aren't animals?
Demetrius: No!
Messalina: We admire a magnificent animal who fights. Why not a man who fights ?
Demetrius: Because God did not put man on earth to destroy his own kind. Nor a woman to enjoy their agonies as they die.
See more »


Featured in Bulworth (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

This is a place where men are trained to kill each other like animals!
6 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Demetrius and the Gladiators is a sequel to The Robe. It's directed by Delmer Daves and stars Victor Mature as Demetrius, a Christian slave made to fight in the Roman arena as a gladiator ( and ultimately entering into a bigger fight, that of faith), and Susan Hayward as Messalina. Filling out the support cast are Ernest Borgnine, William Marshall, Michael Rennie, and Jay Robinson as the maniacal emperor Caligula. The screenplay is from Philip Dunne (How Green Was My Valley/ The Agony and the Ecstasy} and cinematography comes courtesy of Milton R. Krasner (Academy Award winner Best Color Cinematography for Three Coins in the Fountain 1955).

Following straight on from The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators is a safe and enjoyable Biblical picture that doesn't outstay its welcome. Running at just over 100 minutes, the film is far from being epic in its telling. However, and without cramming in, it does contain all the necessary ingredients to make up a sweaty sword and sandals pie. Filmed in CinemaScope, persecuted hero, bonkers villain, sexy babe, huge sets, colourful costumes, and fights, lots of fights. Thankfully the serious dialogue is mostly kept brief, there a few things worse in this genre of film than bloated discourse on religious beliefs and political dalliances. Get in there, let us know what is going on, and move on to the next chapter of the story. This is something that Daves' film does real well, it has an eagerness to entertain with dots of gusto and sexual swagger. The acting is mixed, Mature is solid without ever really convincing as the heroic figure of Demetrius, Hayward and Robinson are camping it up and thus entertain royally, while Borgnine and Rennie earn there pay.

Very much like another Phillip Dunne screenplay genre piece, David And Bathsheba, this one is often overlooked or forgotten in discussion about the sword & sandals genre. That both film's are not in the same league as the likes of Ben-Hur and Spartacus is a given, but both have much to offer the discerning cinephile. Recommended Sunday afternoon fare with a flagon of claret and a roast ox dinner. 7/10

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

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