Helen of Troy (1956)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  26 January 1956 (USA)
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Reviews: 45 user | 9 critic

The Iliad's story of the Trojan war, told from the Trojan viewpoint.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Rossana Podestà ...
Helen (as Rossana Podesta)
Jacques Sernas ...
Paris (as Jack Sernas)
Priam (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
Niall MacGinnis ...
Nora Swinburne ...
Robert Douglas ...
Torin Thatcher ...
Janette Scott ...
Ronald Lewis ...
Eduardo Ciannelli ...
Maxwell Reed ...


Prince Paris of Troy, shipwrecked on a mission to the king of Sparta, meets and falls for Queen Helen before he knows who she is. Rudely received by the royal Greeks, he must flee...but fate and their mutual passions lead him to take Helen along. This gives the Greeks just the excuse they need for much-desired war. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king | queen | siege | slave | escape | See All (47) »


Its towering wonders span the age of titans! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 January 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die schöne Helena  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(theatrical) | (with overture and exit music) | (uncut) | (cut)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)| (RCA Sound Recording) (optical prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Esmond Knight, who plays the High Priest, was also Jacques Sernas' English Coach. See more »


When examining the wooden horse, Ulysses tells his friend that the Trojans will give thanks to Athena for their victory. The friend replies, "And to Bacchus, the god of grapes." Bacchus was the Roman god of wine, not Greek. The correct Greek equivalent was Dionysus. Throughout the rest of the film, the characters call the gods by their correct Greek names (Athena, Zeus etc.) See more »


Helen: [seeing the Trojan horse] Beware Greeks bearing gifts.
See more »


Edited into Jason and the Argonauts (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Here's the sin that inspired time's greatest treachery!

Of all the great stories handed down through the ages, few can equal Homer's Iliad - a towering epic of warrior heroes, squabbling gods, and anger that destroyed nations...

This is the source for Robert Wise's film... All the elements of a magnificent spectacle exist in Homer's work - a lavish and decadent court life, the tension of the quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon, the most beautiful woman in Greece, and a drama of love and seduction...

Thousands of weapons are used: spears, bows, arrows, body armor, helmets, shields, maces and ships of the period l200 B.C., plus a tremendous wooden horse...

Paris, on a diplomatic mission to Sparta to arrange peaceful trade, is washed up on the Spartan shore after being shipwrecked during a storm... He is helped by the lovely Helen who claims to be a handmaiden to the queen... She takes her leave, directing him to the court of King Menelaus... Paris is greeted and honored in a 'cesti' combat with Ajax... Secretly, however, Menelaus plots to kill his guest...

Helen warns Paris of the danger to his life and urges him to run away... Herself in danger for revealing the plot, she succumbs to Paris' pleadings to flee with him... The lovers make their way to Troy...

From that point the spectacular elements - the massing of the ships and men, and the battles outside the walls of Troy, take over...

Rossana Podesta - a natural brunette given a blonde wig and the classical Grecian look - plays Helen, the indirect cause of the Trojan War, but for Paris, she is the goddess of love and beauty, "Aphrodite."

Jacques Sernas plays Paris... His seduction of Helen and refusal to return her, started the Trojan War...

Robert Douglas is Agamemnon, the commander in chief of the Greek forces... He calls on the kings and princes to unite in a war of revenge against the Trojans... He was a very ambitious man, dreaming of Troy's treasures...

Stanley Baker is Achilles, the unbeatable warrior, the greatest and most tragic of the Greek heroes...

Harry Andrews is Hector, the eldest son of king Priam, and the husband of Andromache... He is the chief warrior of the Trojan army...

Niall MacGinnis is the furious Menelaus, King of Sparta, who calls on his brother Agamemnon to gather an army and avenge the mark of shame...

Torin Thatcher is Ulysses, king of Ithaca, the man of outstanding wisdom...

Sir Cedric Hardwicke is the powerless but kindly King of Troy...

Janette Scott is Cassandra, daughter of Priam, loved by the goddess Athena... With a great spirit of prophecy she warns her father to burn the wooden horse...

Robert Wise makes a brave attempt to marry the intimate with the spectacular - a difficult task - but "Helen of Troy" is an epic movie, a superior entertainment filmed in CinemaScope and Technicolor..

35 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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