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Damon and Pythias (1962)

Il tiranno di Siracusa (original title)
Pythias, a liberal Athenian who believes all men are brothers, is condemned to death by Dionysus, the tyrant of Syracuse, who finds this view dangerous. However, Dionysus allows Pythias to ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) | 5 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ilaria Occhini ...
Liana Orfei ...
Mereka - Nerissa's Friend
Carlo Giustini ...
Aldo Silvani ...
Andrea Bosic ...
Maurizio Baldoni ...
Franco Fantasia ...
Rumius the Fencing Master
Osvaldo Ruggieri ...
Demetrius - Nerissa's Brother
Flute Player
Enrico Glori ...
Gianni Bonagura ...


Pythias, a liberal Athenian who believes all men are brothers, is condemned to death by Dionysus, the tyrant of Syracuse, who finds this view dangerous. However, Dionysus allows Pythias to return to Athens to visit his ailing wife with the understanding he will then come back to face his punishment. Damon, a friend of Pythias, volunteers to be a hostage to guarantee Pythias's return. Dionysius doesn't expect Pythias to keep his end of the bargain, thus exposing the falsity of his beliefs. Written by Anonymous

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World-famed story of friendship and fury!




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Release Date:

June 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Damon and Pythias  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Sound Recording)


(Metrocolor)| (Technicolor)
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Did You Know?


While Pythagoreans themselves had extensive influence over Plato and later philosophical schools, the movement largely lost its coherence by the Hellenistic years. In the Roman era, the new movement of Neopythagoreanism placed more emphasis on mysticism, asceticism, and the "fundamental distinction between the soul and the body" than the original Pythagoreans. See more »


Follows Damon and Pythias (1914) See more »

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User Reviews

DAMON AND PYTHIAS (Curtis Berhardt, 1962) **
11 April 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Although I had heard of the titular historical characters – probably from a Greek mythology class I sat for in Secondary School – I had never read or seen their tale until now, via this rather lifeless and turgid peplum that was, until some time ago, a staple of TCM UK's schedule. The leads are likable enough as played by Guy Williams (from Disney's "Zorro" TV-series in his penultimate theatrical feature) and Don Burnett (also in his next-to-last film, he was a dead ringer for Rock Hudson but much less charismatic), their inevitable love interests are, respectively, attractive (Liana Orfei) and histrionic (Ilaria Occhini), while the villainous Tyrant of Syracuse (the film's original Italian title) was portrayed by a favorite Italian character actor who made his fair share of these things – Arnoldo Foa' who also speaks his own lines in serviceable English! Actually, the latter's belated introduction breathes new life into the film making the second half far more compelling as Greek Burnett defies his Sicilian enemies to prove that his Pythagorian creed of "The Brotherhood of Man" (perpetrated by persecuted philosopher Andrea Bosic) by replacing Sicilian thief Williams who has, uncharacteristically, exchanged places with Burnett on the executioner's block because of the latter's impending fatherhood! Therefore, it is rather unfortunate that, despite some interesting international credentials in the direction (German Bernhardt, who would curiously himself retire after making just one more film!) and screen writing (British playwright Bridget Boland and Hollywood veteran Samuel Marx) departments, DAMON AND PYTHIAS does not emerge a better movie in the long run – even when compared to most of the less-than-inspired product along the same lines being churned out by contemporary Italian B-grade film-makers.

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