Better than average sword and sandal time-filler with the underrated Richard Harrison starring as Claudius, solider of fortune selected with three others by Caesar to undertake a deadly mission to destroy a secret weapon that the Druids are using to repel Casear's forces. Along the way, the quartet become a quintet with the addition of the young and impressionable 'boy who wants to be a warrior' type (Guida), and then a "magnificent seven" when they encounter captured Romans Edua (Tessier) and her cowardly guard Drussus (Hersent), being tortured by the Druids.
Unencumbered by the usual overdeveloped musculature, an athletic Harrison employs his trained acting to good effect as the aggressively loyal Roman solider who'll give to the last drop to secure Caesar the platform he needs to succeed. Ably supported by Italian leading man Ettore Manni and with good performances by the supporting cast, Anthony Dawson (aka Antonio Margheriti) delivers a consistently watchable, gritty and engaging picture, far more worthy than the paltry four stars it currently attracts.
Some superb battle scenes, suspense, occasional light humour, romance and tragedy are complemented by colourful characters, given extra definition through Harrison and Manni's balanced performances. It's not "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by any stretch, but as a "Guns of Navarone" of Ancient Rome (you'll see the similarities with Stanley Baker and Gia Scala's characters in particular), it does okay and should entertain.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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