Francis Urquhart is the chief whip of the Conservative party. When Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader, he remains neutral and after a general election where the conservatives are returned ... See full summary »
The mini-series follows the history of the Roman Empire, from approximately the death of Marcellus (24/23 BC) to Claudius' own death in 54 AD. As Claudius narrates his life, we witness Augustus' attempts to find an heir, often foiled by his wife Livia who wants her son Tiberius to become emperor. We also see the conspiracy of Sejanus, the infamous reign of Caligula, and Claudius' own troubled period of rule. Written by
Erika Grams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The serial I, CLAUDIUS is one of the best epics on the Roman Empire one can ever encounter. Although it is based on the novel by Robert Graves, the director, Herbert Wise, together with the producer Jack Pulman and other crew proved a respectful independence of portraying particular characters from ancient times. This film stands out among other historical movies at multiple levels.
First of all, I, CLAUDIUS is one of the rare examples of films showing the real core of the Roman Empire. The action takes place ONLY within the walls of the imperial palace. Everything that happens appears to be perceived by the members of the ruling dynasty. REAL WINGS OF IMPERIAL ROME! Conspiracies, poisoning, hatred, bloody desire for power... these are the topics of the film - ABSOLUTELY FAITHFUL TO HISTORY!
Besides, the empire is showed VERY realistically. It is not the glory of victories, it is not the power and triumphs of its leaders, IT IS THE REAL ROTTEN DECADENCE OF ITS REALITY! "Trust no one" as Herod says once to Claudius, his dearest friend. "The battle of Aktium did not look like that" says Augustus to a poet who attempts to glorify the deeds of the warriors. In fact, only Claudius manages to survive, but not to the end. Even he is poisoned by his fourth wife...
The film is realistic, but it is important to state that it does not exaggerate anything. There is nudity but with respect to film art. It is not the focus. Cruelty is also not the focus as being the goal in itself. The evil is only "embedded" in the action. It is not Guccione's CALIGULA which destroys any classics of the movie art by disgusting pornography and horrific cruelty. I, CLAUDIUS is, first of all, a film art.
Finally, it is significant to mention the cast. There are few films, really few, which have such excellent stars. All people perform WONDERFULLY. You watch it and you forget that these are actors and actresses. You think they are real Romans of that time and totally set your mind on the action! It is a very rare experience and that is another reason why I absolutely appreciate this movie!!! Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips, Brian Blessed and many many others make the film a real pleasure to watch. Especially Sian Phillips as cruel Livia, Augustus' wife, gives her finest performance here. MASTERPIECE!!!
I would recommend everyone to see this mini-series. It is a wonderful experience. The history lesson that this film offers is better than studying history in high school for four years. I, CLAUDIUS is the splendor of CLEOPATRA combined with the violence of SPARTACUS, GLADIATOR and the decadence of CALIGULA. Everything is there with an utmost harmony. SPLENDID!
If you are interested in a more in-depth analysis of the serial, I invite you to read my comments on all thirteen episodes of I CLAUDIUS from "A Touch of Murder" to "Old King Log"
49 of 60 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?