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Caligula (1979)

Unrated  |   |  Adult, Drama, History  |  15 February 1980 (USA)
5.2
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 25,139 users  
Reviews: 282 user | 125 critic

Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula.

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writer:

(original screenplay)
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Teresa Ann Savoy ...
Guido Mannari ...
...
...
Giancarlo Badessi ...
Bruno Brive ...
Adriana Asti ...
Leopoldo Trieste ...
Paolo Bonacelli ...
John Steiner ...
...
Livia (as Mirella Dangelo)
...
Rick Parets ...
Mnester (as Richard Parets)
Paula Mitchell ...
Subura Singer
Edit

Storyline

The rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor Caligula, showing the violent methods that he employs to gain the throne, and the subsequent insanity of his reign - he gives his horse political office and humiliates and executes anyone who even slightly displeases him. He also sleeps with his sister, organises elaborate orgies and embarks on a fruitless invasion of Britain before meeting an appropriate end. There are various versions of the film, ranging from the heavily truncated 90-minute version to the legendary 160-minute hardcore version which leaves nothing to the imagination (though the hardcore scenes were inserted later and do not involve the main cast members). Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most controversial film of the 20th century is now the most controversial film of the 21st century. See more »

Genres:

Adult | Drama | History

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caligula  »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,669 (USA) (17 September 1999)

Gross:

$23,438,120 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated) | (recut) | (re-release)

Sound Mix:

(re-release: 1999)| (original release)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A Yugoslavian stallion named Davide was cast as Caligula's horse, Incitatus. See more »

Goofs

The credits say "Cast in Order of Appearence," but due to the heavy editing after the "director's cut", they are completely wrong in subsequent versions. Some characters credited in the beginning appear around the end, and vice versa. For example, Proculus is introduced early in the film, yet he is the last billed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Caligula: I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits of the Russian release mistakenly list Tinto Brass as the "camera operator," while Bob Guccione and Giancarlo Lui are given the honour of being listed as the "directors." See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Big Box: The Thirsty Dead (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Montagues Et Capulets (Dance of the Knights)
from the ballet Romeo and Juliet
by Sergei Prokofiev
Intro/Credit-music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A masterpiece of costume and actuality
19 November 1999 | by (SE, USA) – See all my reviews

I watched this movie the first time the night-before last.. and watched it again last night and again tonight.

This movie is far from pornography... only a few scenes are hardcore, and only a couple of these are even barely erotic. It does not exactly function as an historical epic, either.

The film quality and lighting would make it appear to date from the 1960s.

The script is mediocre. More drama could be added, however we do have to bear in mind that the Romans followed the school of Stoicism.

The acting (including Malcolm McDowell's) is nothing outstanding, with the exception of Peter O'Toole's Tiberius Caesar. He displays tragedy and lunacy, evoking reactions of disgust, sympathy, pity, and compassion. I found myself much more intrigued by his character and wishing the movie was about his decline from wisdom to near-madness, rather than Caligula. It also caused me to desire to learn more and research the actual life of Tiberius.

The film neither condemns, nor condones. That is probably how it should be.

Where this film succeeds monumentally is the costuming and unabridged realism. This is the first film I've seen to have a character wearing a toga like the one Caligula's sister (a design many Roman women actually wore) wears in the opening scene. The depiction of slaves and the acts of love and brutality are well-done. It is not erotic, it is not horrifying. With the hardcore scenes excised (the version i saw was the complete version), I believe this movie should be shown in every high school World History class. For centuries, Western culture has censored and toned-down representations of its Pagan past. The filmmakers must be applauded for attempting to make an honest epic.

I've become very hard to please when it comes to movies. The last movie I actually liked to a strong degree was Amadeus, which I saw two years ago. Despite its flaws, with its sheer amount of action and atmosphere, I believe this movie deserves a 10.




85 of 161 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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