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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Contrary to the popular beliefs, the infamous 210 minute pre-release version of the film never existed. The mix-up came from an erroneous film program printed for the first public screen of "Caligula" at the Cannes Trade Festival (not to be confused with the Cannes Film Festival that occurs around the same time of the year) that stated that the entirety of the "Caligula Screening" runs 210 minutes. What it forgot to say, however, was that both the film (in its 156 minute edition) and the one hour making-of featurette were shown back to back that night, thus creating the three and a half hour running time. See more »
Naevius Sutorius Macro committed suicide in 38 AD after his arrest, and would not have been executed as depicted. See more »
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 »
Due to numerous pending lawsuits and settlements at the time of the film's release, no one is technically fully credited for writing and directing the finished film. See more »
This film, as with all, has good points and bad points.
In general, I feel that the good ones far outweigh the bad.
The film simply gives the story of the rise and death of Emperor Caligula in a very straight-forward manner. Indeed, it can be seen as shocking, but I think that this is a side-effect of it's desire to be realistic, rather than a deliberate act on the part of the film-makers.
The cinematography and camera work is awful. The huge sets seem at times almost claustrophobic which is an absolute crime considering the magnificence of them. There is also too much emphasis on Caligula himself, to the detriment of revealing some important traits in other characters, making them seem somewhat shallow at times.
The sex scenes are very well placed within the context of the film. I thought that only two scenes stood out as being unnecessarily overt, but for the most part, the explicitness is on the fringe of the focus of each scene, while also playing a major part in the atmosphere.
Never once did I feel that any dialogue was out of place, nor did the acting strike me as being bad.
By far the biggest problem with this film is the fact that the sexual content is widely advertised and therefore anticipated before viewing. This may cause people to focus dominantly on those scenes without really looking at the film as a whole. For me, it enhanced the film. Not in a particularly titillating way, but in the fact that there was no compromise during scenes of sexual acts. Roman orgies are regarded to have been extremely opulent and promiscuous - I found it refreshing to see one as it may have actually been rather than lots of fully-clothed laughing fat men pouring red wine over their faces and eating grapes while draped with female automatons.
In summary, Caligula definitely has it's place in film history due to it's controversy, but if you look beyond that controversy, you should find a rather good film which neatly tells the story of how power can turn someone into a madman.
133 of 199 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?