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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 25,309 users  
Reviews: 283 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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Title: Caligula (1979)

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Cast

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

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orion Pictures was offered to pick up the film at the suggesting of its distribution partner, Warner Brothers. Film producer Mike Medavoy was an executive at Orion, and in his book "You're Only as Good as Your Next One," he recalled that he and another studio head were offended with what they saw. The producer of "Caligula" knew it, and all he could say to the executives is if they liked the art direction. "You bet we did," wrote Medavoy, "But that was about all we liked." See more »

Goofs

Most of the penises seen in the movie are obviously circumcised. However, circumcision was not practiced in Rome. 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 Comix from the Underground: Deviant Slice #1 (2012) 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 misunderstood classic.
8 March 2000 | by (San Diego, Ca) – See all my reviews

CALIGULA is a terribly misunderstood film. I believe too many people think of it as a cheap porno, and bash it due to that. "All porn is bad," right?

CALIGULA was a daring film experiment incorporating big-name, established talent, and the raw energy of under ground film techniques. What results is nothing short of a fascinating product.

All of the acting is very good. Malcolm McDowell plays psychotic villains so well, one can't help but think he's like that in real life. His portrayal of Gaius Caligula just drips with maniacal megalomania. The little-known Teresa Ann Savoy is convincing as Drusilla, Caligula's sister. And Peter O'Toole's Tiberius Caesar, whose diseased face is rotting away, is truly an oddity to behold...put he pulls it off well. The acting in general is all very good.

The use of music is also to be noted. There are original, evocative pieces written for the film by Paul Clemente, no doubt a talented composer.

While some of the photography is stilted in this film, for the most part it's gorgeous. A lot of people say the colors are "dark" and "washed out", but I think that lends to the grittiness of the film.

Danilo Donati's sets are big and well designed, it kind of shocks you to see someone getting a blow job in them. They look like they belong in a run-of-the-mill Hollywood produced film. Aren't all pornos supposed to be filmed in the director's back yard?

And that right there is the point of the film. To shock you; you can't believe you're seeing what you're seeing. Beyond the violence and the sex is a well written, acted, and photographed film.

I have spoken!


312 of 419 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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