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Caligula (1979)
"Caligola" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, History  |  15 February 1980 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 26,210 users  
Reviews: 283 user | 131 critic

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


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(original screenplay)
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2 nominations. See more awards »
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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


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


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


Drama | History


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caligula  »

Box Office


$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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


$23,438,120 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

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



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Citizens for Decency through Law, a private watchdog group which protested against films which it deemed immoral, sought to prevent the film's exhibition in Fairlawn, Ohio on the grounds that it would be a "public nuisance", leading Penthouse to withdraw the film from exhibition there to avoid another trial. CDL's lawyer advised against attempting to prosecute Penthouse for obscenity and instead recommended a civil proceeding, because the film would not be placed against the Miller test. The Penthouse attorney described the Fairlawn events as being driven by conservative morality reinforced by Ronald Reagan's presidential victory, stating, "Apparently, these extremists have interpreted a change by administration to mean a clarion call for a mandate to shackle the public's mind again." See more »


Nerva is shown killing himself in the year 37 AD. However, he died circa 33 AD. See more »


[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.
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits are shown over a bleeding coin. See more »


from Spartacus (1960)
Written by Aram Khachaturyan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A tasteless and overblown farrago despite the presence of great actor as Gielgud, O'Toole, McDowell, and Helen Mirren
6 September 2008 | by (Mexico) – See all my reviews

The film builds around one of the most notoriously decadent of the Roman emperors, Caligula… The movie covers his rise to power, his four-year rule, and his bloody assassination… His vile deeds include crashing a wedding and sexually abusing the bride and groom, playing erotic fantasies with his sister (who is also his lover) and turning the Imperial Palace into an exclusive brothel…

For a really big-money film, the treatment of the sexual scenes is daringly explicit, but somehow the obsession with it makes the film uneven… It blends very good actors, O'Toole and McDowell, with some simple-minded Penthouse models… The overall effect is disappointing...

Guccione does deserve a hand for the exquisite sets, costumes, production values, and very fine cinematography…

42 of 75 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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