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Caligula (1979)

Caligola (original title)
Unrated | | Drama, History | 15 February 1980 (USA)
Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula.


, (uncredited) | 1 more credit »


(original screenplay)
715 ( 95)

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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 ...
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


What would you have done if you had been given absolute power of life and death over everybody else in the whole world? 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?


After Maria Schneider's abrupt departure, Katharine Ross was briefly considered for the role of Drusilla, but in the end, after some heavy lobbying by Tinto Brass, Teresa Ann Savoy ended up getting the part. See more »


Naevius Sutorius Macro committed suicide in 38 AD after his arrest, and would not have been executed as depicted. 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.
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 »


Referenced in Hawaii Five-0: Mohai (2012) See more »


We Are One
Written by Tony Biggs
Performed by Lydia
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"A viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world"
13 May 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Maybe it helps to be familiar with the history, Art, and literature of the Ancient Rome because "Caligula" is surprisingly truthful adaptation of the chapter about Caligula in "The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquillus, the Roman Historian. If you read the chapter dedicated to Nero, you'll be even more shocked because Nero was always fascinated by his uncle Caligula (he was a son of Caligula's sister Agrippina who later became a wife of Claudius who adopted Nero and made him the heir for the title and the power of Roman Emperor). Anyway, Nero made Caligula his role model and managed to surpass his uncle's' notorious fame.

The movie is notoriously famous for the plentiful scenes of real sex, including incest, necrophilia, rape, and orgies. The movie also includes quite nasty and gruesome scenes of torture, executions, murders, and humiliations but all of the events have been documented in the historical documents that still exist.

I don't think of the movie as a masterpiece or even a good movie for all of its 2.5 hours. It actually reminds the life of real Caligula. In his childhood and youth, he was adored by Roman people and especially by the army and he was a promising young man. When he grew up as a heir to the cruel and suspicious Tiberius, he had to hide his feelings and go through many humiliations in order to survive. Shrewd Tiberius said about his adopted grandson that "never humankind knew the better slave and the worse ruler than Caligula" and that he was rearing "a viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world."

When the young man finally received an access to the absolute power it had absolutely corrupted him. It is also known that soon after becoming head of Roman Empire, Caligula suffered an illness and as the result of it, he became incredibly nasty, cruel, and suspicious man who had indulged in the worst acts of debauchery, cruelty, and sadism. The movie follows this pattern. I still think that it is an interesting movie with very good actors. Not every day you can see porn with Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole, Sir John Gielgud, and of course, Mr. Clockwork Orange himself, Malcolm McDowell.

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