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Caligula (1979) Poster

(1979)

Alternate Versions

The censored version of this film has been released of a few occasions in Australia. In March 1981, a censored, R rated release to cinemas was made by Roadshow. Roadshow Home Video subsequently released the same film version to video in September 1984. This version ran for 146 minutes (PAL). It was again re-released by a 'no name' video label in the late 1990's. The censored DVD version appeared in December 2004, released by Warner Vision. The uncut version has only been released on one occasion in Australia. This was the fully uncut, X rated 156 minute PAL version. It was released in January 1985 by 'Palace X Video' - a version that is now an extremely rare collector's item.
The film was released in Britain in two forms: the original cinema release ran 150 minutes and used a handful of alternate angles, while the video was cut down to 102 minutes by the distributor.
The French 2 disc special edition DVD contains a few minor re-edits:
  • in the prologue, the two brief shots of Priestesses dancing in the distance are deleted and replaced with repeats of Caligula and Drusilla frolicking around the trees.


  • The musical sting that accompanies the cut from the prologue to the opening credits is missing.


  • Malcolm McDowell's speech ("I have existed from the morning of the world...") is heard much sooner.


  • The opening credits are re-done in a new font.


  • The dissolve between the opening credits and the bedroom scene is deleted.


  • The music during the "War on Britain" celebration sequence is missing a few measures.


The old German VHS by Constantin was basically uncut. Since these Videos were made in the 80s, they put the 156 min film on two Videos with a running time of approx. 80 minutes. However, there are a few minor differences to the 156 min US-DVD:
  • The text at the very beginning of the film is deleted (approx. 60 seconds.)


  • The grotto scene is missing about 5 sec, not for censorship reasons but probably due to a sloppy reel-change.


  • The scene when the two women urinate on Proculus' corpse is missing Caligula saying: "Lucky boy, to have escaped me so easily!". Furthermore there is a repetition of the first and last scene from the Part I-VHS at the beginning of the Part II-VHS.


When the film was first released in the United Kingdom, it was trimmed down to about 150 minutes (in PAL speed) and included some alternate footage to replace the most explicit shots during the following scenes:
  • Tiberius' grotto.


  • Ennia's "beauty treatment."


  • The sexual ritual dance at the Temple of Isis.


  • Caligula's rape of Proculus and Livia.


  • The infamous lesbian tryst.


  • The Imperial Bordello sequence.


When the film was originally submitted in the UK it was cut by 8 minutes on legal grounds to qualify it for a possible private cinema club certificate, though the distributors decided instead to apply for an 'X' certificate for a wider cinema release. This meant that additional edits were required and the film was then cut by a further 3 minutes by James Ferman himself with extensive edits to scenes of masturbation, lesbianism, anal fisting, castration, graphic stabbing scenes, explicit genital closeups and shots of babies being fed through phallic-shaped bottles. The eventual 1990 video release was the extensively edited U.S R-rated print and 55 minutes were cut from the film, resulting in most of the sex & violence scenes being removed in full or edited via long shot camera angles and a running time of around 98 minutes. This same print was re-released on video in 1998 and all early DVD releases. In 2008 the BBFC passed the full hardcore version completely uncut and this was issued by Arrow Films in a 3 film set, also containing the Alternate Edit of the film (which replaced the Guccione-filmed hardcore scenes with footage not in the original edit) and the previously released R-rated print.
The 'Alternative Version' of the film - as well as removing/replacing the hardcore footage, has some scenes in a different order, which is how Tinto Brass originally intended it. For example, the opening scene of Caligula and Drusilla frolicking in the woods happens much later in the film, and the first scene is of Caligula being scared by the crow. This new version corrects many continuity errors in the film, for example - Caligula suddenly growing a beard.
A version running 133 minutes, containing a "softcore" selection of sex scenes, and rated "18+" was shown on German TV.
A new print running approximately to what was thought to be Tinto Brass' original specifications (but subject to BBFC guidelines and therefore featuring some creative panning and scanning to avoid offensive images) was prepared for broadcast in the UK in November 1999.
The first R-rated cut to be released (October 1981) cut 51 minutes of footage (much of it for continuity purposes) and contained many alternate angles. It had the following changes:
  • The opening scene is trimmed; instead of panning from the herd of sheep to Caligula and Drusilla lying on the ground, looking at the leaves, then getting up to chase each other, it's simply a cut from the herd of sheep to Caligula and Drusilla getting up. Later in the scene, they cut back to the herd of sheep to hide the cutting of Caligula sucking Drusilla's breast. The final several seconds of the scene are also cut to avoid exposing Drusilla's genitalia.


  • The scene following the credits is shortened; it cuts from Drusilla saying "he's not!" to Macro entering the room. Several shots are juggled around, and Caligula's line "Macro!" is moved to a different shot. The final few seconds of the scene are trimmed, calling for a much quicker dissolve than in the original cut.


  • The start of the scene in which Caligula is being carried to the palace while nude slaves work on the road is trimmed to avoid showing male genitalia.


  • The scene by Tiberius's pool includes many alternate angles, juggled shots, and rearranged dialogue to avoid showing male genitalia (and a new laugh is dubbed over at the end as Tiberius exits the pool).


  • The scene in Tiberius's grotto is almost entirely alternate angles in the segments involving the drunk soldier, and in the pleasure building. As well, many shots and lines of dialogue are juggled around.


  • The scene in which Caligula expresses his fears of being killed by Tiberius to Drusilla, and where he is frightened by a black bird is cut entirely.


  • In the "morning at Capri" scene, several shots exposing genitalia are cut, as is the brief scene of three senators bathing in red mud, and Caligula's fantasies of torturing people.


  • The entire scene where Charicles explains the condition of Tiberius to Caligula, and in which Macro swears his allegiance to Caligula is cut.


  • The "coronation" scene is trimmed by excluding a brief moment in which Caligula stops in the middle of his speech to sniff a white object in Drusilla's hand.


  • The two explicit shots of fellatio behind the moon face in Caligula's bedroom are cut.


  • The entire scene where Caligula "judges" a land dispute is cut.


  • The entire scene where Caligula banishes Ennia and hears about Macro's sentence is cut.


  • The Temple of Isis scene is trimmed to remove graphic sex, and is shortened; the scene ends with Caligula saying it is "perfect" that Caesonia is the most promiscuous woman in Rome.


  • The "killing machine" scene is trimmed to remove all but one quick shot of decapitation. The shot of Macro being beheaded is replaced with a long shot of the same act. Also, the dissolve between this scene and the next is cut.


  • The rape of Livia and Proculus is drastically shortened-the scene ends on a close-up of Proculus just after Caligula tells Livia to take off her clothes.


  • The scene where Caligula does his "little boots" dance in the rain is shortened to remove nudity. The sex scene between Drusilla, Caesonia, and Caligula (as well as between Messalina and Agrippina) is cut altogether.


  • The entire sequence with Caligula getting sick, his recovery, as well as when he signs documents and executes Proculus (then sees the black bird again) is deleted, but the shot of the crowd outside the palace is kept, and used as an establishing shot for the next scene.


  • The scene where Caesonia gives birth is trimmed to remove the exposure of the infant's head coming through the vagina.


  • The scene where Caligula licks Drusilla's corpse is parially at an alternate angle.


  • The shot of Caligula wandering the streets with several women crouching in the background was cut.


  • The scene where Longinus discusses Caligula's whereabouts with Caesonia is cut.


  • The jail scene is shortened to remove the giant's coin trick.


  • The Imperial Bordello scene uses many alternate angles, and deletes all but a few seconds of the Guccione inserts.


  • The Battle of Britain scene is missing a brief conversation between Chaerea and Caligula.


  • The Celebration scene is shortened to remove shots of pearls mounted in vaginas, and has the end missing; The scene ends just after Caligula shouts "EAT!"


  • Caligula, Caesonia, Julia, and the giant's death scenes are all trimmed to remove more graphic moments (i.e. Julia's head against the stone, closeups of Caligula being stabbed by the guards, etc).


There is much incorrect and misleading information concerning the various versions of this film. In America, only three versions have been made available publicly (either for video or theatrical release):
  • The "uncut, uncensored, and unrated" cut. This was first released in theaters in February, 1980 with a running time of 156 minutes. When it was released on video, CED and laserdisc in January of 1984, the film was time compressed down to 148 minutes (though the laserdisc mistakenly states on the cover that the film is 143 minutes). This version was released again on video and laserdisc in 1989, still at 148 minutes from time compression. In 1999, it was re-released in theaters and on DVD back at 156 minutes, without time compression.


  • The first "R" rated version. This was first released in October of 1981 after it seemed unlikely that the film could make its money back in an X rated form. This version ran for 105 minutes, featured many alternate angles, and cut many scenes for the purpose of continuity and pacing. This version was released on video, CED, and laserdisc in January of 1981, time compressed to 101 minutes (and with an afterword in which Bob Guccione encourages the viewer to return the R version and purchase the unrated version via the postal service). This version has not been in release in the United States since.


  • The second "R" rated version. This version was released on DVD in 1999, and used no alternate angles; the film was sloppily cut from the aforementioned unrated version. However, because it eliminates many dramatic scenes that the 1981 R-rated version also eliminates, it appears to have been modeled after the previous R-rated version. However, unlike with the 1981 edit, alternate material was not available, so the (uncredited) editor simply repeated several shots to cover up gaps in the film. This caused for enormous lapses in continuity during some of the most graphic scenes (especially in Tiberius's grotto). This version runs 102 minutes.


In 1984, Franco Rosselini hired the editor Enzo Micarelli to re-edit a longer, pre-release version of the film for release in Italy, which he re-titled "Io, Caligola." This version ran 133 minutes until the censors forced Rossellini to cut it down, first to 87 minutes, then back to 123 minutes. The ten minutes worth of cuts may explain some of the abrupt changes in music during the most explicit scenes. It contains some alternate angles and a few additional bits not found in the better-known 156 minute "uncut" version. As well, some of the music has been replaced with a new score by Renzo Rossellini. This version contains the following differences with the 156 minute version:
  • The entire film is re-dubbed into Italian.


  • The prologue of Caligula and Drusilla in the forest is deleted.


  • The opening credits appear not over the "bleeding eye" logo, but over a still from the scene of Tiberius's funeral. The "Montagues and Capulets" music in the original has been replaced with a new (more epic-sounding) main theme by Renzo Rossellini.


  • The opening scene of Caligula awakening in bed with Drusilla, then being scared by a black bird is in its proper place(it appeared about twenty minutes too late in the "uncut" version). However, it is missing a couple of lines of dialogue ("Shh. You're safe. You're with me." "He's going to kill us. Just the way he killed our father, our mother, and our brothers."). There are a few additional shots when the bird enters the room (not to mention an amusing new sound effect of the bird crowing), and the entire first part of the scene (up until Caligula gets off the bed) is from an alternate angle/take. After the bird is gone, there is additional dialogue between Caligula and Drusilla where they laugh about it (and Drusilla telling Caligula that "it's only a bird" is a different take). Once they're on the bed again, their conversation about Marcellus is gone (causing a jump cut from Caligula fondling her hair to the two of them making out).


  • A new establishing shot (which appears to have been lensed by Franco Rossellini himself) of the island of Capri is inserted between the scene in Caligula's room and the scene of Caligula being taken to the palace. Therefore, the dissolve between the two scenes is deleted (save a few frames at the end of the first scene that are just barely noticable).


  • The scene by Tiberius's pool is altered in several places. When he first appears, Tiberius calls out "Caligula!" not once (like in the 156 minute version), but twice. During Caligula's dance, the shot of the musicians playing by the pool and the closeup of a boy's ass going underwater are both gone, both without regard for the music track. Part of Claudius's laugh is overdubbed by the Italian actor who dubbed his voice, but part of it sounds like Giancarlo Badessi's original. A shot that depicted one of Tiberius's "little fishies" genitals as he kneels is awkwardly cut-it removes the kneeling only, causing a jump cut. Tiberius's dialogue on how he "protects their innocence" is cut, meaning that the scene abruptly cuts from him saying "My little fishies love me" to the boy and the girl standing beside him jumping into the pool. Some redundant dialogue is cut toward the middle of the scene, so Tiberius now says "Heaven help Rome when I'm gone! I'm old. All the others, struck down by fate!", removing the specific references to his remaining choice of heir. The beginning of the shot of Caligula hugging Tiberius is trimmed, so the shot begins with Tiberius patting Caligula on the back.


  • The grotto scene is also greatly changed. The scene of the drunk soldier being tortured with more wine is cut, as is his subsequent execution. The end of the first cutaway in the 3-story sex building is trimmed, removing the shot of a woman's ass coming forward on a swing. The next cutaway, of a man being masturbated by a woman as reflected through a distorting mirror, is trimmed to remove the display of male genitalia. The closeup of the nymph is gone, but she's still visible and her line of dialogue ("Britain, lord") is intact. The two ends of the scene come together well enough that the resulting jump cut is hardly noticeable. The dialogue involving Tiberius asking Caligula whether he prefers "nymphs to satyrs" is deleted. The "More Conviction!" bit is deleted, and as a result, the exchange between Caligula and Tiberius becomes: Tiberius-"Rome is a republic, and you and I are plain citizens." Caligula-"Oh, but they love you, lord." Tiberius-"Oh, no. They fear me, and that is much better." The closeup of a woman rubbing her genitals is gone, as is Caligula's reaction shot. (It's interesting to note that the long shot of the whole building remains intact here, even though it still shows the soldier being tortured). Some dialogue is cut when Tiberius and Caligula are on the bottom floor, so Tiberius's speech becomes "We were frugal, good, disciplined and DIGNIFIED! Oh, yes, I am a true moralist. And stern as any cato. Fate chose me to govern swine, and in my old age, I've become a swineherd." This also eliminates most of the shots of the freaks on display. The long shot of Gemellus coming down the stairs is deleted, and thus, so is Tiberius's line "-the setting sun, and the rising moon..." As Tiberius and Gemellus exit the room, it cuts from Tiberius's line "...unless he is dead before I am!" to the cutaway showing the 3-story sex building. This eliminates a line of dialogue from Tiberius, a long shot of the stairs, and Caligula walking over to the podium where Tiberius stamps documents.


  • The first half of Nerva's suicide is probably the most changed portion of the film. As opposed to the 156 minute version, where Baragli's score filled the soundtrack, the scene is completely without music here. First, the shot of Macro and Ennia coming up to Caligula's room is longer-it shows their shadows against the curtains as they walk towards the entrance. As well, Caligula plays with Ennia's scarf for a few seconds once she is in the room. The beginning of Tiberius's discovery of Nerva's condition is missing-it begins with the long shot of Tiberius saying "Bind his wrists! Bind his wrists!" Once Caligula comes over to find out what the commotion is about, a group of guards run across the room. Tiberius's pleading for Nerva to live is both shortened and at an alternate angle. After Nerva says that he hates his life, Ennia and Macro appear, finding Tiberius and Caligula looking on as Nerva dies. There is an exchange of glances, and then Tiberius tells the two senators looking on to leave (a different angle/take), and Caligula chases out Macro and Ennia. The rest of the scene is unchanged (the shot of Caligula entering the room in the 156 minute version is actually the shot of him coming back in after telling Macro and Ennia to leave).


  • The "morning at Capri" scene only shows the guards sleeping, the men waking up on the floor of the grotto, a naked woman in the grotto lying down, and the servants cleaning the walkway. The cuts interrupt the music and sound effects in this scene as well.


  • Caligula discussing Tiberius's condition begins with Caligula halfway down the stairs.


  • The scene where Caligula takes the ring from Tiberius's finger has different, almost spaghetti western-sounding music.


  • During the coronation, there are a few additional reaction shots during the beginning of Caligula's speech of Macro, the priests, Claudius, Gemellus, and Drusilla listening. However, the part where Caligula sniffs an onion to make himself cry is deleted.


  • The scene where Caligula finds two young guards performing fellatio behind the moonface is reduced to a medium shot of the act, and it goes on for less than two seconds.


  • The scene where Caligula "judges" a land dispute is gone.


  • All closeups of slaves jerking off for Ennia to use as skin cream are gone, but less than two seconds of a medium shot of the act remains. Caligula's urinating is gone. The cuts disrupt the music in this scene.


  • The Temple of Isis has been edited quite a bit, and contains completely different music (also, the previous scene ends early, removing Caligula's line "I wonder what I should wear"). The scene begins with the main shot of the priestesses rather than the closeups found in the 156 minute version. Almost all shots of the orgy in the pool are gone. Drusilla's line "Not your style" immediately cuts to the first closeup of Caesonia. A rotating, overhead shot of the pool is added at the end.


  • The scene where Caligula and Caesonia have sex for the first time is trimmed. It goes from Caligula turning her on her hands and knees to Caesonia's remark "You're very convincing as a priestess, Caesar" (resulting in a jump cut). After Caligula gives his reply, it cuts to the pan away at the end of the scene, only with Caesonia's moan dubbed over it.


  • The killing machine opens not with the closeup of a man being decapitated, as in the 156 minute version, but with the overhead shot of the blades as the machine moved along. The only shot of decapitation retained is that of the second prisoner. Macro's decapitation is completely left to the imagination. It shows people throwing fruit at him, then suddenly, Caligula says his famous "just one neck" comment. Interestingly, one remark from the crowd ("What's it feel like now, Macro?") is left in English. What follows is a scene deleted entirely from the 156 minute version-As Caligula begins to talk to Longinus about Proculus, it suddenly cuts to a long shot of the imperial box, then it shows the guards going over to Proculus's seat and throwing him into the stadium with the killing machine. Proculus kills all the guards on the killing machine until he gets to the top. Once he's there, Caligula salutes him as a Roman hero, sending him a crown of flowers.


  • The wedding scene is trimmed both to pick up the pace, and to make the film less graphic. Caligula asking Proculus if Livia is a virgin is gone, as is him throwing his clothes over her and commenting on how she's lucky to lose her virginity to a descendant of Venus. Caligula's noticing the blood from her genitals, saying that she really was a virgin, and asking Proculus if he is one is all cut, covered by the use of a shot of Livia laying on her side, which was actually used later in the scene in the 156 minute version (causing a jump cut). Caligula does ask Proculus to take off his clothes, but once he gets him on the table, it suddenly cuts to him saying "My blessing to you both", and putting the flower in his ass.


  • The scene where Caligula, Drusilla, and Caesonia make love is almost completely different in tone. All of Bob Guccione's inserts depicting two lesbian models making love are gone, but the shots of the moon face that segue into them are intact. The scene now begins with the ladies-in-waiting sitting down, then cutting to Caligula and Drusilla kissing, then Caligula fondling her breasts, then it cuts to the shot of Caesonia and Drusilla kissing, then panning down. The scene ends there, and it contains an entirely different, and decidedly more ominous music score.


  • The beginning of the scene in Incitatus's stable is missing.


  • The scene where Caligula is ill is simplified-when Caligula asks for Drusilla, she comes, and THEN they have their conversation about how they quarrel. All the dialogue dealing with the conspirators planning for Caligula's death, as well as Caligula making out his will, is gone.


  • Proculus's death is intact up to the point where he is urinated on, that is cut. Caligula tells Longinus to cut off Proculus's genitals, and then he walks away. End of scene.


  • The birth of Julia Drusilla is edited to remove the actual shots of a woman giving birth.


  • Drusilla's death is edited. Instead of Caligula licking her corpse, it shows him licking her feet, and then jump cuts to him coming back up after licking her whole body. The final shot of the scene is completely different-the 156 minute version shows Caligula walking around the palace screaming "NO!". "Io, Caligola" shows a red-tinted scene of him carrying her corpse on the veranda.


  • The scene of Caesonia asking Longinus where Caligula is is deleted here.


  • The scene in the jail begins with Caligula coming down the chute. The scene of the giant doing a coin trick with a woman's vagina is deleted.


  • The imperial bordello scene is almost unrecognizable. The shots of the senators wives looking scared are deleted. Bits and pieces of Guccione's inserts are presented at seemingly random points, all with a nearly completely different music score (the piece from Cinderella is still intact, but it carries over to the next scene).


  • The scene of Caligula walking around the palace at night has two inserts of the moon that are not present in the 156 minute version.


  • The film ends with a still of Incitatus running away, rather than the closeup of Caligula's dead face. The new theme runs over the credits.


The British DVD (running approx. 90 minutes) appears to be the same as the old American R-rated version. It contains several shots not included in the "complete, unedited and unrated"-US DVD.
The German VHS and DVD-release by Eurovideo has been cut by about 8 minutes.

See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Connections | Soundtracks

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