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Caligula (1979) More at IMDbPro »Caligola (original title)

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Gore Vidal (original screenplay)
View company contact information for Caligula on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 February 1980 (USA) See more »
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 »
Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
The Ben-Hur of Porn: Gratuitous Sex, Violence, & Weirdness See more (279 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Malcolm McDowell ... Caligula
Teresa Ann Savoy ... Drusilla
Guido Mannari ... Macro

John Gielgud ... Nerva

Peter O'Toole ... Tiberius
Giancarlo Badessi ... Claudius
Bruno Brive ... Gemellus
Adriana Asti ... Ennia
Leopoldo Trieste ... Charicles
Paolo Bonacelli ... Chaerea
John Steiner ... Longinus

Mirella D'Angelo ... Livia (as Mirella Dangelo)

Helen Mirren ... Caesonia
Rick Parets ... Mnester (as Richard Parets)
Paula Mitchell ... Subura Singer
Osiride Pevarello ... Giant
Donato Placido ... Proculus
Anneka Di Lorenzo ... Messalina
Lori Wagner ... Agrippina
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Allen ... Macro (voice) (uncredited)
Gerardo Amato ... Roman Soldier (uncredited)
Pino Ammendola ... Roman Soldier (uncredited)
Eduardo Bergara Leumann ... High Priest of Rome (uncredited)
Signe Berger ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Eolo Capritti ... The Executioner (uncredited)
Valerie Rae Clark ... Priestess of Isis / Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Maria Cumani Quasimodo ... Priestess of Isis (uncredited)
Lucky Fellows ... Man in Imperial Brothel (uncredited)
Jane Hargrave ... Priestess of Isis / Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Henrietta Kelogg ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
John Francis Lane ... Guest at Proculus' Wedding (uncredited)
Giuseppe Maffioli ... Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Juliet Morris ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Carolyn Patsis ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Susanne Saxon ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Melanie Sutherland ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)
Bonnie Dee Wilson ... Imperial Brothel Worker (uncredited)

Directed by
Tinto Brass (principal photography)
Bob Guccione (additional footage) (uncredited)
Giancarlo Lui (additional footage) (uncredited)
Writing credits
Gore Vidal (original screenplay)

Bob Guccione  additional scenes (uncredited)
Giancarlo Lui  additional scenes (uncredited)
Franco Rossellini  dialogue (1984 version) (uncredited)

Produced by
Bob Guccione .... producer
Franco Rossellini .... producer
Franco Rossellini .... line producer (uncredited)
Jack H. Silverman .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Bruno Nicolai  (as Paul Clemente)
Renzo Rossellini (1984)
Cinematography by
Silvano Ippoliti (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Nino Baragli 
Enzo Micarelli (1984 version)
Russell Lloyd (uncredited)
Casting by
Paolo Heusch 
Roberto Tatti 
Art Direction by
Danilo Donati 
Costume Design by
Danilo Donati (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Giuseppe Banchelli .... makeup artist (as Guiseppe Banchelli)
Iole Cecchini .... hair stylist (as Jole Cecchini)
Production Management
Mario Di Biase .... production manager
Sergio Galiano .... unit manager
Augusto Marabelli .... production supervisor
Alessandro Mattei .... production supervisor
Franco Rossellini .... post-production supervisor (1984 version)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Piernico Solinas .... first assistant director
Luca Ronchi .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Gianpiero Grassi .... property master
Domenico Mancino .... blacksmith
Giovanni Natalucci .... architect
Luigi Urbani .... set dresser
Franco Velchi .... architect
Sound Department
Marco Di Biase .... boom operator
Gerry Humphreys .... dubbing mixer
Archie Ludski .... dialogue editor
Claudio Maielli .... sound engineer
Giuliano Maielli .... boom operator
Stefano Morandi .... sound mixer (1984 version)
Robin O'Donoghue .... dubbing mixer
Winston Ryder .... supervising sound editor
Roger Van Engel .... sound editor
Special Effects by
Franco Celli .... special effects
Marcello Coccia .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Adams .... special photographer
Jerry Bauer .... special photographer
Giuseppe Di Biase .... camera operator (as Pino Di Biase)
Bob Guccione .... cinematographer: additional scenes
Giancarlo Lui .... cinematographer: additional scenes
Stan Malinowski .... special photographer
Claudio Patriarca .... special photographer
Enrico Sasso .... camera operator
Mario Tursi .... unit photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Gloria Musetta .... wardrobe mistress (as Gloria Picone Mussetta)
Gregorio Simili .... wardrobe master
Editorial Department
Peter Krook .... assistant editor
Giancarlo Lui .... post-production director
Enzo Natale .... post-production coordinator (1984 version)
Stuart Urban .... assistant editor
Music Department
Bruno Nicolai .... conductor (as Paul Clemente)
Bruno Nicolai .... orchestrator (as Paul Clemente)
Other crew
Walter Alford .... unit publicist
Ferruccio Amendola .... dubbing director (1984 version)
Carla Cipriani .... continuity
Bruno Di Bartolomei .... accountant
Leslie Jay .... assistant to producers
Tito LeDuc .... choreographer (as Tito Le Duc)
Giuseppe Maffioli .... consultant: gastronomy
Giuseppe Pennese .... choreographer (as Pino Pennese)
Franco Rossellini .... director: additional scenes (1984 version)
Maria Ruhle .... unit publicist
Louise Vincent .... dialogue director
Masolino D'Amico .... translator (uncredited)
Paula Mitchell .... researcher (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Caligola" - Italy (original title)
See more »
156 min | Spain:137 min | USA:102 min (R-rated version) | Italy:123 min (recut version) | USA:148 min (re-release)
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Dolby (re-release: 1999) | Mono (original release)
Argentina:18 | Australia:R (Original rating) (uncut) | Australia:(Banned) (classification refused) | Australia:R (cut) | Australia:(Banned) (original rating) | Australia:Refused Classification (2005) | Australia:X (Video rating) (1984) | Australia:R (re-rating, cut) (1981) | Belgium:16 (DVD rating) | Belgium:KNT (original rating) | Belgium:16 (video rating) | Brazil:18 | Canada:R (Manitoba/Ontario) | Canada:(Banned) (Nova Scotia) (original rating) | Canada:(Banned) (Ontario) (original rating) | Canada:R (Nova Scotia) (re-rating) (2007) | Chile:18 | Denmark:16 | Denmark:15 (DVD rating) | Finland:K-18 (uncut) (2001) | Finland:K-18 (heavily cut) (1981) | France:-16 | France:X (DVD release) | Germany:BPjM Restricted | Germany:18 (SPIO/JK) (cut) | Hong Kong:III | Iceland:16 (cut) | Iceland:(Banned) (original rating) | Italy:VM18 | Japan:R-18 | Malaysia:(Banned) | Mexico:D | Netherlands:16 | Netherlands:18 (orginal rating) | New Zealand:R18 | Norway:18 | Peru:18 | Portugal:M/18 (DVD rating) (uncut) | South Korea:18 (cut) | Spain:X | Spain:18 | Sweden:15 | UK:X (original rating: 1980) (cut) | UK:18 (uncut version) | USA:Unrated | USA:R (heavily cut) | USA:X (self applied MA for "Mature Audiences") | USA:Unrated (uncut) | West Germany:18 (nf)

Did You Know?

The child-birth scene where Caesonia gives birth was an actual child-birth which was filmed in three takes using three different pregnant women extras and later edited together.See more »
Factual errors: Charea proclaims Claudius emperor after killing Caligula and his family. In reality, it was another Praetorian who proclaimed Claudius as emperor; Charea had been planning to kill Claudius as well to eliminate the entire imperial family.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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The 75th Annual Academy Awards (2003) (TV)See more »
Adagio Of Spartacus And PhrygiaSee more »


Is this film historically accurate?
Why was the IMDb title for the film used to be listed as "Caligola?"
What's the deal with the 210 minute version? Why wasn't it included on the new DVD set?
See more »
222 out of 314 people found the following review useful.
The Ben-Hur of Porn: Gratuitous Sex, Violence, & Weirdness, 23 April 2005
Author: gftbiloxi ( from Biloxi, Mississippi

Some describe CALIGULIA as "the" most controversial film of its era. While this is debatable, it is certainly one of the most embarrassing: virtually every big name associated with the film made an effort to distance themselves from it. Author Gore Vidal actually sued (with mixed results) to have his name removed from the film, and when the stars saw the film their reactions varied from loudly voiced disgust to strategic silence. What they wanted, of course, was for it to go away.

For a while it looked like it might. CALIGULA was a major box-office and critical flop (producer Guccione had to rent theatres in order to get it screened at all), and although the film was released on VHS to the home market so many censorship issues were raised that it was re-edited, and the edited version was the only one widely available for more than a decade. But now CALIGULIA is on DVD, available in both edited "R" and original "Unrated" versions. And no doubt John Gielgud is glad he didn't live to see it happen.

The only way to describe CALIGULIA is to say it is something like DEEP THROAT meets David Lynch's DUNE by way of Fellini having an off day. Vidal's script fell into the hands of Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, who used Vidal's reputation to bankroll the project and lure the big name stars--and then threw out most of Vidal's script and brought in soft-porn director Tinto Brass. Then, when Guccione felt Brass' work wasn't explicit enough, he and Giancarlo Lui photographed hardcore material on the sly.

Viewers watching the edited version may wonder what all the fuss is about, but those viewing the original cut will quickly realize that it leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. There is a tremendous amount of nudity, and that remains in the edited version, but the original comes complete with XXX scenes: there is very explicit gay, lesbian, and straight sex, kinky sex, and a grand orgy complete with dancing Roman guards thrown in for good measure. The film is also incredibly violent and bloody, with rape, torture, and mutilation the order of the day. In one particularly disturbing scene, a man is slowly stabbed to death, a woman urinates on his corpse, and his genitals are cut off and thrown to the dogs.

In a documentary that accompanies the DVD release, Guccione states he wanted the film to reflect the reality of pagan Rome. If so, he missed the mark. We know very little about Caligula--and what little we know is questionable at best. That aside, orgies and casual sex were not a commonplace of Roman society, where adultery was an offense punishable by death. And certainly ancient Rome NEVER looked like the strange, slightly Oriental, oddly space-age sets and costumes offered by the designers.

On the plus side, those sets and costumes are often fantastically beautiful, and although the cinematography is commonplace it at least does them justice; the score is also very, very good. The most successful member of the cast is Helen Mirren, who manages to engage our interests and sympathies as the Empress Caesonia; Gielgud and O'Toole also escape in reasonably good form. The same cannot be said for McDowell, but in justice to him he doesn't have much to work with.

The movie does possess a dark fascination, but ultimately it is an oddity, more interesting for its design and flat-out weirdness than for content. Some of the bodies on display (including McDowell's and Mirren's) are extremely beautiful, and some of the sex scenes work very well as pornography... but then again, some of them are so distasteful they might drive you to abstinence, and the bloody and grotesque nature of the film undercuts its eroticism. If you're up to it, it is worth seeing once, but once is likely to be enough.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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A Malcolm fan: Should I see this? amanda_mauno
Which is the dirtiest version - Unrated or Uncut??? Inh722
Is This Anyone's Favorite Movie abankscaleb
A disgusting manipulation of what could've been an acceptable movie mrnocal
Is this porn? KatieBugx
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