Cinema of the Ancient World, 1950s & 60s

by omoo22 | created - 10 Jun 2011 | updated - 18 Jun 2013 | Public

(& 40s)

Chronological list of Ancient/Biblical/"Sword & Sandal" movies of the 1950s and 60s.

Setting - Source

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1. Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

Approved | 123 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

At the height of the Roman Civil War, a young Cleopatra meets a middle-aged Julius Caesar, who teaches her how to rule Egypt.

Director: Gabriel Pascal | Stars: Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh, Stewart Granger, Flora Robson

Votes: 2,259

Rome/Egypt

2. Fabiola (1949)

96 min | Drama, History

In ancient Rome a love story blossoms between Fabiola, daughter of a senator, and Rhual, a gallic gladiator. When Fabiola's father is killed, the Romans blame the Christians and the ... See full summary »

Director: Alessandro Blasetti | Stars: Michèle Morgan, Henri Vidal, Michel Simon, Louis Salou

Votes: 153

"The Fighting Gladiator" Rome

3. Samson and Delilah (1949)

Approved | 134 min | Adventure, Drama, History

When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, George Sanders, Angela Lansbury

Votes: 6,291 | Gross: $28.80M

Palestine - Old Testament

4. Julius Caesar (1950)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, History

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Director: David Bradley | Stars: Charlton Heston, Grosvenor Glenn, Harold Tasker, David Bradley

Votes: 342

Rome

5. The Affairs of Messalina (1951)

Not Rated | 116 min | Action, Drama, History

A story, set in Rome of 44 A.D., concerning the amorous and political intrigues of the evil Empress Messalina, the wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius, and her eventual hounding to death.

Director: Carmine Gallone | Stars: María Félix, Georges Marchal, Memo Benassi, Delia Scala

Votes: 71

"The Affair(s) of Messalina" Rome

6. David and Bathsheba (1951)

Approved | 116 min | Drama, History, Romance

After King David sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing from the palace roof, he enters into an adulterous affair which has tragic consequences for his family and Israel.

Director: Henry King | Stars: Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Raymond Massey, Kieron Moore

Votes: 1,864

Palestine - Old Testament

7. Quo Vadis (1951)

Not Rated | 171 min | Biography, Drama, History

Fierce Roman commander Marcus Vinicius becomes infatuated with beautiful Christian hostage Lygia and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.

Directors: Mervyn LeRoy, Anthony Mann | Stars: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn, Peter Ustinov

Votes: 12,304 | Gross: $24.29M

Rome (Novel, 1895)

8. Androcles and the Lion (1952)

Approved | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy

Story of a Christian in ancient Rome who befriends a lion.

Directors: Chester Erskine, Nicholas Ray | Stars: Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Alan Young, Robert Newton

Votes: 693

Rome

9. The Queen of Sheba (1952)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama

The Queen of Sheba falls in love with the King of Israel. The King of Israel, however, is in love with someone else.

Director: Pietro Francisci | Stars: Leonora Ruffo, Gino Cervi, Gino Leurini, Marina Berti

Votes: 83

"The Queen Of Sheba" Palestine - Old Testament

10. Julius Caesar (1953)

Not Rated | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Louis Calhern, Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud

Votes: 9,469

Rome - Shakespeare

11. The Robe (1953)

Unrated | 135 min | Drama, History

In the Roman province of Judea during the 1st century, Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio is ordered to crucify Jesus of Nazareth but is tormented by his guilty conscience afterwards.

Director: Henry Koster | Stars: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Michael Rennie

Votes: 8,325 | Gross: $36.00M

Rome/Palestine - New Testament (Novel, 1942)

12. Salome (1953)

Approved | 103 min | Drama, History

After her banishment from Rome, Jewish Princess Salome returns to her Roman-ruled native land of Galilee where prophet John the Baptist preaches against Salome's parents, King Herod and Queen Herodias.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Rita Hayworth, Stewart Granger, Charles Laughton, Judith Anderson

Votes: 1,361

Rome/Palestine

13. Spartacus the Gladiator (1953)

Approved | 75 min | Adventure, History

74 B.C. Somewhere in the Roman Empire, Spartacus, a young officer, is condemned to be a slave because he hit a superior. Brought back to Roma in a gladiators' school, he escapes and stirs ... See full summary »

Director: Riccardo Freda | Stars: Massimo Girotti, Ludmilla Tchérina, Yves Vincent, Gianna Maria Canale

Votes: 96

"Sins Of Rome" Rome

14. Two Nights with Cleopatra (1954)

Not Rated | 78 min | Comedy

Sophia Loren plays a dual role, as both the sultry Queen of the Nile with a "man-a-night" appetite and a beautiful slave girl who takes her place and is wooed by a bodyguard who thinks she's the real monarch.

Director: Mario Mattoli | Stars: Sophia Loren, Alberto Sordi, Paul Muller, Nando Bruno

Votes: 233

"Two Nights With Cleopatra" Rome/Egypt

15. Attila (1954)

TV-14 | 80 min | Biography, Drama, History

Attila, the leader of the barbarian Huns and called by the Romans "The Scourge of God", sweeps onto the Italian peninsula, defeating all of the armies of Rome, until he and his men reach the gates of the city itself.

Director: Pietro Francisci | Stars: Anthony Quinn, Sophia Loren, Henri Vidal, Claude Laydu

Votes: 588

Rome

16. Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)

Approved | 101 min | Action, Drama, History

In 1st century Rome, Christian slave Demetrius is sent to fight in the gladiatorial arena and Emperor Caligula seeks Jesus' robe for its supposedly magical powers.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Victor Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie, Debra Paget

Votes: 3,056 | Gross: $26.00M

Rome/Palestine - New Testament

17. The Silver Chalice (1954)

Approved | 142 min | Drama, Romance

A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver, and sculpt around its rim, the faces of the disciples and Jesus. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Saville | Stars: Virginia Mayo, Pier Angeli, Jack Palance, Paul Newman

Votes: 1,300

Rome

18. Ulysses (1954)

Not Rated | 94 min | Adventure, Fantasy, History

A movie adaptation of Homer's second epic, that talks about Ulysses' efforts to return to his home after the end of ten years of war.

Director: Mario Camerini | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Silvana Mangano, Anthony Quinn, Rossana Podestà

Votes: 3,092

"Ulysses" Greece - Mythology

19. Jupiter's Darling (1955)

95 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Fabius loves his beautiful but vulnerable city, Rome, and he also loves his beautiful but invulnerable fiancée, Amytis. Fascinated by the tales she has heard about Hannibal, who is about to... See full summary »

Director: George Sidney | Stars: Esther Williams, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, Gower Champion

Votes: 443

Rome

20. Land of the Pharaohs (1955)

Approved | 106 min | Adventure, Drama, History

A captured architect designs an ingenious plan to ensure the impregnability of tomb of a self-absorbed Pharaoh, obsessed with the security of his next life.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Jack Hawkins, Joan Collins, Dewey Martin, Alexis Minotis

Votes: 3,320 | Gross: $1.50M

Egypt

21. The Prodigal (1955)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama

A wealthy young Hebrew traveling in Damascus renounces his faith after he is seduced by an alluring pagan priestess and cheated of his fortune by the High Priest as well.

Director: Richard Thorpe | Stars: Lana Turner, Edmund Purdom, Louis Calhern, Audrey Dalton

Votes: 527

Palestine - Old Testament

22. Alexander the Great (1956)

Not Rated | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life and military conquests of Alexander III of Macedon (July 20/21, 356 - June 10/11, 323 B.C.), commonly known as Alexander the Great.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Barry Jones

Votes: 3,075

Greece

23. Helen of Troy (1956)

Approved | 118 min | Adventure, Drama, History

The Iliad's story of the Trojan war, told from the Trojan viewpoint.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Stanley Baker, Rossana Podestà, Brigitte Bardot, Jacques Sernas

Votes: 1,824 | Gross: $6.98M

Greece - Mythology

24. The Ten Commandments (1956)

G | 220 min | Adventure, Drama

The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille | Stars: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson

Votes: 57,837 | Gross: $93.74M

Palestine - Old Testament

25. Aphrodite, Goddess of Love (1958)

91 min | Drama, History

Antigonus, archon of Corinth, wants to build a magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, for which the people are oppressed by new and very high taxes. The sculptor Demetrius, ... See full summary »

Director: Mario Bonnard | Stars: Isabelle Corey, Anthony Steffen, Irène Tunc, Ivo Garrani

Votes: 74

"Aphrodite, Goddess of Love" Rome

26. Hercules (1958)

G | 107 min | Adventure, Fantasy

The muscular Hercules performs his Labors, sails with the Argonauts, and romances the fair Iole.

Director: Pietro Francisci | Stars: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Fabrizio Mioni, Ivo Garrani

Votes: 1,623 | Gross: $10.90M

"Hercules" Greece - Mythology

27. Ben-Hur (1959)

G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History

90 Metascore

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet

Votes: 202,574 | Gross: $74.70M

Rome/Palestine - New Testament (Novel, 1880)

28. The Giant of Marathon (1959)

90 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A Greek soldier leads the fight against an invading Persian army.

Directors: Jacques Tourneur, Bruno Vailati, Mario Bava | Stars: Steve Reeves, Mylène Demongeot, Sergio Fantoni, Alberto Lupo

Votes: 715

Greece

29. Goliath and the Barbarians (1959)

86 min | Adventure

When barbarians invade his village and kill his father, a local man wages a one-man war against them.

Director: Carlo Campogalliani | Stars: Steve Reeves, Chelo Alonso, Bruce Cabot, Giulia Rubini

Votes: 233

"Goliath And The Barbarians" Rome

30. Hannibal (1959)

103 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

During the Second Punic War in 218 BC, Carthaginian general Hannibal attacks the Roman Republic by crossing the Pyrenees and the Alps with his vast army.

Directors: Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, Edgar G. Ulmer | Stars: Victor Mature, Gabriele Ferzetti, Rita Gam, Milly Vitale

Votes: 611

"Hannibal" Rome

31. Hercules Unchained (1959)

G | 105 min | Adventure, Fantasy

While negotiating peace between two brothers contesting the throne of Thebes, an amnesiac Hercules is seduced by the evil Queen Omphale.

Directors: Pietro Francisci, Mario Bava | Stars: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Gabriele Antonini, Patrizia Della Rovere

Votes: 1,762 | Gross: $5.45M

"Hercules Unchained" Greece - Mythology

32. Herod the Great (1959)

93 min | Biography, Drama, History

Herod, King of Judea, is made a prisoner by the Romans. Convinced the King is dead, his faithful lieutenant, Aaron, is nevertheless unable to keep his promise to kill the Queen if something untoward happened to the King. He leads the young woman out into the desert. Herod's pleas to Augustus are successful and he returns to his palace. His son, Antipater, informs Herod that Aaron has betrayed him.

Director: Viktor Tourjansky | Stars: Edmund Purdom, Sylvia Lopez, Massimo Girotti, Sandra Milo

Votes: 157

"Herod The Great" Rome/Palestine

33. The Last Days of Pompeii (1959)

Approved | 103 min | Action, Adventure, History

A demobilized centurion returns home to Pompeii to find his father murdered by a gang of black-hooded Christian robbers that terrorizes the city and he decides to investigate the matter while the nearby volcano threatens to erupt.

Director: Mario Bonnard | Stars: Steve Reeves, Christine Kaufmann, Fernando Rey, Barbara Carroll

Votes: 931

"The Last Days Of Pompeii" Rome

34. Solomon and Sheba (1959)

Not Rated | 141 min | Drama, History, Romance

After becoming king of ancient Israel, Solomon faces threats coming from his jealous dispossessed brother Adonijah, the Egyptian Pharaoh and the scheming Queen of Sheba.

Director: King Vidor | Stars: Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida, George Sanders, Marisa Pavan

Votes: 2,642 | Gross: $12.20M

Palestine - Old Testament

35. Carthage in Flames (1960)

93 min | Drama, Action, Adventure

Historical drama depicting the last of the Punic Wars between the Roman Republic and Carthage.

Director: Carmine Gallone | Stars: Pierre Brasseur, Daniel Gélin, Anne Heywood, Aldo Silvani

Votes: 206

"Carthage In Flames" Rome, Carthage

36. Cleopatra's Daughter (1960)

109 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Cleopatra, after the civil war that followed the assassination of Caesar, met with Marc Antony in Assyria where they planned the defense of Egypt against the Romans. Before leaving, ... See full summary »

Director: Fernando Cerchio | Stars: Debra Paget, Ettore Manni, Erno Crisa, Corrado Pani

Votes: 156

"Cleopatra's Daughter" Egypt

37. Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960)

Unrated | 84 min | Adventure, Fantasy

Two musclemen come up against a tribe of Amazon women.

Director: Vittorio Sala | Stars: Dorian Gray, Rod Taylor, Gianna Maria Canale, Ed Fury

Votes: 372

"Colossus And The Amazon Queen Greece - Mythology

38. Esther and the King (1960)

Approved | 109 min | Biography, Drama, History

Two decades before she would gain fame and some fortune as Alexis Carrington in television's Dynasty series, Joan Collins starred as Esther in this melodramatic, routine Biblical story. The... See full summary »

Directors: Raoul Walsh, Mario Bava | Stars: Joan Collins, Richard Egan, Denis O'Dea, Sergio Fantoni

Votes: 537

Palestine - Old Testament

39. The Giants of Thessaly (1960)

86 min | Adventure, Fantasy

In order to placate the angry gods, who have allowed Thessaly to be overrun with barbarian invaders and beset with natural disasters, King Jason takes his Argonauts on a search for the ... See full summary »

Director: Riccardo Freda | Stars: Roland Carey, Ziva Rodann, Alberto Farnese, Nadia Sanders

Votes: 241

"The Giants Of Thessaly" Greece - Mythology

40. Vengeance of Hercules (1960)

87 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

A warrior returning home to his country must battle giant bats, three-headed dogs and a vicious dragon to save his wife, and his people, from the machinations of an evil ruler.

Director: Vittorio Cottafavi | Stars: Mark Forest, Broderick Crawford, Gaby André, Renato Terra

Votes: 375

"Goliath And The Dragon" Greece - Mythology

41. The Loves of Hercules (1960)

Not Rated | 98 min | Fantasy, Adventure

Hercules must save his true love from an evil queen.

Director: Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia | Stars: Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay, Massimo Serato, Tina Gloriani

Votes: 898

"The Loves Of Hercules", aka "Hercules vs The Hydra" Greece - Mythology

42. Messalina (1960)

84 min | Drama

Scheming Messalina marries Roman Emperor Claudius but goes too far with a gladiator.

Director: Vittorio Cottafavi | Stars: Belinda Lee, Spyros Fokas, Carlo Giustini, Giancarlo Sbragia

Votes: 118

"Messalina" Rome

43. Siege of Syracuse (1960)

97 min | Drama, History, Romance

During the Second Punic War between 214 and 212 B.C. occurred this history of the Roman siege in Greek city of Syracuse. The Romans were preparing for their invasion while Archimedes ... See full summary »

Director: Pietro Francisci | Stars: Rossano Brazzi, Tina Louise, Sylva Koscina, Enrico Maria Salerno

Votes: 77

"Siege of Syracuse" Rome (& Greece)

44. Spartacus (1960)

PG-13 | 197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 113,940 | Gross: $30.00M

Rome

45. The Story of Ruth (1960)

Not Rated | 132 min | Drama, History

Inspired by the scriptural tale. Moabitess priestess Ruth is drawn both to a Judean man and to his talk of a forgiving God. After tragedy strikes, she begins a new life in Bethlehem.

Director: Henry Koster | Stars: Stuart Whitman, Tom Tryon, Peggy Wood, Viveca Lindfors

Votes: 899

Palestine - Old Testament

46. Amazons of Rome (1961)

Not Rated | 93 min | Adventure, Drama

A warrior chieftain dashes between his barbaric allies and a beleaguered city that's being defended by embattled women warriors.

Directors: Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, Vittorio Cottafavi, Peter O'Cord | Stars: Louis Jourdan, Sylvia Syms, Jean Chevrier, Nicole Courcel

Votes: 142

"Amazons of Rome" Rome

47. Antigone (1961)

Not Rated | 93 min | Drama

Antigone defies her uncle's decree that her traitorous brother should go unburied and therefore find no rest in the afterlife; however, her actions have tragic consequences.

Director: Yorgos Tzavellas | Stars: Irene Papas, Manos Katrakis, Maro Kodou, Nikos Kazis

Votes: 583

Greece - Mythology

48. Atlantis: The Lost Continent (1961)

Approved | 90 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

A Greek Fisherman brings an Atlantean Princess back to her homeland which is the mythical city of Atlantis. He is enslaved for his trouble. The King is being manipulated by an evil sorcerer... See full summary »

Director: George Pal | Stars: Sal Ponti, Joyce Taylor, John Dall, William Smith

Votes: 1,375

Greece - Mythology

49. Atlas Against the Cyclops (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy