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Quo Vadis (1951)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 25 December 1951 (USA)
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A fierce Roman commander becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
Peter
...
Paul
...
...
...
Plautius
...
Pomponia
Ralph Truman ...
Norman Wooland ...
Nerva
Peter Miles ...
Nazarius
Geoffrey Dunn ...
Terpnos
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Storyline

Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her, though as a Christian she wants nothing to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero to give her to him for services rendered but finds himself succumbing gradually to her Christian faith. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Colossal [Quo Vadis] See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Qvo Vadis  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,623,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$24,291,740

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$45,860,660
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Buddy Baer, who played Ursus, was the brother of former heavyweight champion Max Baer. See more »

Goofs

The red sky during the burning of Rome is an obvious backdrop with visible creases and wrinkles. See more »

Quotes

[Nero is exasperated with the mobs]
Emperor Nero: Do I live for the people or do the people live for me?
Petronius: You are the sun in their sky! Does the sun have privacy?
Emperor Nero: The sun has the night! These people expect me to shine daily - hourly!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Gamera vs. Gaos (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Don't Expect Subtlety
6 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

This movie has its virtues, but subtlety is not among them. It opens with a narrator telling us what to think about the story we're about to see, and closes with a hymn sung over the end credits. In between Peter Ustinov plays Nero, and we know he must be mad because he pouts and rolls his eyes and chews every carpet in sight. Was this performance the inspiration for Jennifer Saunder's Eddy on ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS? Watch Nero's blubbering tantrum after he reads Petronius's letter, and you'll see what I mean.

The movie is visually sumptuous and (at least until the last hour or so) pretty entertaining, but every time the script diverges from the novel to engineer "big" Hollywood moments — Peter orating from the stands of the Colosseum, the climactic palace revolution, etc. — the action descends into melodrama and the acting seems very dated. The film gets preachier as it goes along, which is unfortunate; the filmmakers don't seem confident that the images and situations can speak for themselves, so the message is shouted at the audience: Nero bad, Christians good! Well, yes, but because the prudish 1950s film-making won't show the Christians actually suffering as they're crucified (they sing hymns and look heavenward), there's no real emotional involvement. We're told what to think, but we're not made to feel anything.

Two other versions, the 2001 Polish television series and the 1985 Italian mini-series — truly profound productions that capture the dark genius of Sienkiewicz's novel (and the terror of Nero's reign)— are both so vastly superior that they can't even be compared to this campy Hollywood extravaganza.


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