124 user 57 critic

Quo Vadis (1951)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 25 December 1951 (USA)
1:47 | Trailer
Fierce Roman commander Marcus Vinicius becomes infatuated with beautiful Christian hostage Lygia and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.


Mervyn LeRoy, Anthony Mann (uncredited)


John Lee Mahin (screen play), S.N. Behrman (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Taylor ... Marcus Vinicius
Deborah Kerr ... Lygia
Leo Genn ... Petronius
Peter Ustinov ... Nero
Patricia Laffan ... Poppaea
Finlay Currie ... Peter
Abraham Sofaer ... Paul
Marina Berti ... Eunice
Buddy Baer ... Ursus
Felix Aylmer ... Plautius
Nora Swinburne ... Pomponia
Ralph Truman Ralph Truman ... Tigellinus
Norman Wooland ... Nerva
Peter Miles ... Nazarius
Geoffrey Dunn Geoffrey Dunn ... Terpnos


Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) meets Lygia (Deborah Kerr) 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 (Sir Peter Ustinov) 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 | Add Synopsis


THIS IS THE BIG ONE! The splendor and savagery of the world's wickedest empire! Three hours of spectacle you'll remember for a lifetime! [1964 re-release] See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Submitted to the British Board of Film Censors on 22 January 1952 and passed with an "X" certificate for adults only, much to the dismay of M-G-M who were hoping that their most expensive film to date would reach maximum audiences. The London premiere took place three days later and played simultaneously at the Carlton and Ritz cinemas, running for 13 weeks and 69 weeks respectively. When the film finally closed at the Ritz on 20 May 1953, The Times was still advertising it as an "X." In the meantime, M-G-M had been approaching local authorities to try to get the film re-classified for the "road show" tour at higher prices, (much the same way that Columbia tried to get The Wild One (1953) re-certified by local authorities to overturn the BBFC decision). M-G-M were successful in Bolton, Cardiff, Coventry, Liverpool, Swansea and Walsall where Quo Vadis was passed with a local "A" certificate so accompanied children could be admitted. The advertisements at each location made clear that "we guarantee that this film is exactly the same as that shown in London." Aberdeen went even further. According to the ads in the local Evening Express, "Aberdeen magistrates have granted permission for Quo Vadis to be universally shown," which seemed to indicate certificate "U" for all ages accompanied or not. For the general release at normal prices (starting at Weston-super-Mare on 26 July 1953), M-G-M returned the film to the censor with 453 feet (about five minutes) removed, mainly lions chomping Christians. Re-certified on 15 July 1953 as an "A," this was the abridged version seen by most of the British public. See more »


(around 2 hours, 8 mins) When Petronius and Eunice are reclining at the dinner table, there is a decoration of flowers behind them. However, in the next shot when Petronius starts talking to his guests, the decoration has changed and now there is also a pedestal with a cooked pig on it. On the next shot after that, the pedestal with the cooked pig is no longer there and only the flowers remain. See more »


Vinicius: [Seeing the mighty Ursus for the first time] Why, with one arm strapped you could kill fifty Nubians in an hour.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD release restores the original overture and exit music, which, up until that point, was only heard in the original roadshow release and in the 1964 roadshow re-release. See more »


Version of Quo Vadis? (1985) See more »

User Reviews

MGM burns Rome
10 June 1999 | by Maestro-15See all my reviews

This movie helped usher in the age of biblical epics that were produced in the 1950's and 1960's that have not been equalled since. This film also was a first in that it much of the filming was done on location in the famous Cinecetta studios in Rome. The film is unequalled in production values, costumes, sets, musical score, etc. As far as the script is concerned, it is a bit weak, the screenplay not being adapted well from the classic novel about Rome. The only actor to watch in this is Peter Ustinov as the psychotic emperor Nero. Ustinov steals the film from everyone else.

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Release Date:

25 December 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Qvo Vadis See more »


Box Office


$7,623,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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