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Androcles and the Lion (1952)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy | 9 January 1953 (USA)
Story of a Christian in ancient Rome who befriends a lion.


Chester Erskine, Nicholas Ray (uncredited)


Chester Erskine (screen adaptation), Ken Englund (screen adaptation)




Cast overview:
Jean Simmons ... Lavinia
Victor Mature ... Captain
Alan Young ... Androcles
Robert Newton ... Ferrovius
Maurice Evans ... Emperor Antoninus (Caesar)
Elsa Lanchester ... Megaera
Reginald Gardiner ... Lentulus
Gene Lockhart ... Menagerie Keeper
Alan Mowbray ... Editor of Gladiators
Noel Willman ... Spintho
John Hoyt ... Cato
Jim Backus ... Centurion
Lowell Gilmore ... Metellus
Woody Strode ... The Lion


Androcles is a Christian who follows that religion's teachings even as they apply to the treatment of animals. Seeing a lion in pain, he removes a huge thorn from the beast's paw, creating a friend for life. Androcles and a number of other Christians are evenutally arrested and condemned to death in the arena. They are to die by being eaten by lions. Is it too much to hope that one of the lions may have a paw that has healed recently and might remember who helped heal it? Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Gasp at its SPECTACLE! Glow to its ROMANCE! Howl at its LAUGHS! (original print ad) See more »


Adventure | Comedy


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


A fifteen-second clip from Cecil B. De Mille's 1932 epic "The Sign Of The Cross" was used in the film. See more »


The Christians sing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" - a hymn published in 1871. See more »


Editor of Gladiators: Caesar will go down in history as the emperor who eliminated these cranks. Hail Caesar!
Emperor Antoninus (Caesar): On the contrary. I'm more likely to be remembered as the man who did more to perpetuate them.
Editor of Gladiators: You, Caesar?
Emperor Antoninus (Caesar): I dare say I am doing more to spread Christianity than all their preachers, missionaries and Gospel writers put together. I shouldn't be surprised if finally I wind up as one of their heroes.
Editor of Gladiators: Caesar jests of course.
Emperor Antoninus (Caesar): Caesar does not jest. I wager that for every Christian that dies in the bloody sand, two new ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: ROME 161 A.D. IN THE REGION OF THE EMPEROR ANTONINUS See more »


Features The Last Days of Pompeii (1935) See more »


Onward, Christian Soldiers
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Words by Sabine Baring-Gould
sung by the marching Christian martyrs
See more »

User Reviews

Sword and Sandals spoof with hilarious sketches and great main and support cast
28 March 2021 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This is the flaming story of history's most fabulous era, a period of regal splendor, beautiful women, pursued Christians and spectacular combats on the circus arena during the glittering days of pagan Rome. Stage-bound Hollywood rendition based on George Bernard Shaw's great play about a taylor : Alan Young, in imperial Rome who saves Christians from a hungry lion who had formerly befriended.

This attractive film packs sharp dialogue, laughs supreme, entertainment and a lot of fun-midst scenes of sensational wonders into the Roman world . Including a sympathetic, intelligent and charming plot within the bounds of Hollywood. The film is pretty well, but it isn't an extraordinary yarn , but a simple and plain amusement, resulting to be a semi-satisfactory morsel. Harpo Marx was originally cas as Androcles but he was fired by the famous financer and producer Howard Hughes five weeks into the filming. Main and support cast are frankly good, such as : Alan Young as the likeable and silly Androcles , Jean Simmons as Christian damsel in distress , Maurice Evans as the proud emperor and Victor Mature as a Centurion, the latter also played other Colossal films as "The Robe" and "Demetrius and the Gladiators" . Along with an awesome support cast, such as : John Hoyt, Alan Mowbray, Elsa Lanchaster, Gene Lockhart, Noel Willman, Lowell Gilmore, Jim Backus, and several others.

It displays an atmospheric cinematography in black and white by cameraman Harry Stradling Sr, though mostly shot in studio . The motion picture was professionally written and directed by Chester Erskine and uncredited Nicolas Ray . Chester Erskine was a good craftsman, a prestigious writer who made a few movies, such as : "Irish whiskey rebellion" , "A change in the wind" , "A girl in every port", "The egg and I" , "Take one false step" , "A change in the wind" , "Frankie and Johnny" , among others. Rating : 6/10. Passable and acceptable. Well worth seeing.

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Release Date:

9 January 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernard Shaw's Androcles and the Lion See more »

Filming Locations:

Hollywood, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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