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Alexander the Great (1956)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, History | 31 August 1956 (France)
The life and military conquests of Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 - 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great.

Director:

Robert Rossen

Writer:

Robert Rossen
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Alexander
Fredric March ... Philip of Macedonia
Claire Bloom ... Barsine
Barry Jones ... Aristotle
Harry Andrews ... Darius
Stanley Baker ... Attalus
Niall MacGinnis ... Parmenio (as Niall Macginnis)
Peter Cushing ... General Memnon
Michael Hordern ... Demosthenes
Marisa de Leza ... Eurydice (as Marisa De Leza)
Gustavo Rojo ... Cleitus
Rubén Rojo ... Philotas (as Ruben Rojo)
Peter Wyngarde ... Pausanias
Helmut Dantine ... Nectenabus
William Squire ... Aeschenes
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Storyline

An epic film that follows the life of Alexander the Great, the macedonian king that conquered all ancient greek tribes and led macedonian army against the vast Persian Empire. Alexander conquered most of the then known world and created a greek empire that spanned all the way from the Balkans to India. Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

macedonian | empire | army | king | persian | See All (53) »

Taglines:

Conqueror of conquerors! Spectacle of spectacles! The colossus of motion pictures! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Spain

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 August 1956 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Alexander der Große See more »

Filming Locations:

Estudios CEA, Madrid, Spain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,500,000, 31 December 1956
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print) | (Turner Library Print)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Richard Burton and Stanley Baker had been close friends since they were teenagers, this was the only time they acted together in a movie. Burton later recorded the narration for Baker's film Zulu (1964). See more »

Goofs

Many of the actors playing soldiers wear comically ill-fitting helmets, including the star's own. Burton's helmet never sits properly on his head and has fabric stuffed into the empty ear holes in a vain attempt to cover up the gaff. A simple session of "musical-helmets" amongst everyone could have solved the problem quickly and economically. See more »

Quotes

Aristotle: Do you know how vast the Persian Empire is?
Alexander: From the Nile, to the Indus... from Samarkand, to Babylon.
Aristotle: And beyond. Do you know how many different people live there?
Alexander: By heart. Carians, Armenians, Jews, Parthians, Egyptians... I know their customs and their gods.
Aristotle: Yes. But this is more than an empire, this is colossus. To rule it would take a man as great as *you can be*... That is why I say, "Patience".
Alexander: Patience? My time is short.
Aristotle: Short?
Alexander: When the great god Zeus, father of Achilles, gave him his ...
See more »

Connections

Version of Alexander (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: (DVD) Alexander the Great
22 October 2007 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

I borrowed this movie with one intent, and that is to see how the subject material was handled in the 50s, compared to the most recent interpretation by Oliver Stone, who gave us an Alexander with Colin Farrell complete with his hair dyed blonde. And while I was lamenting the fact that there were only 2 war scenes on a massive scale included in that version, the hype that surrounded the story of a conqueror seemed to have made way for Stone's very queer depiction on the bisexuality of Alexander, especially with the camera adopting his POV and gazing ever so lovingly at the male species, countless of times until you want to throw up. I guess subtle is never in Stone's books.

Now this version written and directed by Robert Rossen (who also gave us the original Hustler) did away with all that sexuality issues, and neither did it find any need to have gratuitous nudity in watching Alexander make love (in Stone's version, Rosario Dawson went nude in her role as Roxane). Then again it was made about 50 years ago. Anyway, what I found to be a major disappointment, were the battle scenes. Yes, it might be terribly dated by now, and sadly didn't survive the test of time. At certain scenes and angles, it's akin to old martial arts movies, where enemies just circle around you, waiting for their choreographed moves to be executed, or worse, if you pay attention to characters in the background, they surely aren't moving like ferocious warriors, choosing instead to mull around!

Also, we only get one major battle sequence in Alexander the Great, which made the foray into India in Stone's Alexander look like bonus material. In fact, this version took some time to establish key characters, and began with Alexander's father King Philip's (Fredric March) conquests first, interrupted by the birth of his son, and the prophetic signs under which he was born. It took almost 30 minutes before you see any semblance to a fight, and almost one hour before Richard Burton finally takes over the mantle and seeks out his destiny as one of the greatest known world conquerors of all time. However, the film felt like it was in two arcs, the first which dwells on the internal bickering within Greece with its many factions, and the plotting between mother Olympias (Danielle Darrieux) and King Philip, each wanting to win over Alexander's loyalty for their own political purpose. In this version though, which harped on Darrieux's appearance in the credits, I thought she made Angelina Jolie look more formidable in the role. At least Jolie was dripping with evilness and cunning, compared to the more subdued Darrieux.

The latter half dealt with Alexander's conquests through Asia, though most of the facts were glossed over. It was too little too late as most of which are told using montage, intertitles and narration, which made it look like a rush job to end it. While Stone's movie had focused a fair bit over Alexander's obsession with being the Son of God and his increasing obsession over himself and his glories, this version again made those themes look superbly examined in Stone's version. However, one thing's for certain, Richard Burton, even with the horribly blond hair which looked like a wig, was indeed a lot more charismatic and believable than Coliln Farrell. And that also meant when Burton was wearing the horrendous full faced helmet so that the stunt guy can take over!

All in all, a pretty decent effort in telling the story of Alexander the Great, however as mentioned, it didn't really stood up to the test of time.


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