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The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

The death of Marcus Aurelius leads to a succession crisis, in which the deceased emperor's son, Commodus, demonstrates that he is unwilling to let anything undermine his claim to the Roman Empire.

Director:

Anthony Mann

Writers:

Ben Barzman (screenplay), Basilio Franchina (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sophia Loren ... Lucilla
Stephen Boyd ... Livius
Alec Guinness ... Marcus Aurelius
James Mason ... Timonides
Christopher Plummer ... Commodus
Anthony Quayle ... Verulus
John Ireland ... Ballomar
Omar Sharif ... Sohamus
Mel Ferrer ... Cleander
Eric Porter ... Julianus
Finlay Currie ... Senator
Andrew Keir ... Polybius
Douglas Wilmer ... Niger
George Murcell ... Victorinus
Norman Wooland Norman Wooland ... Virgilianus
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Storyline

Action-packed look at the beginnings of the fall of the Roman Empire. Here is the glory, the greed and grandeur that was Rome. Here is the story of personal lust for power, and the shattering effects of that power's loss. Here is the tale of the plight of a people living on the brink of a political abyss. Written by filmfactsman

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Spectacle! Passions! Savagery! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La caída del imperio romano See more »

Filming Locations:

Comunidad Valenciana, Spain See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,750,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1970 re-release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (35 mm optical prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming the outdoor scenes proved very difficult due to the harsh winter of 1962-63. See more »

Goofs

When Commodus and Livius are holding the torch during Marcus Aurelius' funeral pyre, their hands move further away from the flame between shots. See more »

Quotes

Victorinus: We're in command now Livius, the throne is yours.
Senator: Gaius Mettelus Livius, the people are asking for you.
Livius: You would not find me very suitable, because my first official act would be to have you all crucified.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo did not appear on American prints. See more »

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User Reviews

 
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within."
26 August 2007 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

In the year 180 A.D., the emperor Marcus Aurelius, who led his Roman legions against the Germanic tribes along the Danube frontier, has been at war for 17 years and lived under very difficult conditions…

Now he invited every governor, every consul and every prince in the whole empire for one particular purpose… All responded to his call coming from the deserts of Egypt, from the mountains of Armenia, from the forest of Gaul and the prairies of Spain…

Marcus Aurelius greets them as friends, and tells them that in the whole world, only two small frontiers are still hostile to Rome… One, here in the north which separates the Roman Empire from those who are called barbarians, the other, in the east of Persia… Only on these two borders Rome is finding walls, palisades, forts and hatred… But these are not the frontiers he wants… He wants and needs human frontiers, the vision of a family of nations…

For the great emperor time is short, and there is a decision which he can no longer delay… He has sacrificed the love of his son as Commodus will never be his heir… His wish is that Livius, the commander of the northern army, should succeed him, and he intends to present him to the leaders of the empire openly as his successor... He has hope that the position and responsibilities would make his son grow up as Commodus is interested only in games and gladiators...

Guiness' ailing Marcus Aurelius had hope that his daughter would not have a marriage without love… And he knows better than anyone what a marriage without love can mean… But his fears for the empire are reasonable… The east is where the danger lies…He must make an alliance that will show the whole world what value Rome place on her eastern frontier… An alliance with Armenia…

Boyd's weary Galius Livius saw suddenly his world has become strange… He's not sure where he is… He knows only the ways of war… He would not know how to make allies out of the barbarians… But if he has to choose between being Caesar's heir or Lucilla's love, he chooses her love…

Loren's lovely Lucilla makes it hard for her father to take leave of this life… She knows that her father loves her, but how could her life mean anything without love? It is out of love that she dared so much…

Plummer's slimy Commodus pushes the eastern provinces to rebellion in smashing and destroying everything his father did… He makes it clear to his sister that he refused to give her anymore chances to prop against him…

Mason's genteel Timonides has been a slave, but he's not accustomed to pain…He is a philosopher and he is weak…

Ferrer's treacherous Cleander knows that Caesar will accept fruit from him… He also knows that his blade carries a deadly poison…

Quayle's gladiator Verulus snores, in the moment of truth, a deep family secret…

Sharif's king Sohamus hopes for a lovely part of Rome…

With a cast of thousands, massive battle sequences, exciting chariot races, brutal hand to hand combat, gorgeous scenery, impressive set design, Anthony Mann's motion picture is a long ride of epic proportions not designed only to entertain but to expose how gold and corruption can undermine the biggest empire the world has ever known…


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