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Caligula (1979)

Caligola (original title)
Unrated | | Drama, History | 15 February 1980 (USA)
Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula.

Directors:

Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writer:

Gore Vidal (adapted from an original screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
626 ( 201)

On Disc

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2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McDowell ... Caligula
Teresa Ann Savoy ... Drusilla
Guido Mannari Guido Mannari ... Macro
John Gielgud ... Nerva
Peter O'Toole ... Tiberius
Giancarlo Badessi Giancarlo Badessi ... Claudius
Bruno Brive Bruno Brive ... Gemellus
Adriana Asti ... Ennia
Leopoldo Trieste ... Charicles
Paolo Bonacelli ... Chaerea
John Steiner ... Longinus
Mirella D'Angelo ... Livia (as Mirella Dangelo)
Helen Mirren ... Caesonia
Rick Parets Rick Parets ... Mnester (as Richard Parets)
Paula Mitchell Paula Mitchell ... Subura Singer
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Storyline

The rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor Caligula, showing the violent methods that he employs to gain the throne, and the subsequent insanity of his reign - he gives his horse political office and humiliates and executes anyone who even slightly displeases him. He also sleeps with his sister, organises elaborate orgies and embarks on a fruitless invasion of Britain before meeting an appropriate end. There are various versions of the film, ranging from the heavily truncated 90-minute version to the legendary 160-minute hardcore version which leaves nothing to the imagination (though the hardcore scenes were inserted later and do not involve the main cast members). Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What would you have done if you had been given absolute power of life and death over everybody else in the whole world? See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | USA

Language:

Italian | English

Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Caligula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,669, 19 September 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$23,438,120
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated) | (recut) | (re-release) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.95:1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bob Guccione chose Tinto Brass to direct after being impressed with Salon Kitty (1976). When Brass was hired, he was in the middle of a lawsuit to prevent that movie from being released in an edited version. See more »

Goofs

The credits say "Cast in Order of Appearence," but due to the heavy editing after the "director's cut", they are completely wrong in subsequent versions. Some characters credited in the beginning appear around the end, and vice versa. For example, Proculus is introduced early in the film, yet he is the last billed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Caligula: I have existed from the morning of the world and I shall exist until the last star falls from the night. Although I have taken the form of Gaius Caligula, I am all men as I am no man and therefore I am a God.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Due to numerous pending lawsuits and settlements at the time of the film's release, no one is technically fully credited for writing and directing the finished film. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is much incorrect and misleading information concerning the various versions of this film. In America, only three versions have been made available publicly (either for video or theatrical release):
  • The "uncut, uncensored, and unrated" cut. This was first released in theaters in February, 1980 with a running time of 156 minutes. When it was released on video, CED and laserdisc in January of 1984, the film was time compressed down to 148 minutes (though the laserdisc mistakenly states on the cover that the film is 143 minutes). This version was released again on video and laserdisc in 1989, still at 148 minutes from time compression. In 1999, it was re-released in theaters and on DVD back at 156 minutes, without time compression.
  • The first "R" rated version. This was first released in October of 1981 after it seemed unlikely that the film could make its money back in an X rated form. This version ran for 105 minutes, featured many alternate angles, and cut many scenes for the purpose of continuity and pacing. This version was released on video, CED, and laserdisc in January of 1981, time compressed to 101 minutes (and with an afterword in which Bob Guccione encourages the viewer to return the R version and purchase the unrated version via the postal service). This version has not been in release in the United States since.
  • The second "R" rated version. This version was released on DVD in 1999, and used no alternate angles; the film was sloppily cut from the aforementioned unrated version. However, because it eliminates many dramatic scenes that the 1981 R-rated version also eliminates, it appears to have been modeled after the previous R-rated version. However, unlike with the 1981 edit, alternate material was not available, so the (uncredited) editor simply repeated several shots to cover up gaps in the film. This caused for enormous lapses in continuity during some of the most graphic scenes (especially in Tiberius's grotto). This version runs 102 minutes.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Montagues Et Capulets (Dance of the Knights)
from the ballet Romeo and Juliet
by Sergei Prokofiev
Intro/Credit-music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"A viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world"
13 May 2006 | by G_a_l_i_n_aSee all my reviews

Maybe it helps to be familiar with the history, Art, and literature of the Ancient Rome because "Caligula" is surprisingly truthful adaptation of the chapter about Caligula in "The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquillus, the Roman Historian. If you read the chapter dedicated to Nero, you'll be even more shocked because Nero was always fascinated by his uncle Caligula (he was a son of Caligula's sister Agrippina who later became a wife of Claudius who adopted Nero and made him the heir for the title and the power of Roman Emperor). Anyway, Nero made Caligula his role model and managed to surpass his uncle's' notorious fame.

The movie is notoriously famous for the plentiful scenes of real sex, including incest, necrophilia, rape, and orgies. The movie also includes quite nasty and gruesome scenes of torture, executions, murders, and humiliations but all of the events have been documented in the historical documents that still exist.

I don't think of the movie as a masterpiece or even a good movie for all of its 2.5 hours. It actually reminds the life of real Caligula. In his childhood and youth, he was adored by Roman people and especially by the army and he was a promising young man. When he grew up as a heir to the cruel and suspicious Tiberius, he had to hide his feelings and go through many humiliations in order to survive. Shrewd Tiberius said about his adopted grandson that "never humankind knew the better slave and the worse ruler than Caligula" and that he was rearing "a viper for the Roman people and a Phaethon for the world."

When the young man finally received an access to the absolute power it had absolutely corrupted him. It is also known that soon after becoming head of Roman Empire, Caligula suffered an illness and as the result of it, he became incredibly nasty, cruel, and suspicious man who had indulged in the worst acts of debauchery, cruelty, and sadism. The movie follows this pattern. I still think that it is an interesting movie with very good actors. Not every day you can see porn with Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole, Sir John Gielgud, and of course, Mr. Clockwork Orange himself, Malcolm McDowell.


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