5.4/10
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319 user 135 critic

Caligula (1979)

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

Director:

Tinto Brass

Writers:

Gore Vidal (adapted from an original screenplay by), Masolino D'Amico
Reviews
Popularity
1,088 ( 271)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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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 (Malcolm McDowell), 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, organizes elaborate orgies, and embarks on a fruitless invasion of Britain before meeting an appropriate end. There are various versions of this movie, ranging from the heavily-truncated 90-minute version to the legendary 2-hour-40-minute hardcore version which leaves nothing to the imagination--though the hardcore scenes were inserted later and did not involve the main cast members. Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most controversial film of the 20th century is now the most controversial film of the 21st century. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When a print of this movie was imported to the U.K. for classification by the BBFC in April 1980, it was seized by Customs and Excise, as it might contain material that violated British law. After negotiations with BBFC and Customs and Excise, it was agreed to bring the print to the premises of the BBFC, where it was viewed by the censors of the BBFC, together with customs officers and two lawyers, including one from the Treasury Council to point out the scenes that had to be removed in order to make the movie comply with British law, which meant that eight minutes had to be cut. However, another three minutes had to be cut for the movie to comply with the BBFC's censorship standards, and to be awarded an "X" certificate. See more »

Goofs

Nerva is shown killing himself in the year 37 AD. However, he died circa 33 AD. 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.
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Crazy Credits

The opening credits are shown over a bleeding coin. See more »

Alternate Versions

When the film was first released in the United Kingdom, it was trimmed down to about 150 minutes (in PAL speed) and included some alternate footage to replace the most explicit shots during the following scenes:
  • Tiberius' grotto.
  • Ennia's "beauty treatment."
  • The sexual ritual dance at the Temple of Isis.
  • Caligula's rape of Proculus and Livia.
  • The infamous lesbian tryst.
  • The Imperial Bordello sequence.
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Soundtracks

Les damnés
(uncredited)
Written by Pierre Arvay
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User Reviews

 
A tasteless and overblown farrago despite the presence of great actor as Gielgud, O'Toole, McDowell, and Helen Mirren
6 September 2008 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

The film builds around one of the most notoriously decadent of the Roman emperors, Caligula… The movie covers his rise to power, his four-year rule, and his bloody assassination… His vile deeds include crashing a wedding and sexually abusing the bride and groom, playing erotic fantasies with his sister (who is also his lover) and turning the Imperial Palace into an exclusive brothel…

For a really big-money film, the treatment of the sexual scenes is daringly explicit, but somehow the obsession with it makes the film uneven… It blends very good actors, O'Toole and McDowell, with some simple-minded Penthouse models… The overall effect is disappointing...

Guccione does deserve a hand for the exquisite sets, costumes, production values, and very fine cinematography


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Italy

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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.95 : 1
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