291 user 133 critic

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.


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


Gore Vidal (adapted from an original screenplay by)
722 ( 22)

On Disc

at Amazon

2 nominations. See more awards »




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


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


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


Drama | History


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Italy | USA


Italian | English

Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Caligula See more »


Box Office


$17,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,669, 19 September 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

Mono (original release)


Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Maria Schneider was originally supposed to play Drusilla, and actually started shooting some scenes, but she changed her mind while filming a sex scene with Malcolm McDowell. Deeply disturbed by her skimpy toga and the graphic incest scenes, she walked off the set bad-mouthing the production. See more »


Naevius Sutorius Macro committed suicide in 38 AD after his arrest, and would not have been executed as depicted. See more »


[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

The opening credits of the Russian release mistakenly list Tinto Brass as the "camera operator," while Bob Guccione and Giancarlo Lui are given the honour of being listed as the "directors." See more »

Alternate Versions

When the film was originally submitted in the UK it was cut by 8 minutes on legal grounds to qualify it for a possible private cinema club certificate, though the distributors decided instead to apply for an 'X' certificate for a wider cinema release. This meant that additional edits were required and the film was then cut by a further 3 minutes by James Ferman himself with extensive edits to scenes of masturbation, lesbianism, anal fisting, castration, graphic stabbing scenes, explicit genital closeups and shots of babies being fed through phallic-shaped bottles. The eventual 1990 video release was the extensively edited U.S R-rated print and 55 minutes were cut from the film, resulting in most of the sex & violence scenes being removed in full or edited via long shot camera angles and a running time of around 98 minutes. This same print was re-released on video in 1998 and all early DVD releases. In 2008 the BBFC passed the full hardcore version completely uncut and this was issued by Arrow Films in a 3 film set, also containing the Alternate Edit of the film (which replaced the Guccione-filmed hardcore scenes with footage not in the original edit) and the previously released R-rated print. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: A Clockwork Orgy (2011) See more »


We Are One
Written by Tony Biggs
Performed by Lydia
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

unbelievably indulgent, however beautiful and captivating
10 November 2010 | by teamgomez99See all my reviews

Where to start..... First off, the sets are wonderful. They are lavish and look authentic of the time, except as if a madman on acid was given a gigantic budget and told to "go at it!" Peter O'Toole is wonderful as the aging Tiberius. Malcolm McDowell gives a great performance as the young Caligula who kills his way to the throne of the Roman Emperor and then soon leads a legacy of terror. The supporting actors do a fine job yet, most of the young ladies were actually Penthouse Pets and were there for eye candy and irrelevant sex scenes. Depending on which film you are watching, the uncut or the R-version, some scenes are extremely graphic. I would usually always recommend the uncut version as opposed to the chopped one, but in this instance, the full length film is purely indulgent. Scenes of sex and gore were added to satisfy the producers (Penthouse) and the expected audience, not to add anything to the story. However, I am and will always be a fan of excess, so get the full version! The story is strong and keeps you interested. McDowell is charming throughout, which is quite the feat considering he murders family members, rapes and molests men and women, and sleeps with his sister. For fans of excess and sleaze, i highly recommend. Viewers who are purely interested in the reign of the notorious ruler might want to skip this one.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 291 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Comedy Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular comedy titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed