5.3/10
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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:

, (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writer:

(adapted from an original screenplay by)
Reviews
Popularity
900 ( 82)

On Disc

at Amazon

2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Caligula
... Drusilla
Guido Mannari ... Macro
... Nerva
... Tiberius
Giancarlo Badessi ... Claudius
Bruno Brive ... Gemellus
Adriana Asti ... Ennia
... Charicles
... Chaerea
... Longinus
... Livia (as Mirella Dangelo)
... Caesonia
Rick Parets ... Mnester (as Richard Parets)
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

15 February 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caligula  »

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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  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

(original release)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.95:1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the end of the production, Malcolm McDowell gave his dresser a pendant bearing her name, but it was misspelled and she gave it back to him. McDowell offered her a signet ring, a prop from the film. She refused because it belonged to the production company. See more »

Goofs

Charea proclaims Claudius emperor after killing Caligula and his family. In reality, it was another Praetorian who proclaimed Claudius as emperor; Charea had been planning to kill Claudius as well to eliminate the entire imperial family. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Pink Flamingos (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Adagio
from Spartacus (1960)
Written by Aram Khachaturyan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Beyond the controversy lies a good film
6 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

This film, as with all, has good points and bad points.

In general, I feel that the good ones far outweigh the bad.

The film simply gives the story of the rise and death of Emperor Caligula in a very straight-forward manner. Indeed, it can be seen as shocking, but I think that this is a side-effect of it's desire to be realistic, rather than a deliberate act on the part of the film-makers.

The cinematography and camera work is awful. The huge sets seem at times almost claustrophobic which is an absolute crime considering the magnificence of them. There is also too much emphasis on Caligula himself, to the detriment of revealing some important traits in other characters, making them seem somewhat shallow at times.

The sex scenes are very well placed within the context of the film. I thought that only two scenes stood out as being unnecessarily overt, but for the most part, the explicitness is on the fringe of the focus of each scene, while also playing a major part in the atmosphere.

Never once did I feel that any dialogue was out of place, nor did the acting strike me as being bad.

By far the biggest problem with this film is the fact that the sexual content is widely advertised and therefore anticipated before viewing. This may cause people to focus dominantly on those scenes without really looking at the film as a whole. For me, it enhanced the film. Not in a particularly titillating way, but in the fact that there was no compromise during scenes of sexual acts. Roman orgies are regarded to have been extremely opulent and promiscuous - I found it refreshing to see one as it may have actually been rather than lots of fully-clothed laughing fat men pouring red wine over their faces and eating grapes while draped with female automatons.

In summary, Caligula definitely has it's place in film history due to it's controversy, but if you look beyond that controversy, you should find a rather good film which neatly tells the story of how power can turn someone into a madman.


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