Set just after the death of Jesus Christ, this mini-series chronicles the life & adventures of Jesus's disciples, and events in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.




Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
Anthony Andrews ...  Nero 5 episodes, 1985
Colleen Dewhurst ...  Antonia 5 episodes, 1985
Ava Gardner ...  Agrippina 5 episodes, 1985
David Hedison ...  Porcius Festus 5 episodes, 1985
John Houseman ...  Gamaliel 5 episodes, 1985
Richard Kiley ...  Claudius 5 episodes, 1985
Ian McShane ...  Sejanus 5 episodes, 1985
Jennifer O'Neill ...  Messalina 5 episodes, 1985
Millie Perkins ...  Mary 5 episodes, 1985
Denis Quilley ...  Peter 5 episodes, 1985
Fernando Rey ...  Seneca 5 episodes, 1985
Richard Roundtree ...  Serpenius 5 episodes, 1985
Susan Sarandon ...  Livilla 5 episodes, 1985
Ben Vereen ...  Ethiopian 5 episodes, 1985
Tony Vogel Tony Vogel ...  Aquila 5 episodes, 1985
Jack Warden ...  Nerva 5 episodes, 1985
Neil Dickson ...  Valerius 5 episodes, 1985
Chris Humphreys ...  Caleb 5 episodes, 1985
Amanda Pays ...  Sarah 5 episodes, 1985
Philip Sayer Philip Sayer ...  Paul / ... 5 episodes, 1985
Diane Venora ...  Corinna 5 episodes, 1985
Vincent Riotta Vincent Riotta ...  Stephen 5 episodes, 1985
Rebecca Saire ...  Ruth 5 episodes, 1985
Tom Durham Tom Durham ...  Cleopas 5 episodes, 1985
Anthony Pedley Anthony Pedley ...  Zacchaeus 5 episodes, 1985
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ...  Caiaphas 5 episodes, 1985
Ralph Arliss ...  Samuel 5 episodes, 1985
Mike Gwilym Mike Gwilym ...  Pallas 5 episodes, 1985
Davyd Harries Davyd Harries ...  Thomas 5 episodes, 1985
Norma Martinelli Norma Martinelli ...  Apicata 5 episodes, 1985
Bruce Winant ...  Seth 5 episodes, 1985
Jonathan Hyde ...  Tigellinus 5 episodes, 1985
Damien Thomas ...  Herod Agrippa 5 episodes, 1985
Scott Hoxby ...  Agrippa II 5 episodes, 1985
Angela Morant ...  Priscilla 5 episodes, 1985
Clive Arrindell Clive Arrindell ...  Cassius Chaerca 5 episodes, 1985
Paul Freeman ...  Cornelius 5 episodes, 1985
Andrea Prodan Andrea Prodan ...  Brittanicus / ... 5 episodes, 1985
Akosua Busia ...  Acte 5 episodes, 1985
Vernon Dobtcheff ...  Flavius Sabinus 5 episodes, 1985
Jane How Jane How ...  Poppea 5 episodes, 1985
Jonathan Tafler ...  Aaron 5 episodes, 1985
Barrie Houghton Barrie Houghton ...  Ananias The Essene 5 episodes, 1985
Maggie Wickman Maggie Wickman ...  Apicata 5 episodes, 1985
Alan Downer Alan Downer ...  Barnabas 5 episodes, 1985
Martin Potter ...  Gaius Calpernius Piso 5 episodes, 1985
Colin Haigh Colin Haigh ...  James 5 episodes, 1985
Philip Anthony Philip Anthony ...  James the Elder 5 episodes, 1985
Renato Scarpa ...  Lucius Marinus 5 episodes, 1985
Roderick Horn Roderick Horn ...  Marcellus 5 episodes, 1985
John Wheatley John Wheatley ...  Marcus I 5 episodes, 1985
David Sumner David Sumner ...  Mathias 5 episodes, 1985
Stephen Finlay Stephen Finlay ...  Nicanor 5 episodes, 1985
Katia Dandoulaki ...  Octavia 5 episodes, 1985
Eddie Grossman Eddie Grossman ...  Parmenas 5 episodes, 1985
David Brandon ...  Petronius 5 episodes, 1985
Robert Wentz Robert Wentz ...  Thrasyllus 5 episodes, 1985
John McEnery ...  Caligula 3 episodes, 1985
Richard Kane Richard Kane ...  Agrippa III 3 episodes, 1985
Paul Herzberg Paul Herzberg ...  Gaius 3 episodes, 1985
James Mason ...  Tiberius 2 episodes, 1985
Gerrard McArthur Gerrard McArthur ...  Luke 2 episodes, 1985


Set just after the death of Jesus Christ, this mini-series chronicles the life & adventures of Jesus's disciples, and events in Rome during the reigns of the Emperors Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History


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Italy | France | USA



Release Date:

31 March 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A.D. - Anno Domini See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


James Mason was an 11th-hour casting decision replacing an actor who dropped out. See more »


Follows Jesus of Nazareth (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Very good Christian plot as a continuation of Jesus of Nazareth, poor Roman plot as an unsuccessful imitation of I Claudius!
8 April 2004 | by Marcin KukuczkaSee all my reviews


"Soon the night will come, and we shall be questioned of LOVE..." (the most memorable quote from the movie).

When I watched the miniseries ANNO DOMINI, it made me think that I watch the continuation of Jesus of Nazareth (1977). This has its basis in the fact that the screenplay of Anthony Burgess appears in Jesus of Nazareth too, as well as the photography by Ennio Guarnieri. Other crew are also the same, except for the director, of course. What else makes it strikingly similar to Zeffirelli's colorful depiction of Christ's life is the convention, the music (very touching), the way Jews are showed. And I like it. It is really a true depiction of the situation of the first Nazarenes, or later called Christians. Some scenes showing the spread of Christian faith are really touching!

The historical plot is, however, a background. What comes into view are the fictitious characters, mostly Jews and a Roman, who, in the long run, convert to Christianity. One of them is a Roman soldier, Valerius (Neil Dickson) who falls in love with a Jewish girl, Sarah (Amanda Pays). He experiences the insane reign of Caligula (John McEnery) and sees the decadence and moral downfall of the Roman Empire. When he meets Paul of Tarsus, his life is never the same... I was particularly moved by the scene near the end when he says that while holding the body of a little girl killed on arena, he knew he had been holding Jesus crucified. As a result, the movie is not only another mini series about the 1st century, but leads to profound religious reflections.

The Roman story, however, is poorly presented. It is faithful to history but it too much imitates the style of a classical BBC series I CLAUDIUS (1976) (most viewers remember an excellent acting of Derek Jacobi). Here, in A.D. it is not that interesting! Maybe, the role of Nero (Anthony Andrews) - but that's one of the very few good portrayals of Romans. Ava Gardner as Nero's mother gives a memorable performance, but not her finest one, James Mason is not bad as Tiberius (his last role), and John McEnery is good as insane Caligula (but I like John Hurt in I CLAUDIUS more). The arena moments are haunting and historically exaggerated. Children, worn as sheep, go to arena to be bitten by wild dogs.

/When Caleb wants to rescue them he says to the guard: "Leave them in peace! These are children!" The Roman's reaction is: "Children? These are Christians"!/

I also don't know what led the producers present Poppaea, Nero's wife, as such a gentle, good woman.

Nevertheless, the cast of the movie are very good - lots of great stars (another similarity to Zeffirelli's movie), like already mentioned Ava Gardner, James Mason, John Mc Enery, Anthony Andrews and lots of others. They are a real treasure of this film and make it more valuable.

I love Philip Sayer's portrayal of Paul. He is the best Paul ever. His eyes, his face expression are wonderful!!! In fact, I can't imagine a better choice for Paul of Tarsus. The scene of Saul's (later Paul's) conversion is visually stunning and very moving. "Saul, why do you persecute me?"... Denis Quiley's portrayal of Peter is also worth considering, but not that memorable.

In sum, I would put it like that: ANNO DOMINI is worth watching due to its story, its cast and its touching content combined with lovely music. The Christian plot is done very well; however, don't pay too much attention to the Roman plot if you saw I CLAUDIUS (1976) before. 7/10

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