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Pompeii: The Last Day (2003)

A dramatized recreation of the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

Director:

Peter Nicholson

Writers:

Edward Canfor-Dumas (dramatisation), Peter Nicholson
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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Alisdair Simpson Alisdair Simpson ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Tim Pigott-Smith ... Pliny the Elder
Jim Carter ... Polybius
Jonathan Firth ... Stephanus
Rebecca Clarke Rebecca Clarke ... Fortunata
Inika Leigh Wright Inika Leigh Wright ... Hedone
Martin Hodgson Martin Hodgson ... Gaius
Rachel Atkins Rachel Atkins ... Plinia
Robert Whitelock ... Celadus
Chad Shepherd ... Africanus
Katherine Whitburn Katherine Whitburn ... Julia
Chrissie Cotterill Chrissie Cotterill ... Epidia
Leigh Jones ... Sabinus
George Antoni George Antoni ... Felix (as George Yiasoumi)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
F. Murray Abraham ... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

In 79 AD, one of the infamous natural disasters in human history occurred when Mount Vesuvius erupted. With speculative dramatizations of various inhabitants' final hours along with detailed documentation of the known facts concerning the eruption, the horrific day is vividly brought to life. In addition, the modern situation of life around Mount Vesuvius is shown and the overhanging danger that is still there today. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

BBC [UK]

Country:

UK | France | Spain

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 2003 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

L'ultimo giorno di Pompei See more »

Filming Locations:

Monastir, Tunisia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16: 9 Enhanced
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All the other filmed dramatizations of the last days of Pompeii have featured purely fictional characters. See more »

Goofs

As the second-last pyroclastic wave stops just outside the city, the carbon dioxide it sends into the city should have affected all the lamps, dimming if not extinguishing the flames. The flames are untouched although the people are choking. See more »

Quotes

Alisdair Simpson - Narrator: Vesuvius has never again erupted with the same volcanic force as on that hot summer day in A.D. 79. According to the experts, Plinian eruptions of this scale only happen every 2000 years. The next one is due.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Superb Recreation
27 December 2010 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

The first thing I ever really learned about the Roman Empire was about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79. I was in Grade 4 or 5 at the time, and read a book (I don't remember the title) that described Pompeii's last day from the perspective of a young boy in the city. The book drew me into the events and gave me a lifelong curiosity about the eruption and the people who experienced it. This superb BBC documentary takes on the same challenge - and pulls it off spectacularly. With a narration that offers a lot of important historical and scientific information combined with some excellent dramatic recreations of the events, which include graphic descriptions of the horrific ways in which some people died, and with archaeological footage mixed in especially near the end (the body casts and skeletons that have been found are such poignant reminders of the fact that real people suffered and died in this cataclysm) this production is absolutely fascinating, and anyone with even a remote interest in what happened on August 24 AD79 should take the time to watch this.

About the only criticism I would make is of a perhaps overly dramatic end. Noting that 3 million people now live in the area surrounding Vesuvius, the narration notes that such eruptions occur about every two thousand years - meaning the time is ripe for another. I've actually come across nothing suggesting such a specific timetable, and suspect that was included just to heighten the drama as the program came to its end. If so, it wasn't necessary. Vesuvius may well erupt again. I know the Italian government actually keeps a close watch on it and has evacuation plans ready for the region if need be. But even if it never erupts again, the eruption of AD79 and the ensuing nightmare it threw so many into will never be forgotten.


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