Rome (TV Series 2005–2007) Poster

(2005–2007)

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10/10
The Best Yet?
jacksflicks28 September 2005
I Claudius was maybe the best miniseries ever. Now, there's Rome, and it's even better.

I agree with another reviewer, that quibbles about historical inaccuracies, such as accents or how old so-and-so should be, are silly pedantry. I've been a Roman history buff ever since my own high school triumvirate of Caesar, Cicero and Virgil, and I say that this historical fiction is both exciting AND quite accurate with the important stuff.

So far, every player has been terrific, in particular Ciarán Hinds as Caesar and Max Pirkis as Octavian. Julius Caesar was perhaps the most complex "great" figure in history. Was he a great populist, trying to champion the people against the Optimates, or was he an ambitious demagogue, who was using the Roman mobs to attain the imperium? Hinds depicts this complexity perfectly, while projecting a steely will that is shared by Caesar's emerging protégé, Octavian. Thanks to Max Pirkis's brilliant portrayal, we can already see the no-nonsense pragmatism, ruthlessness and brilliance that will propel this boy into becoming the greatest despot in history.

And what about that dissolute Mark Anthony? We can already see Actium in his face. And with Atia, I think Livia (as depicted in I Claudius) and Messalina have met their match.

And midst the struggle for mastery of Rome, we see the struggle of more common folk just to make a living. Rome makes the parallel stories of the Optimates and Centurian, now Prefect, Vorenus and Legionnaire Pullo a perfect vehicle for comparing the travails of different classes — their love lives, social lives, how they treated the servants, how they practiced their faiths, how they fought. Seen from these different perspectives (which we did not get with I Claudius), we get a three-dimensional view and, for me, the closest to feeling like one is actually there of any historical fiction ever produced.

And look at the production values. Is it any wonder, when we see who's behind the camera — Michael Apted and John Milius — that we have an immaculately crafted work?

By their commitment to quality of production and integrity of story, HBO and BBC are demonstrating what television can be. This is a wonderful, wonderful series. Anyone with a love of history, drama and spectacle should be devouring it with delight.
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a feast for the eyes!
J5iftY5iveXtreme21 September 2005
HBO's "Rome" is perhaps one of the best historical TV shows there ever was and one of the best HBO has ever produced.

Set during the first century B.C., this TV show tells the tale of two Romans serving in the army, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pollo. Vorenus in a strict, humorless and hard-working centurion, expecting his troops to obey him and is a loyal citizen of Rome. Pollo is muscular, carefree, party-loving, and womanizing, yet he is also a faithful, trustworthy friend, loyal companion, and overall lovable character. These two military men serve in Julius Caesar's army and live during a time of turmoil in Rome.

Originally planned as a TV miniseries, "Rome" has become an actual TV show. This TV show is mostly fictional, but it incorporates historical characters like Caesar, Pompey, Cato, Mark Anthony, and Atia, the most of Octavian, soon to become Rome's first emperor, Augustus. It is a time when the Roman Republic is corrupt, and high-ranking Romans like Julius Caesar and Pompey fight for power. The historical events in Rome are told thru the eyes of Vorenus and Pollo.

The script is intelligent and realistic, with some profanity, violence, and decadence. Unlike most portrayals of Rome, which tend to be clean and sanitize things, this is a graphic portrayal of Ancient Rome, complete with drunkards, brawlers, womanizers, prostitutes, adulterers, fornication, and loads of sexual acts. This TV series do not attempt to hide the dirty aspects of the Roman Empire. Rather, it is a honest depiction of the Empire, portraying its decadence and wickedness.

As for the production, one word - great! The sets are huge and realistic, with the viewer feeling as if he/she is in the middle of the scene. The costumes, too, are realistic and accurate. The sets, props, and costumes, etc. show signs of research. The actors and actresses did a great job, too, portraying their characters realistically.

Overall, this is a great series. I will be expecting more seasons of this.
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"ROME" If You Want To...
Christopher T. Chase28 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
And if the premiere episode is any indication, you WILL want to. Leave it to HBO, to replace the dearly departed SIX FEET UNDER with a worthy substitute already. And considering how outstanding that series was, that's saying something for ROME, that it may be able to measure up to how far the bar has been raised for dramatic series in a premium cable format.

Ten years in the planning and production, as lavish, sprawling, deep, dark and deviously, deliciously decadent as anything of its like, ROME combines historical figures with equally compelling fictional side characters, many of whom show us what it was like through their eyes, to bear witness to the heady rise and staggeringly shocking fall of one of the greatest empires in history.

For those who like their summaries simple, you only need to know that the core of the doings in ROME is comprised of three major stories: the contentious relationship between Roman movers and shakers Magnus Pompey (Kenneth Cranham) and Gaius Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds), which grows even more fractious when Pompey's wife Julia, also Caesar's daughter, dies in childbirth. Then there's Roman centurions Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), two complex men struggling to do their duty and buck their fates as pawns in the machinations of the two leaders to which each is separately loyal, while testing the bond of their own tentative friendship, as much as the complications within their lives will allow.

And, oh yes, what would any man be without the support of a good woman behind him...hopefully not with a dagger in her hand? In this case the women would be Atia (Polly Walker), an ambitious socialite and political strategist who makes Lady Macbeth look like a rank amateur, and Servilia (Lindsay Duncan), whose sweet and civilized demeanor more than likely hides the cunning and ruthlessness of a cobra. Oh, and does it bode well that Caesar is her secret lover, and that his confidant and friend, Cassius Brutus is also Servilia's son?

Webs are being woven and plots are being planned even in the first few moments, and the mostly British cast is well up to the task (the series is produced in conjunction with the BBC). It's also a great sign that not all the heavy hitters are among the cast of characters, but also behind-the-scenes as well, (Michael Apted and John Milius are vital parts of the creative team, and directorial chores are being handled by everyone from Allen Coulter (THE SOPRANOS) to Alan Poul (SIX FEET UNDER).) Plus the sets which dominate the bulk of the world-renowned Cinecitta Studios in Rome itself have a startlingly authentic feel. Every penny of the $100 million-plus budget is apparent on screen and was well worth spending.

Speaking of which, my TiVo is already set for the next episodes. Looks like Sundays will be well worth spending here, too.
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Rome for the First Time
kjs9929 August 2005
Great. Loving classical literature and history, and the sometimes ridiculous film genre known as Sword and Sandal, I was thrilled by the first episode - I really feel like I'm getting something very like the grit and feel of the place and the politics for the first time. I've read some stupid comments here that somehow the series is less than authentic because these Romans speak English - and most absurd - that the actors are all too old because the average male died in his 40's. That figure - If true - is skewed tremendously by the fact that many died of childhood maladies that are easily treated today. Many men lived in to their 70's and 80's, especially in the aristocracy. Pompey - one of the oldest in the series - died at something like 58, and his death was anything but natural. Look, some suspension of disbelief is required every time you turn the TV on. I think they've done a great job with this series and I look forward to future episodes.
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Wonderful for history buffs and common viewers alike!
fritzofgalatia29 August 2005
Even though there has been only one episode so far, I have to say that "Rome" looks to be the best production of ancient Rome I have seen yet. Yes, Gladiator was a cool movie, but it lacked was historical accuracy. "Rome" has brought together what no one though possible: historical accuracy and good production. Octavian is an snide little wimp, but with political brilliance. Marc Antony is an arrogant and drunken man who has a love for brutality. Caesar is cunning and insightful. It's all there! The costuming is great, the dialog is crisp, the character interaction spot on and the plot flows smoothly. What more could you want!? This series is far and above that ABC knock-off "Empire", which couldn't even get Roman troops in proper costume. Every penny of this record-budget ($12 million for 12 episodes I think) series was well spent.
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Excellent production
nvserv30 August 2005
After seeing the first episode, the show promises to be an excellent production showing the civilization and intrigue of the Rome of Julius Caesar. We can't place our own moral code on these characters. They had their own, and are shown living it. When your life depended upon position and knowledge, you did everything you could to put yourself in the best position possible. In an "about the show" program that I saw about "Rome", the actress who plays Atia says that she doesn't feel her character is evil. The character is doing what she has to in order to keep her position and stay alive in that time. Life was hard, and so one didn't have the luxury of being soft.

To those who complain about the accents, so what? Why would someone from ancient Rome speak with an Italian accent? Language and dialect evolve over time. Who knows what an ancient Roman accent sounded like? They aren't Italians speaking in English, they are Romans speaking their own Latin dialect. Latin is not Italian. Just ask my old High School Latin teacher. We just happen to have the movie magic version of a Universal Translator, so we can understand them.

The sets are perfect, showing a bustling city, full of activity. To those who complain about them, they have to remember that the ruins of ancient Rome that we see today have been scoured clean by the progression of time. The filmmakers felt that ancient Rome would have been more like Bombay, India, and I tend to agree with them.

The series shows life as it was in those days. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops further.
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9/10
When in Rome ....... remember to cross the Rubicon
CelluloidRehab31 October 2005
HBO does it again. I got my start with the network back in 1990 with a sitcom called Dream On. From there, I have followed the yellow brick road through Sex and the City, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers, From the Earth to the Moon and Deadwood (not to mention hours and hours of boxing, documentary specials and tons of movies).

HBO now presents a miniseries about the Roman Empire, appropriately called "Rome". The story revolves around the time Julius Ceasar conquers Gaul, and the subsequent years following that (Ceasar's rise to dictator). The series delves into historical and archaeological records, with a dash of artistic licensing to create an environment that seems so real. For the most part the series is divided into 3 parts :

1) Julius Caesar's rise to unanimous political power.

2) The exploits (in the field and at home) of a Roman officer, Luscious Vorenus, and one of the soldiers under his command (whom becomes his friend), Titus Pollo.

3) The various political and social interactions and manipulations of Caesars relatives, namely Atia and her two offspring, Octavian and Octavia.

4) Post Caesarian Rome.

The production of this series is quite breathtaking. It seems like they took into account so many of the variables ; costumes, jewelry, architecture, religious practices, mannerism, military units, social venues, politics, class structure,etc. to bring the empire back to life in the 21st century. They went as far as to train the extras portraying the Roman soldiers in boot camp fashion. All were to sleep in tents outside and were provided with no modern amenities.

This series has something for everyone with a strong stomach and inclination towards the graphic. The show is going for authenticity. This is not Rome seen through the eyes of 21st century people, but rather through they eyes of 1st century BC Romans. It has action, graphic violence, sex, incest, betrayal, murder, Machiavellian scheming, politics, family bonding, war,etc. I just can't begin to describe just how authentic the show feels and how hypnotically captivating it is to watch (especially in High Definition). I can't help but feel that John Milius (as a writer and executive producer) has brought some of the same grit and grime from Conan (albeit with a more historic flavor). Also on the writing credits is work from Entourage, Sex and the City, Band of Brothers and Desperate Housewives.

The acting core is quite good, consisting mostly on an English cast with theatrical experience. Their performances are quite good and contains many veterans and some newcomers (at least to me). Such standouts would include : Indira Varma (of Kama Sutra fame) who plays Luscious' wife Niobe, Kerry Condon (whom I first saw in Jet Li's Danny the Dog) as Atti's daughter Octavia, Kenneth Cranham (Jimmy from Layer Cake) as Pompey, Kevin McKidd (from Trainspotting and Dog Soldiers) as Luscious, Polly Walker as Atia and Ray Stevenson as Titus.

To add to the authenticity, the series was shot at Cinecitta Studios in Rome. This gives the series an extra flavor. I highly recommend this series, but only for those that can stomach graphic sex, violence and a lot of the Queen's English. It is currently my favorite show, and wishing it could last 1000 years.

-Celluloid Rehab
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10/10
Don't listen to the Naysayers
Salvatore Serio14 September 2005
Having watched the first three episodes, I am anxiously looking forward to seeing the rest of the episodes. All of the intrigue that was Rome is presented well, considering that no one involved lived during that time that could give accurate details on Roman life. For that matter, all historical presentations that are over a hundred years old are filled in with speculation and assumption and for that no one can discredit the attempts at accuracy.

For all of the naysayers, listen well. You complain that the show is full of pointelss dialogue. Rome was one of the first political empires to exist. When you have a Senate, it becomes very political. As for the accuracies to design, as I said, we can only speculate in accordance to available artifacts, as to how the place really looked. The designs do look as I picture in my own mind. Another complaint that I saw was about the sex with one such comment relating Rome to "Skinimax". The fact is this is set prior to Christian corruption, shunning the act of sex. So yes, there was a lot of it.
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This show is HOT!!!
jesseny-113 September 2005
Just watched the third episode of ROME and I love it!! I was surprised to read some of the negative reviews on this forum.

Political intrigue, great acting, sex, violence (the hand to hand type not the I'll shoot ya from a mile away kind), booze, gambling, prostitution, HOT HOT women, macho guys, murder, what's there not to like?!

Not to go into all the details, but getting to know the characters is crucial. And after three episodes, We know the players. The actors are real good, thanks to the producers to go and get real actors not some pretty boy talentless losers. I read that the actors were mostly Brits and that is key. Most American Actors wouldn't be able to pull off the roles. Some of the acting is flawed but hey, it's a TV show and a darn good one. Being a history buff and after watching Collin Farrell and Angelina Jolie embarrass themselves in Alexander and Brad Pitt in Troy, Rome is quite a refreshing period piece.

Liking a TV show has a lot to do with connecting with the characters. And there are a lot of them, about 12 main characters.1st of all Polly Walker as Atia is incredible!! This show was made for her. She's so hot and devious, and cunning, and okay hot, and such a strong personality, absolutely radiant woman, Wow.Then there's Ray Stevenson as Titus, he's like a Bullet Tooth Tony from Snatch. Macho, whoring, gambler type, a mans' man tough guy. Kevin McKidd is real good as a complex quiet type. Really good cast of fine actors. Indira Varma (plays Niobe)- SIZZLING HOT and she can act a little too. Not to mention Ciaran Hinds, he plays Caesar, absolutely believable, thank goodness. Kenneth Cranham (Pompey)-Fine, the actor that plays Cato (Karl Johnson)is also good.

The set is legit. I feel like we're in Rome and not some Hollywood Movie set. I'm not sure if they're are using 3D MAx (or some other computer engineered set) but it works.

Then there's the story line. A lot of evil doings going on and political maneuvering, love affairs of course, surely Rome was like that 2000 years ago! Obviously they have their history consultants, they are using the names of real people of Rome who lived 50 BC or there abouts and of course most is fictionalized to entertain us, so the plots are thick.

Anyway, thumbs up from me, THIS IS A DON'T MISS SHOW.
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Excellent mini series
stpatric4 September 2005
I have watched both of the first two episodes and I am very impressed, and look forward to seeing all 12. So far this is the best mini series that I have seen in years. If the next ten episodes are as good as these two, then I will rate this series right up there with Roots, Centennial, and Lonesome Dove. I guess that dates me somewhat, doesn't it.

I agree with all of the other many positive comments on this series. There are still people out there who enjoy intelligent programing, instead of all these mindless sitcoms and reality shows. I too am a history buff, and enjoy the authenticity that this series projects to the viewer, as opposed to just more Hollywood glitter like that abominable "ALEXANDER".
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9/10
Epic series about the struggle for power in ancient Rome......
Maddyclassicfilms19 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Created by Bruno Heller,Rome has become one of the greatest HBO mini series of all time and certainly one of the best about Rome.It's up there with the best of them and even(I never thought it was possible)gives I Claudius a run for it's money.

Charting the rise and fall of the ever brutal and power hungry men and women who have their fingers dipped in the honey pot of power.From Caeser's triumph in Gaul,to his involvement and marriage to Egyption Queen Cleopatra,the various power struggles for control of the Senate and finally to the suicide of Cleopatra and Anthony in Egypt.

Our way into this time of extreme violence and political upheaval comes in the form of two Roman soldiers.Legionary Titus Pullo(Ray Stevenson)and Centurion Lucius Vorenus(Kevin McKidd),they meet when they are tasked with recovering Caeser's personal Eagle(stolen from the camp in Gaul).At first they are an odd couple,Lucius uptight and stubborn,Titus headstrong and a joker.

Before long though,both come to respect the other for their skills as a Roman soldier and soon form a bond of friendship,so strong and close that it's almost like they are brothers.The series follows their experiences of serving under Julius Caeser(Ciaran Hinds),journeys to Egypt and their time serving with Romes most revered and fearless soldier Mark Anthony(James Purefoy),as well as their own personal story arcs concerning the struggle to adjust from being soldiers to normal life in peacetime.

Rome also looks at the struggles of being a Roman woman at the time.Expected to be decorative ornaments on the arms of those men in power as well as as the lengths they themselves go to in order for a male member to succeed to power be it murder,sex or flattery.And all this is never acknowledged by the men at all.

We see these struggles in the form of Atia of the Julii(Polly Walker)the mother of the young boy Octavian(Simon Woods and Max Pirkis)who would later go onto become ruler of the senate,she's deeply in love with Anthony and devastated when he becomes the new flame of fiery girl Queen Cleopatra(Lyndsey Marshal),and the mother of Brutus and former flame of Caeser Servilia(Lindsay Duncan)who slithers in the background like a snake hatching plans and spouting venom.And Atia's innocent young daughter Octavia(Kerry Condon)who soon will enter into a world of vice.

With excellent story lines,strong and well developed characters this is a frank look at the people,violence and decadence that formed a part of history we will never forget.With strong support from David Bamber as the intelligent and crafty Marcus Tullius Cicero,and Ian McNiece who is hysterical as Romes newsreader.

The portrayal of Cleopatra may not be to everyones tastes but if you think about it is probably not far from the truth,she became Queen when she was just a teenager and had no elder members of her family to instruct her in the ways of being the ruler of Egypt.She only had loyal servants who's sole job was to do her bidding and admire and flatter her.The only teaching she got was most likely from Caeser.However there are many scenes where she shows her maturity and strength as a ruler in her dealings with Octavian.

With a superb cast and stories,Rome is this generations I Claudius and is a worthy prequel to that classic series starring Derek Jacobi as Emperor Claudius.When I first saw I Claudius,I thought could top it,I was wrong,truly Rome is a must see.
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An excellent evocation of Ancient Rome and its people
HMDixon218 October 2005
One of the grand stories of history, Julius Ceasar and the beginnings of the Empire, told in a style which is both compelling and historically accurate. I am an art historian with a particular interest in Ancient Rome, and I find this to be the best evocation of Ancient Rome yet on screen.

Rome at the time of Julius Ceasar was the major power in Europe and northern Africa, but it was not yet the great city of the Emperors. For once the set designers have got it right. It is colorful (not the pure white city of Hollywood), squalid, profane, reverent, brutal, and alive with life. We know of the graffiti from ancient sources. We know the outlines of the history, which this series treats very accurately. What we cannot know is the souls of the major actors in this great drama. This mini-series gives us a glimpse into the motivations, both grand and petty, of the people who brought down the Republic but did not quite replace it with the Empire. Not quite yet.

Aside from the sets and set decoration, which is superb (first time a Roman insula or apartment building is accurately shown on film to the best of my knowledge), what this series does is give us a sense of the possible motivations behind the historical facts. Is this the way it really was? No one can say. It does fit the historical data we have. What this series does, beyond everything else, is remind us that these figures were people with all the complexity of motivation that we experience in people today. The producers, directors, and actors have admirably avoided the cardboard cut-out and pretentious posturing.

Be warned, this mini-series is just as casually brutal and profane as Ancient Rome was. I would not let young children watch it, at least not without serious guidance. I will say that it is just plain excellent and well worth your attention. You will be entertained and informed. It will make you think about characters that we know only distantly from books or from far more conventional Hollywood cardboard characterizations. Unequivocally a great production.
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Senatus populesque Romanae!
Chris Swanson29 August 2005
This series is off to a stellar start! I was VERY impressed by the first episode. True, a great many characters were introduced, but what do you expect? You have to get the pieces onto the board before the game can begin. I'm really looking forward to where it goes. I'm a history buff with a fascination for Greek/Roman/Byzantine history. "Alexander" was dreadful. I couldn't even watch the first episode of "Empire" without turning it off. But this... this looks good. Now let's get a movie based on Turteltaub's fine book "Justinian". All in all fantastic. I hear that it's only a mini-series slated for twelve episodes. That's a pity. I'd like to see a regular series set in this world. Excellent all around to everyone involved!
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10/10
Amazing Series....
Arif Moghal21 January 2012
I saw the ROME Series, Both Season 1 & 2, in a weeks time.. And the last four episodes, in one go.. Such was my addiction to this splendid series that, I am still awestruck...

Kudos to the production house "HBO", for coming out with an extra - ordinary series worth every bit.. To start with, the cast was spectacular.. It was a sheer magic.. Every artist came up with such a captivating performance and it is bound to leave the mark... The actors, support crew, the newsreader (you would love him and start imitating his way immediately), the ladies... You name it and you have it in this series...

I had to wait an eternity to get my hands on this series.. My favorite characters, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo were the best.. The way, their friendship has been portrayed will leave an indelible mark on the audience for long time... You cannot imagine these two characters being donned by anyone else... In my opinion, they were the real heroes..

Ciarán Hinds as Julius Ceaser was amazing.. He carried his role effortlessly and with such a brilliance.. Lyndsey Marshal as Cleopatra was stunning.. Her mere presence ignites the frame to perfection... Boy, I was just carried away.. Such a beauty... James Purefoy as Mark Antony was portrayed brilliantly.. He justified his role more than anyone.. Awesome...

Even though, each episode has been directed by different people, they have been construed so well, that, the entire epic series is carried effortlessly... The continuity of thought has been maintained to perfection...

Brutus with his audacious voice was terrific... He was Brutus indeed...

My verdict: A perfect 10 on 10... Go ahead and watch the enigmatic series ever to be made... And be mesmerized like me... !!!
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10/10
A considerable achievement
Andres Salama6 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
HBO's Rome two seasons (originally shown in the years 2005-2007) covers in twenty two episodes the twenty two year period between the battle of Alesia in 52 BC and the aftermath to the battle of Actium in 30 BC (Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC is shown at the end of the first season and the beginning of the second season). While several plot threads runs through the series, basically the first season is about how Caesar rose to hold absolute power (defeating rivals like Pompey) just before being murdered, while the second season tell us how after Caesar's death, a struggle began between Octavian (later emperor Augustus) and Mark Antony to fill the power void generated by Caesar's death.

The series is centered round the lives of two friends and comrades from the campaign in Gaul, the hot tempered Vorenus (played by Kevin McKidd, who looks a lot like Daniel Craig) and the more amiable Pullo (played by Ray Stevenson, who looks a bit like Mel Gibson and another bit like Russell Crowe) They both existed historically (two centurions bearing those names are mentioned in Caesar's Commentaries on the War in Gaul), but little else is known about them, so most of what is shown in the TV series is invented. The rest of the cast is mostly British, none of them very famous (most of them come from a BBC high drama/theatrical background) but they mostly acquit themselves fine: James Purefoy particularly excels as the slimy, edgy Mark Antony; David Bamber is a fine Cicero, so is Polly Walker as the scheming matron Attia. The gorgeous Kerry Condon impresses as the young, promiscuous Octavia, while Ciaran Hinds is good in his understated performance as Julius Caesar.

With the obvious exception of having the Romans speak in English (there is always something ridiculous about movies where Romans deliver obscenities in a Cockney accent) real care was taken by the filmmakers to make this series as historically accurate as possible.

The production values are considerable. Still, since they didn't have an enormous budget, the filmmakers decided not to film huge crowd scenes, concentrating instead on smaller, more intimate scenes. Thus Mark Antony's funeral oration of Caesar is referred to but not shown, and with the exception of the battle of Philippi none of the other battles of the era is recreated. Despite this smaller scope, this miniseries represents a considerable achievement, a triumph both of popular and intelligent entertainment and scholarship.
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10/10
Rome Series 1......Gladiator has met it's match
Jenny14 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Historical dramas,as a rule, are very hit and miss. While they can look stunning most will suffer from a lack of drama. And it will always be a challenge to bring to life the movers and shakers of history accurately. Just look and Troy and Alexander.While both were visually stunning they lacked depth(Alexander) and and historical accuracy(Troy).

So needless to say, as a student of Classics, when I heard about Rome for the first time I was unsure what to expect. Is it really possible to do justice accurately to the most colorful and action-packed period of Roman history? In a word YES. Rome is a perfect example of how do it right. It has something for everyone; Action,drama,suspense,humor,weepy bits,sex, romance, murder, violence, beautiful women and handsome men and historical accuracy for the most part anyway.

The story begins at a crucial period of Roman history, the conflict between Gnaeus Pompey Magnus ( Pompey the Great) and the most famous Roman of them all, Gaius Julius Caeser. The balance of power is shifting as Caeser, after his hugely successful campaign in Gaul is gaining popularity with the Plebs( ordinary people).

The tale is told through the eyes of two ordinary soldiers in Caeser's army, Centurian Lucius Vorenus and Legionnare Titus Pullo of the Thriteenth Legion. These two ordinary are thrust into the center of the conflict as Republic hangs in the balance, while dealing with their own personal issues. They come into contact with some of the biggest names of the day like Marc Antony, Caeser's right hand man and Gaius Octavian who will became Rome's first Emperor Augustus.

The series covers the beginnings of the conflict between Caeser and Pompey and continues up to the death of Caeser in the Senate House The performances are top notch. The stellar cast includes the wonderful Ciaran Hinds as Caeser, driven, proud and noble. Kenneth Cranham is on fine form as Pompey, Caeser's put upon former friend.

Special mention to James Purefoy as Antony. He brings to life the larger than life character you meet on the pages of Plutarch, rude,vulgar, selfish,brave, passionate, hilarious and it must be said impossibly handsome.

The tough ruthless Lucius Vorenus is played by Kevin McKidd in a role built for him. Ray Stevenson amazes as loyal lovable rogue Pullo. Other top performances include young Max Pirkis as Octavian. He clever, watchful and calculating, a shadow of what he is later to become.Kerry Condon as his sister Octavia and Polly Walker as his driven ambitious, often cruel Mother Atia are excellent.

On fine form also are Tobias Menzes as Brutus and Lindsay Duncan as Servilla. David Bamber as the famous Orator Cicero delivers one of his best performances yet. There is also a fine support cast including Indira Varmha as Vorenus' wife Niobe and Lee Boardman as the Horse-tamer Timon.

The sets are lush and almost fantastical but also realistic from the peace of the countryside to the hustle and bustle of the form and the grandeur of the Patrican homes. The sets are as authentic and historically correct as possible so that one really feels that one is there in Rome at this historical milestone.

Most of the larger events such as Caeser's death are as history tells us. Some artistic license has been taken. For example while Pullo and Vorenus are actual people their stories as told here are fictionalized as is the relationship between Antony and Atia. Nevertheless as a whole the piece is a top notch epic and worthy of all the praise it gets.Any fictionalized areas simply add to the story and help it flow.

This is how historical dramas should be done ; realistic and interesting with characters true to life and engaging, top notch script and fantastic acting.

Gladiator has met it's match.
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10/10
The best TV series ever made
Leofwine_draca14 November 2011
I've become so bored of mainstream television over the last decade that I now make a point of only watching series that are history-related, given my huge love of the subject matter. I missed ROME when it was first shown, but heard so much good about it that I caved in and bought the box set on Blu-ray. I'm so glad I did; believe the hype, ROME is the ultimate in costume drama.

The series only lasted for two seasons before cancellation, but every episode is a winner. There are two story strands running through: the big story and the little story. The big story is concerned with the legendary figures of history - in the first season Julius Caesar and his cohorts, and in the second Mark Antony. The little story looks at the minor characters, the soldiers and families involved with the politics of their era.

The script crackles with realistic dialogue and the characters are superb. Not just Pullo and Vorenus, but also Atia and her offspring, Brutus and his mother, even the minor players who are awarded little dialogue. Every actor is amazing, with Ciaran Hinds stealing the show in the first series and James Purefoy in the second.

I'm pleased that the producers went all-out in making an adult drama, not skimping on the sexual content or the violence. It's hard to pick highlights in a series that never puts a foot wrong, but Pullo's diversion in the gladiator arena is hard to beat in terms of its sheer power. The ending of season two, with Antony descending into madness, is chilling and moving in equal measure.

It took a good few years, but I'm pleased to report that TV producers are finally capitalising on ROME's success and beginning to make similar products as they realise a market for adult-focused historical drama. Already we're seeing the likes of SPARTACUS (three series and counting), CAMELOT, GAME OF THRONES, THE BORGIAS and THE TUDORS, each of them indebted to ROME in some way. I'll enjoy watching them, but I doubt any will equal the quality of this.
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10/10
Magnificent Look at Rome, Its History and Its People!
Gunn6 January 2010
This Review includes Rome: the Complete Series Parts 1 & 2. I'll begin by crowning HBO "King of the Mini-Series". Any doubt, just look at Rasputin, Citizen X, John Adams, Band of Brothers, From Earth to the Moon, Grey Gardens and others. Rome the Series has it all, a literate script, a superb cast, fantastic production values, unbelievable special effects, makeup and stunt-work, brilliant directing by ALL directors involved, excellent pacing and a terrific music score throughout. It is pretty much historically accurate in events and history. Even Vorenus and Pullo were actually mentioned in Caesar's writings, the only non-aristocrats who were. The grittiness of Rome and its people stands out. The lascivious, decadent society is portrayed in all its lewdness. The violence of these people is oft times shocking and gross as well it should be. No candy-coating here! The politics and lifestyles of Rome are fascinatingly presented. Standouts in a perfect cast are: Kevin McKidd & Ray Stevenson as Vorenus & Pullo; James Purefoy aptly schizophrenic as Marc Antony; Ciaran Hinds properly regal as Julius Caesar; Polly Walker schemingly wicked as Atia; Max Pirkis & Simon Woods as the younger and older Octavian; Lyndsey Marshal voluptuous and cunning as Cleopatra and Kenneth Cranham wonderfully sympathetic as Pompey Magnus. I wish I could list them all. The only negative with Rome the Series is that it does not continue on thru Octavian (Augustus), Caligula, Claudius and the rest. I really didn't want this series to end.
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10/10
Excellent show
moonbootica28 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
HBO and BBC's co produced Rome is an outstanding series. As an Ancient History graduate one would expect me to nitpick and well take it all way too seriously but thats simply not the case! As I have studies I really appreciate it more and love the way a favourite subject of mine has been brought to the screen.

Rome captures the essence of Rome so well, the colour, the smells (ok we can't smell it but you get the impression) and infuses famous Roman people like Caesar, Brutus, Marc-Anthony and Octavian with life, makes them flesh and blood. They look sweaty, they are not this pure white classical image most people have of Roman history, they loved colour, the more stronger colour a Roman house had, signified how wealthy they were.

I love in the series also how within Roman society there was another one of women, who could be just as ruthless as their male counterparts like Atia (Polly Walker), who is an equal to Livia from I, Claudius, she at first appears as a selfish pushy aristocrat but as you go through the series we see she only wants best for her children and she will kill to make it so.

James Purefoy should get a Emmy or something for his amazing portrayal of Marc-Anthony, its such a hypnotizing performance and he is incredibly sexy in the role.

All in all a beautifully made and powerful series about a world which is as foreign to us as ours would be to them. Their's was a world of no Judeao-Christian morality which has infused our own culture. They did not feel shame about their bodies and lived very much in the public eye and because of this they make perfect materials for films, plays, TV series because they do all these things modern society would find shocking, we can be appalled and equally seduced.

Oh I almost forgot, wonderful performance from Ray Stevenson's as Pullo and Kevin McKidd as Vorenus, who are not only ciphers for the major historical events of the dying days of the Republic, but are well rounded characters of their own. Vorenus starts off as a Catoinian, a staunch believer in Republican values and basically a hard man but as the series progresses he becomes corrupted, being drawn into Caesar's rise to power and being one of his to a better word lackeys, who then descends into a hellish underworld as a mob boss and eventually becoming Marc-Anthony'r right hand man. while Pullo who appears gruff is actually more honest, who lives for the moment, he doesn't hide what he is therefore much happuer. The interplay is just fantastic between the two.

I love the show so much, that I cannot sing its praise enough, watch it and become enraptured by the sheer brilliance.
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8/10
A watchable romp, despite its obvious flaws
david_101019616 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I should point out that I've watched only the first season (episodes 1–12), which purports to chronicle the period of history between Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, and his eventual assassination.

In addition to the mass of historical inaccuracies, my main disappointment was that, as the season progresses, the family lives of the fictional characters Vorenus and Pullo gain increasing screen time, at the expense of the major historical players (Caesar, Pompey, Antony, Brutus, Cleopatra,....), whose political inter-dependency, posturing, ambitions, and so forth, could have been more deeply and intelligently explored. Instead, petty (and unhistorical) romances and rivalries take center stage, giving much of the production a tawdry, soap opera-like feel.

These gripes aside, the series is nonetheless a watchable romp. The storyline, despite its flaws, is pacey and engaging enough. The production values (sets, costumes) and cinematography are lavish, and provide an authentic backdrop. There is some witty dialog, when Bruno Heller is writing.

Overall, the acting is first rate. The always charismatic Ciaran Hinds is particularly impressive; his portrayal of Caesar (in capturing Caesar’s misplaced assumption of his own invincibility) is the easily the best I have seen. James Purefoy is a little over-the-top as a jaunty, playboy Antony. However, as with Kenneth Cranham’s Pompey, more screen time would have allowed greater opportunity for detailed character development. Despite being miscast, Polly Walker uses her beauty and presence to great effect. It was a treat to see Cracker’s Lorcan Cranitch, albeit only in a minor role. The rest of the cast perform very creditably, given the available material.

There’s a lot of nudity and violence, albeit understandably, but it arguably makes Rome unsuitable for younger viewers. Pedants and historians seeking an accurate, in-depth portrayal of events and characters will likely be disappointed.

All things considered, I enjoyed the first season, but I think the IMDb rating of 9.3 is unmerited. I would give it 7 or 8. With a little more attention to the material, and its presentation, Rome could have been unreservedly great.
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10/10
Outstanding! Makes Gladiator and Troy look fake
J Gottfred27 August 2006
This series almost defies belief with its masterful attention to cultural detail combined with a level of accuracy that is simply astonishing for popular series or movies. One could almost believe that someone laid hands on a time machine and took the whole crew back to 52 BC for filming. Clearly, no expense was spared in the making of this series, which has all the polish and flair of a big-budget movie, combined with an archeologist's critical eye for accuracy and detail.

For the look and feel of being there, this film is miles above "Augustus", "Nero", and "Empire", which have a too-clean low budget look to them, and while having the same grittiness as "Gladiator", there are no grossly over-enlarged computer generated buildings. Instead, the real closeness of the cement insulae (multi-story apartments) that real Romans lived in are marvelously depicted, complete with the kinds of graffiti that really existed. There is trash in the streets, there is no "segmentata" armour (incorrect for this period, chain mail only!), cleansing oil is used in the baths (no soap then!) and then scraped off, the jewelry looks like it was stolen right out of a museum, the list goes on and on…

As for cultural immersion, this series once again raises the bar. The Romans were a different culture and their attitudes to life and death, propriety and impropriety, and their spiritual lives were very different than our own. This series takes on the challenge, and unashamedly depicts life as it must have been in those times. If there was no fig leaf, then there IS no fig leaf. (I should mention that the 18A rating is there for very good reasons). In this show, a dead person looks like a dead person (blue etc.), sex looks like sex, etc., so be prepared for no punches to be pulled.

The lives of the rich, the poor, and the slaves, and their relationships to each other and the gods are all shown honestly.

The story. Ah, the story. Nicely done. O.K., it's a soap opera, but I'm pretty sure that the Romans invented them (didn't they?)… The story is not overly convoluted and it does not have the annoying "point A" to "point B" direct line plot of sooo many Hollywood productions these days. There are two main plot lines. The first concerns two Roman soldiers and their life amongst the plebeians. The second follows the fortunes of Gaius Julius (the man who would be Caesar), along with his family and other such famous personages as Pompey, Cato, Cicero, Mark Antony, Brutus, etc. Of course, you KNOW that these two plot lines will frequently cross… The amazing thing is that it makes Caesar's rise to power seem like less than a sure thing. (And if THAT was a spoiler, you need to read a book. Seriously.)

All in all, marvelous, simply marvelous. Go BUY it. There absolutely HAS to be more seasons! (If this goes the way of Firefly (i.e. gets cancelled) there's no justice. Sex, violence, accurate historical setting, eye candy— what's not to like?
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10/10
Fantastic sets, acting and historically accurate
mapanari19 October 2005
After the excreable "Empire", which I think might have killed this whole genre for the next 5 years, Rome arrived to save the day.

From the eerie whimsical new ageish opening music and the credits with animated little graffiti to the characters, I knew from the 1st I was hoping to really really like this.

One of my degrees was in Ancient History and I just love the reality of the times coming to life on the screen. The directors made this reality; real people with real problems with real lives; not some Hollywood kiss kiss, politically correct actors and the requisite black, Hispanic's and gays all over the screen for no use to the story or reality at all. Instead, this story is reality, and it flow and it goes and you're hooked. Insert giant hook into my soft mouth, don't tug, because they've already landed me.
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Absolutely enthralling
prosefairy4 October 2005
I read through other reader's comments, pleased to find so many that mirror my own reaction to this show. I have to admit to being puzzled with the extreme dislike from those few negative reviews.

'Rome' is one of the best series I have seen in quite a while. I have always been captivated by historical dramas, and this is no exception. They have managed not only to give us all the political intrigue of the time, but also to convey the richness of so many different lives. The addition of Vorenus & Pollo create characters that we genuinely care about. It shows us how the happenings between high officials like Caesar and Pompey affect everyone and not just those in power.

Many people have objected to the graphic use of sex and violence and I thought I would probably count myself in the same group before I watched the first episode. What most people (who haven't seen the show) don't realize is that they are portraying how the people during that time lived without sanitizing it for our poor sensibilities. They display their lives without shame or thought to modesty. While many TV shows do use the sex factor to draw people in, this series only shows it when it speaks to characters and how they live and need.

For anyone who wants to be captivated not only by excellent scenery, but by wonderful characters, excellent dialogue, political intrigue, and a world filled with diversity, I would highly recommend checking this one out.
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10/10
Bring Rome Back!
crazygracie0712 December 2014
WHY was this series canceled?!!! While waiting for the new season of Game of Thrones to return, my husband and I started watching Rome on demand to stave off our epic genre addiction and we Love it! We were so disappointed to find out that it had been canceled! What a shame and only 2 seasons? Why?

Fans FYI: Having never heard of the characters Vorenus and Pullo, I assumed they were probably fictional characters but I did some digging and found that Vorenus and Pullo are only semi-fictional characters and were two of the very few plebeians/soldiers mentioned by Caesar in his writings, whose names appear as 'Titus Pulcio' and 'Lucius Varenus'. The first mention of Varenus and Pulcio comes in Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War.

Caesar tells us that the camp of the XIII legion was attacked by the Nervii in 54 BC and was about to be overrun. Pulcio jumped the ramparts to fight hand-to-hand with the Nervii. Varenus, not wanting Pulcio to reap all the glory, then jumps the ramparts too, killing many of enemy. As a demonstration of "brotherly love" and comradeship, they each save the other's life at certain points during the fight. Caesar said it was impossible to decide who was braver.

HBO, PLEASE bring Rome back!
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9/10
An Informative, Exciting and Compelling Historical Masterpiece!
LeeRob728 September 2012
A well presented and truthful portrayal of the exploits of Julius Ceasar (Season 1) and his successor, Octavian Ceasar (Season 2). An historical Masterpiece that has everything you could possibly want from a series based upon the Roman Empire... Blood, Action, Naked Women, Deception, Suspense, Thrills, etc. Fantastic acting, characters, set design, costumes and story lines. One of those series' to see before you die, a must watch for all! *Highly Recommend* NB: If you like this series also try the Spartacus series for more Roman inspired action. Not as truthful in its portrayal but similarly compelling and much more action!
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