Massacre in Rome

Massacre in Rome

George Pan Cosmatos (1973)

AA Certificate


Our Score
This war drama stars Richard Burton as the German commandant in Rome and Marcello Mastroianni as a priest trying to prevent mass executions in retaliation for the death of German troops at the hands of the partisans. The two fine actors have to gargle with some awful dialogue, and the pace would make a snail itch with impatience. A resounding flop everywhere except Italy, the film made headline news when a niece of Pope Pius XII sued the author of the original novel, as well as director George Pan Cosmatos and producer Carlo Ponti for claiming her uncle was a Nazi collaborator. She won the case, and all were sentenced to 18 months in jail, though legal entanglements ensured they never went inside.


Fact-based Second World War drama about the infamous mass execution in Rome in March 1944, when more than 300 Italian prisoners, partisans and citizens were put to death by the Nazis in retaliation for a roadside bomb attack on a German patrol. A troubled German officer is ordered to carry out the killings, while a priest is outraged by the Vatican's refusal to intervene. Starring Richard Burton, Marcello Mastroianni and Leo McKern.

Cast & Crew

Col Kappler Richard Burton
Father Pietro Antonelli Marcello Mastroianni
General Kurt Maelzer Leo McKern
Colonel Dollmann John Steiner
Elena Delia Boccardo
Director George Pan Cosmatos
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Grand National Pictures LtdGuidance: Violence, some swearing.Available on: video