The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Fall of the Roman Empire

Anthony Mann (1964)

172min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Producer Samuel Bronston's legacy of six European-shot epics looks more admirable as the years pass, and leaves one aching to see them once more in their full cinematic glory. Even on TV, though, they tend to impress, thanks to fine casting, superb art direction and majestic scoring. This is no exception - there's excellent chariot action and a wonderful, if brief performance by Alec Guinness as Marcus Aurelius. Sophia Loren has seldom looked lovelier opposite upright Stephen Boyd as the soldier hero, and the screenplay with its nods to historian Edward Gibbon is resolutely intelligent. The distinguished support cast ensures that this long movie never palls, and director Anthony Mann supplies his usual finesse, plus some exquisite widescreen vistas. Ridley Scott covered much the same narrative territory decades later with the Oscar-winning Gladiator in 2000.

Summary

Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius is poisoned by the henchmen of his mad son Commodus because he intends to hand power to the boy's more favoured and able adopted brother. But lacking sanity and authority, the usurper loses military control and Rome is overrun with barbarians. Historical drama, starring Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, James Mason, Sophia Loren, Anthony Quayle and Omar Sharif.

Cast & Crew

Lucilla Sophia Loren
Livius Stephen Boyd
Marcus Aurelius Alec Guinness
Commodus Christopher Plummer
Timonides James Mason
Sohamus Omar Sharif
Verulus Anthony Quayle
Ballomar John Ireland
Cleander Mel Ferrer
Julianus Eric Porter
Niger Douglas Wilmer
Claudius Peter Damon
Polybius Andrew Keir
Victorinus George Murcell
Helva Lena von Martens
Virgilianus Norman Wooland
Marcellus Virgilio Teixeira
Caecina Finlay Currie
Marius Guy Rolfe
Director Anthony Mann
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Rank Film Dists LtdAvailable on: video, DVD and Blu-ray
Drama