The second and last of Anthony Mann's historical epics is a smart, handsome spectacle of the decadence, corruption, and intrigue that tore apart the greatest empire the world has seen. The sprawling story spreads itself thin over a number of characters and stories. At the centre are handsome but stiff Stephen Boyd as Livius, the loyal soldier and symbolic son of the ageing emperor Marcus Aurelius(Alec Guinness), and Christopher Plummer as Commodus, the corrupt heir to the throne. They are boyhood friends turned enemies when the latter accedes to the throne and sells... out the values of his father for greed and hedonistic pleasures. The three-hour running time is filled out with the tales of Sophia Loren (as the beautiful Lucilla in love with Livius but coveted by greedy Commodus) and a gallery of heroes and villains that includes James Mason, Mel Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, John Ireland, Omar Sharif, and Eric Porter. The film is highlighted with spectacular scenes--a grandiose funeral fit for an emperor, brutal battles in the provinces as the barbarians threaten the empire, and a climactic duel to decide the destiny of Rome--which Mann weaves into the shadowy intrigue of the halls of power. Like his previous epic El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire remains one of the best of the 1960s epics: well written (and historically accurate up to a point) with strong performances and a consistently elegant style, It lacks a central core and the magnetic hero of its superior predecessor. Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000) tackles the same story with an updated action-adventure slant. --Sean Axmaker [show more]
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. One of the great screen epics, director Anthony Mann's Oscar®-nominated The Fall of the Roman Empire comes to DVD for the first time in this digitally remastered deluxe edition. The all-star cast includes Academy Award® winners Alec Guinness and Sophia Loren with Christopher Plummer, Stephen Boyd, James Mason and Omar Sharif. Drawn from the same events that later inspired Gladiator, the film charts the power-hungry greed and father-son betrayal that led to Rome's collapse at the bloody hands of the Barbarians. Featuring great sets, fine acting, and thundering battle scenes (Videohound's Movie Guide) plus a blistering chariot race rivalling that in Ben-Hur, this is a must-see epic full of the gore and glories of ancient Rome (Channel 4). Rated: Parental Guidance
Anthony Mann directs a star-studded cast in this Hollywood epic re-telling the last days of the Roman Empire. Emperor Aurelius is poisoned by his son Commodus who succeeds him, only to bring the once mighty Empire to its knees through pestilence and war with the Barbarians. The set of the forum is said to be the largest ever built for a film, and Dimitri Tiomkin was nominated for an Oscar for his score.