The Fall of the Roman Empire1964
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
The Fall of the Roman Empire Photos
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as Marcus Aurelius
Critic Reviews for The Fall of the Roman Empire
Commodus, played here by the flamboyant Christopher Plummer, forsakes the Pax Romana and turns Rome into an empire of camp.
Spectacular crowd scenes, costumes and snow-filled landscapes mix with intelligent, powerful pro-peace and Civil Rights commentary.
While The Fall of the Roman Empire is even more technically assured than El Cid, it's less interesting narrative-wise.
Put bluntly, the difference between El Cid and Fall is the difference between faith in a concept of heroism that can transcend even death.
Audience Reviews for The Fall of the Roman Empire
If pomp and pageantry (a whole lot of people standing around, dressed up, watching somebody else dressed up, walk or ride by) ("Ooooh! So-and-so just walked or rode by me! So impressed!") is your thing, then this is your ticket. The producer went broke paying for this 2-hour long ostentatious display of a "cast of thousands!". There are moments of action, such as the chariot fight, but those come few and far between. Also, for your entertainment pleasure, people say the word "Rome" a lot. You won't remember much of any of it. Or...maybe you will.
Overlong, plodding spectacle. Good and great actors alike trapped in this ponderous bore.
[font=Century Gothic]Throughout history, there have been focal points where events easily could have gone different ways. One such is in 180 A.D., depicted in the lavish spectacle "The Fall of the Roman Empire" that starts with blind soothsayer Cleander(Mel Ferrer) not being able to find the heart of a chicken which is not a good sign. Dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius(Alec Guinness) is putting his affairs in order and wants peace after seventeen years of war and a talk with Ballomar(John Ireland), the enemy commander. He also names General Livius(Stephen Boyd) his heir over his own unstable son Commodus(Christopher Plummer).[/font] [font=Century Gothic]The other divergence I want to bring up is the different possible approaches to the same material. "The Fall of the Roman Empire" and "Gladiator" are both inspired by the same events but that is where the similarities end. Whereas "Gladiator" exploits violence and revenge for their own sake, "The Fall of the Roman Empire" is a literate tragedy about peace and what it takes to govern an empire. It is helped by giving the various characters time enough to articulate their own positions. And James Mason is espeiclally superb at this and Finlay Currie has a great speech of his own. But don't worry. There are some epic battle scenes and a thrilling chariot ride through the forest, all of which are better appreciated when there are less special effects used.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]In fact, "The Fall of the Roman Empire" marks the end of an era in a different way. This was one of the last grand epics of the Hollywood studio system.(Why so many of them had to feature Alec Guinness and Omar Sharif is beyond me.) After this, the movies would get smaller for a while. It was probably for the best.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]Note: Christopher Plummer, James Mason and Anthony Quayle were also in "Murder by Decree."[/font]
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