Writers: Ben Barzman, Basilio Franchina, Philip Yordan (Screenplay)
Stars: Stephen Boyd, Sophia Loren, Christopher Plummer, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Anthony Quayle, Omar Sharif
The Fall of the Roman Empire (FRE) is probably the most visually stunning film I've ever seen. Life of Pi has the most brilliant special effects I've ever seen, but FRE takes the prize for greatest set production... by far! Scene after scene, gasp after gasp, the grand vision of Rome, the costumes... everything had me mesmerised. The story is epicly amazing, which is a given considering ancient Rome is arguably the most interesting period in history. I loved the performances (for the most part), I adored the score, but above all I adored the way they rebuilt ancient Rome. It's like it never left! The pacing is a bit too slow, and Stephen Boyd's performance was pretty annoying, but I'm still in awe of how epic this movie is.
If you want to know the plot of FRE, think Gladiator by Ridley Scott. It's pretty much a carbon copy of this film, but with double the cheese and a more tear-jerking story. Marcus Aurelius (Alec Guinness) is the emperor of Rome, who's dying in his old age. He seeks to leave behind a legacy of peace among his great empire, which is why he wishes to name his good friend Livius (Stephen Boyd) his heir. Livius decides that Marcus' cruel and slightly insane son, Commodus (Christopher Plummer), should become emperor, which is what eventually happens. Thus Commodus' reign of terror spreads far across the empire, displaying to us the nature of man in a brutal era of history.
There will always be comparisons made when one talks of FRE. It has similar sequences and relationships as the hugely successful Ben-Hur, and it's practically the same as Gladiator (minus the gladiator sub-plot). I liked Ben-Hur and Gladiator better, but there are moments in this film that I think are far greater than those two epics.
|Alec Guinness, one of the greatest actors that ever lived.|
|Christopher Plummer plays the gorgeous (but crazy) Commodus.|
|Sophie Loren is amazing, Boyd not so much.|
|The Senate, going "Rabble Rabble Rabble!"|
|WOW WOW WOO WOW!|