Quo Vadis? - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Quo Vadis? Reviews

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July 4, 2016
Robert Taylor (Marcus Vinicius) plays the part of a successful, confident man of the world military leader who despises anyone who has no backbone, who shows any form of weakness, and considered Christians as sniveling, spineless weaklings looking at life as through rose colored glasses. Until, he meets and falls in love with the tender hearted, totally surrendered-to-Christ beauty, (Lygia) played by Deborah Kerr. He then is seduced by her love and devotion to Christ to see Christianity in a whole new light, especially, when Nero played by Peter Ustinov sets out to destroy Rome and blame it on the Christian community there. Nero's evil intentions are to eradicate Rome of all Christians, who refuse to worship him as a god, and who worship Christ as the only true God. Their implacable refusal to bow to Caesar and recant their faith ultimately results in Nero's persecution of Rome's Christians, driving them into the coliseum as cattle to be eaten by lions and burnt at the stake. Marcus Vinicius, having been arrested and held captive by Nero, is forced to watch the gruesome spectacle but is able to escape his captors and enter the coliseum to rescue his beloved Lygia. During this time, the whole city is made aware of Nero's sinister plan and revolts. Nero, having lost the support of the Senate and facing a revolution commits suicide. Rome gets rid of an evil-murdering ruler, Marcus Vinicius get the love of his life, and Christ wins a giant champion of the Faith.
½ May 30, 2016
Of its time it can be seen as a great Roman historical epic. My own impression is its an over long piece of nefarious biblical prpoganda.
½ March 22, 2016
"Quo Vadis" es un espectáculo colosal como solo se podía realizar en la época dorada de Hollywood. Producida por los estudios MGM y dirigida por Mervyn LeRoy ("Little Caesar"), este épico inicio toda una saga de grandes producciones de corte religioso en la década de los 50 y sigue siendo una de las más impresionantes. La adaptación de la famosa novela de Henryk Sienkiewicz, cuenta la historia de Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor), un soldado romano, que al enamorarse de Lygia (Deborah Kerr) conoce la fe cristiana. Pese a la gran cantidad de extras, los escenarios deslumbrantes y al manejo preciso del director, el show se lo roba Peter Ustinov, quien interpreta de manera amanerada, perversa y deliciosa al emperador romano Nerón.
½ November 4, 2015
the most colossal ever, POS
January 11, 2015
A very enjoyable movie to watch excellent cast,locations,beautiful horses.
½ December 15, 2014
Aside from the religious preachiness in the movie, this film is the next best thing to "Ben-Hur." The acting was very well executed, particularly Peter Ustinov as Emperor Nero, and the special effects and costumes were superb. Very entertaining and I highly recommend it!
November 16, 2014
Robert Taylor stars in this Oscar nominated movie, as the Roman commander who falls in love with slave Deborah Kerr and wants to save her, from the dastardly Peter Ustinov as the very evil Nero, who hates Christianity.
Also starring Leo Genn as Petronius.
But this film remains an epic classic made in Technicolor.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2014
Apparently, the term "quo vadis" translates to "boring" in both Latin and English.
February 17, 2014
good sword n sandal epic that takes certain liberties with history
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2014
Another fabulous Roman epic that is really carried by the great Sir Peter Ustinov as Nero. What a tremendous performance.
February 1, 2014

The 1950's and early 1960's was the period of the Biblical epic. The majority of those released have been regarded as some of the greatest films produced in that particular time, especially Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments. After Cecil B. DeMille's success of Samson and Delilah (which I intend to watch in the future), Mervyn LeRoy, known for films like Little Caesar, I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, and No Time for Sergeants, created the Biblical epic that made Hollywood crazy about the genre, Quo Vadis. The film is not based on a story in The Bible, rather it's based on a book by the same name, but Christianity plays a huge role in this movie, and it also uses Roman history to tell its story, plus the film features two of the disciples from The Bible, Peter and Paul. While the film isn't perfect, Quo Vadis is a solid and well-made epic that's definitely worth your time.

During the reign of Nero (Peter Ustinov) in the Roman Empire, Roman soldier Marcius Vinicius (Robert Taylor) develops a crush on the Christian slave woman Lygia (Deborah Kerr), so much that he wants to marry her, though he's put off by her faith in Christ. Things get more complicated when Nero, in a plot to make Rome his own image, as he believes he's an immortal god, burns down Rome, blames the Christians for it, and goes into persecution territory, feeding some to the lions and crucifying others. Marcus and Lygia have to put on the faith in order to get through the difficult times.

Quo Vadis also stars Leo Genn as Nero's aide Petronius, Patricia Laffan as the Empress, Finlay Currie as the apostle Peter, and Abraham Sofear as the apostle Paul.

The title Quo Vadis is Latin for, "Where are you going?", which refers to a pivotal scene in the film where Peter is walking away from Rome to avoid persecution where The Lord speaks to him, where Peter responds, "Quo Vadis?", to where Jesus replies, "I am going to be crucified again." This scene and others are heavy highlights on this well-made epic.

To start off, the cinematography in wonderful. Shooting it in Technicolor was a very smart decision, as it makes the film that more epic to watch. The film was shot on soundstages in Rome, and while the sets have shown their age, I appreciated how elaborate LeRoy was in making them show its epic feel. There's also some excellent action sequences in this film, such as the burning of Rome and the scenes in the arena where the Christians are fed to the lions and where Deborah Kerr is threatened to be rampaged by an angry bull. These sequences are definitely epic in its own way.

So why didn't I give this film a perfect score and get it over with? Well, a problem I had with Quo Vadis was mostly its script. There are some parts in it where is really weak, especially in some of the more romantic moments of the film, which features some cringe-inducing dialogue. A subplot between Petronius and a Spanish slave was extremely dull and honestly had no part of the film, except their final scene, which I won't give away as it was the one scene with the two that was actually good. While some of the dialogue was atrocious, in other places, the dialogue was excellent, such as Peter's speech in the arena and the speech he gives at an early church service, plus Nero's speeches.

The acting was pretty solid in this epic. Richard Taylor was fine as Marcus. The American accent can be goofy in places, as he's the only one that uses an American accent in this film, but Taylor does good at being convincing as a soldier, especially in the burning of Rome scene. Deborah Kerr is decent at best; she does fine at what her character is, a Christian with strong religious faith, but her romantic scenes with Taylor are lacking in passion, with extremely poor dialogue. Leo Genn is good as Pettronius, though his romantic scenes with his lover are even more dull than Taylor and Kerr's. Though his "final insult" to Nero towards the end of the film is one of the most brilliant scenes in the whole movie. Finlay Currie is excellent as Peter, and does what the character should do. He provides three of the strongest scenes in the movie, the sermon, his speech in the arena, and his encounter with Christ outside of Rome. Abraham Sofaer is convincing as the apostle Paul. But the scene-stealer here is definitely Peter Ustinov as Nero. When are first introduced to him, we see him as a depressed and spoiled ruler. But as the film progresses, he becomes the ruthless, psychotic, and purely evil ruler that we have all read about in the history books. Peter Ustinov plays Nero brilliantly, and it's one of his strongest roles. I love his reaction to the final insult mentioned earlier. So awesome!

No epic is essential without a film score, and Quo Vadis is no exception. The score here is provided by Miklós Rózsa, who would later score the religious epic Ben-Hur. Like in Ben-Hur, Rozsa's score is wonderfully created. What he succeeds the most is the use of popular instruments in the day to make it sound more authentic. His idea pays off well, and the score is definitely a highlight in the film. You can see why Rozsa got the job of scoring Ben-Hur after watching this movie. Rosza is one of the more underrated composers in the business, and this and Ben-Hur were some of the most epic scores back in its time.

The script is definitely weak in places, as it hurts some of the romantic moments in the film, but in the end, Quo Vadis is a solid religious epic, with excellent cinematography, good direction from Mervyn LeRoy, and some good performances, with Peter Ustinov being the most memorable. If this film was never made, I don't think more superior Biblical epics, like The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, would have been made.
December 26, 2013
Just about makes it into the epic category. The story is too slow and only Ustinov puts in a memorable performance.
October 30, 2013
One of the most distinguishing out of the many sword and sandal epics produced at the time, Quo Vadis chronicles the late stage of Emperor Nero's Rome with the persecution of the Christians and his own insanity. The multi layered plot is gripping and the performances are great; Ustinov as Nero is memorable. There is another thing that distinguishes this film from other epics of the time; the film strongly juxtaposes Hollywood sex appeal with a strong Christian message in a credible and rather rewarding way.
October 17, 2013
Definitely worth watching. But one has to keep in mind that it was made for a 1950s audience. Moviegoers today might find the plot progression a tad slow.
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2013
This is the finest example of a true religious epic. Grand spectacle, amazing performances, catchy music... This is a must-see over and over again! Two Thumps UP
½ September 28, 2013
The back case of this #bluray reads "...before #Gladiator...there was Quo Vadis... A fairly bold yet accurate statement seeing as if you enjoyed that film, you will be enthralled by this one. There are some heavy Christian moments that will also remind you of #CecilBDeMille's #TheTenCommandments but it will not hinder your overall enjoyment if that is not your thing. This is an epic film and is worthy of many repeat viewings 4.5/5
August 17, 2013
The story is so well narrated, especially the sequences in the Roman Circus when the christians are haunted by the lions. The performance of Peter Ustinov as Nero is one of the greatest shown on the screen. The musical score and the color give those overwhelming and powerful aspects that make it a remarkable epic.
½ July 27, 2013
Bigger than Ben Hur? Nup - this isn't even bigger than a boil on Ben Hur's butt. Stodgy, stagey, dated, and far too Christian-preachy. The cast is dull and uncharismatic, expect for Ustinov as Nero, who even more hammy than usual. Yet a couple of decent scenes and overall interesting in both a film history and real history sense. Could've been a lot better with more star wattage and less moralizing dialogue.
½ May 12, 2013
This is the movie that gave epics a good name. It is sumptuous, beautifully costumed, magnificently photographed and superbly acted. Robert Taylor never looked better, Deborah Kerr is delicately lovely, Leo Genn is stoical and strong. Peter Ustinov, unfortunately, is almost a caricature--way over the top. For three hours of splendid entertainment, this is the one to try.
March 25, 2013
Este es sin duda otro de los grandes clásicos de Semana Santa, donde se puede apreciar la vida en Roma y como el emergente Cristianismo empezaba a minar las estructuras de su sociedad. Peter Ustinov hace un formidable trabajo como Nerón, que en mi opinión a nivel de emperadores romanos desquiciados solo es superado por mi favorito Jay Robinson como Calígula en "El Manto Sagrado". Y obviamente debo alabar la gran tripleta de actores de Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr y Leo Glenn que logran presentar genialmente sus personajes para el éxito del filme. Muy recomendada.
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