Quo Vadis? - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Quo Vadis? Reviews

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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.
February 25, 2013
Not too bad for an oldie. If I didn't have movie questions to answer for my Humanities class, I would have never seen it. Haha
½ January 20, 2013
A vast spectacle of a film, Quo Vadis tells the tale of a Roman officer (Robert Taylor) who falls in love with a Christian woman (Deborah Kerr). At least, it's supposed to be Taylor's show, as commander Marcus Vinicus, but really, it's all about Peter Ustinov as the mad emperor Nero.
December 15, 2012
This is one of the greatest religious films ever made: the stars are well cast; the sets and costumes are incredible; the script intelligent and interesting;the directing very good--with 2 notable exceptions. Nero's wife and the captain of the Praetorian Guard effect strane poses throughout the film. But compared to the richness of the film, that is a minor criticism indeed.

Taylor and Kerr are perfectly cast and are thoroughly believable. Taylor, as a conquering Roman general--very wordly at first (before Kerr gets here hooks in him)--is the consummate general, bold, peremptory,pround, brave, a leader;and kerr, the simple Christian whose strong faith eventually captures Taylor.

The lions feasting on Christians at Nero's orders, the burning of Christians, and the spectacular, unrepeatable man v bull scene (how the heck did they convince a stunt man to do that?)--such scenes will never again be allowed to be filmed so realistically--but boy do they add to the film's realism! We are indeed in Rome during Nero's reign.

Ustinov as Nero is superb--a madman whose insane whims are forever captured on film just as they must have been in real life.

This film is--along with The Robe--one of the top ten religious films ever made--a delight to the eyes, and a feast for the brain and heart. Five BIG Stars.--LenSive
October 23, 2012
The only major film in the history of Hollywood where the viewer must endure the persecution of the Early Church, and not just for five minutes. Brilliant filmmaking, even if a dab of the material (and the story's title) is based on a section from the apocryphal book Acts of Peter, thus making the title and a certain scene at the end legendary at best. But none of this diminishes one bit the impact of the story or the very real heinous persecutions endured by early Christians at the hands of Nero.
October 17, 2012
A magnificent story equally matched by a grand portrayal. Haven't read the novel itself but the story is great and the twists and turns are great. Nero's portrayal by Ustinov stands outs in terms of performance. Ofcourse it doesn't seem to support historical facts so has to be taken as a fictional story inspired by history.
½ August 13, 2012
I prefer this movie to "the Robe".
July 8, 2012
I love Roman movies, but this was a bit over the top with Taylor. I had never seen Christians portrayed in this demeaning way though, but I saw this a few years ago.
June 12, 2012
Impressive film. Far and away one of the best representations I've seen concerning Roman times.
April 23, 2012
I randomly watched this movie on TV and I pretty much had no idea what this movie was and I had no idea if I was going to like it, but after an hour into this movie I was hooked. Quo Vadis is a very intriguing movie with lots of interesting characters and a terrific plot. I don't think this movie is the best classic movie, but I do think it's rather good, it has lots of great dialogue and it has top notch performances by Robert Taylor and Peter Ustinov. I know when people watch this movie they will probably think it's very corny and stupid, but I think when we people say that they don't understand the fact this movie was made in 1951, so the movie is not at all corny it's very good that's what it is. I say if your a person who doesn't really care for the classics don't watch this movie, but if your like me and you love the classics than give this movie a watch right away because you will have fun with this one.
April 20, 2012
Another one of those Christianity overcoming the Roman Empire flicks, made just as America was becoming the new Rome, only without the awesomeness. The bad acting from Robert Taylor, and his early lines about the joy of slaves girls and killing, make it funny sometimes.
April 9, 2012
The movie that kicked off Peter Ustinov's career and Hollywood's lust for Colossals. An all-time classic on the corrupton of power and the dignity of the overpowered.
April 5, 2012
I would normally only give this one 3 stars but Peter Ustinov as the stupid and narcissisitic Nero steals the show. The supporting cast is excellent especially Leo Gunn as Petronius and what looks like a young Agnes Moorehead looking pretty damn sexy. The art direction and sheer scale of the thing is a knock out. But the whole christian message seems a bit lame and the usually fabulous Deborah Kerr and Robert Taylor can only do so much with being addicted to Jesus.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
April 1, 2012
Before there was "Spartacus" and "Ben-Hur", there was... this film, whatever it is. The span between the late '50s and almost all of the '60s was pretty much that big old empire epic era of cinema, and everything before that was just barely salvaged from the sands of time, so much so that this film is among the most remembered epics of the early '50s, and yet its still rather obscure among many, probably because not a whole lot of people seem to remember the novel this is based on. They say that it was by some guy named Henryk Sienkiewicz, but I have the feeling that he ripped the idea off of an unfinished project by Shakespeare, because it was pretty much his thing to write stories about fake powerful figures from way back when or simply powerful figures that no one had heard of, which of course begs the question, were those fake historical figures really figures that were so obscure that we just forgot about them? I don't know about y'all, but Hamlet seems suspiciously probable, outside of the fact that he was talking to ghosts. Maybe there was some powerful figure somewhere in time that could talk to ghosts, and if there is, then I'm glad no one brings that up, because you know everyone was going to try and figure out some way to force that somewhere in every film adaptation of an old empire story. Hey, all these films are pretty much the same, and yet we watch them anyways, and I'll tell you why: Because they're awesome, or at least to me, the guy who liked "Alexander" and absolutely loved "Troy". So, as you can tell, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff, so of course I like this film, yet I'm not particularly crazy about it, and for a few good reasons.

What immediately taints this film, even more so over time, is the fact that it's such a product of its time, having that kind of '50s cheese and melodrama that not only makes the film rather histrionic and conventional at points, but even contradictory to the tone of the era portrayed. It's a rare occurance, but the film will fall so deeply into its overly 1950s tone to where this recreation of early A.D. comes off as inorganic and totally false. Still, an occasional anachronistic tone is the least that you have to worry about when it comes to Mervyn LeRoy's atmosphere, because the real problem with it is that it lacks flare. There's limited oomph and consistency in the tone of the film, rendering it often unengaging and sometimes even tonally repetitive. It's not a dull film, but it is rather dry tonally, which makes almost all of the handful of tropes that most every '50s and '60s epic was guilty of falling into here and there standout and land an additional blow to the compellingness of the film. Still, in the end, the film remains consistently enjoyable - nay - just plain entertaining. It may not always kick you, but it's hard to not be with it until the end, partially thanks to the production designs that keep you coming back for more for every moment you slip from the film.

Speaking of repetition, praise for the production designs on films of this type has gotten to be pretty reduntant, yet worthy, because these films were always so very well-produced, and even this, one of the first big-production epics, was no exception. The tone may not always be faithful to the time, but the film is kept from being consistent in its tonal anachronisms by boasting authentic and sweeping production value. The art direction and production designs restore this lost world with dazzle and scope, and it's all complimented by handsome cinematography that captures both the broadest of sequences and the most intimate of sequences with subtle attractiveness. Of course, this film, surprisingly, isn't as bam-bam-bam as other epics of its type, but is, instead, more drama driven, and clocking in at 171 minutes, it better be a worthy enough story to transcend conventions. Well, sure enough, while Mervyn LeRoy's limp atmosphere setting brings some conventions to the forefront, the film hits with its writing for the most part, particularly when it come to, of all places, dialogue. Sure, the dialogue gets rather cheesy and melodramatic here and there, but on the whole, its consistently snappy and charming, marrying the graceful vocabulary of the lost era the film is set in with a down-to-earth wit that may be used improperly to supplement the anachronistic tone on occasion, but mostly, in fact, supplements the believability of this world, and the performers, or at least the ones that aren't the cheesy Deborah Kerr in the cast, certainly help. I found myself particularly impressed by Peter Ustinov, who's charismatic and layered dance between vain but charming power and dangerous, power-mad monster may not be written to be used to its fullest, but remains one of the compelling aspects about the film, which isn't to say that everyone else (Again, with exception of Kerr) doesn't bring enough charisma to the screen to keep you going through all of the disengaging moments.

In closing, you find yourself looking back through conventions and often disengaging atmospheric missteps, but power on nevertheless and come out the other end rather satisfied by the fine production and handsome photography that compliment the more sweeping moments, while mostly sharp dialogue that finds itself delivered well by a deal of fine charismas within the cast liven up the more intimate moments, thus leaving "Quo Vadis" to stand as a generally entertaining, if not rather compelling portrait on the flaws, prejudice and corruptability of great men during a time that was fragile in the way of humanity.

3/5 - Good
½ March 13, 2012
Decent but not great epic movie for which in Ancient Rome, a commander (Robert Taylor) walks into luminous city right before the excitement begins. He meets the beautiful daughter (Deborah Kerr) of wealthy family, to whom she rejects his offers for love. Then the problems begin when the current empire Nero (Peter Ustinov) rounds up a bunch of innocent people, including the commander and daughter, and puts them into slavery... and the possible state of being eaten by the lions. Long, nice to look at and very corny. Kerr is good, Taylor is okay, but as far as I am concerned, Ustinov deserves to die after chewing up every piece of scenery that exists in the film. The chariot scene and the burning of Rome are good, but there is not enough power to this movie to deem it as an overall "good." Apparently, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor make cameo appearances, but I was disappointed not to notice them. Note: one actress, Patricia Laffan, looks a lot like Agnes Moorehead, but she is not!
½ February 9, 2012
Peter Ustinov hamming it up wonderfully
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