Augustus - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Augustus Reviews

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March 17, 2017
In watching this semi-historical Roman costume drama, it's trying desperately to be I, Claudius. The other obvious comparison is Caligula, that's an entire different matter. Augustus was unworthy of such a great actor, as Peter O'Toole lights up the screen, full of pathos, better than Brian Blessed's own Augustus from the BBC classic. Everything else fails.

Portraying Livia as a potential killer of Augustus' grandsons clearly hails back to I, Claudius, but is entirely unnecessary. Livia is Augustus' muse and guide, but he desperately needed someone to stand by him, and her shrewish scheming only isolates O'Toole's greatness from everything else.

Costuming is good, scenery is tolerable, and the script is decent. But don't bother with this sad little attempt. Get I, Claudius, and watch actual actors work their craft.
December 5, 2014
Augustus is a tremendously difficult historical figure to play, and O'Toole does a stellar job of it. He carries the movie.
½ November 9, 2013
Horrible dubbing of voices, an overly-simplistic script and ridiculously low budget all conspired to defeat Peter O'Toole's best attempts to portray Augustus Caesar. Don't waste 3 hours of your time, as I did. I hate being stubborn.
September 28, 2012
Made for tv but good retelling of historical events
½ March 26, 2010
An excellent retelling of the life of Augustus, if a bit on an encomium . . . with Peter O'Toole as the emperor himself. Owned on DVD.
March 14, 2010
I really enjoyed seeing this TV Series. I love History and Augustus didn't disappoint me at all, HBO's Rome really let me down. Peter O'Toole is magnificent playing the role of Augustus. This production was able to keep my attention for more than 3 hours and I never felt bored.
January 16, 2010
BEAUTIFUL story line. Who knows that history can be so interesting. As usual, excellent visual effect.
½ August 3, 2009
June 16, 2009
This film is an achievement in itself, it's far from a masterpiece, but did try hard to be accurate it seems, I know a little about the life of Augustus, Tiberius, and Caesar.

The actors were charming, the sets seemed appropriate, the period costumes were fine, the battles were not that bad, the camera movements during some battle sequences were blurry and not very good, but overall nothing so bad as to render these sequences in the mediocre bin.

For an almost 3 hour long film, it was able to keep me interested till the end, not an easy feat for such a long movie. The political and suspiciousness of the people in those times are very well depicted, and shows in the fine acting performances. I guess some of the reasons why I can't give this film more than 2 stars, are ; I found the Tiberius character somewhat bland. In the history books he is depicted as very serious, and austere, and seems to have the makings of a tyrant, a soft tyrant mind you compared to Caligula, or Nero, but nonetheless a severe and harsh ruler, in this film he almost seems sympathetic.

Also, There is no scene of the forum gladiator fights, that were very common in those days, but that would have been very costly to re-create, so the producers opted more for simplicity, and tricks of the trade. Not much gore either, those times were very bloody.

Cleopatra here is not very mesmerizing, she is more of a caricature, than a woman with depth and spellbinding charms, from what is written in the history books. Elizabeth Taylor in CLEOPATRA (1963), has characterized Cleopatra with a certain authenticity, but the actress here is more model than a Queen of Egypt. She isn't bad, but isn't great either.

In conclusion I will say that these characters are very complex, and charismatic, bigger-than-life people that have existed, and to even try to portray them must be a very difficult job. So I praise the actors here, that were at times wonderful, and very real, and at other times faltered somewhat, this is why this film in my opinion deserves at least 2 solid stars.

And the faithfulness to the historic facts seems to have been a high priority for this film, if you look at the end credits, you will see more than five history professors listed.
June 6, 2009
Writing and most of the acting is embarrassingly bad. It was painful for me to watch, despite my great interest in the subject. HBO's "Rome", on the other hand is outstanding.
½ March 26, 2009
There is nothing about this period in history that isn't interesting but this telling is pretty tepid. Peter O'Toole is worth watching in anything but this lacks drama and spectacle. And the continental actors have had their parts dubbed. The TV series Rome has it all over this.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2009
The political machinations and intrigues rampant during Roman times continue to fascinate me. With the exception of Charlotte Rampling, the film itself is mediocre. This depiction cries for further exploration of this fascinating time period.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2009
No thankyou - Not interested
½ December 10, 2008
good if you like roman history
November 29, 2008
Everything about this was bad, and the dubbing just made things worse. Skip it, watch HBO's Rome instead.
November 14, 2008
One of the best movies based on history of Rome. Peter O'Toole, as Augustus - the first emperor of Rome, has given brilliant performance. Majority of the movie is in flash back and opens with Augustus lying of death bed when his exiled daughter comes to pay her last respect to dying father and emperor and he asks "How did I fare in comedy of life?" and she replies, "The Gods will tell you father".
Most memorable scene in the movie.
½ November 13, 2008
Cute, not even close, but cute
½ October 13, 2008
I am indulging in Roman history now. : ) This kind of film is also a good material for history-teaching.
August 19, 2008
Historically accurate? Far from it but to see Rome come alive it worth the insult. Peter O Toole is always worth a bonus star anyway. A little HBO heavy on the influence but nevertheless, exciting for the history buff
August 5, 2008
It's no Troy, but it's a pretty good History Channel type movie.
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