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.
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.
Most memorable scene in the movie.