The Fall of the Roman Empire Reviews
The plot covers the same historical ground as "Gladiator," beginning in Germany as the dying Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Alec Guinness) reveals that he plans to make his heir not his son Commodus (Christopher Plummer), but instead the loyal general Gaius Livius (Stephen Boyd) who is in love with Aurelius' daughter, Lucilla (Sophia Loren). Commodus and Livius, once close friends, now become bitter rivals as the story unfolds. Boyd, excellent as the villain in "Ben-Hur," gives it his all as Livius but is no match for the genius acting skills of Guinness and Plummer. Guinness is excellent as the wise Aurelius, but the film belongs to Plummer, who gives possibly the best performance of his career as the delightfully unhinged and sadistic Commodus. Also strong is James Mason as Aurelius' Greek philosopher/advisor. Sophia Loren is about as easy on the eyes as they come, and her acting is certainly better than Boyd's.
But the real strength of the film lies in its smart script. It speculates on the various causes of Rome's fall, with heavy emphasis on the corrupt leaders and internal strife. It also offers insight into man's desire to be free and what a government's role should be in ensuring that freedom. In the end it's a very downbeat and depressing film, closing with a sense of pessimism very uncommon in films of the period. "Fall" is very much a film of its time but it still holds weight today, and stands as one of, if not the, greatest epics in all cinema.
movie had done a good job of directing this movie because you never know what 2 expect throughout this movie..its a good Action & Adventure, Drama, Classics movie 2 watch n its got some good scenery throughout this movie..i think that the fight scenes/sword fights were pretty kewl throughout this movie..its a good movie 2 watch
[font=Century Gothic]The other divergence I want to bring up is the different possible approaches to the same material. "The Fall of the Roman Empire" and "Gladiator" are both inspired by the same events but that is where the similarities end. Whereas "Gladiator" exploits violence and revenge for their own sake, "The Fall of the Roman Empire" is a literate tragedy about peace and what it takes to govern an empire. It is helped by giving the various characters time enough to articulate their own positions. And James Mason is espeiclally superb at this and Finlay Currie has a great speech of his own. But don't worry. There are some epic battle scenes and a thrilling chariot ride through the forest, all of which are better appreciated when there are less special effects used.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]In fact, "The Fall of the Roman Empire" marks the end of an era in a different way. This was one of the last grand epics of the Hollywood studio system.(Why so many of them had to feature Alec Guinness and Omar Sharif is beyond me.) After this, the movies would get smaller for a while. It was probably for the best.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note: Christopher Plummer, James Mason and Anthony Quayle were also in "Murder by Decree."[/font]