I, Claudius: Miniseries (1976)

I, Claudius

Critics Consensus

Marrying a trove of terrific actors at the their peak with a masterful script that draws from irresistibly juicy source material, I, Claudius transcends its paltry production values to become a gold standard for historical dramas.



Critic Ratings: 23


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6
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Air date: Nov 6, 1977
Air date: Nov 13, 1977
Air date: Nov 20, 1977
Air date: Nov 27, 1977
Air date: Dec 4, 1977
Air date: Dec 11, 1977
Air date: Dec 18, 1977
Air date: Dec 25, 1977
Air date: Jan 1, 1978
Air date: Jan 8, 1978
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I, Claudius: Miniseries Photos

Tv Season Info

A 13-part series based on Robert Graves' novels, centering on the historian Claudius and how, in an unlikely and violent chain of events, he came to rule the Roman Empire.

Critic Reviews for I, Claudius Miniseries

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (13)

No crowds are visible, which makes everything feel a bit like a school play. But that claustrophobia sometimes creates amazing intensity, with richly textured drama expressed through dialogue and subtle performance alone.

Apr 16, 2019 | Full Review…

The show appeals (and continues to appeal) to us on many levels: the lust for power, the grandeur of Rome, and the mystery of who would or would not survive. It was an ancient Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives rolled into one.

Apr 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Brilliant is often a misused word, but the splendid performances of Derek Jacobi as Claudius and Sian Phillips as Livia -- as deft with flattery and blackmail as with her vials of poison -- are flawless.

Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

The highbrows can enjoy the history and the literati can feast on Jack Pulman's witty dialogue, while there's more than enough treachery, bloodshed, and bare nipples to please those of more earthy tastes.

Apr 16, 2019 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

A series that deserves to be seen at least once in life. [Full Review in Spanish]

Apr 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Those sets, those costumes -- they all scream "TV budget." But you'd be surprised how immediate those studio cameras make these performances feel, as if they were being beamed live straight into your living room.

Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

If there were ever a need to argue that excellent dialogue and on-target acting can trump big-budget spectacle, this series could function as Exhibit A.

Apr 15, 2019 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

[Masterpiece Theatre] shines again with the rich tale of a corrupt imperial family and a power lust that leads to murder, incest, debauchery and ultimately the fall of ancient Rome.

Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

I, Claudius remains one of the best dramas ever to air on television, a deft masterpiece of story, character, and, perhaps most importantly, vivid atmosphere.

Apr 15, 2019 | Full Review…

Speaking as a food-taster myself, I, Claudius goes down very easily.

Jun 25, 2019 | Full Review…

Though it may actually defy basic properties and capabilities of the medium, this latest import to march under the Masterpiece Theater banner proves immensely, compulsively watchable. It's so good it's a little embarrassing.

Apr 16, 2019 | Full Review…

A fiendishly sophisticated concoction of Roman history, political intrigues, murderous ambitions and consuming passions. In this BBC/London Film Productions venture, they add up to fascinating spectacle and perhaps, with fitting perversity, great fun.

Apr 16, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I, Claudius: Miniseries

  • Mar 09, 2019
    I would love to see the critics' review of this BBC series, although it has been a very long time since it first aired. I am watching it perhaps for the 4th time... but it has been many years in between. This time it is because my son-in-law, who is an amazing student of history, wants our family vacation to be in Rome. And we have booked a flat in the most historic part of Rome. And so voila. I am revisiting an old friend. The difference between way back then and now is that I can "google" the characters to get a more in-depth reading. But ohmygosh... Derek Jacobi is still amazing, as are all the other cast members. It's not like many BBC productions where the sets and production are SO amazing... it reads more like a stage play than a movie. But it is so excellent. So compelling. So informing. I highly recommend it. I'm surprised and dismayed that the audience score is (at this writing) only 50%. I highly recommend it.

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