Movies that are told in ancient Rome often remind us of emperors, gladiators, Julius Caesar and aristocrats. Many people are also reminded of William Shakespeare, where he often wrote about ancient Rome in his plays. Apart from Shakespeare and the adaptations of his works, ancient Rome played an important role in the big films of the film studios in the early silent era. These films have been very influential on a small and large scale and still remain in the minds of cinema fans after decades. Undoubtedly, in the ancient Roman historical genre, we have also seen films that failed at the box office, which includes the subgenre known as “sword and sandal” films.
But in recent years, films made about ancient Rome have had large sets and magnificent visual effects. This has caused film studios to spend large amounts of money on the production of these films, and even when they have not been able to recoup their production costs, success in film festivals and receiving awards has encouraged the studios to continue their production process. With blockbusters like Gladiator and Ben-Hur winning multiple film awards and smaller but acclaimed films like Titus and Life of Brian, Roman history buffs have plenty to watch. In the rest of this article, we are going to introduce you to 15 best historical films whose stories are told in the ancient Roman era.
15- Barabbas (1961)
The religious epic film Barabbas tells the story of Barabbas, one of the famous characters in the Bible. Unlike many other films that have been made about ancient Rome, this film is actually made in the city of Rome and parts of it in the city of Verona, Italy, with large sets and witnessing the battle of gladiators and portraying a Crucifixion We are in the midst of a true solar eclipse. Anthony Quinn plays Barabas in the film, which grossed $2.9 million at the box office and received positive reviews from critics then and now. When this film was released in 1961, it topped the list of the best foreign films of the year according to the US National Bureau of Film Critics.
14- A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (1966)
The movie A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum is a little different than other movies that have been made about ancient Rome. To begin with, you should know that this movie is a musical comedy and is based on a musical play of the same name, which tells the story of a slave named Sodolus, played by Zero Mostel, who tries to help his master win the heart of a neighbor’s girl. get your freedom With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the film also won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year.
13- Titus (1999)
Directed by Julie Taymor, Titus is a film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play Titus Andronicus, starring Anthony Hopkins as Titus. Although the film occasionally changes history, most of the film is set in the ancient Roman era. In this film, Hopkins is joined by Jessica Lange and Alan Cummings, who play Tamora, Queen of the Goths, and Saturninus, the Roman Emperor, respectively. With a budget of 25 million dollars, this film sold only 3 million dollars at the box office and received mixed reviews from critics, but years after its release, it has achieved the status of a cult classic film, which easily makes it one of the best films of all time. About ancient Rome converts.
12- The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)
It was in 1988 that Martin Scorsese stopped making mafia projects for a short time to make an epic film based on the stories of the Christian Bible. The movie The Last Temptation Of Christ tells the story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at the hands of a Roman governor named Pontius Pilate. The reaction of the Christian churches to the film was not positive due to the contrast with the modern-day doctrine of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and it was strongly condemned by the church for a scene in the film in which Jesus Christ is apparently tempted by the devil. . Starring Willem Dafoe as Christ and David Bowie as Pilate, the film was an artistic success despite all the controversy, and Scorsese was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director.
11- The Fall Of The Roman Empire (1964)
Glory, drama, political complexity and lust for power are the key elements of the 1964 film The Fall Of The Roman Empire. When moviegoers were crying over the golden age of Hollywood, this was the movie that got overlooked. To show the change that cinema had experienced after such an important period, Ridley Scott made a smaller and more compact version of this story for modern audiences, which movie fans know as Gladiator. As an epic film in its most accurate and complete sense, this film made in 1964 deals with the power and development of ancient Rome at the height of its power and depicts how it fell from within. The film was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for Best Soundtrack.
10- Satyricon (1969)
The film Satyricon is a fantasy and episodic story about life in the ancient Roman era, which is based more on the hedonistic legends of that time than on historical facts. The colors, costumes, and overall atmosphere of the film are exaggerated to match the fantasy historical period during the tumultuous reign of Nero. This film does not tell a linear story in a conventional way and depicts its story in the form of 9 episodes, which tells the story of the main character of the story to win the heart of his young lover. Federico Fellini was nominated for an Oscar for the third time for directing this film, whose story is told in the ancient Roman era.
9- The Passion Of The Christ (2004)
While The Last Temptation of Christ was met with great reviews and critical acclaim, it was a completely different film about the death of Jesus Christ that won numerous awards and was a record box office success. It was in 2004 that the movie The Last Temptation of Christ, directed by Mel Gibson, deals with the torture and crucifixion of Jesus Christ by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, in a precise and detailed manner. Unlike Scorsese’s film that we mentioned above, this film focuses less on Christ’s journey with the cross and more on his bloody pain and torture. As a result, churches supported the film, and the film grossed $612 million, despite the extreme violence of the film, which earned it an R-rated rating.
8- Life Of Brian (1979)
As one of the best films in the Monty Python franchise, Life of Brian is one of the most accurate depictions of life in the cities of ancient Rome ever depicted on film. When it comes to movies about ancient Rome. When it comes to movies about ancient Rome, this one is not set in the capital itself, but in the city of Judah, and contains a simple and funny but realistic look at the lives of people during the reign of the Roman emperors. Of course, the story of the film is not always funny, and sometimes this satirical look becomes very harsh, especially when it comes to the oppression of the Romans and the local authorities of the city. This film is still one of the best British comedies ever made and is always on the list of the best comedies in cinema history.
7- Cabiria (1914)
The story of Cabiria is narrated during the Second Punic Wars and presents a picture of the most famous moments of this war. Hannibal’s campaign in the Alps, the siege of Syracuse and the military campaign of Scipio, the Roman general in North Africa, are some of the events depicted in this historical film. Martin Scorsese loved this movie so much that he claimed that this movie created the epic genre. If he’s right, this makes Cabiria the mystical ancestor of movies like Ben-Hur and Gladiator. The film was restored and re-screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, but during its first release in 1914, it was the first film to be screened at the White House, where during President Woodrow Wilson’s time it was in the palace courtyard. White was shown to him.
6- Quo Vadis (1951)
As the film that saved MGM from bankruptcy, Quo Vadis is an epic historical drama that combines historical elements with fictional elements to depict the story of an ancient Roman emperor’s encounter with Christianity and his treatment of the first Christians. kill This film stars Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Gunn and Peter Ustinov and is narrated by Walter Pidgeon. The film was a commercial success and received critical acclaim, grossing $21 million on a $7 million budget, while the film received relatively positive reviews from critics. The film Quo Vadis was nominated for an Oscar in eight categories, but failed to win in any category.
5- Julius Caesar (1953)
Many historical films have been made about ancient Rome and based on the life of Julius Caesar as the most famous figure in ancient Roman history, including one in 1950 and another in 1970, both starring Charlton Huston. But in this movie made in 1953, Marlon Brando plays the role of Mark Antony and the movie itself is based on a play of the same name by William Shakespeare, which is better than the previous two movies. The movie Julius Caesar details the betrayal and murder of Julius Caesar by his allies and friends and received very positive reviews from critics. The film was a huge commercial and artistic success and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
4- Cleopatra (1963)
This film is one of the most lasting and special appearances, roles and performances of Elizabeth Taylor, which presents a very magnificent and sometimes shocking image of ancient history, which makes it worthy of its special place in the history of cinema. Cleopatra is equally beautiful and enchanting in this film and changes the course of history and civilization as she seduces and enchants both Mark Antony and Julius Caesar (played by Richard Burton and Rex Harris respectively). This film almost caused the bankruptcy of the 20th Century Fox film studio, although it had a significant sale, but in the artistic department, it managed to receive four Oscars out of nine nominations at the ceremony.
3- Spartacus (1960)
Perhaps many people are more familiar with the character of Spartacus because of the serial version of Spartacus, which was recently released on the Starz television network, but the first time Spartacus appeared on the screen was in a movie version and much earlier, and that was in a famous movie in 1960. It was directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Dalton Trumbo. The role of Spartacus in the history of the United States is much more important than the story it tells, because John F. Kennedy, as the president of the United States at the time, saw some of the strict laws of the time regarding people with communist tendencies or those who at least had them. He ignored those who were accused of such tendencies and thus ended the era of banning the activities of some filmmakers accused of having communist thoughts. The film won four Academy Awards and was inducted into the National Film Archive of the United States in 2017.
2- Gladiator (2000)
Perhaps the most famous film about ancient Rome is Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, a cinematic masterpiece that grossed $460 million at the global box office and won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture of the Year. The film was so successful that it created a phenomenon known as the “Gladiator Effect,” which sparked a wave of interest in ancient Roman literature and history in the United States and around the world. The movie Gladiator starring Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius is the story of a senior Roman military commander who is enslaved and seeks revenge against the cruel and cruel emperor of Rome named Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) who killed his family and He was enslaved.
1- Ben-Hur (1959)
Ben-Hur is a classic film that was also remade in 2016, but the original 1959 version is itself a remake of a 1925 silent film. The film tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Huston), a Jewish prince who was enslaved by Christians and later became a chariot racing champion and vowed to take revenge on the Roman citizens who enslaved him. took At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film ever made. But the result was very magnificent and compensated the heavy cost of the production studio, because Ben-Hur is one of the best historical films in the history of cinema and the best film about ancient Rome, which grossed 146 million dollars and won 11 Oscars, including the best award. Film, best director and best actor.