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Fall of Roman Empire [DVD] [1964] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Sophia Loren , Stephen Boyd , Anthony Mann    DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
Price: 12.32
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Frequently Bought Together

Fall of Roman Empire [DVD] [1964] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Quo Vadis [DVD] [1951] + Ben-Hur [1959] [DVD]
Price For All Three: 20.26

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Product details

  • Actors: Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer
  • Directors: Anthony Mann
  • Writers: Basilio Franchina, Ben Barzman, Edward Gibbon, Philip Yordan
  • Producers: Jaime Prades, Michal Waszynski, Samuel Bronston
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Miriam Collection
  • DVD Release Date: 29 April 2008
  • Run Time: 188 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00125WAXM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,593 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



The second and last of Anthony Mann's historical epics is a smart, handsome spectacle of the decadence, corruption, and intrigue that tore apart the greatest empire the world has seen. The sprawling story spreads itself thin over a number of characters and stories. At the centre are handsome but stiff Stephen Boyd as Livius, the loyal soldier and symbolic son of the ageing emperor Marcus Aurelius(Alec Guinness), and Christopher Plummer as Commodus, the corrupt heir to the throne. They are boyhood friends turned enemies when the latter accedes to the throne and sells out the values of his father for greed and hedonistic pleasures. The three-hour running time is filled out with the tales of Sophia Loren (as the beautiful Lucilla in love with Livius but coveted by greedy Commodus) and a gallery of heroes and villains that includes James Mason, Mel Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, John Ireland, Omar Sharif, and Eric Porter. The film is highlighted with spectacular scenes--a grandiose funeral fit for an emperor, brutal battles in the provinces as the barbarians threaten the empire, and a climactic duel to decide the destiny of Rome--which Mann weaves into the shadowy intrigue of the halls of power. Like his previous epic El Cid, The Fall of the Roman Empire remains one of the best of the 1960s epics: well written (and historically accurate up to a point) with strong performances and a consistently elegant style, It lacks a central core and the magnetic hero of its superior predecessor. Ridley Scott's Gladiator (2000) tackles the same story with an updated action-adventure slant. --Sean Axmaker

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest Roman epic of them all 1 Feb 2008
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
The Fall of the Roman Empire is mainly remembered, if at all, for two things - being one of the biggest flops in history and for being the film that was shamelessly plagiarized by the much inferior Gladiator. Which is a great pity, because not only does the film have much to recommend it but also in many ways it's the summit of director Anthony Mann's filmmaking, putting everything he ever learned to perfect use to create a magnificently realised portrait of a very different screen Rome. Whereas mad emperors are the staple of the genre, he dispenses with the standard image of Rome as a force of evil to be resisted and replaces it with a Rome that is an idea and an ideal to be fought for: there is no triumph when this empire begins to destroy itself, only disgust at a missed opportunity for true greatness. In many ways, like El Cid, it's an extension of Mann's favorite Western theme of a corrupted man dragged to his own redemption against his wishes, kicking and screaming all the way - only this time, redemption is steadfastly resisted.

In many ways it reworks elements of El Cid - rival siblings bickering over the throne, the assassination of a ruler, even the final fight owes much to the duel for Calahorra. But unlike the Cid, Stephen Boyd's Livius is unable to truly inspire (his own army is bought off at the gates of Rome) and he leaves the Empire to its decline in chaos out of disgust: the complete antithesis of Mann's great description of the appeal of the enduring appeal of the Western - "a man says he's going to do something, and he does it." Here, the hero walks away and the audience stayed at home in droves.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect, but Not Quite!! 24 Aug 2011
This is a lovely release from Anchor Bay - the extras are particularly good, albeit in standard definition, and provide a good 2 1/2 hours of extremely interesting insights into the making of this great epic.

A couple of moans though. The Overture, Intermission and Exit Music have been edited out, removing about 7 minutes of running time.

Plus, for those who have been singing the joys of the 2.35:1 ratio as opposed to the admittedly terrible 1.78 ratio of the vastly inferior DVD release, bear in mind that this, as well as El Cid', were actually shot in Ultra Panavision, and correctly, should be in a 2.75:1 ratio. You can see signs of cropping throughout the entire movie, and it's especially noticeable in the opening credits to both films.

Don't get me wrong, the 2.35 ratio is a great improvement, and the blu-ray is a really lovely print, but this is a common occurrence with movies from the 50s and 60s which are cropped down from Cinemascope, Cinerama, Todd-AO and Ultra Panavision to the 2.35 ratio. Not many distributors will present those original 2.55 or greater ratios as they were originally intended - a couple of exceptions are Ben Hur and Battle of the Bulge, both from Warners noticebaly, which retain the 2.75 ratio.

Perhaps there is some concern that the greater the ratio, the thicker the tram lines on the screen to provide the width?

Personally, I want to see these kinds of movies in ALL of their glory, but I guess I'll have to put up with 2.35 for now.....
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Overture,Intermission or Commentary 16 May 2011
By Charles
[ASIN:B004OWWZ1C The Fall Of The Roman Empire [Blu-ray]]]

Buyers of this new long awaited UK release need to be aware that both the commentary from the US DVD and the Overture/Intermission are missing. Very strange as all the other extras are included. Still an essential purchase as it's great to have it in Hi-Def but certainly NOT the definitive version. The sound is great but the image varies and is a little soft at times.
Don't get rid of your standard DVD just yet.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Both the new FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE Blu-ray from Anchor Bay and the previous Koch version from Germany use the Weintraub/Miriam Collection restoration elements. The Koch Germany release is complete, while the new Anchor Bay drops the roadshow overture, intermission and exit music (as well as a commentary track in the special features). The mastering of the UK release (as with EL CID) is again warmer (richer reds); the Koch version gives the Roman cloaks an orange hue and the film a more golden aura (perhaps a minor question of accuracy). The missing portions on the UK version should disqualify it for purists, but this general-release cut is still a major improvement over the dvd version. Both are satisfying presentations with some compromises. The elements for FALL appear in better shape than those for EL CID, but still display softness in some scenes. Filtering has definitely been done to both blu-rays. The DTS-HD soundtracks on the Anchor Bay and Koch sound identical. FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE still deserves to be rediscovered in high-definition, inspite of marginal mastering flaws of less-than-stellar restorations; and the bigger the screen, the more pleasurable the experience.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A ray of hope for widescreen enthusiasts... 8 April 2004
Further to my previous review slamming the lousy transfer of this UK DVD, widescreen lovers may like to know that a full 2.35:1 edition of this movie can be obtained from under the title of "Chute de l'Empire Romain". The print quality is at least as good, and the cover artwork is taken from the original poster. I have also ordered 2.35:1 copies of "El Cid" and "55 Days in Peking", and will drop in notes on these when they arrive. Just goes to show it pays to shop around.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
thought it a bit long and drawn out
Published 1 day ago by sandra simpkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Steven Boyd and Sophia Loren make a wonderful hero and heroine and the...
While not always historically accurate, the film is a very interesting and exciting depiction of this time in Roman history. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Monte Gilliam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great quality, packaging is as always the best
Published 1 month ago by Paulhowells
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film and Score
This is one of the greatest Epics made, it is a shame it not complete , the overture and intermission are missing yet on the DVD Boxset its complete, so if you want a complete... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Dg Hickie
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fall Of The Roman Empire
The Fall Of The Roman Empire a film from the past but I enjoyed watching it again after so many years great price fast delivery
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Ian Andrew Kleinberg
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE
Blu-Ray DVDs are not quite the same as ordinary DVDs. This the second Blu-Ray DVD which I am unable to play on my multi-region Blu-Ray DVD player. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dennis K.
2.0 out of 5 stars star-spangled dross
In no Roman epic did the musical score so blatantly drown out the plot. Stephen Boyd, who played the "baddie" in "Ben Hur", plays the part of the "goodie"... Read more
Published 4 months ago by lycidas
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I love this movie and it is a pleasure to see such great acting. I had it before and was delighted to see it released on DVD. Great movie.
Published 9 months ago by Easily pleased
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film
I have not watched this film yet but I love it and will say more when I have watched...I love it ...
Published 10 months ago by Carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall of the Roman Empire
General Livius and his immature son Commodus. Aurelius decides he wants Livius to inherit the throne of Rome when he dies and not his son, but when he is murdered Livius allows... Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. J. Harrison
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