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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The bureaucracy of evil
Massacre in Rome aka Rappresaglia is a surprisingly sober look at the bureaucracy of evil. Focussing on the murder of 335 Italian civilians as reprisal for the killing of 33 SS men, it shows how the moral questions were submerged under the purely practical problems of logistics - where do you find them at such short notice? What if there aren't enough prisoners in jail or...
Published on 22 Feb. 2006 by Trevor Willsmer

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1.0 out of 5 stars Roman misadventure
I was really disappointed with this film which distinctly lacked any atmosphere. The Italian partisans and clergy were played mostly by Italian actors of whom only Mastroianni really impressed as the priest with principles. The Germans were played by Englishmen (or Welshmen if you want to be fussy). Leo McKern as the luftwaffe general did not convince, and who in the...
Published on 5 Feb. 2013 by lycidas


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The bureaucracy of evil, 22 Feb. 2006
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Massacre in Rome aka Rappresaglia is a surprisingly sober look at the bureaucracy of evil. Focussing on the murder of 335 Italian civilians as reprisal for the killing of 33 SS men, it shows how the moral questions were submerged under the purely practical problems of logistics - where do you find them at such short notice? What if there aren't enough prisoners in jail or Jews in custody to make up the numbers? Where do you carry it out? Where do you dispose of the bodies? Who pulls the trigger? How drunk do you have to get your men to finish the whole operation in 24 hours? Throughout, moral implications and guilt are sidelined by paperwork, not just by the Nazis but also the Vatican, reluctant to get involved and still clinging to the belief that the Nazis are their only defense against the atheist threat of communism. This being an Italian film, however, a fictional composite of those priests who did attempt to avert the atrocity is included to avoid offending the faithful (Marcello Mastroianni's priest meeting his crisis of faith in a similar way to Kassovitz's in Amen. that can be interpreted as either rejection or vindication of his faith). Ironically, the only voices raised in moderation against the reprisal are Germans, because "We don't want our names read out on the BBC, do we?"

For someone who spent most of his career churning out hackwork, George Pan Cosmatos' direction is more than solid enough to avoid most of the usual international co-production pitfalls, trusting the material and, for the most part, keeping the cast from grandstanding. Richard Burton isn't at his peak as the officer in charge, but considering how bad his other work was during this particularly drunken period, Cosmatos gets a remarkably controlled performance out of him that avoids ham and bluster to good effect. Leo McKern does ham it up (although in fairness the Nazi he plays was even less restrained in real life) but Peter Vaughn and John Steiner more than compensate.

Although it does a good job of portraying the way the Germans dominated their fascist `allies' in the last weeks of the invasion of Italy, the script does occasionally lack historical perspective (the Nazi measures in Rome that partially provoked the partisan attack are barely raised), although Noshame's 2-DVD NTSC disc does fill in these gaps with substantial interviews with Italian partisans and historians (sadly there are no extras on the UK DVD).

Marcello Gatti's cinematography is also particularly impressive, with a great use of the strong, deep blacks you never see in movies anymore. The massacre sequence itself is slightly botched: the editing is awkward and the scene too tasteful to evoke much of a response. Instead, the most lasting impression is made by the end credits - a list of those murdered that, even in two columns and rolled by very quickly, takes a full two minutes to pass.

The transfer is acceptable on MIA's fullframe PAL DVD, but there are no extras at all while the film, unlike NoShame's US DVD, only has the English soundtrack. Argent's UK PAL reissue is 1.66:1 widescreen with the original trailer (as well as trailers for other titles) but no other extras and also only offers the English soundtrack.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massacre in Rome, 27 Aug. 2013
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Excellent film in memory of those who perished during the Nazi regime with Richard Burton & great cast of actors.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Roman misadventure, 5 Feb. 2013
I was really disappointed with this film which distinctly lacked any atmosphere. The Italian partisans and clergy were played mostly by Italian actors of whom only Mastroianni really impressed as the priest with principles. The Germans were played by Englishmen (or Welshmen if you want to be fussy). Leo McKern as the luftwaffe general did not convince, and who in the world would select Peter Vaughan to play the part of Kesselring ? The one person who could have had a decisive role in the story is not even seen - the Pope. The pious Catholic resignation not to 'upset the applecart' speaks volumes for the Vatican's attitude to the fate of 335 of its congregation. The twist in the final scene adds a touch of irony to the plot. The film concludes with a detailed list of the unfortunate hostages who met such a tragic fate in the grotto at Ardeatine. If only to emphasise their plight, the film was worth making.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An atrocity not to be forgotten but...., 7 April 2013
By 
Shirley Herbert (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Massacre In Rome [DVD] (DVD)
It was important that a book and a film were devoted to this terrible atrocity and my problem with the movie may say more about me. There were no English subtitles and I now seem to need them to hear everything, plus, although I love Mastroianni, I found it sometimes hard to understand his English. For example, at one point he looks out the window and starts saying something supposedly wise and heartfelt, but it took me several back-ups - and the context - before I realized he was talking about the dawn. Also, the surprise shocker at the end was so contrived that it lost its impact.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Massacre in Rome, 11 Jan. 2014
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I was delighted to get this DVD as my only other copy is on VHS! On a visit to Rome long ago I visited the street where the action took place and then later to the caves where the Italians were shot.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 21 Dec. 2014
By 
Mr. Vincent Waterfall "Oregolac" (Exeter UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Massacre In Rome [DVD] (DVD)
Although now a little dated and probably a low budget film Richard Burtons and Mastroiannis performances are superb.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Massacre in Rome dvd, 5 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Massacre In Rome [DVD] (DVD)
Bought as part of research for a battlefield tour I was 'guiding' on. The film itself is ok if a little laboured and like most films is economical with the truth of what actually happened, and in particular what the actual characters were like in real life.

Take the film with a 'pinch of salt' and it is worth watching. I would reccommend it particulary if you intend to visit Rome and then go to the caves where the major event happened. Things like this should never be forgotten or swept away by the apologists!
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13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark historical drama., 17 Dec. 2004
By 
Prof TBun (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
This is more like a dramatised documentary than a piece of entertainment. Some stories have to be told and this is one of them. Thankfully there is none of the opera of a Speilburg movie. It is a tastleful presentation throughout.
If you prefer the Discovery channel to Eastenders give it a go.
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14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A chilling story of war time Rome, 26 Oct. 2002
By 
A. Johnson "ANKJ" (Godalming) - See all my reviews
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Based on a true story, this film portraights the tensions between the commanding officers, the Vatican, and the people of Rome at the tale end of the 2nd world war. It's a chilling tale of how too many civilians lost their lives needlessly.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pope did not intervene, the Vatican did not try to stop it., 14 April 2013
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Great film told with feeling.The world will never forgive.Rome, open city in wartime and based on the true story of the Adreatine massacre. i was a sdeeeply moved as the story of "Cefalonia".
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Massacre In Rome [DVD]
Massacre In Rome [DVD] by George P. Cosmatos (DVD - 2010)
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