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The Caesars - The Complete Series (2 Disc Set) [DVD] [1968]

4.1 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Freddie Jones, André Morell, Barrie Ingham, William Corderoy, Caroline Blakiston
  • Writers: Philip Mackie
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 3 April 2006
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EWOO3I
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,190 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The complete six-part series, following the rule of the Roman Emperor Augustus (Roland Culver) and the battles for succession after his death. After years of civil war following the assassination of Julius Caesar, his adopted son Octavian manages to unite the various factions and assume control of the Empire. Taking the name Augustus, he presides over an unparalleled period of growth and prosperity, but when he dies, the Empire is thrown into confusion by the corrupt and violent reigns of Tiberius (André Morell) and the insane Caligula (Ralph Bates).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Rome 14 AD. Augustus (Roland Culver) has been Emperor for 40 years. In his youth he had put an end to 100 years of civil war - but the price was the end of the Republic. Now he is old and worried about the future. To preserve the Pax Romana he needs to appoint a successor but none of his descendents is suitable. So what should he do? He decides to nominate Tiberius as a stop gap until his great-grandson is old enough, thus creating an Imperial Line.

Unfortunately for Augustus, his family do not live up to his high ideals as they attempt to marry, scheme, plot, and murder their way to the throne. On the way we meet: the handsome but inept Germanicus (Eric Flynn); the scheming Agrippina (Caroline Blakiston); the unwilling but ruthless Tiberius (Andre Morell); the murderous Sejanus (Barrie Ingham); and the downright evil Caligula (Ralph Bates). Watching all this is Claudius (Freddy Jones). Claudius is regarded a s a dimwit because of his club-foot and stutter - but he is the most intelligent of the lot.

The Caesars (1968) was one of the last major series to be made in black and white and is an example of the quality drama made by ITV at it's peak. It consists of six episodes, each concentrating on one of the major players. It was written by Philip Mackie and was highly acclaimed at the time. Freddy Jones was awarded the TV best actor award at Cannes for his portrayal of Claudius. The Caesars is set about 50 years after the mini-series Rome(2005) and covers roughly the same period as I Claudius (1976); although from a different perspective. It is easily the equal to, if not better than, either of these mini-series.

The six episodes are:

(1) Augustus: Who should succeed him?
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I joined Amazon UK (I'm an American) just to buy this DVD, based on the strength of IMDB reviews. Not only was I not disappointed, I've viewed this set over a half dozen times. This series is a must for all fans of Roman history, and those looking for well scripted mini-series of the "masterpiece theater" ilk. I'm sure that the black and white, rather grainy video is what has kept this fine production from the American market. Unfortunate, as the performance by Andre Morell as Tiberius is stunning. If one goes by the gossip of Suetonius, Tiberius was an evil pustule of no consequence. In truth, he was the second Caesar, and gave Rome 20 years of additional peace, perhaps ensuring the continuance of the monarchy, and had to rule in the long shadow of Augustus.

There are six episodes: Augustus, Germanicus, Tiberius, Sejanus, Caligula, and Claudius. Tiberius is the primary figure in the first five, Caligula in the last. Comparisons to I, Claudius are unavoidable, and this series preceded the eponymous Derek Jacobi work. Better than I, Claudius?? Certainly different, if not better written in some ways, and Andre Morell is mesmerizing.

[Aside to Americans or others afraid of buying the "wrong" region: The discs play on your computer no problem, or on a "region free" DVD player - take the plunge; I've been very pleased with gaining access to otherwise "lost" material
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As someone who likes any film or show with a toga, rates I Claudius as the best series ever and loved "Rome" it came as a shock to discover a series I'd never heard of about the early emperors and one made in my own back yard by Granada TV. Perhaps the reason for this is that having been made in black and white just before the colour revolution "The Caesars" now looks like something from the 1930s.

This is a shame because once you get over that shock this is a an ambitious and I think succesful attempt to examine the psychology of the early emperors. I can't but help think that much of the characterisation set the template for the much more famous "I Claudius" to follow.

The series focuses on the strange relationship the early emperors had with their power. Like all Romans they were ambitious to achieve glory for their family and Rome but also felt uncomfortable with absolute power and shunned much of its trappings. The central character is Tiberius and rightly so. He is one of history's great paradoxes - a man of enormous ability but whom his contemporaries and historians would vilify. Why? Because, if you believe the series, he could never be bothered to pretend he didn't enjoy the power but could not give it up.
True or not I don't know but as a super aristicratic Claudian he would have expected power and glory (and he merited it) but it came to him by gift not achievement.

All the other characters are measured against him. Augustus charming but ruthless, Germanicus vacillating, Livia and Agrippina power hungry, Sejanus and Macro ambitious and Caligula mad. All these stories are told and you are left sympathising with Tiberius. The story ends with Claudius and tkaing power. His reaction to power is unexpected; basically you feel he is not overly fond of the role but concludes that despite the madness of Caligula Rome needs an emperor not a republic any more. After him the emperors will no longer be equivocal about power.
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If you want to understand something of the exercise of power in the early Roman Empire, this is for you.

Having seen "The Caesars" when I was at school, I could not understand the swooning praise heaped on the Derek Jacobi (who was about the best thing in it) "I Claudius" which is overwhelmingly superficial, inaccurate and a kind of infantile, tabloid version of the far better novels by Robert Graves (who had a sense of humour though tyou wouldn't guess it from this travesty).

The real Augustus, to take just one example, was physically slight, intellectually subtle and personally formidable so casting Brian Blessed (of all people - was it some kind of grotesque joke?) in that role in "I Claudius" was grotesquely wrong. Roland Culver was an infinitely better choice.

This was a series about the realities of power in any period - and rather closely followed the surviving record of the sophisticated and lurid Roman historian Suetonius.

Of course, the B&W picture is sometimes rather dodgy but it is probably as good as we will get - and TV production was pretty rough in 1968 compared to today's digitalised everything and spectacular nothingness.

The writing and acting are still amazingly good.
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