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181 of 186 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Extras and Two Cuts of the Film
This new Imperial 3 disc edition of CALIGULA from Image and Penthouse is an "everything and the kitchen sink" affair. It should be a must buy for fans of the film, and offers two unique ways of viewing the infamous film known mostly for its peversity.

Disc One contains an unrated X-rated version including all the Bob Guccione inserted scenes of somewhat...
Published on October 1, 2007 by Brett D. Cullum

versus
359 of 384 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars From the historical point of view, not as bad as many think
I will concentrate on the movie's historical accuracy (or its lack of it), since the previous reviews seem to either have overlooked it, or claimed that it is "historically accurate", or on the opposite extreme, that it totally ignored history.
"Caligula" does have some merit from the historical point of view, surely already present in Gore...
Published on September 16, 2001 by P. Bartl


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181 of 186 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Extras and Two Cuts of the Film, October 1, 2007
By 
Brett D. Cullum (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This new Imperial 3 disc edition of CALIGULA from Image and Penthouse is an "everything and the kitchen sink" affair. It should be a must buy for fans of the film, and offers two unique ways of viewing the infamous film known mostly for its peversity.

Disc One contains an unrated X-rated version including all the Bob Guccione inserted scenes of somewhat hardcore sex acts. The editing is a little off as Guccione assembled this cut from what Tinto Brass directed and put some scenes out of order thus blurring the narrative and character development.

Disc Two contains a pre-release cut of the film without the hardcore scenes, and a more logical progression of scenes assembled to depict the order Tinto Brass wanted them in. It runs 3 minutes shorter, and you'll notice alternate footage in many scenes. Three commentaries are delivered over this version with Malcolm McDowell on one, Helen Mirren on the second, and Ernest Volkman on the final track. Each are joined by authors and film critics who help keep the conversation flowing and on topic. Also included are a dozen cut and alternate takes.

The third disc contains featurettes, interviews, and archival footage from the production. A 1980 documentary proves interesting and provides more graphic footage.

The transfer is improved, but still looks blurred and lacking in contrast. The reason for some of this is the movie was shot like a magazine spread with soft focus cameras. It's never super clear, and there's plenty of grain and digital artifacts to contend with.

This is the best the film has ever looked, and has tons of extra material to wade through. A dream for collectors, and a nightmare for the detractors. The film is dispassionate and brutal - depicting every peversity you could imagine and then some. Costumes and sets are amazing - including a five story machine that decapitates heads in a colisseum. Breathtaking for all the wrong reasons, CALIGULA is about ego out of control. Oddly enough those that made it suffered from the same malady.
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359 of 384 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars From the historical point of view, not as bad as many think, September 16, 2001
I will concentrate on the movie's historical accuracy (or its lack of it), since the previous reviews seem to either have overlooked it, or claimed that it is "historically accurate", or on the opposite extreme, that it totally ignored history.
"Caligula" does have some merit from the historical point of view, surely already present in Gore Vidal's original script. It's also very weak in many points.
The bare events of Caligula's life and reign are actually quite accurate. It may surprise many viewers that most of the secondary characters - Emperor Tiberius, Senator Nerva, the praetorian prefect Macro, Tiberius's grandson and Caligula's rival for the succession Gemellus, Caesonia, Chaerea (who murdered Caligula), his sister Drusilla - were all historical and, as far as the facts have come down to us, their portrayal in "Caligula" was fairly accurate, at least according to some ancient authors.
Tiberius did retire to the island of Capri in his last years and did invite the elderly Nerva to join him there, and ancient authors do claim that he indulged in sexual perversions there. Nerva really committed suicide as shown in the movie.
The conversations between Caligula, Nerva and Tiberius, probably by Vidal, really reflect contemporary views and issues - for instance, the deification of Julius Caesar and Augustus, Tiberius's predecessors: Tiberius was totally cynical about the whole thing, whereas Caligula firmly believed it. Throughout the movie, many of Caligula's lines come straight from ancient authors.
On the other hand, Nerva's comment on Caligula's "gift for logic" seems to owe more to Camus than to ancient sources - still, a nice touch, I thought.
Tiberius's murder by Caligula and Macro, Caligula's removal of Macro and Gemellus, his incestuous relationship with Drusilla, her death, his marriage to Caesonia, her giving him a daughter, his increasing tyranny, his farcical invasion of Germany and attempted invasion of Britain, and his murder by his own guard - are all historical facts, and on the whole not too inaccurately shown in the movie.
On the other hand, the movie's biggest weaknesses from the historical point of view are (1) the way it *looks* and (2) the suggestion that Caligula's and Tiberius's depravity were somehow "normal", part of Rome's "decadence".
The sets and clothes all look more like something from a Fellini film than from ancient Rome. Tiberius's palace on Capri is perhaps the most unrealistic, along with that ship, and the execution machine - and countless details.
The clothes aren't very realistic, either. Romans were more casual about nudity than we are today, and I suppose that their clothes might reveal much some times. But I doubt that Roman ladies would be as casual about parading half-naked as portrayed in the movie (I mean in normal situations, not the sex scenes).
Moreover, it's simply not true that "orgies" such as that portrayed in the movie were common among the Roman upper classes. Actually adultery - also on the part of males - was an offense punishable by death, at least for the upper classes (this didn't cover prostitution). The vast majority of the Roman senatorial class would, and did, find behavior such as that of Tiberius and Caligula scandalous.
However, Caligula's in cognito wanderings through Rome after Drusilla's death give perhaps for the first time in a movie a good impression of what ancient Rome actually was at night - dangerous, dark, chaotic, where no person of means would venture without an armed escort.
I also enjoyed the glimpse of what an emperor's routine largely consisted of, with Tiberius and Caligula stamping their seal onto endless piles of official documents.
"Caligula" was obviously intended to be mainly a pornographic movie - Bob Guccione made sure of that. But it also, at some point, was intended to have a core of historical accuracy, which is why Gore Vidal was asked to write the script.
This core is still present in the movie, and it's not true that you don't learn anything of Roman history by watching it.
But of course, I know that that's not what most people will watch it for. So perhaps Guccione was right.
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427 of 462 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Judge it for yourself, June 18, 2000
By 
C. Clark (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Caligula, one of the most controversial movies ever made, is now available on DVD. This film was a real eye-opener for me, and the DVD is far superior to the VHS that was floating around a bit in the '80s (for all you people complaining about the quality, just shudder to think of how it used to be). The story of Rome's infamous emperor was probably not this wild in real life, but this is Penthouse and as a result is chockablock with sexual scenes and graphic violence. Because Caligula is basically in every single scene, it's hard for the other characters to develop, but there are some colorful supporting players, and McDowell really delivers. It's hard to believe his next film was to play the reserved, scholarly H.G. Wells ("Time After Time.") He is quite a talented actor. The movie drags on and on, and sometimes the cinematography is uncertain, but other times it is dead on the money. The film is a bit grainy on DVD, but as someone else once said, this really contributes to the "gritty" factor. As far as realism, many of the sex scenes look real, but I doubt the world has ever seen the likes of that purple-skinned four-eyed (or was it three-eyed?) woman, plus the guy with all those extra digits and the siamese twins joined at the head resting at Tiberius' palace. And how about the scene where Caligula "consecrates" that marriage...if that's how it was, I'd never get married.
The DVD has these things going for it: the creepy music added to the menu (the same as the opening title with the quote from Mark), the 30 chapters nicely divided up, the documentary about the making of featuring Gore Vidal and Bob Guccione (although in places everyone's face looked way too pale, but it was an old '70s film), and the sound is far superior to the VHS from what I can remember.
But this is Caligula and I would definitely not let anyone under 18 (or maybe even 21) watch it.
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165 of 182 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shock and Awe, August 28, 2007
If you thought HBO's depiction of ancient Rome was graphic and brutal Rome - The Complete First Two Seasons, then you obviously haven't seen Caligula.

Caligula leaves nothing for the imagination unless you're talking about some continuity issues and plot holes. Oh, the imagination fixes those just fine. But the scenes of love, incest, orgy, torture, rape, murder...they're there in all their glory...and I mean ALL their glory.

While the HBO series chronicled events in Rome circa 50 BC, Caligula is an adaptation of events circa 40 AD. The story is a bit discombobulated at times, but easy enough to follow.

Caligula (or, if you'd prefer, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) rises to power as Rome's third emperor. Writer/Producer and uncredited Director Bob Guccione Penthouse , not surprisingly, picked up on the writings that Caligula was an insane sex pervert and a cruel tyrant. Other historical writings that Caligula led Rome to major territorial expansion and architectural advancement were not included in this movie. No...that would have brought the...umm...mood down.

Helen Mirren stars as Caligula's queen. She's good at playing queen's, no? Coincidentally she won the 2007 Oscar and Globe for Best Actress by playing a queen The Queen . I can't imagine why the Academy passed her by in 1979's Caligula. There's plenty of other award winning talent in Caligula: You've got Malcolm McDowell A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition) , Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia (Single Disc Edition) , and Sir John Gielgud Arthur just to name a few...well...that's actually all of the A-list.

But the surprising thing is that Caligula even had an A-list when the movie was less about acting and more about shock and awe. Sure, the good actors gave great performances. McDowell's Caligula is unforgettable; the surprising thing is that Guccione got this cast to even be in a movie that with any other actors you might have had to purchase this film in a dark DVD store on the corner of 38th Street and 8th Avenue in NYC.

The movie runs for 2 hours and 36 minutes. And if that ain't enough, the 2007 Imperial Edition gives you 2 extra disks of bonus stuff. According to Image Entertainment's July 2007 press release, The 3 disk Imperial Edition of Caligula comes with two versions: the important one being the unrated, uncensored theatrical version in a newly mastered high def transfer from recently uncovered negative vault materials. And that's good because the previous release looked and sounded like an old 8mm home movie capture. The other version is an alternate pre-release cut of the film.

Amongst other bonuses, the Image press release touts "hundreds of revealing photographs from the set never seen by the public". But I have to say, it can't get that much more revealing than what's already in the movie itself.

So there you have it. Caligula, the cult classic, gets re-released on DVD. And if you're in The Caligula Cult, it's your best day ever.
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115 of 129 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McDowell Delivers!, May 7, 2000
The first time I saw this movie, it was playing at a local art film theater. I had heard about how graphic this film was in every respect. I wasn't led astray. Despite its explicit nature, Caligula is quite a good film. Malcolm McDowell(who, in my opinion, is in the top 10 greatest actors of all time)is very good, as always, as are Peter O'Toole, Helen Mirren, and Sir John Gielgud. They more than make up for a few corny (some downright stupid) plot and visual elements. The plot revolves around Caligula, a young man who becomes emperor of Rome after he has his uncle, the current emperor, killed. It takes the viewer through a graphic (yet historically accurate)display of the decadence of ancient Rome(with very convincing set pieces) as it shows Caligula's slow decline into insanity. Before viewing this film keep in mind that it is very graphic in its violence and sex (unless you're viewing the R-rated version that has almost 1 hour cut from its original running time). Also keep in mind that although it is graphic, it is also (for the most part)historically accurate. So, if you want to see some of the most impressive sets in recent memory & a few of the world's greatest thesbians at work and beleive you can handle its extreme nature, I would definatly give Caligula a try.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shock and Awe, August 28, 2007
This review is from: Caligula (Unrated Edition) (DVD)
If you thought HBO's depiction of ancient Rome was graphic and brutal Rome - The Complete First Two Seasons, then you obviously haven't seen Caligula.

Caligula leaves nothing for the imagination unless you're talking about some continuity issues and plot holes. Oh, the imagination fixes those just fine. But the scenes of love, incest, orgy, torture, rape, murder...they're there in all their glory...and I mean ALL their glory.

While the HBO series chronicled events in Rome circa 50 BC, Caligula is an adaptation of events circa 40 AD. The story is a bit discombobulated at times, but easy enough to follow.

Caligula (or, if you'd prefer, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) rises to power as Rome's third emperor. Writer/Producer and uncredited Director Bob Guccione Penthouse , not surprisingly, picked up on the writings that Caligula was an insane sex pervert and a cruel tyrant. Other historical writings that Caligula led Rome to major territorial expansion and architectural advancement were not included in this movie. No...that would have brought the...umm...mood down.

Helen Mirren stars as Caligula's queen. She's good at playing queen's, no? Coincidentally she won the 2007 Oscar and Globe for Best Actress by playing a queen The Queen . I can't imagine why the Academy passed her by in 1979's Caligula. There's plenty of other award winning talent in Caligula: You've got Malcolm McDowell A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition) , Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia (Single Disc Edition) , and Sir John Gielgud Arthur just to name a few...well...that's actually all of the A-list.

But the surprising thing is that Caligula even had an A-list when the movie was less about acting and more about shock and awe. Sure, the good actors gave great performances. McDowell's Caligula is unforgettable; the surprising thing is that Guccione got this cast to even be in a movie that with any other actors you might have had to purchase this film in a dark DVD store on the corner of 38th Street and 8th Avenue in NYC.

The movie runs for 2 hours and 36 minutes. And if that ain't enough, you should go with the 2007 Imperial Edition Caligula (Three-Disc Imperial Edition) . The three disker gives you 2 extra disks of bonus stuff. According to Image Entertainment's July 2007 press release, The 3 Disk Imperial Edition of Caligula comes with two versions: the important one being the unrated, uncensored theatrical version in a newly mastered high def transfer from recently uncovered negative vault materials. And that's good because the previous release looked and sounded like an old 8mm home movie capture. The other version is an alternate pre-release cut of the film.

Amongst other bonuses on the three disker, the Image press release touts "hundreds of revealing photographs from the set never seen by the public". But I have to say, it can't get that much more revealing than what's already in the movie itself. So this single disk version was (way) more than enough.

So there you have it. Caligula, the cult classic, gets re-released on DVD. And if you're in The Caligula Cult, it's your best day ever.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality? Who Cares?, January 17, 2000
By 
Justin Fuentes (Citrus Heights, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Ok, there's the deal. The movie was made over 20 years ago. They did the best they could as far as quality is concerned. And for those who don't have a DVD player, get one. The bottom line is that the movie is awesome. It's a "get in front of it" look at history. No holds barred. And don't waste your time with the r-rated version. The unrated version is the 'only' version. You've got killer actors, killer sets, killer cinematogrophy, killer plot, and if you don't mind the smut, a killer money shot. It's the best of ALL worlds in one movie. Brass, Guccione, and Vidal make a killer team even if they don't want to admit it. Big budget, big actors, big ugly product. I'm sorry but I loved it! If you don't have a weak stomach, and if you love history, and if you dig a little sex, this is the flick to see.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Definitely NOT for the faint of heart or squeamish., August 18, 2000
By 
Vague memories of this film brought great surprise when watching this Uncut DVD edition. This movie is crude and tough to swallow in its graphic nature. It really depicts a very decadent time in history in a very realistic manner, which makes it all the harder to watch without ultimate disgust in some scenes. I must give credit to the film and filmakers for having the courage to show that moment in history in all its nastiness. There are some excellently filmed and directed erotic scenes which really show what kind of films the porn industry could probably do with the right budget.
The movie can be slow and painful but it is well acted (McDowell and O'Toole really do a great job) and the crude reality of the time is a good lesson for us not to repeat the past.
In conclusion, I cannot recommend this movie as it is not for everyone (Definitely a 21+ film). My opinion is that you should perhaps rent this DVD if possible before purchase.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality of the DVD, December 7, 1999
By A Customer
I was more than dissapointed about the poor quality of the DVD. The result of the digital transfer is only comparable to the european PAL video of the uncut film which was available 20 years ago. The Sound seems to be a bit better than on the video, but resolution, sharpness and colours of the picture are far below average DVD standard.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visual and sound quality not upto DVD standards, December 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Caligula (R-rated Version) (DVD)
The movie is well acted and the story is compelling enough although it deals with the depraved side of humanity. It illustrates the contrasting splendor and raunch that was Rome at the time. The film is beautifully done and impressive in many scenes, but the visual quality is lacking. The resolution and clarity is not what is normally expected with a DVD. Sound quality is also mediocre at best. It appears to be the same quality of a VHS movie that was made 20 years ago. Too bad... I hoped the original film quality could be preserved digitally on DVD.
The featurette discussing the making of the film was interesting addition to the DVD. Unfortunately subtitles are not provided.
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Caligula (The Imperial Edition) [Blu-ray]
Caligula (The Imperial Edition) [Blu-ray] by Malcolm McDowell (Blu-ray - 2008)
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