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Julius Caesar [Blu-ray]

88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This 1970 adaptation of William Shakespeare's timeless classic features brilliant performances by the all-star cast. It is an age of unparalleled power and glory - Rome has become the mightiest empire the world has even known and her greatest emperor, Julius Caesar (John Gielgud) holds absolute dominion over the conquered world. But his jealous rivals in the Roman senate wish to rob him of his power. by brutally taking his life. Led by the ambitious Cassius (Richard Johnson) and reluctantly joined by the patriotic Brutus (Jason Robards), the conspirators secretly plot to assassinate the great Caesar. Appalled by the murder of his mentor, Mark Antony (Charlton Heston) declares war on Caesar's assassins and the empire is divided as the ruling forces ignite an epic war for honor, vengeance and ultimate power. The stellar cast includes Robert Vaughn, Richard Chamberlain, Diana Rigg, Christopher Lee and Jill Bennett. Stylishly directed by Stuart Burge (Laurence Olivier's Othello).

Product Details

  • Actors: Charlton Heston, Jason Robards, John Gielgud, Richard Chamberlain, Diana Rigg
  • Directors: Stuart Burge
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Original recording remastered, Widescreen, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2013
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AGKHC50
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,187 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Curtis Crawford on September 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Much better than the earlier Julius Caesar, which starred Marlon Brando as Mark Antony and James Mason as Brutus. In this version, Jason Robards as Brutus is admittedly an embarrassment, but the rest of the cast is quite strong. The delivery of Antony's funeral oration by Charlton Heston is brilliant, powerful, well-paced, the dramatic high point of the movie. Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Caesar, Robert Vaughn as Casca and Diana Rigg as Portia are fine actors, with full dramatic presence, at home in Shakespeare's language. Brief parts, like the soothsayer's and the cobbler's, are memorably played. The screenplay omits two short passages that are important to the plot: (1) Cassius' avowal in the first act, after his attempt to persuade Brutus to oppose Caesar, that if their positions were reversed and he, Cassius, stood as well with Caesar as Brutus does and Brutus made a comparable appeal to him, he would certainly not listen. (2) Immediately after the assassination, a promise by Brutus to Antony's servant of safe conduct for Antony, who thus knows when he comes to the Capitol and weeps over Caesar's body, challenging the conspirators to kill him also, that he is in no danger of their doing so.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 27, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Charlton Heston does an admirable job as Marc Antony in this 1970 version of Shakespeare's play. Certainly you will come away from this film wishing he had performed more Shakespeare on film. However, I must admit a strong preference for Marlon Brando's performance in the same role in the 1953 version of "Julius Caesar," and especially the funeral scene where the performance of the mob is equal to that of the actor in the pulpit. It would have been equally worthwhile to see Brando attempt more of the Bard as well.
I also find that across the board the acting is slightly better in the earlier version. In this color version it is strange to see Jason Robards, Jr., who made his reputation performing the works of Eugene O'Neill on the stage, flounder so badly with Shakespeare, and I have to admit his performance gets in the way of my enjoyment of this film. Of the other actors it is interesting to see John Gielgud take on the title role since he played the lean and hungry Cassius in the earlier version, a joy to see Diana Rigg nail her significant scene as Portia, and a bit disconcerting to see so many actors who would become television stars in the years to come (e.g., Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaugh and Carroll O'Connor).
I also prefer Joseph L. Mankiewicz's direction of the 1953 film to the work of Stuart Burge in this version. Mankiewicz also had the advantage of Academy Award-winning art direction and set decoration, which I really think overcomes the fact the later version is in color. If you are screening the entire film for students or focusing just on Antony's funeral oration, by either standard I really believe you are better served with the earlier film.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Spanish Jack on March 15, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
One of the curiosities of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" is that the main character is not "Julius Caesar", who is killed early in the play, nor Marc Antony, who has by far the best and most famous speech - "Friends,Romans, countrymen, ...".

The central character is Brutus, the "noblest Roman of them all", who must balance his his duty toward Rome against his loyalty to Caesar. Brutus is a follower of the Stoic philosophy and so tries to achieve virtue by using his reason to choose and follow noble goals, rather than being lead by his emotions. It seems that the director of this movie seeks to convey this idea by having Jason Robards, a highly skilled actor, deliver all Brutus's lines in a bored flat undertone. I wonder how they persuaded him to do it?

"Don't act Jason. Trust us. Just read the lines off slowly

like you never saw them before and you don't care a pin.

It'll be great.!"

To say this completely spoils the movie is an understatement. Mr. Spock has a wider emotional range. They would have done better and saved money by having Brutus played by a flashing blue light and the guy who did the voice of the HAL 9000.

When Brutus is off screen the movie is fine. Heston is surprisingly good. Gielgud is great. It is sort of a pity that the movie is in color because it makes it harder to ignore the poor costumes, the cheap sets, the worst fake beard in the history of cinema. If you want to see a much better film version, there is the classic black and white version in whcih James Mason and Sir John Gielgud make a superb pair as Brutus and Casius, and Marlon Brando gives a chilling Antony.

As for this one, if someone gives it to you as a present, by all means look at it first before you donate it to the public library.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful By B. Chandler HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 16, 2007
Format: DVD
What do Moses, Ben-Hur, and Antony have in common? Answer: They all look like Charlton Heston.
If somehow you missed the play or the history, basically Julius Caesar let his status go to his head and is about to take on the role of emperor. It is up to a handful of Noble Romans to see that this does not happen. The play is about these individuals, their individual purposes and what happens to them after the attempt to stop him. The focus is on Caesar's right arm (Mark Antony).

This is a 1970 rendition of Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar" that is well adapted for the screen. Hence the characters are well known contemporaries. You will notice the major players and might miss some of the others such as Preston Lockwood (Trebonius) who played the Judge in "Strong Poison" ASIN: B000062XDY. With many movies the actor out shine the character and totally changes the emphasis of the story. However this version is well done with maybe the exception of Jason Robards (Brutus) who sometimes seems like Jason Robards playing Brutus at other times he is quite exceptional. Diana Rigg (Portia) who looks like a little girl is the only person that sounds like she is speaking in meter. Everyone speaks clearly and pauses long enough for you to think before moving on. Facial expressions are important to the story and they do not look like they are yelling at you (except in speeches).

You will notice that the back ground music is also of 70's vantage and is used to emphasize certain scenes. However the volume is not so high that you can not hear the clear pronunciation of the lines. Also the costumes made with satin are distracting. At one point Antony looks like Carol Burnett when she was wearing a curtain and left the rod in.
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Julius Caesar [Blu-ray]
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