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Julius Caesar

165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Julius Caesar (1953) (DVD)

Academy Award winners Marlon Brando, Sir John Gielgud and Greer Garson star with James Mason and Deborah Kerr in this exceptional film adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy of honor, heroism, loyalty and the fear of tyranny--Julius Caesar.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marlon Brando, James Mason, John Gielgud, Louis Calhern, Edmond O'Brien
  • Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Producers: John Houseman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 121 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HWZ4AC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,752 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Julius Caesar" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Maximiliano F Yofre on January 7, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
Shakespeare's plays are an inextinguishable source of inspiration for movie-makers. His works are approached from very different stands: as transposition to other time and surroundings as "West Side Story" (1961) and "Ran" (1985); from a very personal optic as "Titus" (2000) and "Looking for Richard" (1996) or as in the present case with a classic approach.

I've seen this movie when I was a kid, keep a very deep impression from it and remained a Brando's fan forever. I saw it again many times afterwards. I was always delighted by the play and the outstanding acting given by Brando, Mason and the rest of the cast.

This is one of the greatest Shakespeare's historical tragedies. Focuses on the last days of Julius Caesar's life, but the main characters are: Brutus, torn apart by his love to the Republic and his loyalty to Caesar and Marc Antony, unfaltering in his love for Caesar and will to revenge his murder.

The cast (a mix of British & Americans actors and actresses) gives an overwhelming performance. First of all Brando's Mark Antony, especially when giving his mournful speech; words are Shakespeare's the powerful way to cast them Marlon's.

James Mason is equally inspired, he transmit to the audience all the storms that rage in Brutus' soul, his moral suffering and final choice.

Only one little step below is John Gielgud's Cassius, the "black eminence" of the conspiracy. The viewer will also enjoy Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr and Edmond O'Brian performances.

A great movie for Shakespeare lovers and general public!

Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By dooby on November 26, 2006
Format: DVD
This is a thoroughly riveting production of Shakespeare's tragedy. It boasts a stellar cast and excellent production values. I found it strange that it is touted as a Marlon Brando film when Brando doesn't actually play the central role. That honour belongs to James Mason who provides a brilliant portrait of the tormented Brutus, the one truly noble man in this whole sad affair. Sir John Gielgud is also outstanding as the envious, conniving but weak Cassius. Brando's performance, great as it is, should be seen in the context of the equally great performances of those around him. In Robert Osborne's introduction, we are told how Brando sought Gielgud's help in preparing for his role; recording Gielgud's delivery of Antony's lines, and assiduously listening to and studying from them. The final effect is electrifying. This is not the boring Shakespeare dreaded by schoolkids the world over. This is gripping, searing stuff that, as Laurence Fishburne says in the accompanying documentary, made Shakespeare "the Aaron Spelling of his day." The one sore spot was Louis Calhern's Caesar who looks more like Hollywood's caricature of a Roman Patrician than Shakespeare's intended character. But that's a minor quibble for Caesar is really just a minor figure, even though the play does bear his name.

I was delighted by the reviewer who pointed out the interpretational possibilities regarding Brutus' character and motivations. However I disagree with him when he says that the film failed in its depiction of Brutus. The reviewer's preference for a darker, more self-aware Brutus is fascinating to explore but this is a Hollywood film from the early 1950s and we should see it in that context. The beauty of Shakespeare is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By C. Freeman on February 5, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
and this magnificent production of one the Bard's most memorable plays. This movie boasts an all star cast, and each do a splendid job of portraying their characters, my favorite being John Geilgud, one of the all-time great Shakespearean actors who's Cassius is an emotional boilerplate of envy. James Mason's Brutus is his friend and exact emotional opposite: a self-controlled, even-tempered, honor-loving man. Watching the interplay of these two opposites was for me the most thrilling part of the movie. I can't imagine any actors playing these roles other than Mason and Geilgud. Also, Brando's Mark Antony was marvelous to behold. How he skillfully moves the crowd to riot was nothing less than a virtuoso display of acting that proves Brando to be the genius that he was.

If you like Shakespeare, and particularly 'Julius Caesar', but haven't seen this one yet, BUY IT, you won't be disappointed.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Edward on September 1, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
After the enormous success of "All About Eve' in 1950, the writer-director Joseph L Mankiewicz could do just about anything he wanted to do, and what he really wanted to do was direct Shakespeare. Realizing he was dealing with Hollywood, he chose the high-school staple "Julius Caesar". Something as arcane as "Titus Andronicus" would have been out of the question. Even so, the depiction of an ancient political tragedy set in 16th Century verse was hardly going to light up cash-box eyes in the front offices, and I'm sure Mankiewicz had to pull a lot of Oscar clout to get anyone to even consider such a project. Luckily, the intellectual Dore Schary had just taken over the helm at M~G~M so the picture was ultimately approved for that studio and released in 1953. (One can just imagine Schary's predecessor Louis B Mayer scratching his head, trying to figure out the connection between "Julius Caesar' and "Quo Vadis".) Obviously, it did not have a big budget, filmed in black-and-white on left-over sets. This was a "prestige" production (Orson Welles' former partner John Houseman in charge) with the emphasis on classy tone and an elegant dramatis personae. Between them, Mankiewicz and Houseman created one of the most arresting Shakespearean films you'll see outside Olivier, far superior to the 1970 version. I don't agree that Louis Calhern is mis-cast in the title role. God knows he was imperious enough playing Grandpa in some Jane Powell fluff, but here he's so arrogant no wonder the conspirators are upset. The big Shakespearean name in the cast is John Gielgud, very effective as Cassius, subtle, almost serpentine, slithering around Brutus as he tries to get him to join the conspiracy.Read more ›
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