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3.5 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Caesar has been assassinated. As the Roman Empire struggles to regain itself, a young Emperor stepsforward, prepared to claim the abandoned throne. He is Augustus, appointed to theRoman Consul at only 19 years of age and determined to leave the mark of his rule for centuries to come.


Augustus is equal parts history lesson and soap opera, and thoroughly engaging at all levels. Peter O'Toole plays Octavius/Augustus, heir to his doomed uncle Julius Caesar's command of the far-flung Roman empire. Surviving an assassination attempt and struck by news of the death of his old friend and ally, Agrippa (Ken Duken), in the same day, Octavius waxes nostalgic about his youthful exploits in Caesar's army (Benjamin Sadler plays the young Augustus in flashbacks) and his unprepared immersion in the deadly politics of the Mark Antony (Massimo Ghini) era. More immediate are Octavius' problems trying to stave off conspiracies by his wife Livia (Charlotte Rampling) to set up the emperor's stepson, Tiberius (Michele Bevilacqua), as heir, and talk his dutiful daughter Julia (Vittoria Belvedere) into a marriage she doesn't want. Roger Young (Jesus) directs this highly watchable costume drama, and O'Toole's golden presence makes the ancient intrigues tragically human. --Tom Keogh

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Vittoria Belvedere, Peter O'Toole, Charlotte Rampling
  • Directors: Roger Young
  • Producers: Luca Bernabei
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 178 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006D3HDI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,855 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Augustus" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
A wonderful and expansive recounting of the life and times of Rome's first emperor, Augustus Caesar. A conversation between Augustus and his daughter Julia provides the narration that covers the early years of his life through to his death.

The story begins with us finding Augustus, after many years on the throne, walking among the enthusiastic crowd in the Roman Forum. Their reaction seems authentically happy to be close to a popular leader who is now in the latter years of a long and successful career. From here we travel back with Augustus to Spain, Egypt, Greece, and of course Rome and spend time with Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, Marcus Agrippa, and his wife Livia. All these characters are given depth and you truly get a view into why they may have done the things they did.

The settings are generally good and the reproduction of the Forum, while not perfect, is among the best I've seen.

My only significant criticism is the unevenness of how some of the dialog is presented. It seems that many of the actors were not speaking English and their voices overdubbed in English. This sometimes breaks the flow of the dialog and makes it appear unnatural. Hence I believe it rates a 4 star rating rather than 5. Other than that, the acting is very good, especially that of Peter O'Tool who delivers a very convincing elder Augustus. Some critics have cited flaws in the history it portrays, especially around the character of Julia. True or not, this in no significant way takes away from the production.

It's tempting to compare this to the BBC's landmark production of "I Claudius" or the Hollywood production of "Cleopatra".
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Format: DVD
I discovered Augustus purely by change but I am glad that I did because this Italian television production is very good. I was thinking that Augustus would be something of a soap opera like HBO's Rome but it is an intelligent and well-written telling of Augustus' life. There are instances where events have been changed and people are left out of the story but to be able to fit the main events of Augusts' life into a 3 hour program is a remarkable achievement.

The story opens with an assassination attempt on Augustus which serves to remind us that there were plot against his life despite his image of unparalleled popularity. On the same day, he also learns that Agrippa has died (12 BCE) and this causes him to have a long conversation with his daughter Julia (whom he is forcing to marry Tiberius against both their wills) concerning his start in politics as the heir of his granduncle Julius Caesar. It was good to see the relationship of Caesar and Octavian depicted in detail although the tactics used for the battle of Mundus seemed amateurish with Caesars troop running toward the enemy rather than a disciplined march. My wife and I got caught up in the story as it unfolded from flashback to flashback. Agrippa and Maecenas are nicely cast and I particularly liked the outlandish way Maecenas was depicted with his flashy clothes and abrupt way of speaking to Octavian. The role of Anthony (Massimo Ghini) is nicely cast, looking square-jawed like the portraits of the real Anthony, and his Cleopatra is glamorous, sexy and coolly direct when it comes to politics. There are several characters missing such as three of Julia's children (her daughters Agrippina and Julia and Agrippa Posthumous) and Octavia's son Marcellus and her daughters by Anthony to name just a few.
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Format: DVD
Roger Young's attempt to follow in the BBC's earlier production of 'I, Claudius' but focusing on Rome's first emperor instead of its fourth. A noble attempt cut short by significant historical distortions, a poor script, bad editing, and shallow acting by most of the cast.

The film goes in reverse chronology as the older Augustus (Peter O'Toole) reminisces on his youth (where he is played by Benjamin Sadler) when he was a supporter of Caesar. It follows his friendship with Marcus Agrippa (Ken Duken) and his later rivalry with Marcus Antonius (Massimo Ghini.) The film also covers (poorly) the exile of his daughter Julia (Vittoria Belvedere) and Livia's (Charlotte Rampling) machinations to put her son Tiberius (Michele Bevilacqua) on the throne. The film has all the feel of a badly written T.V. miniseries that tries to round off its main characters to make them appealing to the norms and values of the contemporary audience. Augustus didn't exile Julia because she loved one man, he exiled her because she was fornicating with virtually every Roman nobleman. Julia's sons were killed at different times: one died of fever and the other drowned. Augustus never recalled Julia from banishment: she died in exile. Marcus Antonius never hid his dislike for either Octavian or Agrippa as both were commoners with no noble lineage. Marcus Antonius was treated as an enemy after Caesar's death and Cicero sought to join Octavian and the tyrannicides together against him. Also, Cicero was killed after Phillippi and not before as the movie shows and he wasn't ambushed: Cicero chose not to take the ship from Italy and stoically waited for Marcus Antonius' men to come and kill him.
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