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Caligula (Unrated Twentieth Anniversary Edition)

3.4 out of 5 stars 880 customer reviews

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(Nov 30, 1999)
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Caligula

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Editorial Reviews

Caligula may very well be the most controversial film in history. Only one movie dares to show the perversion behind Imperial Rome, and that movie is "Caligula," the epic story of Rome's mad emperor. All the details of his cruel, bizarre reign are revealed right here: his unholy sexual passion for his sister, his marriage to Rome's most infamous prostitute, his fiendishly inventive means of disposing of those who would oppose him, and more. The combined talents of cinematic giants Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud and Shakespearean actress Helen Mirren, along with an acclaimed international cast and a bevy of beautiful Penthouse Pets, make this unique historical drama a masterwork of the screen. Not for the squeamish, not for the prudish, "Caligula" will shock and arouse you as it reveals the deviance and decadence beneath the surface of the grandeur that once was Rome.

Special Features

  • Soundtrack remastered to Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, available only on the Complete, Unedited & Unrated edition

Product Details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole, Helen Mirren, Teresa Ann Savoy, Guido Mannari
  • Directors: Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui, Tinto Brass
  • Writers: Bob Guccione, Giancarlo Lui, Franco Rossellini, Gore Vidal
  • Producers: Bob Guccione
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 1999
  • Run Time: 156 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (880 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000214F0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,770 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Caligula (Unrated Twentieth Anniversary Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brett D. Cullum VINE VOICE on October 1, 2007
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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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