I, Claudius (35th Anniversary Edition)
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Rated one of the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time" by Time magazine, this epic BBC series spans the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus through Claudius, a stuttering scholar who learns early to play the fool and stay alive. Based on the novels by Robert Graves, it stars Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech, Cadfael) in a career-defining role. Siân Phillips (The Age of Innocence) is “exquisitely wicked” (Los Angeles Times) as the lethal Livia, wife to Augustus (Brian Blessed, Hamlet), while John Hurt (The Elephant Man) is "decadence personified" (USA Today) as the depraved Caligula, whose reign of terror paves the way for Claudius’s ascension.
Winner of an Emmy® and numerous other awards, this riveting tale of ambition, debauchery, and intrigue remains one of the most popular and acclaimed dramas in Masterpiece Theatre history. Patrick Stewart (X-Men), George Baker (The Ruth Rendell Mysteries), Margaret Tyzack (Cousin Bette), and James Faulkner (The Bank Job) also star.
Top Customer Reviews
100s of reviews inform you of the content: An insatiable quest for power among Roman Emperor generations makes the story compelling. It's full of dastardly evolution. The Claudian Dynasty BBC spectacle filled with incest, base perversion and murder perpetrated within the royal family but presented with the historical humor of the 1930s Robert Graves novels. Augusta thru Nero, a plague of Roman Emperors, is a story supposedly told through the buried family story written by Claudius, exposing truth and sinister acts within the outlandish and intrigue filled generations. The film version includes the Graves' toga-talking slang, made a TV epic through the masterful writing of Jack Pulman. Through Roman period sexual twists (nudity, violence, and content warnings are correct throughout) viewers find humor in bizarre conduct, and jocular dialogue.
Aligning with stellar writing was casting. Derek Jacobi shines as perfect here as he did as Cadfael. Augustus (Brian Blessed) & wife, Beautiful, evil Livia by Sian Phillips (Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy), & her son Tiberius (George Baker -Ruth Rendell Mysteries). Add Claudius' mom, Antonia by Margaret Tyzack (Cousin Bette, Forsyte Saga). Caligula by John Hurt, Sejanus by Patrick Stewart (Star Trek), Nero by Christopher Biggins (Poldark), Narcissus (John Cater -Duchess of Duke Street), Ian Ogilvy (Upstairs, Downstairs) are a few more recognized. There is more.Read more ›
I wish there was some way to have Amazon disallow comments from people who have no acquaintance with the product they write about, but such is the way of things - for now.
They do NOT refer to the new Acorn Media, reg.1, release on FIVE DISCS, due out on March 27, 2012.
Acorn includes the extended original episodes 1 and 2 and wonderful special features, e.g. THE EPIC THAT NEVER WAS, introduced by the superb British actor Dirk Bogarde plus other extras, such as the Derek Jacobi interview, an 8-page booklet, etc.
I, Claudius was a fascinating series, and its seems that Acorn Media is doing justice to it.
It was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Limited Series and Direction in a Drama Series for Herbert Wise; it won for Art Direction in a Drama Series. The series influenced modern filmmakers and has become a part of our own pop culture. David Chase modeled Tony Soprano's manipulative mother, Livia, after - guess who - Livia of "I, Claudius." And, like Tony, no one has a more miserable rise to power than Livia's son, Tiberius (George Baker). Ridley Scott references Claudius in "Gladiator," when Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) cruelly persuades his sister to betray Maximus (Russell Crowe).
Originally presented in the U.S. on Masterpiece Theatre in an edited format, this 35th Anniversary Edition from Acorn Media is a treat. The film is uncut, providing an extra 10 minutes for a 98-minute combination of episodes one and two. More scenes never broadcast in America are scattered throughout. The new material shows more violence and nudity amidst the story of four Caesars of the Julio-Claudian dynasty: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius, who was followed by Nero (We get to meet him near the end of the series).Read more ›
I needn't have worried. "I, Claudius" is still gripping entertainment, sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous and always interesting. Yes, it does come across more like a stage play than a movie, and if it were done now it probably would be closer to HBO's "Rome" series, with more sex and gore. But you don't need to see everything to know what's going on. The empress Livia is still manipulative and an "evil woman," to quote Claudius as he looks back on his life. Augustus, seen toward the latter part of his reign, is as crafty as ever, but still no match for his wife in that regard.
Claudius, seen as a fool by most of his family because of his physical disabilities, is smart enough to survive, and become emperor, by playing the fool and not being seen as competition to Caligula and others. Since the imperial family had a habit of doing away with those who threatened them, this was an important skill.
This version also has a disc with more than three hours of extra features, including the making of the series, an interview with star Derek Jacobi and favorite scenes of the cast and director.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent historical drama. We saw it way back when on TV, read the book, and are really enjoying watching it again with this DVD.Published 5 days ago by Fran Crater
Almost exactly as remembered, not a movie, more like a play with movable sets. Interesting take on ancient Rome.Published 2 months ago by me
I, Claudius was released in 1976. Derek Jacobi does a fine job as the Roman emperor. Telling the tale of all the people jockeying to be Claudius heir, the things that transpire... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Let's get this out of the way first: this show has cheesy, volunteer community theater production values, odd British humor, 60 year old actresses playing 20-year old characters,... Read morePublished 4 months ago by B. Edwards