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The Fall Of The Roman Empire (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) (The Miriam Collection)

3.7 out of 5 stars 229 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Anthony Mann directs this giant-size, three-hour, sweepingly pictorial entertainment (Daily Variety) that chronicles the peace-loving Caeser, Marcus Aurelius (Guinness) and his corrupt son, Commodus, (Plummer) who covets his throne. Featuring epic battles, breathtaking sets and locations, and a chariot race that easily rivals Ben Hur, Fall of the Roman Empire charts the greedy miscalculations that led to this civilization s collapse at the bloody hands of the Barbarians.

Additional Features

The two-disc deluxe edition of The Fall of the Roman Empire comes stuffed with extras for this somewhat forgotten sixties epic. A commentary track by producer Samuel Bronston's son Bill, with Bronston biographer Mel Martin, provides info over the course of the movie's 185-minute running time. A terrific 22-minute promo movie from 1964, narrated by co-star James Mason, offers some great behind-the-scenes footage, including costume tests and the amusing sight of Alec Guinness and Christopher Plummer dueling at chess. Another new half-hour "making of" doc fills in the rest of the story, with good detail on the vast scale of the production and the money woes Bronston juggled on the Spanish location as the budget skyrocketed; the usual experts are joined by director Anthony Mann's wife and composer Dimitri Tiomkin's daughter. Two 10-minute docs give historical background on the real Rome, and a comparison of fact vs. fiction in the movie. Another 20-minute short does an excellent job of parsing Tiomkin's ambitious score. The usual stills and trailers are also here. For the special three-disc Collector's Edition, you also get a package of postcard-sized stills and souvenir booklet, plus three short films made by Encyclopedia Britannica on the film's sets, an offbeat bonus for completists. (A title card notes that a deleted sequence from Fall was discovered too late to include in the set, but will be offered at a future date.) --Robert Horton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Sophia Loren, Alec Guinness, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Boyd, James Mason
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Genius Products (TVN)
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 179 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00125WAXM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,386 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Fall Of The Roman Empire (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) (The Miriam Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Benjamin J Burgraff VINE VOICE on February 23, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
1964's "The Fall of the Roman Empire" was the last of Samuel Bronston's 'epic trilogy', three remarkable films ("Empire", "El Cid", and "55 Days in Peking"), that stand alone in their sheer opulence and spectacle. Sadly, "Empire" would fail at the box office, forcing Bronston to shut down much of his Madrid studio, but he was justifiably proud of the film, nonetheless; it tackled a seemingly impossible subject (the collapse of Imperial Rome) on a grand scale, with intelligence and a surprising compassion. The time frame of the film (the era of Caesars Marcus Aurelius and Commodus) would, in fact, prove so richly dramatic that Ridley Scott would return to it in "Gladiator", which, in many ways copies "Empire" (and would win the 'Best Picture' Oscar, to boot!)

The back story of "Empire" is every bit as remarkable as "El Cid"; this had been a pet project of Bronston's for years, and with the backing of the Spanish government, and brilliant director Anthony Mann on board, he planned it as the follow-up to "El Cid", creating massive sets of both Rome and northern Europe, in Madrid, and locations throughout Spain.

Bronston felt a major male superstar would be needed for the production to 'work', and courted Charlton Heston, so memorable as "El Cid". But Heston felt the story paralleled much of "Ben Hur", and when he was informed that Sophia Loren (who he had not enjoyed working with, in "El Cid") would again be his leading lady, he turned the role down. Bronston, anxious to retain his services, then showed him the script of "55 Days in Peking" (which wouldn't involve Loren), and he expressed interest. Bronston, amazingly, tore down ALL the "Empire" sets, and built 'Peking', to accommodate Heston! "Empire" would be put on hold until "55 Days" was completed.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
At long last the epic FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE is becoming available in the aftermath of the release of EL CID. This was the movie that destroyed Samuel Bronston's studio. Much of the story would later be the basis of GLADIATOR. A terrific cast: Stephen Boyd as Livius, Sophia Loren (was there ever a more beautiful star?) as Lucilla, Christopher Plummer (in a wonderful over the top performance) as Comodus and Sir Alec Guinness as Marcus Arilias. To this add John Ireland, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quayle, James Mason and Mel Ferrer. Colossal sets and set piece battles with thousands of extras that today could only be done by CGI, this is an epic in every sense. A failure at the box office in it's time. The author, John Logan, of the GLADITOR screenplay says he was unaware of this movie when he was hired by Ridley Scott. Perhaps, the stories both use the same chapter in history and real persons. Both have Comodus die in hand to hand combat with the protagonist. Neither is true but never let a little thing like the truth ruin an entertaining film. This appears to be the old roadshow edition with intro and exit music. Films like this, so prevalent in the 1950's until the early 1960's are now a thing of the past. A pity, in their day they really were spectacles in the best sense. Highly enjoyable fare!
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Format: DVD
Martin Scorsese once said about THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE that it has the beauty of a lost art. True, Hollywood can never film a film of this grandiose scale (nowadays CGI would replace those hundred of extras, but CGI can never be as good as the real thing) that deals with profound themes, usually considered to be "commercially unnatractive". Still, if cinema is an art form (and the Oscar people pretentiously call themselves Academy of Motion Picture "ART" and Science), then they should sometime try to make a film like that, or at least honour them when they are made, instead of praizing such well-crafted nonsense like GLADIATOR. Hollywood has forgotten its rich history and heritage. What a shame.
THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE is an intense, powerful drama about corruption of power. Anthony Mann's meticulous, sharp-edged, and in this case extremely cold-blooded direction powerfully points out how the Roman Empire, at the height of its power and glory, started its degradation and eventually will fall apart. That might happen to any kind of powerful society --history has proven so-- , that when a society gets too much power, the power itself becomes the motivation for corruption and destruction. This film is not a shalow fascistic glorification of power that GLADIATOR is, but an inteligent, profound and ultimately tragic analysis of human behavior.
Not to say that it is not visually atractive. Mann was always a creator of powerful, eloquent imagery. Simply, he doesn't waiste pictorial beauty as Ridley Scott did in GLADIATOR (or even more in HANNIBAl, for that matters). He is one of those great masters who knows how to amplify a good story with powerful imagery, to show the story even more than telling it with dialogues.
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Format: VHS Tape
The screenwriter of "Gladiator" claims not to have seen "The Fall of the Roman Empire" before writing the Ridley Scott film. That's odd since both films are bookended exactly the same way. Both open with Emperor Marcus Aurelius deciding that his son Commodus should not be emperor (a decision that leads to his murder). Both end with the fight between Commodus and the army commander within the shields of the Pretorian Guards. As a matter of fact, neither of these events are historically accurate.
Marcus Aurelius (according the Edward Gibbon and other historians) dealt the Empire a long-term blow when he broke with tradition by choosing his only surviving son, Commodus, to be his successor, rather than following the tradition of chosing the best man for the job and officially adopting him. To the consternation of his legions, Aurelius never chose a military commander over his own son. When you decide to abandon actual history at the very beginning of your story, the rest falls apart.
Secondly, Commodus was murdered by his concubine (who drugged his wine) and a wrestler (who strangled him) in his palace. In fact, it took a few days for everyone in Rome to come to finally believe that he was actually dead. HE WAS NOT KILLED in a single-handed combat with the commander of the army (either Stephen Boyd or Russell Crowe).
Third, there is no historical evidence that a group of barbarians were burned alive in the Roman forum, as this 1964 film depects. The screenwriter seems to have simply lost his grip on any sort of reality and went totally "Hollywood.
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