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Michigan State University

Classical Studies: Feature Films


A collection of feature films available in the Digital and Multimedia Center.

Documentary films are available either by clicking on the appropriate tab at the top or by clicking here.  

Interested in combining classics and film Studies? 

Check out Ancient Rome at the cinema : story and spectacle in Hollywood and Rome / Elena Theodorakopoulos.  Exeter : Bristol Phoenix Press, 2010. 199pp. PN1995.9.R68 T446 2010 : Filmgoers have long embraced the storied performances, elaborate sets, and epic productions behind film recreations of ancient Rome. Using this fascination with the trappings of realism that fuels our love for historical films, Ancient Rome at the Cinema offers an engaging and lucid portrait of the worlds created in such Roman historical epics as Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Gladiator, and Fellini’s Satyricon. Covering both the commercial and the avant-garde, this volume demonstrates how cinematic versions of Ancient Rome have been able to captivate us, inscribing their versions of the city and its history onto our imagination. Though particular emphasis is placed on the tension between narrative and spectacle in these films, the author uses both film theory and criticism in order to examine the ways in which historical drama creates the past through storytelling and visual effects, culminating in an engaging historical analysis of the art form.

Check out Big Screen Rome / Monica Silveira Cyrino.  Malden, MA : Blackwell Pub., 2005.  274pp.  PN1995.9.R68 C87 2005 : Covers Quo vadis (1951) -- The robe (1953) -- Ben Hur (1959) -- Spartacus (1960) -- Cleopatra (1963) -- A funny thing happened on the way to the forum (1966) -- Monty Python's life of Brian (1979) -- History of the world, part I: the Roman Empire sequence (1981) -- Gladiator (2000).

Available via Netflix Streaming Video

Twelve episodes of Spartacus : Blood and Sand (2010), the Starz production, is available from Netflix streaming video before season 1 is even over!

Spartacus (Andy Whitfield) is betrayed by a Roman general and sold into slavery to Lentulus Batiatus (John Hannah) to train at his ludus gladiatorius in Capua, Italy. Ultimately, Spartacus must fight for his freedom and his wife's (Erin Cummings). Lucy Lawless co-stars as Lucretia, Batiatus's wife, in this bloody, twist-filled Starz television series in which corruption, treachery and action reign while one man's journey unfolds.

The original Spartacus (1960) by Stanley Kubrick is also available via Netflix streaming video.

Stanley Kubrick directed this epic saga based on ancient events, chronicling the birth of a vagabond slave-army led by an ex-gladiator named Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) that threatens the sovereignty of all-mighty Rome. This film has everything, including a wonderfully funny (and Oscar-winning) performance from Peter Ustinov as the cowardly owner of a gladiator school. Laurence Olivier, Charles Laughton, Jean Simmons and Tony Curtis co-star.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 1 (1994)

A tremendous hit when it aired on television, this cable series stars Kevin Sorbo as the legendary strongman and son of Zeus. Given to tempestuous fits of anger, Hercules decides to control his rage once and for all by using his supernatural abilities for the good of man. Along with his loyal companion Iolaus (Michael Hurst), Hercules roams the Earth battling mythological monsters and helping humankind in the process.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 2 (1995) : 6 discs / 24 episodes

Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), born of a beautiful woman and fathered by Zeus, the king of the gods himself, possesses a superhuman strength surpassed only by his unceasing desire to do good deeds and fight evil wherever it rears its ugly head. Accompanied by his devoted companion Iolaus (Michael Hurst), Hercules embarks on a second season of epic adventures that will take him to the boundaries of the ancient world.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 3 (1996) : 8 discs / 22 episodes

Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) possesses a superhuman strength that is surpassed only by his desire to do good deeds and fight evil at any cost, wherever it may appear. Born of a beautiful woman and fathered by Zeus, the king of the gods himself, Hercules is accompanied in his travels by his devoted companion Iolaus (Michael Hurst) as he faces a third season of epic adventures, taking him to the boundaries of the ancient world.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 4 (1997) : 8 discs / 23 episodes

Kevin Sorbo stars as the titular hero in this intriguing series that brings to life the mythical Hercules. This season delves deeper into the life of the Greek gods -- including those just introduced this year, such as Discord and Hope -- and mines the drama of Elcemeny's death and Heracles's rise to power. In the meantime, Hercules continues to wander around the countryside with Iolaus (Michael Hurst) in search of justice for all.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 5 (1998) : 8 discs/ 22 episodes

In the fifth season of this show's syndicated run (during which it ranked No. 1 most of the time), the hero of Greek mythology, Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), continues his legendary odyssey with his loyal traveling companion, Iolaus (Michael Hurst). Great tongue-in-cheek writing combines with winning performances from Sorbo, Hurst and a slew of guest stars (Bruce Campbell, Karl Urban and Ryan Gosling) for a fun, wry time.

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Season 6 (1999) : 4 discs / 10 episodes

More perilous adventures await the mighty warrior Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) in the exciting final season of the popular fantasy series. Hercules and his faithful friend Iolaus (Michael Hurst) battle bloodthirsty vampires, investigate a mysterious robbery at the First Bank of Greece and save Egypt's Queen Nefertiti from assassins in Season 6. Extras include a special effects featurette, a behind-the-scenes look at the final episode and much more.

Clash of the Titans (1981)

This epic mythological adventure stars Harry Hamlin as Perseus, son of Zeus (Laurence Olivier), who embarks on a series of perilous quests in the hopes of rescuing Princess Andromeda (Judi Bowker) and winning the keys to the kingdom of Joppa. With winged horse Pegasus as his steed, Perseus must answer vexing riddles, capture the head of Medusa and slay a ravenous sea monster. Burgess Meredith and Ursula Andress co-star in this classic tale.

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Ray Harryhausen, the grand pooh-bah of stop-motion animation, presents Jason and the Argonauts, which follows Jason's epic quest for the Golden Fleece. Harryhausen phantasms abound, including a multiheaded hydra, a gigantic living statue and a justifiably famous army of sword-swinging skeletons. Packed with old-fashioned matinee thrills, and includes an interview with Harryhausen, conducted by director John Landis.

Selected Feature Films, A-B

All Classical Studies feature films are located in the Digital and Multimedia Center unless otherwise indicated.

300  / a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation in association with Legendary Pictures and Virtual Studios, a Mark Canton/Gianni Nunnari production, a Zack Snyder film ; produced by Gianni Nunnari ; produced by Mark Canton ; produced by Bernie Goldmann, Jeffrey Silver ; screenplay by Zack Snyder & Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon ; directed by Zack Snyder.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, c2007.  1 Blu-Ray DVD videodisc (116 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  DF225.5 .T4744 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : In the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian army in the mountain pass of Thermopylae. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the enemy in one of the most famous last stands of history. Persian King Xerxes lead an Army of well over 100,000 men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and other Slave soldiers. Xerxes waited many days for King Leonidas to surrender or withdraw. When the Greeks did not leave, Xerxes was left with no option and he moved forward. The battle lasted for about 3 days and after which all 300 Spartans were killed. The Spartan defeat would not have happened if not for a local shepherd, named Ephialtes, who defected to the Persians and informed Xerxes of a separate path through Thermopylae, which the Persians could use to outflank the Greeks.  Cast : Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro, Peter Mensah, Stephen McHattie.  Movie trailer. For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database.

300 : Rise of an Empire  / Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures present Cruel and Unusual Films; screenplay by Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad; produced by Gianni Nunnair ... and others; directed by Noam Murro.  2 DVDs (103 minutes) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in  PN1995.9.H5 A34 2014 VideoDVD  discs 1-2 : This new chapter of the epic 300 saga takes the action to the sea, where Greek general Themistokles battles invading Persian forces led by Xerxes and his naval commander Artemisia.  Trailer.

Agora (2009) / Newmarket Films ; Mod Producciones ; Himenóptero ; Telecinco Cinema present ; produced by Fernando Bovaira, Álvaro Augustin ; written by Alejando Amenábar, Mateo Gil ; directed by Alejandro Amenábar.  Santa Monica, Calif. : Lions Gate Films, [2010]   1 DVD videodisc (ca. 126 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .A36 2010 VideoDVD : Alternating between cosmic splendor and human squalor, Agora is a movie of unusual ambition. In the last days of the Roman Empire, the Egyptian city of Alexandria is torn between the aristocratic pagan society and the emerging, rough-and-tumble Christians. As this broad cultural conflict teeters violently back and forth, the scientist-philosopher Hypatia  struggles to resolve the motion of the planets with her belief in celestial perfection. Tangled in her life are three men: a Roman prefect, a Christian bishop, and a slave  who turns to Christianity to escape his unrequited love for Hypatia. Some viewers will be uncomfortable with Agora's depiction of early Christianity and others will quibble about the movie's historical accuracy, but the movie's themes--of faith vs. zealotry, of religion vs. the spirituality of science--and its vivid depiction of one culture being brutally supplanted by another demonstrate a scope seldom found in contemporary film.  Don't overlook the deleted scenes--the gorgeous original opening shot accentuates the twin pulls of science and spirituality.  Movie trailer.  For more informtion, visit the Internet Movie Database.

Alexander  / Warner Bros. Pictures and Intermedia Films present ; a Moritz Borman production ; in association with IMF ; produced by Thomas Schühly ... [et al.] ; written by Oliver Stone and Christopher Kyle and Laeta Kalogridis ; directed by Oliver Stone.  Burbank, CA : Warner Home Video, 2005, c2004.  1 DVD videodisc (167 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  DF234 .A44 2005 VideoDVD : The story of Alexander the Great, who in 4th century BC conquered ninety percent of the known world of the time by defeating Greece, Persia, Afghanistan, and India in just eight years. Cast : Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins.

Alexander the Great  / Rossen Films ; written, produced and directed by Robert Rossen.  New York : MGM/UA Home Video, c2004.  1 DVD videodisc (136 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 A44 2004 VideoDVD   (Also available as part of the ROVI Film Collection) : The story of Alexander the Great, Greek hero and world-conqueror.  Cast : Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Harry Andrews, Stanley Baker, Niall MacGinnis, Peter Cushing, Michael Hordern, Barry Jones, Marisa De Leza, Danielle Darrieux.

Alexander the Great / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 1956.  141 minutes.  color.   1 streaming video  via Swank.  : A chronicle of the life of the Macedonian who set out to conquer the world in the 4th century B.C., eventually leading Greek tribes to victory over the Persian empire while still in his twenties, claiming lands for Greece from the Balkans to India.

Antigone  / BBC-TV co-production in association with Bioscope ; producer, Louis Marks ; director, Don Taylor.  Princeton, NJ : Films for the Humanities, 1987. 1 VHS videocassette (120 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PA4414.A2 T38 1987 Videocassette : Antigone defies Creon's decree to bury her slain brother according to religious rituals as Creon tries to impose his will on Antigone.

Antigone  / Sophocles ; a new translation by Don Taylor ; producer, Louis Marks ; directed by Don Taylor ; a BBC TV co-production in association with Bioscope Inc.  Princeton, NJ : Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c2004.   1VHS  videocassette (111 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PA4414.A2 T38 2004 Videocassette  : The third of the three plays of the Oedipus saga, Antigone is perhaps the most easily accessible of all the great classical tragedies, its theme clear and up-to-date: the conflict between moral and political law. Now the tale of Oedipus and his family comes to its end--he, his wife Jocasta, and his sons all dead; at the last, his daughter-who stood by her father-is also destroyed.

Antigone / a BBC TV co-production in association with Bioscope Inc. ; producer, Louis Marks ; directed by Don Taylor.  Princeton, NJ : Films for the Humanities & Sciences, [c2004]  1 streaming video (111 min.) via Theatre in Video : Presents the third of the three Theban plays by Sophocles in a new translation by Don Taylor that remains true to the text, setting the plays in the past yet not the distant past and dispensing with the masks. This final segment of the trilogy centers around the conflict between moral and political law, as the tale of Oedipus and his family comes to a tragic end.

Attila  / Alphaville and Michael R. Joyce Productions present.  Universal City, CA : Universal, 2002.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 177 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.   D141 .A775 2003 VideoDVD : Attila the Hun, fabled leader of a band of nomadic warriors who fearlessly took on the might of the Roman Empire, has his life story brought to the screen in this two-part miniseries. Attila (Gerard Butler) raised an army from the people of Caspia, and in time created a fighting force so strong that they received an annual tribute from the leaders of Rome as an inducement not to attack. Not all Romans were happy with this situation, and in time it was decided that General Aetius (Powers Boothe), a brave yet unscrupulous leader who attempted to usurp the rule of Empress Placidia (Alice Krige), was the only man who could confront Attila on his own terms. Aetius recognized Attila's skills as a leader, and decided the best way to prevent him from invading Rome was to lead him into an alliance, as Rome and the Huns joined forces against a third nation. But despite their mutual respect, it soon became apparent that only one man could be the undisputed leader in a meeting between Rome and the Huns. Attila also features Tim Curry as Theodosius, Simmone Jade MacKinnon as N'Kara, and Reg Rogers as Valentinian. Attila was first aired on the USA Cable Network on January 30 and 31, 2001.

Augustus  / LUX VIDE s.p.A-Ran-EOS Entertainment, directed by Roger Young.  [United States] : Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, [2005]  1 DVD videodisc (178 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  DG279 .A848 2005 VideoDVD : Caesar has been assassinated. As the Roman Empire struggles to regain itself, a young Emperor steps forward, prepared to claim the abandoned throne. This is an epic tale of political intrigue, heroism, villany and of Augustus' love for one woman.  Cast : Peter O'Toole, Charlotte Rampling, Vittoria Belvedere, Benjamin Sadler, Ken Duken, Russell Bar, Alexander Strobele, Martina Sheia.

Ben-Hur  / presented by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; director, William Wyler ; producer, Sam Zimbalist ; screenplay, Karl Tunberg.  Burbank, CA : Turner Entertainment Co. and Warner Home Video, c2001.  1 DVD videodisc (212 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PS3134 .B4 2001 VideoDVD  : Jewish nobleman Judah Ben-Hur opposes the Roman tyranny in the times of Christ, and through his opposition brings tragedy to himself and his family. Follows his descent to slavery, back into the ruling class through finding favor with the master of a ship on which he was a slave. Culminates with the famous chariot race and the death of Christ.  Also available on 12 inch videodisc and vhs.

Selected Feature Films, C-K

Caesar / TNT presents a DeAngelis Group and Five Mile River Films production ; a film by Uli Edel ; producers, Giuseppe Pedersoli, Jonas Bauer ; written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner ; directed by Uli Edel. New York, NY : Distributed by GoodTimes Entertainment, [2004]. 1 DVD videodisc (ca. 178 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PR2808.A23 E34 2004 VideoDVD : Traces Caesar's rise to prominence as a brilliant military tactician. Includes his complex relationships with his mentor General Pompey and his second wife Calpurnia. His ideological tiltings with Senator Cato, who advocates democracy over Caesar's dictatorial ambitions. Explains Caesar's violent epileptic seizures, his megalomania, his casually calculated cruelties, and his bigamous relationship with Egyptian queen Cleopatra. His nephew, Brutus, finally kills Caesar at March 15, 44. B.C. (the Ides of March) at the age of 55, starting an era of civil wars. Cast : Jeremy Sisto, Richard Harris, Christopher Walken, Christopher Noth, Valeria Golino, Heino Ferch, Tobias Moretti.  Note : cover title Julius Caesar : His Time Has Come.

Caligula : The Untold Story  / Hurricane Pictures Home Video[S.l.] : Edde Entertainment, c1993.  1 VHS videocassette (91 min.) : Sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  Special Collections Popular Culture Collection DG283 .C35 1993 Videocassette : Portrays the decadence that marked the reign of the Roman emperor Caligula.

Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934) ] / Adolph Zuker presents Paramount Productions, Inc. ; screenplay by Waldemar Young and Vincent Lawrence ; directed by Cecil B. DeMille.  Universal City, Calif. : Universal Studios Home Entertainment, [2009]  1 DVD videodisc (112 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 C552 2009 VideoDVD : Egypt, 48 B.C. Cleopatra is facing palace revolt in her kingdom. She decides to embrace the arrival of Julius Caesar as a way of solidifying her power under Roman rule. When Caesar is led astray by Cleopatra and is killed, she transfers her affections to Marc Antony. She does all that she can to dazzle Marc on a barge fit for a king. But her trick may not work this time around. A web of royal deception and betrayal.  75th anniversary edition.

Centurion / Pathé Productions presents ; in association with the UK Film Council in association with Warner Bros. Pictures ; a film by Neil Marshall ; produced by Christian Colson, Robert Jones ; written & directed by Neil Marshall.  Los Angeles : Magnolia Home Entertainment, [2010]  1 DVD videodisc (98 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997.2 .C4688 2010 VideoDVD : AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in the face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts. Quintus Dias, sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon. But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by the revenge hungry Pict Warrior Etain, the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier.  Centurion trailer.   See another trailer.  Available as streaming video from Netflix.

Clash of the Titans  / Metro Goldwyn Mayer ; Titan Productions.  [Culver City, Calif.] : MGM/UA Home Video ; Turner Entertainment Co., 1993.  2 videodiscs (118 min.) : sd., col. ; 12 in.  PN1995.9.F36 C55 1993 Video (12 inch) disc (Also available on VHS) : Perseus, mortal son of Zeus, faces the monsters of Greek mythology as he battles to save Andromeda from a primeval sea beast.  Cast : Harry Hamlin, Burgess Meredith, Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Claire Bloom, Siân Phillips, Flora Robson, Judi Bowker, Laurence Olivier.

Clash of the Titans  (Blu-ray) / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents a Charles H. Schneer production ; produced by Charles H. Schneer and Ray Harryhausen ; directed by Desmond Davis.  Burbank, CA : Turner Entertainment Co. : Warner Bros. Entertainment : Distributed by Warner Home Video, 2010.  1 Blu-ray videodisc (106 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.F36 C55 2010 Blu-ray VideoDVD :   Remake of 1981 classic. If he is to save the life of the beautiful Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), the valiant Perseus (Sam Worthington) -- born to a god but raised as a man -- must lead a team of intrepid warriors on a quest to battle a host of powerful, beastly enemies. This sweeping fantasy epic, a remake of the 1981 hit, also stars Liam Neeson as Zeus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades, Danny Huston as Poseidon and Gemma Arterton as Io.

Cleopatra  / Twentieth Century-Fox ProductionsFarmington Hills, Mich. : CBS/Fox Video, 1984.  2 VHS videocassettes (VHS) (246 min.) : sd, col. ; 1/2 in. PN1995.9.H5 C55 1984 Videocassette : This 1963 extravaganza, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is certainly an epic historical drama with all the elements: elaborate sets, intricate costuming, name actors, a factual basis, and an overlong script (just over four hours). But the acting is well performed and the backdrops are lush, making this a film worth seeing. Elizabeth Taylor is Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen who seduces Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) in a political move to hold onto her empire. When Caesar is killed in the Roman Senate, Cleopatra looks to Marc Antony (Richard Burton) for his support, practically enslaving him with her wiles. Taylor is dramatic in her role, at times overly serious, but stunning nonetheless as the woman described as "well versed in the natural sciences and mathematics. She speaks seven languages proficiently. Were she not a woman one would consider her to be an intellectual." While the film does seem to drag at moments, it deserves the four Oscars it won for cinematography, art direction-set direction, costumes, and special effects. Don't confuse this Cleopatra with the 1934 version directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette Colbert.

Cleopatra  / Twentieth Century Fox ; producer, Walter Wanger ; screenplay, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall, Sidney Buchman ; director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Inc., p2005, c1963.  2 DVD videodiscs (ca. 248 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 C55 2005 VideoDVD  discs 1-2 : Cleopatra tries to increase her power with help from the Roman Empire. Both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony fall for her. After Caesar's death Cleopatra seduces Mark Antony, but the couple soon face certain doom.  Cast : Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Pamela Brown, George Cole.

Constantine and the Cross (1962 feature film)   119 minutes.  Available as streaming video from YouTube.  An historical drama which fuses onto a factual skeleton a depth of story not found in the records but is not necessarily implausible either. This is how historical novels are written. It depicts the Emperor Constantine of the Late Roman Empire, his astronomical, almost supernatural rise to power, and his adoption of religious tolerance among Roman subjects. The Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity transformed this formerly small persecuted religion into a formidable superpower that soon sweep throughout Europe as Rome crumbled at the hands of the Barbarians, and later left such an imprint on the world that it was changed forever.

The Eagle (Blu-ray)] / Focus Features presents, in association with Film4, a Duncan Kenworthy production.  Universal City, Calif. : Universal, 2011.  1 blu-ray videodisc (114 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 E24 2011 Blu-ray VideoDVD :  In Britain, this time in AD140, but with the Ninth Legion again as a young soldier attempts to find its lost emblem. Haunted by the disappearance of his father, who vanished with the Roman Ninth Legion on an expedition into the north of Britain, centurion Marcus Aquila (Channing Tatum) sets out to unravel the mystery and recover the legion's eagle standard. But in the wilds of Caledonia, the soldier and his British slave (Jamie Bell) encounter fierce native tribes and other dangers. Kevin MacDonald directs this adaptation of Rosemary Sutcliff's novel.  September release.  Wikipedia entryPhotos from the film.  Release Date : February 11, 2011.

The Fall of the Roman Empire  / Samuel Bronston presents ; screenplay by Ben Barzman, Basilio Franchina, Philip Yordan ; produced by Samuel Bronston ; directed by Anthony Mann.  New York, NY] : Weinstein Company ; Santa Monica : Distributed by Genius Products, [2008]  2 DVD videodiscs (ca. 185 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.E79 F355 2008 VideoDVD  discs 1-2 : Marcus Aurelius Antonius, the philosopher-emperor of Rome, summons his empire's governors and princes to his German war headquarters for a Pax Romanus. He confides to his daughter, Lucilla, that his adopted son, Livius, will succeed him instead of his more unstable heir, Commodus. Overhearing this, Cleander, a blind prophet loyal to Commodus, presents Marcus with a poisoned apple. After the funeral, Livius, who does not share Lucilla's ambition for himself or Rome, allows Commodus to proclaim himself emperor. While pestilence ravages Rome, Commodus continues his vain, licentious behavior. He ultimately neglects to deal with all symptoms of unrest and banishs anyone reminding him of his responsibilities.  Cast : Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, John Ireland, Mel Ferrer, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quayle.

Fellini Satyricon  / Pea Produzioni Europee Associate, S.A.S.  Culver City, CA : MGM/UA Home Video, c1988.  1 VHS videocassette (130 min.)  PA6558.E5 W32 1988 Videocassette : Fellini recreates the bawdy and lecherous days of Nero's reign in ancient Rome, a universe unconcerned with human dignity and obsessed with perverse sex.

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum  / United Artists ; screenplay by Melvin Frank, Michael Pertwee ; produced by Melvin Frank ; directed by Richard Lester.   Culver City, CA : MGM Home Entertainment Inc., c2000.  1 DVD videodisc (97 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.C55 F866 2000 VideoDVD : Tragedy tomorrow, "comedy tonight" in Steven Sondheim's musical farce set in ancient Rome and starring the inimitiable Zero Mostel, reprising his Tony Award-winning role as the slave who wheels and deals to secure his freedom.

Gladiator  / DreamWorks Pictures and Universal Pictures ; directed by Ridley Scott ; writer, David Franzoni ; screenplay by David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson ; story by David Franzoni ; produced by Douglas Wick ; produced by David Franzoni, Branko Lustig.  Universal City, CA : DreamWorks Home Entertainment, c2000.  1 VHS videocassette (2 hr., 35 min.)   PN1995.9.E79 G53 2000 Videocassette : A Roman general refuses to transfer his loyalty to the new emperor, Commodus, and suffers the consequences, winding up as a gladiator in the Roman Colosseum. Cast : Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris.

Hercules  / Walt Disney Pictures ; screenplay by Ron Clements & Jon Musker, Bob Shaw & Donald McEnery and Irene Mecchi ; produced by Alice Dewey and John Musker & Ron Clements ; directed by John Musker and Ron Clements.   [Burbank, Calif.] : Walt Disney Home Video : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, [1999?]   1 DVD videodisc (93 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  Special Collections Comic Art  PN1997.5.H45 H47 1999 VideoDVD (Library use only)  : Animated, musical adaptation of the story of Hercules.

Hercules, the legendary journeys. Hercules in the underworld  / a Renaissance Pictures production ; produced by Eric Gruendemann ; created by Christian Williams ; written by Andrew Dettmann & Daniel Truly ; directed by Bill L. Norton.  Universal City, Calif. : Anderson Video, 1994.  1 VHS videocassette (ca. 87 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.  PN1992.77 .H43 1994 Videocassette :  Jole, a beautiful young virgin, begs Hercules to save her village where the earth has split open to reveal the mouth of hell

I, Claudius  / a BBC Television production in association with London Film Productions Limited ; produced by Martin Lisemore ; written by Jack Pulman ; directed by Herbert Wise.  Chatsworth, CA : Image Entertainment, [2008].  4 DVD videodiscs (669 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PR6013.R35 I2 2008 VideoDVD : Tracing the lives of several early Roman emperors, showing the ruthless ambition, shocking debauchery and murderous intrigue. Bearing witness to the saga is Claudius, whose stutter and limp have marked him a fool, yet whom prophecies have foretold will one day rule Rome.  Cast : Derek Jacobi, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed, Margaret Tyzack, John Hurt, George Baker, Patrick Stewart, Stratford Johns, Sheila White.

Jason and the Argonauts/The Odyssey / Armand Assante, Greta Scacchi, Isabella Rossellini, Bernadette Peters, Eric Roberts, Andrey Konchalovskiy, Chris Thompson, Chris Solimine, Homer, Mark Skeet, Matthew Faulk.  [United States] : Live : Artisan, 2001.  2 videodiscs (6 hr., 22 min.) : sound ; 4 3/4 in.  Rovi Movie Collection  :   Jason, son of the murdered King of Thessaly, is diverted from claiming his throne, in a search for the Golden Fleece, which can bring peace to his kingdom.

Julius Caesar / an Avon production ; produced & directed by David Bradley.  [Tulsa, Okla.] : Distributed by VCI Entertainment, [2006].  .1 videodisc (93 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in.  ROVI Movie  Collection : Shakespeare's classic tale of Julius Caesar's assassination at the hands of the Roman senate.  Originally produced as a movie in 1950.

King Arthur  : Director's Cut / Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films present an Antoine Fuqua film ; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer ; written by David Franzoni ; directed by Antoine Fuqua.  Burbank, Calif. : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2004.  1 Blu-Ray DVD videodisc (ca. 139 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.A75 K58 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : An alternative version of the Arthur tale featuring Artorius and his band as Sarmatian knights posted to guard Hadrian's Wall in Britannia.

The King of Kings  / directed by Cecil B. DeMille. [United States] : Home Vision Entertainment, [2004]  2 DVD videodiscs (267 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.J4 K56 2004 VideoDVD : The King of Kings is the Greatest Story Ever Told as only Cecil B. DeMille could tell it. In 1927, working with the biggest budget in the history of Hollywood, DeMille spun the life and Passion of Christ into one of the highest-grossing films of all time.

Select Feature Films, L-Z

Last Legion    Weinstein Company, 2007.  PN1997.2 .L37 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Swordfights, battles, and betrayal fuel The Last Legion, which tells the story of the last emperor of Rome: a slight 12-year-old boy who is a descendent of Julius Caesar. Protected by commander Aurelius (Colin Firth) and guided to an extent by the wizard Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), Romulus (Thomas Sangster) is an unlikely leader. Too inexperienced to rule wisely, he also shows little of the fortitude and courage needed to be a great warrior. After Romulus finds Caesar's sword--the legendary excaliburnus--he begins a search for the fabled last legion that will help him save Rome.

Life of Brian (1979)  / Handmade Films presents ; produced by John Goldstone ; directed by Terry Jones ; written by ... Graham Chapman ... [et al.] ; Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd. [Irvington, N.Y.] : Criterion Collection, c1999.  1 DVD videodisc (94 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PN1995.9.C55 L55 1999 VideoDVD  : The Pythons satirize religion, capital punishment, revolutionary politics, terrorism, graffiti, science fiction, and a host of other topics through the story of Brian, a first-century Judean.  Cast : Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Gwen Taylor, Sue Jones-Davis, Spike Milligan.

Masada : the complete epic miniseries / NBC Universal, Inc. ; produced in association with Arnon Milchan Film Productions, Ltd. ; produced by George Eckstein ; written for television by Joel Oliansky ; directed by Boris Sagal.  Port Washington, NY : Distributed by Koch Entertainment, [2007]  2 videodiscs (383 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 M373 2007 VideoDVD  discs 1-2  Also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection. : In the first century A.D., Flavius Silva, commander of the Roman Tenth Legion in Palestine, leads his forces in combat against the remaining Jewish Zealots who have taken refuge in the seemingly impregnable fortress of Masada. There, the engineering and military might of Rome faces the passion and ingenuity of Eleazer ben Yair and his people.

Medea  / by Robinson Jeffers after Euripides ; Kennedy Center production ; directed by Robert Whitehead.  Princeton, N.J. : Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c1983.  1 VHS videocassette (87 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PA3975.M4 J4 1983 Videocassette : Euripides' classic tragedy about a proud woman betrayed by the man she loves.

The Odyssey (1997)  / presented by Hallmark Entertainment in association with American Zoetrope ; produced by Dyson Lovell ; teleplay by Andrei Konchalovsky & Chris Solimine ; directed by Andrei Konchalovsky.  Santa Monica, CA : Hallmark Home Entertainment : Distributed by Artisan Home Entertainment, 2001.  1 DVD videodisc (ca. 203 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. PA4025.A5 O3 2001 VideoDVD :  Aided by the goddess Athena, warrior-king Odysseus braves the terrors and temptations of a fantastic array of creatures as his return from the Trojan War becomes a decade-long quest to reach his homeland and his faithful wife, Penelope.

Oedipus at Colonus  / a new translation by Don Taylor ; a BBC co-production in association with Bioscope Inc. ; directed by Don Taylor.  Princeton, NJ : Films for the Humanities & Sciences, c1999.  2 VHS videocassettes (132 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PN1997 .O423 1999 Videocassette : This play recounts the blind, exiled Oedipus' final days. The primary action involves a fight over where Oedipus is to die (as that place is to become hallowed ground). Familial interactions also play a key role in the drama.

The Oresteia  : adapted from Aeschylus / by William Whallon ; director, Bill Vincent.  Canada : bv productions, c2001.  1 VHS videoecassette (74 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PA3827.A7 W47 2001 Videocassette 

Quo Vadis / M-G-M presents a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer picture ; produced by Sam Zimbalist ; screenplay by John Lee Mahin and S.N. Behrman, Sonya Levien ; directed by Mervyn LeRoy.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, [2008]  2 videodiscs (174 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1995.9.H5 Q76 2008 VideoDVD  discs 1-2  (Also available as part of the ROVI Movie Collection : The story of a renowned and successful Roman general who falls in love with a lowly Christian woman, risking everything for her, during the corrupt and decadent reign of Nero.

The Rise of Greek Tragedy  : Sophocles: Oedipus the King / a Polivideo production ; produced and directed by Harold Mantell ; scenario, Daniel Seltzer.  Princeton, N.J. : Films for the Humanities, [1998]  1 VHS videocassette (45 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in. PA4413.O7 R5 1998 Videocassette : A presentation of Sophocles' Oedipus the King, performed in the authentic setting of a fifth-century Greek theater, with the use of masks made after ancient models. Shows how this drama developed from primeval sacrificial ceremonies to Dionysius.  Voices, James Mason (Oedipus), Claire Bloom (Jocasta), Ian Richardson (Dionysus, the narrator); performers, Athens Classical Theatre Company.

Rome. 1st Season  / co-producers, Robert Papazian ... [et al.] ; produced by Marco Valerio Pugini ; in association with the BBC, a presentation of Home Box Office.  [New York] : HBO Video, [2006]  6 DVD videodiscs (ca. 720 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 character guide ([8] p. : col. ill., col. ports. ; 17 cm.)  PN1992.77 .R664 2006 VideoDVD  1-6 : Four hundred years after the founding of the Republic, Rome is the wealthiest city in the world, a cosmopolitan metropolis of one million people, epicenter of a sprawling empire. The Republic was founded on principles of shared power and fierce personal competition, never allowing one man to seize absolute control. But now, those foundations are crumbling, eaten away by corruption and excess. After eight years of war, soldiers Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo unwittingly become entwined in the historical events of ancient Rome.  Cast : Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker, Kenneth Cranham, James Purefoy, Ciarán Hinds, Lindsay Duncan, Tobias Menzies, Kerry Condon, Karl Johnson, Indira Varma, David Bamber.

Rome. Season 2  / HBO Entertainment in association with the BBC present ; created by John Milius and William J. MacDonald and Bruno Heller.  [New York] : HBO Home Video, [2007]  5 DVD videodiscs (ca. 600 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1992.77 .R66412 2007 VideoDVD : In the year 44 B.C., Julius Caesar has been assassinated and civil war threatens to destroy the Republic. In the void left by Caesar's demise, egos clash and numerous players jockey for position. The brutally ambitious Mark Antony attempts to solidify his power, aligning himself with Atia, but coming to blows with her cunning son Octavian, who has been anointed in Caesar's will as his only son and heir. Meanwhile, Titus Pullo attempts to pull his friend Lucius Vorenus out of the darkness that has engulfed his soul in the wake of personal tragedy.  Cast : Polly Walker, Ray Stevenson, James Purefoy, Lindsay Duncan, Kevin Mckidd, Ray Stevenson, Kerry Condon, Simon Woods, Lyndsey Marshal, Tobias Menzies.

Spartacus  / Universal International ; Bryna Productions, Inc. presents ; screenplay by Dalton Trumbo ; produced by Edward Lewis ; directed by Stanley Kubrick.  [Irvington, NY?] : Criterion Collection, [2001]  2 DVD videodiscs (196 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1997 .S68 2001 VideoDVD  1-2  : Spartacus is the bold gladiator slave who leads a massive slave revolt against Imperial Rome in this epic true account of man's eternal struggle for freedom.  Cast : Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, John Gavin, Tony Curtis.  Other versions also available on vhs and 12-inch disk.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand - The Complete First Season (2010) / produced by Chloe Smith ; created by Steven DeKnight.  Beverly Hills, Calif. : Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, c2010.  4 DVD videodiscs (692 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1992.7 .S637 2010 VideoDVD  1-4 : Betrayed by the Romans. Forced into slavery. Reborn as a Gladiator. The classic tale of the Republic’s most infamous rebel comes alive in the graphic and visceral new series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Torn from his homeland and the woman he loves, Spartacus is condemned to the brutal world of the arena where blood and death are primetime entertainment. But not all battles are fought upon the sands. Treachery, corruption, and the allure of sensual pleasures will constantly test Spartacus. To survive, he must become more than a man. More than a gladiator. He must become a legend.

Spartacus, Gods of the Arena  (Blu-ray) : the complete collection / Starz Media ; produced by Chloe Smith ; directed by Rick Jacobson ; created by Steven S. DeKnight.   Beverly Hills, CA : Anchor Bay Entertainment, [2011], c2010.  2 vBlu-ray ideodiscs (347 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN1992.77 .S636 2011 Blu-ray VideoDVD  discs 1-2 : The title is misleading--there is no Spartacus to be found here--but little matter, as Gods of the Arena is a prime example of making lemonade from lemons. Faced with the unavailability of Andy Whitfield, star of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, due to a recurrence of cancer, the folks at Starz chose to go ahead without him and create a prequel, a resourceful way of buying some time until a new Spartacus could be found while employing several actors already under contract. The focus throughout these six episodes is on the house of Batiatus. It is there that gladiators hone their skills as they prepare for glory and/or death in the arena under the evil eye of Quintus Batiatus (John Hannah), whom Blood and Sand viewers will recognize as the principal villain of that series. The younger Batiatus, already blindly ambitious, wants to make his mark in the gladiator biz, aided by his sexy, scheming wife, Lucretia (Lucy Lawless), and her licentious friend Gaia (Jaime Murray)--and they have just the warrior to do it with in Gannicus (Dustin Clare), a preening stud described by one show exec as "Han Solo meets Achilles." There are, of course, numerous obstacles, ranging from Batiatus's own father to various rival gladiatorial operations. But really, who cares about plotting when a show has as much sex and violence, usually directly juxtaposed, as this one? True to the Blood and Sand precedent, every episode offers a steady parade of gratuitous, risibly over-the-top beheadings and other mayhem, much of it lovingly shot in slow motion, along with ample nudity (some of it full-frontal) and sex (all of it soft-core). With drugs, torture, and constant profanity also in the mix (who knew the ancient Romans dropped so many F-bombs?), this is definitely not a program for the young and impressionable. Nor is it one that's big on nuance; almost without exception, Batiatus and his ilk are depicted as frivolous, depraved, and conniving, while the gladiators and slaves are lowly but noble (not to mention as gloriously muscled and sweaty as your average Chippendales dancer). But this isn't a documentary--it's entertainment, and on that level, Gods of the Arena totally works.

Spartacus, Vengence, The Complete Second Season / produced by Michael Hurst ; written by Steven S. DeKnight ; directed by Michael Hurst. Beverly Hills, CA : Anchor Bay Entertainment, c2012. 3 videodiscs (ca 556 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in..  PN1992.77 .S6378 2012 VideoDVD : 10-episode sequel to “Spartacus: Blood & Sand.” ... On the heels of the bloody escape from the House of Batiatus that concluded “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” the gladiator rebellion continues and begins to strike fear into the heart of the Roman Republic in “Spartacus: Vengeance.” Gaius Claudius Glaber and his Roman troops are sent to Capua to crush the growing band of freed slaves that Spartacus leads before it can inflict further damage. Spartacus is presented the choice of satisfying his personal need for vengeance against the man who condemned his wife to slavery and eventual death or making the larger sacrifices necessary to keep his budding army from breaking apart. Containing all of the blood-soaked action, exotic sexuality, and villainy and heroism that has come to distinguish the series, the tale of Spartacus resumes in epic fashion. Includes tons of never-before-seen bonus features including featurettes, extended scenes and Content Too Risqué for CABLE TV.

Spartacus, War of the Damned, The Complete Third Season  / Starz Media, Starz Production ; creator, Steven S. DeKnight..  [United States] : Starz Originals, 2013..  3 dvd videodiscs (553 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.    PN1992.77 .S6378 2013 VideoDVD Season 3 : The Spartacus saga on Starz has given us some of the most powerful and dramatic television of the past decade, and this final season may just be the best of the lot. Spartacus: War of the Damned picks up maybe a year after the stunning finale of Spartacus: Vengeance. Having taken his revenge against the Roman patricians that enslaved him and killed his wife and friends, Spartacus leads what is now an army of liberated slaves in all-out war against the Republic. He struggles with both the cunning Imperator leading the Romans against him and the growing tensions within his own army, mowing down legions and cities while gathering strength for what may become an epic battle for Rome itself....With this conclusion of the Spartacus series, Stephen DeKnight and company have achieved something quite rare in television, or anywhere else for that matter: an epic story simultaneously offering compelling plot, characters, action and drama, while staying remarkably close to (what we know of) the story of the real-life Spartacus. It's a brutal story, and the show pulls absolutely no punches in the telling,

The Trojan Women / a Josef Shaftel production ; a Michael Cacoyannis film ; screenplay by Michael Cacoyannis ; produced by Michael Cacoyannis, Anis Nohra ; directed by Michael Cacoyannis.  New York, N.Y. : Kino on Video, [2004]  1 DVD videodisc (105 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 insert. ROVI Movie Collection  (Also available as streaming video via Kanopy) : After the Greek victory in the Trojan War, all the Trojan warriors and princes are slain and the women and children are left to be divided among the conquerors. Beautiful Cassandra is betrothed against her will and despite her vanishing sanity. Andromache discovers that her son is to be executed to end her royal bloodline. Helen desperately wields the arrogant beauty that leveled a city as she pleads for her life. In the end, it is the enduring dignity and unfaltering strength of Hecuba, widowed queen of Troy, that makes cowards of Troy's captors.

Troy  / Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Radiant production in association with Plan B, a Wolfgang Petersen film ; produced by Wolfgang Petersen, Diana Rathbun, Colin Wilson ; screenplay by David Benioff ; directed by Wolfgang Petersen.  Burbank, CA : Distributed by Warner Home Video, 2004.  1 Blu-Ray DVD videodisc (196 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in.  PN687.P27 T76 2007 Blu-ray VideoDVD : Two emerging nations clash after Paris, a Trojan prince, convinces Helen, Queen of Sparta, to leave her husband Menelaus, and sail with him back to Troy. After Menelaus finds out that his wife was taken by the Trojans, he asks his brother Agamemnom to help him get her back. Seeing this as an opportunity to gain power, Agamemnon sets off with 1,000 ships holding 50,000 Greeks to Troy. With the help of Achilles, the Greeks are able to fight the never before defeated Trojans.  Cast : Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Brendan Gleeson, Peter O'Toole.

Fresco from Herculaneum


Fresco from Herculaneum, presumably showing a couple.

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