X  Ancient Rome:  The Rise and Fall of an Empire  --  film starts with the foundation of Rome and goes to its collapse

Orazi e Curiazi (Duel of the Champions) (1961) -- Roman leader (673-642 BC) challenges forces of Alba Longa

Hero of Rome (1964) –  the exile Tarquin, the last tyrant of Rome, 509 BC, tries to get back in power 

X  Coriolanus: Hero without a Country (1964) – Coriolanus, Roman general at siege of the Volscian city of Corioli, 493 BC

Hannibal (1959)  --  the great Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War (Carthage vs. Rome), 218-201 BC

X  Hannibal:  Rome's Worst Nightmare  --   Hannibal marched 40,000 soldiers and 37 elephants 1,500 miles to fight the Romans

Cabiria (1914)  --   a young girl's odyssey at the time of Hannibal in the Second Punic War (218-201 BC) -- focus on n. African front

X  Siege of Syracuse (1960) – Roman siege (214-212 BC) in Second Punic War

Scipione l'africano (Scipio Africanus: The Defeat of Hannibal) (1937)  --  Roman general defeats Hannibal  ($30)

Scipione detto anche l'africano (Scipio the African) (1971) --  ancient Roman warrior Scipio Africanus ($60)

Cartagine in fiamme (Carthage in Flames) (1960)  --   Rome vs. Carthage during Third Punic War, 149-146 B.C.

The Centurion (Conqueror of Corinth) (1961) – Battle of Corinth (146 BC)

Spartacus and the Slave Revolt:

Spartacus (1960)  -- slave revolt in 71 B.C.; with Kirk Douglas

Spartacus (2004)  --  TV mini-series

Spartaco (or Sins of Rome) (1953) -- Italian version of Spartacus

Gli invincibili dieci gladiatori (Spartacus and the Ten Gladiators) (1964) – story of Spartacus


 FOUNDATION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE  Back to Chapter III  Back to Contents

Julius Caesar:

Julius Caesar (2002)  --  solid telling in this mini-series of the Caesar tale; Jeremy Sisto as Julius Caesar & Samuela Sardo as Cleopatra

Julius Caesar (1984)  --   Janet Baker as Caesar; Valerie Masterson as Cleopatra; made for TV

Julius Caesar (1970) --  Charlton Heston as Caesar; no Cleopatra

Julius Caesar (1953)  --  Shakespeare's play with Marlon Brando as Julius Caesar (48-44 B.C.); no Cleopatra

Giulio Cesare, il conquistatore delle Gallie (Caesar the Conqueror)  (1962) --   Caesar conquers Gaul; with Cameron Mitchell as Caesar

Vercingétorix (Druids) (2001)  --   story of the battle of the Gauls against the tyranny of Rome; Klaus Maria Brandauer as Caesar

Die Verschwörung (1969) – Caesar and assassination; made for German TV

Rome (2005)  --  Julius Caesar & Company; Ciarán Hinds as Caesar & Lyndsey Marshal as Cleopatra


Cleopatra (1999)  -- with Leonor Varela

Cleopatra (1963) -- with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

Cleopatra  (1934)  --  love affairs with Caesar  (to 44 BC) and Mark Antony (second triumvirate, 43-27 BC) (with Claudette Colbert)

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) --  British film with Vivian Leigh as Cleopatra

X Antony and Cleopatra (1974)  --  Janet Suzman as Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra (1972)  --  with Hildegard Neil

Antony and Cleopatra (1983)  -- Shakespeare version ; Lynn Redgrave as Cleopatra

X  The Cleopatras (1983) – miniseries of the Ptolemaic dynasty (305-30 BCE) in Egypt

Il sepolcro dei re (Cleopatra's Daughter) (1960) – total fiction


Rome after Caesar:

Imperium: Augustus (2003)  --  the great emperor of Rome, 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.

 Empire (2005)  --  rise of Octavius (the future Emperor Augustus of the Roman Empire)

X  Massacre in the Black Forest (1967) – Germanic Cheruski ambushes and annihilates three Roman legions in 9 AD

Caligula (1980) --  37 to 42 A.D., very wicked emperor of Rome after Tiberius, 14-37 AD

X  Caligola: La storia mai raccontata (Caligula: The Untold Story) (1982) – with lots of hardcore sex

I, Claudius (1976) --   handicapped emperor of Rome after Caligula, 42 to 54 AD

Messalina Venere imperatrice (Messalina Imperial Beauty) (1960)  --  incredibly ambitious wife of Claudius who will do anything to get power for herself

Centurion (2010)  --  devastation of the 9th  Legion of Rome by the Picts in modern Scotland

Imperium: Nerone (Nero) (2004)  --  54-68 A.D., emperor of Rome after Caligula

Titus (1999) – Shakespeare story of "extraordinary human violence" after Roman general Titus Andronicus returns from his war on the northern Goths (note this is not the Roman Emperor Titus who ruled 79 to 81 A..D. )

Dacii (1967) – King Decebalus of Dacia fought three wars without being eliminated against Rome under two emperors, but Rome in 105 seeks revenge



Last Days of Pompeii  (1984)  --  Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. and covered (thereby preserving) the Roman village of Pompeii

Ultimi giorni di Pompei, Gli (Last Days of Pompeii) (1960)  --  volcanic eruption (under emperors Vespasian 69-79 & Titus, 79-81 AD)

The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)   --  Mt. Vesuvius erupted 79A.D.

Anno 79: La distruzione di Ercolano (The Destruction of Herculaneum) (1962) – intrigues in the court of Roman Emperor Titus Flavius



Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)-- Sophia Loren; troubles under Emperor Commodus (who ruled from 180 to 192)

Nel Segno di Roma (Sign of the Gladiator) (1959)  --  Queen of Palmyra, Zenobia, revolts against Rome & is captured (under Emperor Aurelian, 270-275) (currently unavailable)

Constantine and the Cross (1962) -- early 4th c. A.D. emperor battling Romans

Ágora (2009)--  Davus, a slave of the philosopher  Hypatia of Alexandria, falls in love with her; she was killed in 415 by a Christian mob involved in anti-Jewish antics

Agostino d'Ippona  (Augustine of Hippo) (1972) Italian   --  story of St. Augustine (354-430)

Attila (2001) --  the famous barbarian (died 453)

Attila (1954)  --   with Sophia Loren

Sign of the Pagan (1954) Attila the Hun threatening Rome (currently unavailable)


Der Name der Rose (The Name of the Rose) (1986)  --  1327, not a true story, but a good depiction of monastery life of the time; set in Italy



House of Habsburg (1437-1657)

Maximilian I (1483-1519)


Lucrezia Borgia (1935)  --  good story of the many political marriages of Lucrezia Borgia used by her family as a political pawn

Prince of Foxes (1949)  --  Cesare Borgia (1475-1507) plays politics with who his sister will marry

Bride of Vengeance (1949) --  Cesare Borgia

Lucrezica Borgia (1953) –  Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519) born near Rome

Il Duca Nero (The Black Duke) (1963) --  Cesare Borgia starring Cameron Mitchell  ($32)

The Borgias (1981)  --  BBC miniseries

X  Las noches secretas de Lucrezia Borgia (Secret Nights) (1982)  --  don't bother; it's more about sex than anything else

X  Le notti di Lucrezia Borgia (The Nights of Lucretia Borgia) (1959) -- 

Los Borgia (The Borgias) (2006)  --  Spanish film with English subtitles about the Borgia family

X  The Borgias (2011) --  Showtime miniseries

Charles V, Holy Roman Empire  (1530-1556)

Il Diavolo nero (The Black Devil) (1957)  --  as Carlos I of Spain (1516-1556) and as Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (1519-1556) the monarch tries to occupy all of Italy with the help of traitors

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) -- Michelangelo (1475-1564) fights with Pope Julius II; based on Irving Stone novel

Titan -- Story of Michelangelo (1950)

Il mestiere delle armi (The Profession of Arms) (2001) – first victim of modern artillery Captain Giovanni De' Medici, who fought in the war of Charles V against the Pope, first half of 1500s --  (not available)

Rudolph II (1575-1612)

Caravaggio (2007)  --  Italian Renaissance painter 1593-1610; proto-Baroque style

X  Caravaggio (1986)  --  gay Derek Jarman's fictionalized version of the life of Caravaggio 

Artemisia (1997)  --   Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the most accomplished early Baroque painters in the generation; influenced by Caravaggio 

Dangerous Beauty --  a courtesan (Catherine McCormack) becomes the most desired woman in 16th century Venice, but faces criticism, humiliation and the Holy Inquisition  

Galilée ou L'amour de Dieu (2005) – Galilée and the Inquisition

Galileo (1975)  --  Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo Galilei (1969) --   Italian  film

Pietro Micca (1938)  --  soldier becomes national hero in the defense of Turin (1706) against French troops during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714)

Casanova  (2005)  --  yes, even Casanova got dumped; 18th century

X  Adventures of Casanova (1948)  -- 

X  Les aventures de Casanova (Loves of Casanova) (1947)  -- 

X  Fellini's Casanova (1976)  -- not for historians; erotic adventure


CATHOLIC COUNTER REFORMATION   Back to Chapter V  Back to Contents

Il Mestiere delle Armi (Profession of Arms) (2000)  --  Giovanni de Medici, captain in Charles V's war against the pope & fought the Protestant Reformation

The Cardinal (1936)  --  Cardinal de Medici

Catherine de Médici (1989)  --  French movie about Catherine (1519-1589) who was queen consort of King Henry II of France from 1547 to 1559


ITALY (1789-1867)  

Die Marquise von O (The Marguise of O)  --  in French-controlled Italy, in 1799 Russian General Souvorov invades Italy to kick the French out; he captures and then rapes the widow of the Marquis of O and she becomes pregnant

Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814)

Napoleon I (1805-1814)

Fuoco su di me (Fire at my Heart) (2006) – story of young soldier of the Napoleonic army in 1815 in Napoli after the era of Gioacchino Murat, King of the Two Sicilies (1808 to 1815) (no English subtitles)

Ferdinando e Carolina (Ferdinando  and Carolina) (1999)  --  King Ferdinando I of Naples (reign 1816-1825) weds Mary Caroline of Austria, daughter of Empress Mary Theresa, in a political marriage

L'ultima carica (1964) – set in 1820s war of independence in southern Italy

Wars of Italian Independence  --three wars between Italian states and Austrian Empire 1848-1866 ending with conquest of entire Italian peninsula

Viva l'Italia! (1961) --  about Giuseppe Garibaldi of Italian unification fame (director is Rossillini)

In nome del papa re (In the Name of the Pope King) (1977) – in 1867 the papal court fights to prevent Garibaldi's forces from taking power and bringing Rome into the Italian kingdom

Noi credevamo (2010)  --  Italy's battle for unification in the 19th century (no English options)

In nome del popolo sovrano (In the Name of the Sovereign People) (1990) – 1849, Ciceruacchio declares Independent Republic of Rome, but French & Austrians try to block it by bringing back the Pope to Rome

Bronte: cronaca di un massacro che i libri di storia non hanno raccontato (Liberty) (1972) — Italian War of Independence

I vicer (2007) – 19th century Italian wars

Ovod (The Gadfly) (1955)  --  Russian film about 1800s Italy  ($30)

'O re (The King of Naples) (1989) – 1860 overthrow of Francesco, the King of Naples and the two Sicilies; the deposed king and queen adapt to their new lives

Senso (1954) --  Venice, Italy 1866, obsessive love story set against Austrian military occupation and its overthrow 




The Organizer (1963)  --  labor strike in Italy at turn of the 20th century against a 14-hour work day



Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)

Victor Emmanuel II (1861-1878)

Correva l'anno di grazia 1870 (aka 1870) (1971) – 1870 Italy

Umberto I (1878–1900)

Leopard (1936)  --  Sicily after Italian unification

Victor Emmanuel III (1900–1946)

1900 (1976)  --  the  rise of the Black Shirts

Time of Indifference (1964) -- moral & social decay in 1920s Italy



Victor Emmanuel III (1900–1946)

1900 (1976)  --  the Italian Communist Party and the rise of the Black Shirts

Tea with Mussolini (1999)  --  English women stay in Florence up to and during World War II

Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971)  --  Italian concurrence with the Final Solution

La Vita P bella (It's a Beautiful Life) (1997)  --  father and son thrown in a concentration camp and dad tries to pretend it's a game to protect his son from the terror there

Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979) Italian  --  writer Carlo Levi's exile from Mussolini in the Basilicata region of southern Italy

Lion of the Desert (1981) -- Omar Mukhtar, guerilla leader stymies Italian forays into Libya, 1911- 1931

Giarabub (1942) – Italian propaganda movie about Italian forces in a critical situation in Libyan desert

Sanquepazzo (Wild Blood) (2008)  --  acting couple Valenti and Ferida still act during fascist regime in Italy

Il Federale (The Fascist) (1961)   --  an Italian fascist has to capture an anti-Mussolini professor; the fascists gets his man, but they have a series of mishaps getting back

Sicilia!  Sicilia! (Baarìa) (2009)  --  a young man grows up noticing the injustices of living under the thumb of the local tycoon; he joins the Communist party and we see history through his eyes

X  Paolmbella rossa (Red Wood Pigeon)  --  star player of the water polo team has a problem with amnesia and goes through over 20 years of Italian communist party history while trying to remember who he is

D'Annunzio (D'Annunzio and I) (1985) --  Gabriele d'Annunzio (1863-1938) was an Italian poet, journalist, novelist and dramatist who had a controversial role in Italian politics

Una giornata particolare (A Special day) (1977)  --   love story set around the first meeting of Hitler and Mussolini



World War II

Allied Invasion of Italy.   

Anzio (1968)  --  French-Italian-Spanish movie dealing with the beach landing, January to May, 1944

Darby's Rangers (1958) -- assault troops in N. Africa & Italy  

Bold and the Brave (1956) -- WWII soldiers fighting in Italy  ($31)

La Ciociara (Two Women ) (1960)  --  an Italian woman and her daughter try to escape the daily air raids in Rome by heading into the countryside

A Walk in the Sun (1945) --   story of one platoon of Americans fighting in Salerno

The Scarlet and the Black (1983)  --  Vatican priest hides downed Allied pilots and coordinates with the Italian Resistance

Gli Sbandati (The Disbanded) (1955)  --  a mama's boy has great difficulties in breaking away from his mother so he can love a refugee girl around the time of the Italian armistice with the Allies in WWII

 Il partigiano Johnny (Johnny the Partisan) (2000)  --  Germans occupy Italy after September 8, 1943, Italian soldiers head to the hills to set up a resistance movement

Rappresaglia (Massacre in Rome) (1973)  --  massacre of Italian citizens (especially Jews) after the partisans attack a German SS company

Hotel Meina (2007) – first Italian Nazi massacre of Jews occurs following the armistice of the 8th of September 1943 where Italy went over to the Allies

Baciami piccina (Three on the Road) (2006) – Sept 1943 carabiniere Umberto escorts prisoner to Venice. His fiancée follows him; train breaks down; have to go on; armistice with Allies is signed & everything changes

Il sole di Montecassino (Fear of Evil; St. Benedict) (1945) –  Battle for Monte Cassino, 1944; built by Saint Benedict around 529

Dieci italiani per un tedesco (Ten Italians for One German) (Via Rasella) (1962) – vicious reprisal ordered by Austrian Colonel Kappler in 1944 Rome

Il generale della Rovere (General della Rovere) (1959) --  in Milan, Italy a German Nazi goes undercover  in a prison to find out who among the prisoners are the Italian resistance fighters


Russian Front:

Italiani brava gente (Attack and Retreat) (1999)  --  1942, Italian army up against the Russians at the Battle of the Don during the  Stalingrad counteroffensive

L'Uomo della Croce (Man with a Cross) (1943)  --  Catholic chaplain with Italian expeditionary forces on the Eastern Front


Italy's Last Days of Fascism.

Sal o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (The Last 120 Days of Sodom) (1975) --  Marquis de Sade's model applies to 1944 Fascist Italy

Mussolini: The Decline and Fall of Il Duce (1985) (a.k.a, Mussolini and I)

Benito: The Rise and Fall of Mussolini (1993)  --  Mussolini in his early opportunistic career as a socialist

Last Days of Mussolini (1977)  --  ad-hoc execution of Mussolini

Mussolini: The Untold Story (1985)  --  based on the memories of Vittorio Mussolini, the oldest son of the Italian dictator

Miracle at St Anna (2008)  --  four African-Americans fighting in the Tuscany region, get trapped in a village, fall of 1944

Paisan (1946)  --  a heart-breaking look at the last days of the war

The Night of the Shooting Stars (1982)  --  last days of WWII for one town in Italy

Roma, cittB aperta (Open City)  (1945)  --   the Italian resistance against German occupation

Vincere (Win) (2009) – Mussolini’s mistress Ida Dalser and their son Albino

Porzus (1997)  --  communist unit in Friuli, Italy kills a group of non-communist partisans to prepare Italy for a communist future

Texas 46 (2002)  ---  story around the 50,000 Italian POWs in the USA


Post-War Italy 

Victor Emmanuel III (1900–1946)

Umberto II  (9 May 1946 - 12 June 1946)  --  last King of Italy

Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thief) (1949)  --  Italy's post-war depression

 Umberto D. (1955)  --  poor treatment of elderly in post-war depression

Shoeshine (1946)   --  miserable lives of street children surviving by shining the boots of American GIs

Il sangue dei vinti (Blood of the Losers) (2008) – following WWII, an Italian family fractures

Miracolo a Milano (Miracle in Milan) (1951) --  a fantasy concerning the post-World War II poor in Italy

La Dolce Vita (1961)  --  disillusionment and decadence after Fascism and War

Mama Roma (1962)  --  the continuing negative effects of poverty on a mother trying to improve her life for herself and her son

La Meglio gioventu (The Best of Youth) (2003)  --  two brothers live through the period 1966-2000

Il divo (The Deity)  (2008) – Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, 1972-1973, 1976-1979, 1989 to 1992

Buongiorno, notte (Good Morning, Night) (2003)  --  1978, Red Brigade kidnaps Prime Minister Moro 

Guido che sfido le Brigate Rosse (2007) – in 1979 Italy, trade unionist Guido Rossa, killed by a member of the Red Brigades  (Italian language only)

X   Il caso Moro (The Moro Affair) (1986) — Red Brigade kidnaps the Chief of the Christian Democratic Party

Excellent Cadavers (1999)  --  battle waged against the Sicilian Mafia during the late 1980's and early 1990's

Salvatore Giuliano (1962)  --   young Mafia leader recruited by Sicilian separatist politicians is gunned down close to declaration of Sicily's self-rule

La Prima Linea (The Front Line) (2009)  --  story of Italian extreme left-wing terrorist group with leaders of the nature of a Marxist Bonnie and Clyde

X  Ecce bombo (Behold the Man)  --  black humor spoofs the then current wave of terrorism and bombings in Italy

X  Il grande sogno (The Big Dream)  --  Italy, 1968; a policemen, who wants to be an actor, is a mole among the student radicals when he falls in love with the radical Laura who likes him and a fellow student radical

Five Moons Square (Five Moons Plaza) (2003)  --  judge gets an old 8mm film in the mail of the kidnapping of the President of the Italian Christian Democratic party, Aldo Moro, March 16, 1978





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