I am way too young to have seen this movie when it came out, but I know the reputation it carries around. I don’t think a completely uncut version of the film is available, but how many people here have seen it? Is it really as bad as its supposed to be. I don’t mean bad acting, but are the sexually explicit and violent scenes that bad by today’s standards. I’m thinking of ordering an uncut, but of course not completely uncut version just to see for myself.
It’s not exactly a heartwarming movie that you’ll watch over and over again, but it’s worth seeing once. I think Caligula befuddles people because they expect it to be Spartacus or Gladiator. It’s not. It’s a trashy porno with a big budget and a star-studded cast (Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, Sir John Gielgud) but a trashy porn nonetheless. You may find some of the more violent scenes disturbing (and you’ll never think of ‘dog food’ quite the same way again).
I’ve seen the unrated version. No, it’s not exceptional by today’s standards. The sex is mostly softcore stuff with a few gratuitous hardcore scenes spliced in rather randomly, and the the violence is… well, several effects made me laugh, so make of that what you will. (When I think of “execution”, even trying to be as outlandish as possible, being pelted with vegetables while being run over by a giant lawn mower never comes to mind.)
It’s not a great film, by any definition of the word, but it is, rightly or wrongly, a legendary one–and that’s about all it’s got going for it.
Btw, definitely get the uncut version, the R-rated version cuts out nearly an hour and is practically incomprehensible. If you’re going to watch Caligula, you might as well go for the whole enchilada.
It has been a long time since I saw the uncut movie. It was very graphic in its sex scences. If you are interested in good porn then it is worth watching the x rated parts. As for the rest of the movie I cannot remember too much. The movie does have some outstanding actors, but I just cannot recall whether the plot/script was any good. I do remember it being a overly long movie. I do strongly object to the way the actors were deceived during the filming and will not watch nor promote the watching it because of that.
I have actually walked out on a movie in a theater exactly once in my life – that was for Caligula.
I can’t remember which critic said it, but it is true:
“Caligula is not a good film, nor is it good porn.”
Seriously, don’t waste your money. If you want to watch a good historical drama, track down the BBC’s dramatisation of I, Claudius. If you want to watch a good porno…well, there are probably more tittilating things on offer at your local newsagent’s. The only reason to watch Caligula is to find out what all the fuss is about, and at the end you’ll say “That really wasn’t worth it.”
I believe it was Roger Ebert who said the quote.
Yes, it is. I saw it when it first came out, in the theater.
the thing that strikes you most is that this is an awful waste of talent. Gore Vidal wrote the screenplay, fer cryin’ out loud. The guy who wrote Julian (proving that he can write about unusual Roman Emperors) and Burr and Creation – the historical novelist (and dramatist and screenwriter), rather than the author of Myra Brecjkenridge and Myron etc. – wrote the script. Then they got Malcolm MacDowell (fresh from a number of triumphs), John Gielgud, and Peter frickin’ O’Toole, and they wasted all that talent on this tripe.
It’s got sex. well, it’s about one of the Roman Emperors who was notorious (through Suetonius’ account) for his depravity. If there’s one place you ought to be able to depict sex and claim that it’s relevant to the story, this would seem to be the place to do it. You’ve got the X rating, run wild.
except the sex seems irrelevant, unconnected to what’s going on. Even the sadism seems completely random.
Finally, the director thinks he’s Fellini. What the hell was the point of that exttravagant decapitating machine?
You want Caligula, watch John Hurt do it in the BBC I, Claudius.
It did have that line (I think Geilgud says it):
“Well, he’s a god now.” Delivered in that perfectly dry way he has. It was hilarious. It’s definitely not something you want to buy, though.
…who always belonged in porno with a name like that.
I own the DVD. Not all that extreme by today’s standards. If you hit the mute button, you can make up your own dialogue to go with the random action. As for the sex, about the only good scene is the encounter between Caligula, his sister, and his wife, while being watched by two Penthouse Pets who then do each other. The rest is blah.
Well yeah but the sadism under Caligula (the real one) WAS completely random. To some exent it was in ancient Rome in general.
So to some extent it’s a documentary. A lot of that culture was bad porn. (And for all I know they really had that lawn mower decapitation thing. I wouldn’t put it past them.)
When we have movies where people cut there own leg off…no, it’s not that extreme. But it’s pretty extreme. But probably accurate in a weird way.
Probably be better if the actors knew what they were getting into. But what did they expect, it’s about Caligula.
Pretty cheesy but I thought it was good porn at the time…probably because it was the first porn I ever saw …which is why I’m so warped now.
I say rent it…probably not buy it. And yes I, Claudius is definatly a better movie.
What happened? Never heard of this movie, so I don’t know any of the backstory.
And anyway how can Malcolm MacDowell say he didn’t know what he was getting into after he shoved his hand up that guys ass (or am I giving away too much of the plot?)
Oh, come on.
A friend of mine used to make this claim. “But that’s what things were really like back then!”, he’d say. What, poorly photographed bad acting? I can almost guarantee that life back then was not dark, grainy, and underexposed. Really, it’s so poorly done as a film that the content was never an issue with me. It was painful to watch. It took me a week, and I still never got all the way through it. It was that bad.
pool, you may be so curious about how bad it is that you’ll want to watch it just to find out. Don’t. Poop on your rug and stare at it for 3 hours instead. It’ll be time better spent.
Technically it’s porn, but look elsewhere for whacking material.
The Fellini-esque look of Caligula is no coincidence, Danilo Donati was the art director. He worked on several Fellini films before it.
So you sat all the way through Zapped! starring Scott Baio!?
Sadly I caught this movie on television as a kid.
Do I need to say more?
Anyway, there’s this scene in which Caligula approaches a newly wed couple who have been saving themselves for eachother. Caligula procees to rape both. This scene was so dreadful, so twisted and so disgusting. I immediatly turned the movie off but it was too late, all too late. My stomach started aching and my eyes started watering.
Whenever see Caligula even mentioned I get reminded of that horrible day. Had I seen Caligula as an adult I would have just turned it off after ten minutes and reached for my I, Claudius box.