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Caligula [Blu-ray]
Actors: Adriana Asti, Paolo Bonacelli, Mirella D'Angelo, John Gielgud, Guido Mannari
Director: n/a
Genres: Drama
UR     2008     2hr 36min

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Movie Details

Actors: Adriana Asti, Paolo Bonacelli, Mirella D'Angelo, John Gielgud, Guido Mannari
Director: n/a
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/04/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1980
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1980
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 24
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: Spanish
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Movie Reviews

Judge it for yourself
C. Clark | United States | 06/19/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Caligula, one of the most controversial movies ever made, is now available on DVD. This film was a real eye-opener for me, and the DVD is far superior to the VHS that was floating around a bit in the '80s (for all you people complaining about the quality, just shudder to think of how it used to be). The story of Rome's infamous emperor was probably not this wild in real life, but this is Penthouse and as a result is chockablock with sexual scenes and graphic violence. Because Caligula is basically in every single scene, it's hard for the other characters to develop, but there are some colorful supporting players, and McDowell really delivers. It's hard to believe his next film was to play the reserved, scholarly H.G. Wells ("Time After Time.") He is quite a talented actor. The movie drags on and on, and sometimes the cinematography is uncertain, but other times it is dead on the money. The film is a bit grainy on DVD, but as someone else once said, this really contributes to the "gritty" factor. As far as realism, many of the sex scenes look real, but I doubt the world has ever seen the likes of that purple-skinned four-eyed (or was it three-eyed?) woman, plus the guy with all those extra digits and the siamese twins joined at the head resting at Tiberius' palace. And how about the scene where Caligula "consecrates" that marriage...if that's how it was, I'd never get married. The DVD has these things going for it: the creepy music added to the menu (the same as the opening title with the quote from Mark), the 30 chapters nicely divided up, the documentary about the making of featuring Gore Vidal and Bob Guccione (although in places everyone's face looked way too pale, but it was an old '70s film), and the sound is far superior to the VHS from what I can remember. But this is Caligula and I would definitely not let anyone under 18 (or maybe even 21) watch it."
From the historical point of view, not as bad as many think
P. Bartl | 09/16/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I will concentrate on the movie's historical accuracy (or its lack of it), since the previous reviews seem to either have overlooked it, or claimed that it is "historically accurate", or on the opposite extreme, that it totally ignored history. "Caligula" does have some merit from the historical point of view, surely already present in Gore Vidal's original script. It's also very weak in many points.The bare events of Caligula's life and reign are actually quite accurate. It may surprise many viewers that most of the secondary characters - Emperor Tiberius, Senator Nerva, the praetorian prefect Macro, Tiberius's grandson and Caligula's rival for the succession Gemellus, Caesonia, Chaerea (who murdered Caligula), his sister Drusilla - were all historical and, as far as the facts have come down to us, their portrayal in "Caligula" was fairly accurate, at least according to some ancient authors.Tiberius did retire to the island of Capri in his last years and did invite the elderly Nerva to join him there, and ancient authors do claim that he indulged in sexual perversions there. Nerva really committed suicide as shown in the movie.The conversations between Caligula, Nerva and Tiberius, probably by Vidal, really reflect contemporary views and issues - for instance, the deification of Julius Caesar and Augustus, Tiberius's predecessors: Tiberius was totally cynical about the whole thing, whereas Caligula firmly believed it. Throughout the movie, many of Caligula's lines come straight from ancient authors.On the other hand, Nerva's comment on Caligula's "gift for logic" seems to owe more to Camus than to ancient sources - still, a nice touch, I thought.Tiberius's murder by Caligula and Macro, Caligula's removal of Macro and Gemellus, his incestuous relationship with Drusilla, her death, his marriage to Caesonia, her giving him a daughter, his increasing tyranny, his farcical invasion of Germany and attempted invasion of Britain, and his murder by his own guard - are all historical facts, and on the whole not too inaccurately shown in the movie.On the other hand, the movie's biggest weaknesses from the historical point of view are (1) the way it *looks* and (2) the suggestion that Caligula's and Tiberius's depravity were somehow "normal", part of Rome's "decadence".The sets and clothes all look more like something from a Fellini film than from ancient Rome. Tiberius's palace on Capri is perhaps the most unrealistic, along with that ship, and the execution machine - and countless details.The clothes aren't very realistic, either. Romans were more casual about nudity than we are today, and I suppose that their clothes might reveal much some times. But I doubt that Roman ladies would be as casual about parading half-naked as portrayed in the movie (I mean in normal situations, not the sex scenes).Moreover, it's simply not true that "orgies" such as that portrayed in the movie were common among the Roman upper classes. Actually adultery - also on the part of males - was an offense punishable by death, at least for the upper classes (this didn't cover prostitution). The vast majority of the Roman senatorial class would, and did, find behavior such as that of Tiberius and Caligula scandalous.However, Caligula's in cognito wanderings through Rome after Drusilla's death give perhaps for the first time in a movie a good impression of what ancient Rome actually was at night - dangerous, dark, chaotic, where no person of means would venture without an armed escort.I also enjoyed the glimpse of what an emperor's routine largely consisted of, with Tiberius and Caligula stamping their seal onto endless piles of official documents."Caligula" was obviously intended to be mainly a pornographic movie - Bob Guccione made sure of that. But it also, at some point, was intended to have a core of historical accuracy, which is why Gore Vidal was asked to write the script. This core is still present in the movie, and it's not true that you don't learn anything of Roman history by watching it.But of course, I know that that's not what most people will watch it for. So perhaps Guccione was right."
Shock and Awe
Sky | New York | 08/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"If you thought HBO's depiction of ancient Rome was graphic and brutal Rome - The Complete First Two Seasons, then you obviously haven't seen Caligula.

Caligula leaves nothing for the imagination unless you're talking about some continuity issues and plot holes. Oh, the imagination fixes those just fine. But the scenes of love, incest, orgy, torture, rape, murder...they're there in all their glory...and I mean ALL their glory.

While the HBO series chronicled events in Rome circa 50 BC, Caligula is an adaptation of events circa 40 AD. The story is a bit discombobulated at times, but easy enough to follow.

Caligula (or, if you'd prefer, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) rises to power as Rome's third emperor. Writer/Producer and uncredited Director Bob Guccione Penthouse , not surprisingly, picked up on the writings that Caligula was an insane sex pervert and a cruel tyrant. Other historical writings that Caligula led Rome to major territorial expansion and architectural advancement were not included in this movie. No...that would have brought the...umm...mood down.

Helen Mirren stars as Caligula's queen. She's good at playing queen's, no? Coincidentally she won the 2007 Oscar and Globe for Best Actress by playing a queen The Queen . I can't imagine why the Academy passed her by in 1979's Caligula. There's plenty of other award winning talent in Caligula: You've got Malcolm McDowell A Clockwork Orange (Two-Disc Special Edition) , Peter O'Toole Lawrence of Arabia (Single Disc Edition) , and Sir John Gielgud Arthur just to name a few...well...that's actually all of the A-list.

But the surprising thing is that Caligula even had an A-list when the movie was less about acting and more about shock and awe. Sure, the good actors gave great performances. McDowell's Caligula is unforgettable; the surprising thing is that Guccione got this cast to even be in a movie that with any other actors you might have had to purchase this film in a dark DVD store on the corner of 38th Street and 8th Avenue in NYC.

The movie runs for 2 hours and 36 minutes. And if that ain't enough, the 2007 Imperial Edition gives you 2 extra disks of bonus stuff. According to Image Entertainment's July 2007 press release, The 3 disk Imperial Edition of Caligula comes with two versions: the important one being the unrated, uncensored theatrical version in a newly mastered high def transfer from recently uncovered negative vault materials. And that's good because the previous release looked and sounded like an old 8mm home movie capture. The other version is an alternate pre-release cut of the film.

Amongst other bonuses, the Image press release touts "hundreds of revealing photographs from the set never seen by the public". But I have to say, it can't get that much more revealing than what's already in the movie itself.

So there you have it. Caligula, the cult classic, gets re-released on DVD. And if you're in The Caligula Cult, it's your best day ever.
Awesome Extras and Two Cuts of the Film
Brett D. Cullum | Houston, TX United States | 10/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This new Imperial 3 disc edition of CALIGULA from Image and Penthouse is an "everything and the kitchen sink" affair. It should be a must buy for fans of the film, and offers two unique ways of viewing the infamous film known mostly for its peversity.

Disc One contains an unrated X-rated version including all the Bob Guccione inserted scenes of somewhat hardcore sex acts. The editing is a little off as Guccione assembled this cut from what Tinto Brass directed and put some scenes out of order thus blurring the narrative and character development.

Disc Two contains a pre-release cut of the film without the hardcore scenes, and a more logical progression of scenes assembled to depict the order Tinto Brass wanted them in. It runs 3 minutes shorter, and you'll notice alternate footage in many scenes. Three commentaries are delivered over this version with Malcolm McDowell on one, Helen Mirren on the second, and Ernest Volkman on the final track. Each are joined by authors and film critics who help keep the conversation flowing and on topic. Also included are a dozen cut and alternate takes.

The third disc contains featurettes, interviews, and archival footage from the production. A 1980 documentary proves interesting and provides more graphic footage.

The transfer is improved, but still looks blurred and lacking in contrast. The reason for some of this is the movie was shot like a magazine spread with soft focus cameras. It's never super clear, and there's plenty of grain and digital artifacts to contend with.

This is the best the film has ever looked, and has tons of extra material to wade through. A dream for collectors, and a nightmare for the detractors. The film is dispassionate and brutal - depicting every peversity you could imagine and then some. Costumes and sets are amazing - including a five story machine that decapitates heads in a colisseum. Breathtaking for all the wrong reasons, CALIGULA is about ego out of control. Oddly enough those that made it suffered from the same malady."