UC Berkeley Library

Classical Greece & Rome in Film

300 (2006)

Directed by Zack Snyder. Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Tom Wisdom, Andrew Pleavin, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro, Giovani Antonio Cimmino. 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 a Army of well over 100,000 men to Greece and was confronted by 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and other Slave soldiers.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

Directed by Richard Lester. Cast: Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford, Buster Keaton. A bawdy comedy set in early Rome concerning a slave who can win his freedom if he can hook up his innocent young master with the virgin courtesan next door. 98 min. ; Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Agora (Spain, 2009)

Directed by Alejandro Amenabar. Cast: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom, Rupert Evans, Homayoun Ershadi, Michael Lonsdale, Sammy Samir, Richard Durden, Omar Mostafa, Oshri Cohen, Yousef Sweid. A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hopes of pursuing freedom while also falling in love with his master, the famous female philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.

Alexander (2004)

Directed by Oliver Stone. Cast: Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Anthony Hopkins. 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. 167 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Anthony & Cleopatra (UK, 1980)

Produced by Jonathan Miller. Cast: Colin Blakely, Jane Lapotaire, Ian Charleson, Emrys James, Esmond Knight. BBC production. 160 min.
Reviews and articles:Royster, Francesca T. Becoming Cleopatra : the shifting image of an icon. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. (Main Stack PN57.C55; R69 2003)

Ben-Hur (1907)

Directors, Frank Oakes Rose and Sidney Olcott. Cast: Herman Rottger, William S. Hart. Early silent short about a Jewish prince who is betrayed, sent into slavery by a Roman friend, and comes back for revenge. 13 min.

Ben-Hur (1925)

Director, Fred Niblo. Cast: Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, Betty Bronson, Claire McDowell, Kathleen Key, Carmel Myers, Nigel de Brulier, Mitchell Lewis, Leo White, Frank Currier, Charles Belcher, Dale Fuller, Winter Hall. Silent version of the sweeping saga that tells the story of a young Jewish nobleman who leads his nation against the wrath of the conquering Romans. His self-imposed destiny brings tragedy to himself and his people, as he learns to fight, love, hate and, finally, forgive. 148 min.

Ben-Hur (1959)

Director, William Wyler. Cast: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott. The story of a Jewish nobleman, set in the time of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Christianity. 281 min. ; also ; pt. 1-2 Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Cabiria (Italy, 1914)

Directed by Giovanni Pastrone. Cast: Letizia Catena, Letizia Quaranta, Gina Marangoni, Bartolomeo Pagano, Italia Mazini. The personal adventures of a Roman girl (Cabiria) and her two benefactors in the third century B.C. during the Second Punic War. Includes scenes of the eruption of Mt. Etna, sea battles, and Hannibal crossing the Alps. Opens with a brief description of the Italian genre of historical spectacular films, plus a history of the making of the film Cabiria. Based on Cabiria by Gabriele d'Annunzio. 123 min.

Caligula (Italy / USA, 1979)

Directed by Tinto Brass. Cast: Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Helen Mirren, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, Adriana Asti. Portrays the decadence and debauchery that marked the reign of the Roman emperor Caligula from 37-41 A.D. The details of his cruel, bizarre reign are revealed: his unholy sexual passion for his sister, his marriage to Rome's most infamous prostitute, and his fiendishly inventive means of disposing of those who would oppose him. 156 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

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