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Ancient Civilizations in Film

Spartacus Spartaco) (Italy, 1914)

Directed by Roberto Chiosso. An early Italian silent era spectacle based on the revolt of the slaves of ancient Rome. One of the historical "kolossals" of the silent era which were produced to stimulate the nationalism of Italians as they veered toward intervention during World War I. 58 min.

The Egyptian (1954)

Directed by Michael Curtiz. Cast: Victor Mature, Peter Ustinov, Jean Simmons, Gene Tierney, John Carradine, Michael Wilding, Bella Darvi, Edmund Prudom. In this epic set in Egypt more than 30 centuries ago, Sinuhe, a poor orphan, becomes a brilliant physician and with his friend Horemheb is appointed to the service of the new Pharoah. Sinuhe's personal triumphs and tragedies are played out against the larger canvas of the turbulent events of the 18th dynasty. Based on the novel by Mika Waltari. 139 min.

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

Directed by Anthony Mann. Cast: Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quayle, John Ireland, Omar Sharif, Mel Ferrer. After poisoning the Emperor of the Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius, his supposed son Commodus falls into dissipation and allows Rome to be ravaged by pestilence and the Barbarians. Thus begins the fall of the Roman Empire; a great civilization not conquered from without until it had destroyed itself from within. 185 min.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

Directed by Gordon Hessler. Cast: Phillip Law, Caroline Munro, Tom Baker, Douglas Wilmer, Martin Shaw. Sinbad the sailor finds a strange map and sets sail for a previously uncharted island where he crosses swords with an evil magician who brings inanimate objects to life to oppose Sinbad in his quest. 105 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Last Days of Pompeii (1935)

Directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack. Cast: Preston Foster, Alan Hale, Basil Rathbone, John Wood, Louis Calhern. Peaceloving blacksmith Marcus refuses lucrative offers to fight in the arena...until his wife dies for lack of medical care. His life as a gladiator coarsens him, and shady enterprises make him the richest man in Pompeii, while his son Flavius (who met Jesus on a brief visit to Judaea) is as gentle as Marcus once was. The final disaster of Marcus and Flavius's cross purposes is interrupted by the eruption of Vesuvius.

The Last Days of Pompeii (Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei) (Italy | Spain | Monaco | West Germany, 1959)

Directed by Mario Bonnard. Cast: Steve Reeves, Fernando Rey, Christine Kauffman, Barbara Carroll. Story of the treachery, corruption and lust which some believe caused the horrible punishment of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, burying the city of Pompeii. 97 min. Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database
See also:

The Last Days of Pompeii (Ultimi giorni di Pompeii) (Italy, 1913)

Directed by Mario Caserini, Eleuterio Rodolfi. Cast: Fernanda Negri Pouget, Eugenia Tettoni Fior, Ubaldo Stefani. An influential Italian epic that paved the way for elaborate costume dramas about the final hours of residents of Pompeii before the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Among the last of the great tableaux films, most scenes are explained by a title, then dramatized within a single wide shot, a presentation style whose origins are more theatrical and literary than cinematic. 88 min.

The Odyssey (TV, 1997)

Cast: Armand Assante, Greta Scacchi, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeroen Krabbe, Christopher Lee, Irene Papas, Bernadette Peters, Eric Roberts, Isabella Rossellini, Vanessa Williams. In this spectacular presentation of Homer's Odyssey the warrior-king Odysseus, aided by the goddess Athena, 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. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky. 165 min.

The Royal Hunt of the Sun (2006)

Directed by Irving Lerner. Cast: Robert Shaw, Christopher Plummer, Nigel Davenport, Michael Craig, Andrew Keir, William Marlowe, James Donald, Alexander Davion, Leonard Whiting. Fueled by promises of gold, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his explorers venture across the treacherous Andes Mountains to Peru. There, Pizarro captures King Atahuallpa, Inca's godlike monarch, and promises his freedom upon the deliverance of gold.

The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Directed by Nathan Juran. Cast: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Torin Thatcher, Richard Eyer. Sinbad a bold sailor and prince of Baghdad, sets out for the mysterious island of Colossa where he hopes to obtain the egg of a roc--a fierce, giant bird. The egg will help restore to normal size the Princess Parisa who has been reduced to the size of a man's thumb by the evil magician, Sokurah.

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