Caligula (1979) - Drama, History

Hohum Score



Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula.

IMDB: 5.4
Director: Tinto Brass
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole
Length: 156 Minutes
PG Rating: N/A
Reviews: 67 out of 291 found boring (23.02%)

One-line Reviews (178)

The behind the scenes details are far more fascinating than the end result of a film.

This excessive sex and violence aside, the point is this: Caligula in general is a major dud - a long, drawn-out (seriously it drags on well over two hours!!

)The Daring ( and revolting , and BORING sex and violence) was toned down, simply leaving pretentious "artiness'.

However, being 19, a girl, and usually of a pretty open mind, I figured it would be right up my alley anyway, but about twenty-two minutes in I had to accept that this may very well be one of the worst movies of all time.

True, it is by no means whatsoever a perfect film, but what most people fail to realise is that the writer and the director of "Caligula" had originally set out to make an allegorical story about life in the corridors of power in Ancient Rome, as opposed to a hard-core pornographic peepshow, The visceral scenes of violence are alarmingly compelling.

As I watched "Caligula", I became confused, bored, offended, and disgusted towards the material.

Its an era which produced some of the darkest, cruelest, most explicit and yet most lush, grand and fascinating films ever produced.

Recommendation to avoid, but if you like sex and gore you can always fast forward to those particular scenes as they are the only saving grace of this dull film.

I enjoyed it.

This movie have all the elements to be great: fascinating caracter (the most notorius crazy roman emperor), great cast (sweet McDowell), lavish production (Donati´s sets!

Its boring and a waste of time.

All too quickly we witness the boredom, the frustration, the spiritual emptiness of unlimited power & what it would be like to truly never grow up.

There is no plot.

All involved may have been embarrassed, but what we've got here is genuinely entertaining.

Caligula hiccups from one sorry sequence to the next, seemingly without connective tissue; the whole enlivened, if that's the right word, by repetitive and bewilderingly gratuitous money shots.

All the time I just wanted to turn it off because it was, exactly what the director didn't want it to be, boring, boring boring.

It is stunning and amusing to see the likes of Gielgud and Mirren recite their lines with serious intent and then watch a quick cut-away to hardcore fellatio at a Bob Guccione version of an orgy.

This film has nothing: no plot, no story, nor good acting; it's just a series of vignettes showing the most shocking images you could ever imagine.

The continual partying, the fascination with loveless, experimental and sado-masochistic sex, the self-indulgence and egotism are all there.

Surprisingly, the dialog/soundtrack itself is pretty tame and apart from some screaming is actually only PG, and banal.

Worst movie ever made?

The girls, and especially Anneka, are beautiful and are really skilled experts : all the sexual combination are done and it's totally exciting (especially the lesbian, orgy scenes)!

And please don't waste your money on such a vial affair.

It was a waste of time and utterly disgusting.

Once Peter O'Toole's syphilitic character is murdered early in the film, how the plot proceeds is quite predictable.

It's well worth watching, because there is nothing out there like this film.

"Caligula" is by far one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

This could have prevented the film from being simultaneously titillating and boring, a difficult thing to achieve.

Truly mind blowing epic of sleaze and violence.

They dumped money into the project to turn ancient history into a boring, sickening, and vile sexploitation porn film.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz .

The film gets distracted in its multiple sex scenes; so much so that the plot suffers greatly and any interest you have in this long dreary film is lost right away.

The rest of it, well, not so special, and ultimately sleep inducing.

Malcolm McDowell's (of Clockwork Orange fame) interpretation of an insane king is overwrought and tedious.

At times it's really quite boring.

Caligula paints a candy coloured burlesque of power, ostentatious pageantry hiding a dreadfully empty centre.

But the director's visions of these deaths and the bored amusement of their protagonists, while the bystanders watch with nonchalance, I just don't see it having gone down exactly like that.

I relatively enjoyed it even with the open sexuality which was more sensuality and nudity in the film.

It has to be said: The orgies are the most boring part of this movie.

I found the film strangely compelling.

In another level it´s still very enjoyable if you like weird films.

Dull .

Someone had to make sex boring, and it looks like Bob Guccione was the man .

For an entertaining and enjoyable telling of the Caligula tale, I recommend John Hurt's turn in I, CLAUDIUS.

As a kind of antidote to "Quo Vadis" I watched this fascinating film last night.

It was a new, exciting.

Awesome and worth watching at least once in your life .

Worth watching if you can borrow it.

Poor direction, amateurish and laughable cinematography (so dull I first thought it was on purpose!

You only have to compare the gleeful fun and theatrical shocks of the Tiberian Grotto scene to the later dull and boring porn inserts to see the difference between the two directors.

Which these interviews are fascinating and they offer different in-sights of the film.

Then there are scenes that have no story, appear to be filmed with a different grade of film, and add nothing to the movie except skin; I assume that these were done by Guccione.

A mish-mash of directorial styles -- from trite to frenetically bizarre -- Caligula lurches from predictable to surprising, sometimes within the same scene.

Steiner was wonderful, so was O toole, but it was all such a bore, as if there were all these dead moments, where the actors were just secretly conversing to us.

The only other thing in it worth watching is the scenes with his sister.

It's the kind of film where the 'making of' would probably have been more enjoyable and entertaining, if only the cast and crew were willing to speak frankly, and in full, about the production.

The sets are mildly interesting knock offs of Fellinis Satyricon and Pasolini's Trilogy of Life, the classical score is fair, if pretentious.

How can a biographical film about a very twisted Roman emperor be boring?

Caligula hiccups from one sorry sequence to the next, seemingly without connective tissue; the whole enlivened, if that's the right word, by repetitive and bewilderingly gratuitous money shots.

There's an eyeful of flesh and gore that is satisfying on some level, but the story is just paper-thin and tiresome.

Intense and atmospheric and powerful.

It is much like the propaganda film Triumph of the Will.

good for a laugh but it gets tiresome after half an hour.

There's so much damned sex that after a while stops being shocking or arousing; it just gets boring.

Once Peter O'Toole's syphilitic character is murdered early in the film, how the plot proceeds is quite predictable.

A porn convention so tired it made me yawn.

Where Brass injects wit and humor, Gucionne in boringly earnest.

The real story of Caligula is fascinating.

This development needed division of labor and intense work in some fields like agriculture and various crafts connected to the building "industry".

boring .

If nothing else, McDowell makes this mess watchable, and, sporadically, very entertaining.

It is trying to be a Roman Epic but with a sexual feel to it, but it only leaves you bored and tired of it.

Despite it's weak script at times, the film is entertaining and short enough under 2 hours to wrap a Shakespearean style tragedy in the making.

Disgusting, yet entertaining.

When I felt like I was going to throw up, I walked out.

The script is really poor and plotless , the directing and cinematography is awful and the editing is non existant .

His cruelty is weightless & banal, a product of boredom.

A very entertaining project could certainly be made about the pagan ruler Caligula of early A.

I was fortunate enough to have only seen the short version of this dreary DVD.

There is suggested rape, item-oriented sexual assault, and things even more disturbing such as twitching, apparent mutants engaging in said behavior as well.

After a while, all the nudity, hip thrusting and nipple sucking becomes tedious due to sheer repetition.

Caligula was a waste of time for everybody involved.

Malcolm McDowell is breathtaking!!!!!.

Want some semblance of a coherent story, historical accuracy, or something the least bit entertaining or watchable?

Great sets, great actors, a great screenwriter etc., all for naught as the film is shot in washed out colors, often dull focus, ONE camera zooming in and and out and never moving...

I originally saw the R rated version of this film in a mostly empty theater.

Recommendation to avoid, but if you like sex and gore you can always fast forward to those particular scenes as they are the only saving grace of this dull film.

The cruelty seemed very intense and sexuality exaggerated.

The "making of" documentary is just as interestingly pretentious as the film.

If you're offended or bored by gratuitous sex, thank God for fast-forward, you're going to need it.

Many of the scenes though possibly viewed by the some as interesting and entertaining such as the oral scene on the boat and the penetration scenes could have been left out.

At a length of a little over 2 and 1/2 hours, it really becomes boring and pointless.

"Caligula" is an ugly, boring porn film which aims to exploit history in favor of cheap hardcore sex footage and gross-out shots.

Second, it's soaked with graphic violence, up to a point where I just wanted to turn it off.

I'd say, if you're /really/ bored and this is sitting by the player, load it up and flop into a beanbag.

Camera-work is hopelessly inept, full of strange zooms, failed framing and confusing pans (to and from what mostly looks like a huge theater stage!

Virtually every perversion one can think of is represented here, and is performed against massive, stunning sets which are lavish and amazing in their construction and attention to detail.

Ancient Rome is such a fascinating subject, especially from a moral perspective.

There is the kernel of a great film here, with stunning sets and costumes, Oscar calibre performances from Peter O'Toole and Malcolm McDowell, and a script by Gore Vidal.

Caligula (the 1977/80 film) is the opulent, fascinating but often empty climax to this genre.

Of all this movie is a example of that magical word,BAD MOVIE so dont waste your time and see it.

That alone might make a movie interesting for an hour or so, but after that it just gets boring.

What is perhaps unexpected from the publisher of a magazine so closely associated with the heterosexual male lifestyle is that there is as much male flesh as female on display and distinctly homoerotic overtones to many scenes.

Very good orgy and oral-sex scene that was ruined by pretentious "fall-of-the-Roman-Empire" juxtapositions.

a fascinating blob of a movie.

There are original, evocative pieces written for the film by Paul Clemente, no doubt a talented composer.

The result is a fascinating epic with fantastic production values, some gruesome violence and a whole load of explicit sex.


Throughout the movie, the dull and heavy hand of Guccione can be seen everywhere.

The uncut version, on the other hand, is a fascinating mess, made strange and mad through sheer licentiousness.

Tiberius (Peter O'Toole) was Caligula's predecessor, and he was a much more fascinating character.

Naked slaves and worker bees I can understand, and of course Caligula's reign did have a very promiscuous color to it, but there were, in my opinion, much more pressing matters that the film only touched upon that could have served as more entertaining.

Not cause of it's sex and violence, which I'm truly grateful for, especially the head decapitation, and too the performances, which I loved, which never slacked (a young Mirren, a looker in her day) but mostly it's a straining bore of nothing happeningness or tediousness, long in the tooth sort of stuff.

I finally got to see a "sanitized" version of this pretentious, dull-witted silo of cinematic tripe the other evening...

And it's worth watching, at least once.

This movie was running for a stunning 5 years ore so, in a Copenhagen Cinema.

The first 30 minutes or so are well worth watching.

What could have been a shocking, but provocative, art house commentary on the indestructibility of bourgeois rule, was turned in to a crude exercise in the most dull and tedious kind of porn.

Not only do you not see her with other men in this movie, but she also goes through the entire movie looking bored and just going through the motions.

Prokofiev's Dance of The Knights (AKA Montagues and Capulets) is simply stunning.

For me, it was a waste of time.

The movie shows, among other things, Caligula hosting several orgies, engaging in incest with his sister Drusilla (Teresa Ann Savoy) and having hundreds of people viciously executed for next to no reason.

The story is very interesting and engrossing, the soundtrack is great, and the cast?

It seems that producer Bob Guccione was more concerned with filming hardcore sex scenes to show the debauchery of ancient Rome than with making an accurate or entertaining film.

The scenery is ponderous and gaudy, the acting for the most part is terrible.

The dialogue is corny, the history is poorly told and the transitions from scene to scene feel disjointed and out of place (for the record, I saw the complete and unedited version).

One of the worst movies I have ever seen.

The dialogue also varies from adequate to quite compelling to downright terrible.

One can surf the net and pretty much see whatever they want in a minute's time (to a point where it quickly becomes dull).

The uncut version, on the other hand, is a fascinating mess, made strange and mad through sheer licentiousness.

However, to my surprise, Caligula turned out to be a compelling and highly entertaining character study set among the ridiculous excess of the early Roman Empire.

The sexual activity of the film gets boring after a while, showing straight and gay sexual acts of every kind and even having McDowall deflowering a virginal bride on the wedding night and even taking it upon himself to humiliate the groom as well.

The inimitable Malcolm McDowell takes the lead role of Caligula and puts in his trademark intense performance.

The acting is awful and the length of the film makes it more unbearable.

As a result, the film is severely disjointed and fragmented.

The uneven story and writing weakens the film but it's worth watching even seeing Dame Helen Mirren in such a role.

My high school criminal justice teacher described police work as "hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

I highly recommend it if you have the stomache to sit through this movie.

Despite this film being regarded as one of the worst films of all time, I thoroughly enjoyed it because it portrays the most chaotic period in Rome's history.

Now that I've had the opportunity to vent, I'd like to say that "Caligula" is a pretty enjoyable film.

I do believe the makers of this movie believed they were making great art and that the acting was great and that's what makes this movie unbearable because it does take itself seriously and miserably fails.

The movie is empty otherwise.

Perhaps it's due to the coupling with a boring story, since Eyes Wide Shut didn't numb my senses quite like this did.

His other contemporaries- O'Toole and Gielgud- barely have enough screen time to show much, though they look bored or just befuddled to even be on the production, and Helen Mirren, while attractive and competent in the role, doesn't add much to the production.

This movie was probably the one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

The sex scenes, especially the last orgy in the movie are erotic, intense, explicit and live up to the hype.

McDowell is a fascinating, sly, humorous and serious actor.

), contrived scenography, inexistant sense of unity...

What was intended as a look into the life of the most debauched of Roman Emperors comes off as endless and pointless parade of violence and graphic sexual content.

While it can be visually interesting at times it is also extremely boring at times, it is no where near as violent or sexy as it is hyped up to be.

Caligula could have been powerful, intelligent and stunning.

A Stunning Mess .

All my eyes beheld were fully naked bodies, pointless close-ups of genitalia, acts of oral sex, orgies, hardcore sex scenes, mutilation, self-mutilation, urination, some form of necrophilia, castration, rape, and senseless violence and torture (sometimes sexually).

The film "Caligula" has to be one of the most bizarre, disgusting, vile, depraved, yet, beneath the muck, entertaining.

I struggled to stay awake to tell you the truth.

I was all ready to adopt a bored indifference.

It was certainly one of the most fascinating movies ever made during the 1970's.

Caligola is colourful, visually stunning experience and at the same time distressing for some.

The actors are all on their game, the dialogue might be a little trite and yes, there is actual porn going on in some scenes.

Editing is the final sin here, making a confusing mess of everything with randomly jumpy cutaways, continuity flaws and random transitions that destroy any chance of momentum, story progression - and involvement.

Everything is so forced and bland and the set looka cheap.

films have become so homogenized , predictable and safe C.

Porn, violence and boredom.

In fact, there's so much sexual activity, it gets boring.

The real shocker was that Tiberius had his Praetorian Guards throw many young boys over a cliff after he was bored with them.

Dear Lord, what a waste of time.

McDowell hams it up a bit too much, the bug-eyed maniac is tiresome, the point seems to be that this Caligula knew he wasn't a god and resented the way the Roman aristocracy propped up the role of emperor, and seemed relieved to finally get his in the end.

Sadness, because Caligula is, in fact, a fascinating historical character (even if, in truth, there's not much known about him) about whom a truly good movie could be made, and sadness because producer Bob Guccione clearly went the extra mile and actually put together a pretty decent cast featuring the likes of a young Malcolm McDowell as Caligula, supported by a young Helen Mirren as his wife, and backed up by solid veteran actors Peter O'Toole and John Gielgud - all of whom, with talents pooled, could have done a pretty good job with a serious production.

The sex scenes are as intense as most of your standard hard core porn,with rampant fellatio(male/female plus homosexual)and actual sexual penetration featured throughout.

Very entertaining .

Mcdowell was intriguing to watch, encompassing all the nasty attributes of this notorious and hated figure.

The movie is still banned in several countries, while there has been almost a dozen cuts in circulation over the years, and none of the make for a really good film, but all of them are fascinating to behold nonetheless.

Don't waste your time watching a nothing movie.

The direction is horrible and the film angles are confusing with abrupt cuts.

Where Brass in inventive, Gucionne is dull and repetitive.

It is just self indulgent rubbish.

The story behind this production is at least as intriguing and sleazy as the final product itself.

This is no tragedy, he's an empty vessel.