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Duel of the Titans (1961)

Romolo e Remo (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure, Drama | June 1963 (USA)
Twin brothers revolt against tyranny in pre-Roman Italy and then come to a parting of the ways as they lead their people toward the founding of a new city.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Franco Volpi ...
Rea Silvia
Piero Lulli ...
José Greci ...
Gianni Musy ...
Compagno di Romolo (as Gianni Musy Glori)
Inger Milton ...
Enzo Cerusico ...
Numa Pompilio
Andrea Bosic ...
Enrico Glori ...
Cittadino di Alba
Franco Balducci ...
Germano Longo ...
Bruno Tocci ...


Twin brothers revolt against tyranny in pre-Roman Italy and then come to a parting of the ways as they lead their people toward the founding of a new city.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Legendary Conflict of Mankind's Mightiest Mortals!


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Duel of the Titans  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The producers originally wanted Steve Reeves to play both Romulus and Remus, but he declined to do double roles and recommended former Tarzan Gordon Scott. See more »


Curzio: [speaking of Romulus] Take this horse thief and cut him to pieces!
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Referenced in Desperado Square (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

Non-Campy Peplum From The Director Of "Django"

Pretty good historical Peplum effort here by Sergio Corbucci, the Italian exploitation director best known for his trend setting spaghetti western classic DJANGO. It's easy to dismiss Italian sword & sandal spectacles from the early 1960s: they are universally low budgeted, take shortcuts that their Americanized counterparts wouldn't dream of (BEN HUR, THE 10 COMMANDMENTS, SPARTACUS) and borrow liberally from them as well, sometimes to the point of plagiarism. Not that there is anything automatically wrong with that, artists steal good ideas from each other all the time, and there's only so much you can do with a bunch of guys running around in tunics with swords.

This one tells of the founding of Rome by the twin brothers of legend, Romulus and Remus, wonderfully personified by Steve Reeves (HERCULES, HERCULES UNCHAINED) and particularly Gordon Scott (TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE, SAMSON AND THE 7 MIRACLES) in his first Peplum outing after ditching the Tarzan loincloth. Reeves plays the noble, stoic Romulus, destined to be the first king of Rome whether he likes it or not, and Gordon Scott plays Remus as you have never seen Gordon Scott before -- Wild, erratic, envious, prone to violence, distrustful of anyone who does not blindly follow his leadership, and ultimately flawed enough to come across as very human rather than the son of a Roman god.

Legend has it that Reeves refused an offer to play a dual role as both brothers and insisted the producers bring in his friend Gordon Scott instead, and it is a testament to Reeves' humbleness as a performer that he ceded the meatier role to his friend; Reeves is great as Romulus, but Scott is excellent as Remus, and the performance opened the door for Scott to appear in several more Pepla before the fad wore itself out. This one proves that he was capable of acting in addition to throwing large boulders at people, and the brothers' final showdown is indeed the stuff of tragedy and legend.

There's actually some high powered talent behind this effort. In addition to the A list manbeef and director Corbucci, spaghetti western specialists Duccio Tessari and Sergio Leone both played a role in scripting the non-hammy, non-campy screenplay, with cinematography by Enzo Barboni of TRINITY era fame, sets by the always brilliant Carlo Simi, and a sweeping, robust musical score by Piero Piccioni that is quite fittingly epic in nature. Supporting cast stalwarts Piero Lulli, Franco Volpi, José Greci, Laura Solari, and Jacques Sernas as the scurrilous Curzio bring a breadth to the production that makes many other examples of the genre seem silly by comparison.

Here is a thinking man's Peplum, eschewing the traditional gladiator bouts and he-man physical strength displays for a tightly woven story with a convincingly realistic tone. I would rank this movie up there with Gordon Mitchell's FURY OF ACHILLIES as amongst the best that the Italians were able to muster to cash in on the fad. Both films deal with historical legends and both maintain a somewhat serious tone throughout, and you can tell with this one that the Italian filmmakers were endowed with a sense of pride in telling their own pre-history for a change instead of just another potboiler script. Even with all the chest oil there's a tone of dignity to the film that is atypical of what the Peplum genre usually has to offer.

If I were to have a genuine criticism about the film it would be in regards to the barbaric horse race through a gauntlet of fire that the producers saw fit to include during the opening movements. It doesn't look like it was very safe for man or beast, and I can only hope that they asked the horses' permission first before running them through the very real pre-CGI obstacle course of burning rubbish and trip wires just for the benefit of the cameras. You have to wonder about the Italians sometimes -- couldn't they have just had a nice harmless javelin throwing contest?


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