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Massacre in Rome (1973)

Rappresaglia (original title)
1:22 | Trailer

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Rome, March 23, 1944: 33 German soldiers are killed by a bomb. Lt. Col. Herbert Kappler is ordered to execute ten times that Italians.


George P. Cosmatos (as George Pan Cosmatos)


Robert Katz, George P. Cosmatos (as George Pan Cosmatos) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Lt. Col. Herbert Kappler
Marcello Mastroianni ... Father Pietro Antonelli
Leo McKern ... Gen. Kurt Maelzer
John Steiner ... Col. Dollmann
Anthony Steel ... Maj. Domizlaf
Robert Harris ... Father Pancrazio
Peter Vaughan ... Gen. Albert Kesselring
Renzo Montagnani ... Questore Pietro Caruso
Giancarlo Prete ... Paolo
Renzo Palmer Renzo Palmer ... Giorgio
Duilio Del Prete ... Partisan
Dennis Burgess Dennis Burgess
Brook Williams
Guidarino Guidi Guidarino Guidi ... Guido Buffarini-Guidi
Douglas Hare Douglas Hare ... Young German Soldier


In the Nazi occupied city of Rome, an assault on an SS brigade draws retaliation from the military governship. "Massacre in Rome" is the true story of how this partisan attack led to the mass execution of Italian nationals under the orders of SS-Lieutenant Colonel Kappler. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

city | partisan | italian | ss | massacre | See All (30) »


A savage act of reprisal - who was to blame? See more »


Drama | History | War


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Italy | France


Italian | English

Release Date:

24 October 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Massacre in Rome See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Lt Col Herbert Kappler's second in command was Erich Priepke. He was arrested in South America and extradited to Italy where he was released from trial, due to his age. After public outcry, he was placed under house arrest in Italy until his death. Kappler was imprisoned after the war and, in old age, contracted cancer. He was refused release under medical grounds. His second wife, a nurse, smuggled him out of prison in a suitcase, yet due to his health was very frail. She got him to East Germany where he lived out his remaining days. During his imprisonment in Italy, Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty visited Kappler regularly. See more »


The film portrays General Kurt Mälzer as an impulsive and hardcore Nazi, whilst Herbert Kappler is depicted as a tired worn out man who believes that the fall of Nazi Germany is imminent. In reality, Kappler was a zealous Nazi responsible for hundreds of round-ups, executions, and reprisals, whilst it was Mälzer who was a reserved officer, cautious about implementing harsh policies. See more »


Father Pietro Antonelli: I would prefer a world that didn't need protecting.
Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Kappler: And I would prefer a religion that didn't need priests.
See more »


Referenced in Escape to Athena: Cast and Crew Interviews (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

The problem of reprisal
27 February 2019 | by shakercoolaSee all my reviews

A story depicting the background and events leading up to one of the most devastating wartime atrocities in modern history, the Adreatine Massacre in Rome in 1944. Thirty-three members of the German 11th Company, 3rd Battalion, SS Police Regiment 'Bozen', was attacked and gunned down by the Roman underground. Hitler's reprisal was to order the death of ten Roman civilians for each of the thirty-three SS soldiers killed. The Pope ordered that one Roman Priest collaborate with the SS to carry it out. George P. Cosmatos directs the drama with a palpable emphasis on plot. Darkly lit to create a looming atmosphere and uncompromising scenes works very well. The dialogue moralises about non-involvement which becomes heavy at times and there are also many inaccuracies. The character of the Head of the Security Police, Herbert Kappler was a ruthless war criminal and not war weary and troubled as portrayed here by Richard Burton. The German victims in the story were regular Austrian soldiers. Of lesser importance, though, is Father Pietro Antonelli being a composite character. All in all, its a bit cumbersome as it progresses, but as a story it is interesting for the dilemma of reprisal and absorbing for the machinations of morality. Good drama arises from face-to-face confrontations.

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