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Imperium: Augustus (2003)

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Caesar Augustus tells of how he became the emperor to his reluctant daughter, Julia following the death of her husband Agrippa.

Director:

Roger Young

Writer:

Eric Lerner
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter O'Toole ... Augustus Caesar
Charlotte Rampling ... Livia Drusilla
Vittoria Belvedere ... Julia Caesaris
Benjamin Sadler ... Gaius Octavius / Young Augustus
Ken Duken ... Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa
Russell Barr Russell Barr ... Gaius Maecenas
Juan Diego Botto ... Iullus Antonius
Martina Stella ... Young Livia
Valeria D'Obici Valeria D'Obici ... Atia
Michele Bevilacqua ... Tiberius
Riccardo De Torrebruna Riccardo De Torrebruna ... Decimus
Giampiero Judica ... Scipio
Vanni Materassi ... Musa
Elena Ballesteros Elena Ballesteros ... Octavia
Gérard Klein Gérard Klein ... Julius Caesar (as Gerard Klein)
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Storyline

In 42 BC Rome is in the middle of a civil war. Together with his friend AGRIPPA, the young Augustus goes to Spain in order to help JULIUS CAESAR in his struggle against the troops of POMPEY. Even though they are outnumbered, they manage to defeat Pompey. Caesar honours his adopted son Augustus with a triumphal entry into Rome and then sends him to Greece together with his friends Agrippa and Maecenas. There, Augustus hears the news of Caesar's assassination and he returns to Rome with his friends. Back in Rome, he is able to gain both the support of the people and political power. In his struggle with the conspirators against Caesar he finds an ally in MARC ANTONY. Marc Antony not only pursues BRUTUS and CASSIUS, he also initiates a wave of executions which practically eliminates the old Roman ruling class. Among those who are killed is the husband of LIVIA DRUSILLA, a woman with whom Augustus had been in love as a young man. Through a combination of good luck and chance, Augustus and... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

History will bear the mark of his rule. See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | Germany | France | Spain | Austria

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 November 2003 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Augustus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was dedicated to Titus Vossberg, who was the set decorator. See more »

Goofs

When getting back into his saddle after visiting his mother and sister, Octavian's horse is clearly fitted with stirrups. In Roman era saddles the rider had to depend on squeezing two horns in the saddle between his thighs. Stirrups were not used in and were only generally adopted in Europe. No full example of a Roman saddle remains and all those used are reconstructions at best from recovered fragments. See more »

Quotes

Octavius: She's watching me.
Agrippa: Who?
Octavius: The woman I'll marry.
Agrippa: Where?
Octavius: Somewhere.
Agrippa: Quick! Open your wounds so that your hero's blood is easier to see!
See more »

Connections

Followed by St. Peter (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not as bad as the above
3 January 2005 | by tsubaki_sanjuroSee all my reviews

The above comments are too harsh, but the film is by no means great.

The bad parts first. The CGI - if thats what it is - is very poor for audiences raised on "Gladiator" and the rest of the sword-and-sandal epics, to say nothing of contemporary TV productions like Channel Four's "The Ancient Egyptians". All of the battle scenes suffer as a result, and this is worsened by some shots of legionaries being hit by arrows and pila that are utterly laughable - one soldier can be seen to pull the spear into his body, others are already grabbing the part the arrow hits before it hits. Moreover, the battles they represent are meaningless, as they neglect to show either Phillipi or Actium in any detail that could do them justice.

The script is a bizarre mishmash of historical accuracy and modern elements, the most obvious being the character of Maecenas, brought in for some reason to be both comic relief and "the only gay in the village". The continual harping on about Rome also grates somewhat, though this tends to die out towards the end; for that matter the original insistence that Octavian and Agrippa were "country boys" is incorrect - Octavian's father had been praetor.

The filming location - in Bizerte - is also very obviously not Italy, and since a recurring element of the film is the activity in and around the forum, this is noticeable more than it would have been if the activity was focused in the senate.

Despite all that, there is still an OK film lurking beneath the surface. Peter O'Toole does a good - if bored - turn as the elderly Augustus, Livia (who the historical sources believe was as manipulative as she is portrayed here Marcus - Caligula was to call her "Ulysses in petticoats") is played well by both actresses, with exactly the right amount of malice; Michele Bevilacqua's Tiberius is suitably reluctant to assume the burden of the Empire and Julia, as well as nagged by Livia (though he shunned Julia, and appealed against her banishment - so the rape scene was unjustified).

Despite what Marcus wrote above, the treatment of Julia in this film - aside from the rape - is justified by the extant evidence, she was banished for adultery, after a complaint by her father using a law he had brought about with Iullus.

Its also much more historically accurate than most films - it sticks closely to Suetonius's "Life of the Deified Augustus" (aside from the gripes mentioned above) and far better than more expensive films (King Arthur bow your head in shame), and is well worth watching for anyone who is prepared to accept some bizarre script moments in order to learn something of history.


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