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A fierce Roman general becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.

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, (uncredited)

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(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Marina Berti ...
Buddy Baer ...
Felix Aylmer ...
Nora Swinburne ...
Ralph Truman ...
Norman Wooland ...
Peter Miles ...
Geoffrey Dunn ...
Terpnos
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Storyline

Returning to Rome after 3 years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her. She is a Christian and doesn't want to have anything to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero to give her to him for services rendered Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Colossal [Quo Vadis] See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Qvo Vadis  »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,623,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Claude Rains and Fredric March were considered for the part of Petronius. See more »

Goofs

In the movie Petronius commits suicide in AD 64 in the wake of the burning of Rome. In fact Petronius did not fall from favor until 2 years later, was actually arrested by Tigellinus, and killed himself before being sentenced. See more »

Quotes

Vinicius: [speaking of Nero] His new wife, Poppea, sounds interesting - a harlot for an empress?
Petronius: [sardonically humorous] My dear Marcus, what a proletarian observation! You must know that a woman has no past when she mates with a god.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Big One!
29 December 2003 | by (WA State USA) – See all my reviews

It is a great pleasure to see so many comments here that are enthusiastic about 'Quo Vadis'. I just saw it again last night after about 15 years, and I marvelled at what a high quality spectacle it is

  • better than ever, in fact.




In his autobiography, 'Take One', Mervyn LeRoy has some great stories about 'Quo Vadis'. Such as: while filming one of the really big crowd scenes, a voice pipes up from the extras: 'Hey Moy-vin!', and it's Jack Benny. And in a scene right out of one of his pictures, when 'Quo Vadis' is screened in San Francisco, and LeRoy is present, the theatre happens to be right near the corner where the big-time director once sold papers as a kid. He revisits the corner after the screening and sheds a few tears. LeRoy was an extra in C.B. DeMille's first 'Ten Commandments', so the desire to deliver something DeMillian was realized at last, and with smashing success.

We all agree on Peter Ustinov's ingenious performance, so all I need to add is that in his own autobiography, 'Dear Me', Sir Peter's recollections of the filming are as wonderful as his performance.

Whatever his capabilities as an actor, I always thought that Bob Taylor's performance was pretty darn good, and appropriate, too: what high-ranking Roman officer wouldn't be pompous? In any case, the story is much larger than Marcus' character, and the story comes to dominate the picture.

It is indeed a pity that the excellent Rozsa score wasn't handled by the Warners sound department, where it would have been been presented to full effect Much of its impact is squandered by its being kept in the background. I don't think Merv LeRoy had so much to do with this decision, as his alma mater was Warners (try watching 'Anthony Adverse'!) It seems that it was probably MGM policy. With sensitivity, a DVD version could perhaps offer the picture with a 'sweetened' soundtrack.

The quality of the camera work by solid professionals Bob Surtees (later MGM's UltraPanavision 70 specialist) and Wm V. Skall (his work on 'The Silver Chalice' was outstanding) really cannot be overstated.

Along with the delights of Sir Peter's performance, I still get choked up when noble Buddy Baer takes on that bull, and when Marina Berti's character displays so much love and devotion to Leo Genn's. Genn is right up there with James Mason in quality, and indeed, Mason may have taken a few pointers from Genn's performance for his own acting in subsequent epics. Patricia Laffan is decadently sexy without being campy.

Trivia: scenes for the burning of Rome were sensibly used in MGM's 'The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao' and 'Atlantis, The Lost Continent' to great effect.

It is a credit to Merv LeRoy for allowing great actors like Peter Ustinov and Leo Genn to 'do their thing'.

'Quo Vadis' is a classic: a stunning spectacle, intelligent, good script, fine performances by practically everybody, and it remains long in the memory, and holds up well indeed.


66 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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