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Julius Caesar (1953)

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The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.

Writer:

William Shakespeare (play)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Mark Antony
James Mason ... Brutus
John Gielgud ... Cassius
Louis Calhern ... Julius Caesar
Edmond O'Brien ... Casca
Greer Garson ... Calpurnia
Deborah Kerr ... Portia
George Macready ... Marullus
Michael Pate ... Flavius
Richard Hale ... Soothsayer
Alan Napier ... Cicero
John Hoyt ... Decius Brutus
Tom Powers ... Metellus Cimber
William Cottrell William Cottrell ... Cinna
Jack Raine ... Trebonius
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Storyline

Brutus, Cassius, and other high-ranking Romans murder Caesar, because they believe his ambition will lead to tyranny. The people of Rome are on their side until Antony, Caesar's right-hand man, makes a moving speech. The conspirators are driven from Rome, and two armies are formed: one side following the conspirators; the other, Antony. Antony has the superior force, and surrounds Brutus and Cassius, but they kill themselves to avoid capture. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MGM's acclaimed production of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Julius Caesar See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,070,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,831
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System) (original release)| Stereo (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White | Black and White (tinted) (1969 UK re-release)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir John Gielgud was cast after Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz saw him play Cassius in a stage production at Stratford-on-Avon. Mankiewicz was in Stratford to see Paul Scofield, who he was considering casting as Mark Antony, until Marlon Brando's screentest turned out so well. See more »

Goofs

Brutus is twice seen with a book bound on one edge, in the modern form. This format, called 'codex', was not unknown at the time, but codices were far rarer than scrolls until early Christian times. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Flavius: Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home:/ Is this a holiday? what! know you not,/ Being mechanical, you ought not walk/ Upon a labouring day without the sign/ Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1969, re-released in a tinted black and white version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in MGM Parade: Episode #1.12 (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beware the Ides of March
16 March 2016 | by oOoBarracudaSee all my reviews

Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1953 film exploring the life and death of larger than life Julius Caesar wastes no time engaging the audience. With Louis Calhern in the titular role and Marlon Brando as his faithful friend Mark Antony, the film goes into great detail about what gets Caesar killed by associates of his, and even greater detail of the thirst for power after his death. Julius Caesar, the film, goes down a dark road proving Nietzsche's Will to Power lives within even the most trusted of our allies.

Caesar is enjoying more praise than ever when he returns to Rome after defeating Pompey. During a victory celebration Caesar attends with his most trusted allies Cassius (John Gielgud) and Brutus (James Mason) he is warned by a Soothsayer to beware the Ides of March. Caesar ignores the warning and goes about the celebration unknowing that conversations are taking place regarding his rise to power. They believe Caesar to be untrustworthy and think he will become a tyrant. Fueled by lies and anger, a plot is masterminded to murder Caesar. On the 15th day of March, Caesar prepares to go to the senate, his wife Calpurnia (Greer Garson) begs him not to go due to a vivid dream she had in which Caesar was murdered. Caesar scoffs and goes anyway, being warned by another Soothsayer along the way. Ignoring this second warning, Caesar makes his way to the senate where the conspirators circle him and begin to stab him one by one. Upon seeing his dear friend Brutus among the murderers, Caesar succumbs to his wounds and dies. Mark Antony (Marlon Brando), who was led away from Caesar on the fateful day under false pretenses, joins with Caesar's adopted son and successor, Octavius (Douglass Watson) to avenge his death. They achieve their goal with Cassius and Titinius (John Parrish) being killed in the war that ensues, leaving only Brutus left alive of the conspirators. Seeing death as inevitable, Brutus kills himself and is pardoned by Octavius as acting, in what he believed, to be the best course of action for Rome.

Audiences are immediately engaged in the film from the very beginning. A gripping speech in the opening scene catapults the audience to ancient Rome, bringing it alive through the production design mimicking Roman architecture and language. For one, Caesar dies at almost exactly halfway through the film. I personally love a movie that will throw the audience for a loop by killing off its main character. Of course, being familiar with the play Julius Caesar, I knew he would be killed, but I did not know he would be killed so early on, leaving half the film to deal with the aftermath of his murder. Likewise, Marlon Brando's Mark Antony was hardly in the first half of the movie; being a fan of Brando's I was initially disappointed about this, however, he more than makes up for his absence with a strong second act. The costumes and production designs were an absolute treat, recreating ancient Rome, and making me feel like I had gladiator sandals on. The film was more than deserving of the Oscar it received that year for Art Direction (encompassing set decoration). I am shocked however that it wasn't even nominated for a statuette in the Costume Design category. The ghost Caesar that haunted Brutus was a directorial feat considering the time in which the picture was filmed. Its looming presence agonized Brutus, leading him to believe that Caesar was not at rest. The film was a stunning achievement of its time and one that I recommend be enjoyed by all. Personally, I have a yearly tradition of watching this film every year on the Ides of March and it has yet to get old.


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