The Fall of the Roman Empire
by Anthony Mann


UK - March 24, 1964 - The Fall of the Roman Empire -
USA (New York City, DeMille Theater) - March 26, 1964 - The Fall of the Roman Empire - 187'
France (Cannes) - May 2, 1964 - La chute de l'empire romain -
Italy - 1964 - La caduta dell'impero romano - 176'
West Germany - June 12, 1964 - Der Untergang des Romischen Reiches -
Spain - 1964 - La caida del imperio romano - 187'
(attendance: 1,626,184)

French poster German poster Spanish poster American poster


Lucilla, the daughter of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, is in love with a Roman officiai named Livio, but for reasons of state must marry a dangerous enemy of Rome, the king of Armenia. The valiant Marcus Aurelius dies a violent death, and is succeeded by his son Commodus, an ambiguous, ambitious man. Commodus exiles Livio, then calls him back to court when he needs him to deal with some eastern peoples who have rebelled against the Roman troops. The king of Armenia dies ln the battle between the Romans and the barbarians, and Lucilla returns to Rome at Livio’s side. The two are imprisoned by Emperor Commodus, however, who accuses them of betrayal. There is only one possibility left to young Livio: defeat Commodus in a duel. And so it happens. Livio is the winner, but he refuses the empire and abandons Rome together with the woman he loves. (Enrico Lancia)
Story and screenplay: Ben Barzman, Basilio Franchina, Philip Yordan.


Madrid, Segovia, Sierra de la Guadarrama (Spain)
Cinecittà, Rome (Italy 

Filming dates: February through June 1963
 Press conference in Madrid on February 15, followed by shooting of the movie.


Sophia Loren (Lucilla)
Stephen Boyd (Livio)
James Mason (Timonide)
Alec Guinness (Marcus Aurelius)
Christopher Plummer (Commodus)
Omar Sharif (Sohamus of Armenia)
Mel Ferrer (Cleandro)


Photography :
Robert Krasker -(Technicolor, Ultra-Pana Vision)
Art direction and costume design:
Veniero Colasanti, John Moore
Sophia's Hair Stylist:
Grazia De Rossi
Still Photographer:
Vincent Rossell
Dimitri Tiomkin
Samuel Bronston
Michael Waszynski (Bronston Productions)
Jamie Pradez (Roma Films)


Sophia receives $1 million for her role in the film, which makes her the highest paid actress in the world in 1964. The movie has a moderate success in the international market but cannot recoup its $25 million investment Producer Samuel Bronston goes bankrupt and will never make another film.

Omar Sharif, Stephen Boyd, Anthony Quayle and producer Sam Bronston all proclaim they are in love with Sophia during the shooting of the film.

Basilio Franchina is hired to do some rewriting of the script and to serve as technical adviser.

A doctor orders Sophia to bed for a few days after she suffers a virus infection on the set on May 3.


"...the statuesque presence of Loren reminds one of what Rome can offer in grace and richness."
Sight and Sound

"Sophia Loren is ornamental, without intelligence or sex, as Commodus' beautiful sister, who for some strange reason loves the general."

Bosley Crowther, New York Times, 27 mar 1964

"As Lucilla, Sophia Loren plays a character with a strong will and emotional depth, but a woman whose heart rules her aristocratic mind. Rich, regal and determined to carry out her father's dream for the empire, she is at the same time the epitome of womanly beauty and seductiveness."
The Post-Standard, 14 jun 1964

"The protagonist if Sofia Loren. Beautiful as always, naturally. But much more genuine and sincere in characters such as the Pizzaiola or the Ciociara,  because the tinsel and wigs often dampen her impetus and dash."
Gian Luigi Rondi, Il Tempo, 20 nov 1964

"You tell Sophia something to do in the scene and she mirrors it instantly. She doesn't come prepared, like many actresses do. She prefers to progress with the scene through rehearsal."
Anthony Mann

Copyrights for all photos belong to their respective owners.
© Excelsior Communication - 2007

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