12 Best Roman Movies of All Time

Roman Movies are commonly those movies which are set in Ancient Rome. Ancient Rome is one of the most talked about eras of history, being featured and referenced in countless sources of popular culture. There have been brilliant films set in contemporary Rome, the culture of ancient Rome is completely different, and with the exception of a few popular landmarks, the setting is unlike any other in history. Here’s the list of top Roman movies ever. You can watch some of these best Roman Empire movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.

12. Titus (1999)

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‘Titus’ is one of Shakespeare’s little-known, earlier works, and it is a violent, disturbing tragedy. This film demonstrates how a stage director can combine the unique atmosphere of theater with the stark realism and fantastic effects of film and make a beautiful, moving masterpiece. The words are Shakespeare, the staging is fabulous, the costumes and sets are remarkable and memorable. Jessica Lange and Anthony Hopkins and Alan Cummings radiate. Seeing Titus leaves one exhausted and exhilarated, believing one has seen true, gifted, timeless film making.

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11. Agora (2009)

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It is a really engaging film looking at the clash of Christians & Pagans in 4th Century Roman AD. It’s a moving cinematic piece of art and Alejandro does the story proud in his way of capturing the time of struggles of that time. The great thing about this film is the choosing of the story, and its context. The shifting of mentalities depicted here and the riotous events, whether historically accurate or not serve as an example of what was going on.

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10. Life of Brian (1979)

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‘Life of Brian’ is a very funny film from Monty Python. With this one, they really pulled off something highly entertaining and hilarious. Everyone one here brings something truly memorable to the screen, and with its plot, is a fine parody that generates lots of laughs. The film has plenty of great moments that really stand out. Monty Python are terrific comedians, and they deliver a film that is very funny from start to finish. The story must be fairly well-known. Brian is born at the same time as Jesus with whom he leads a kind of parallel life, thus allowing the team to lampoon and satirise everything from religious zealotry and mob hysteria to 1950s biblical/sword & sandals epic cinema.

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9. Imperium: Augustus (2003)

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‘Imperium: Augustus’ is a British-Italian production, and part of the Imperium series. It tells of the life story of Octavian and how he became Augustus (Roman statesman and military leader who served as the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, controlling Imperial Rome from 27 BC until his death in AD 14). The sets and costuming were impressively accurate as were the battle scenes and no one threw a single sword. A great blend of the full range of human emotions humor included at just the appropriate moment to keep it from becoming depressing.

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8. Asterix and Cleopatra (1968)

‘Asterix and Cleopatra’  is probably one of the best Belgium/French animated films to date. It surely is the best of all Asterix movies since its story holds more together than any of the others. It is a musical, the funniest and most entertaining Asterix movie but also it is a masterpiece. Every line is funny, the characters are singing, dancing and full of life. A wonderful adventure, full of melodies and of touching characters.

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7. Centurion (2010)

‘Centurion’ is set during the war between Roman soldiers and Pict tribesmen during the 2nd century Roman conquest of Britain. It is an exciting and intense action/adventure film with fantastic fight scenes and strong acting. In the movie “A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is devastated in a guerrilla attack.” Stunning battles scenes illuminate the full-blown feats with a plethora of engaging action set pieces on the combats in which the heads and limbs are sliced off. Ultimately, it offers a quite believable scenario to explain the mysterious historical disappearance of the 9th Legion in Hibernia.

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6. Cleopatra (1963)

The 1963 film about the Imperialist Roman Empire and the struggles of an Egyptian Queen to avenge the betrayal of the Roman senate is a chronicle about the life of Cleopatra. Cleopatra was attracted to Julius Caesar and seduced him to assist her in overthrowing the Pharaoh of Egypt, the younger brother and gain dominion of the country. However successful they were, Caesar was betrayed and assassinated by his own countrymen and senate. What follows is Cleopatra tryst with redemption as she conspires with Mark Anthony to defeat Octavian, who was entitled as successor to Caesar. She resorts to several measures to help defend Egypt, all the while being riddled with setbacks. The story does not seek to glorify the spoils of war, but presents a befitting image of the characters and paints the true picture of the era. Cleopatra was brought to life by the ever elegant Elizabeth Taylor, supported by a shimmering cast including Richard Burton, Rex Harrison and Roddy McDowall.

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5. Spartacus (1960)

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‘Spartacus’, American epic adventure film, that recounts the story of a historical slave uprising (73–71 BCE) against Rome. In the movie “Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) has been a slave of the Roman Empire his entire life. Freedom is something he longs for, but has never known. Saved from a Libyan rock quarry, Spartacus is taken to Italy so that he can train to be a gladiator.” It is an epic that engages the intellect as well as the eyes and the emotions. All stars have given top notch performances in this epic. The film took out four Oscar Awards in 1961 including ‘Best Cinematography’, ‘Best Art Direction-Set Decoration’ and ‘Best Costume Design’.

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4. Gladiator (2000)

‘Gladiator’ is a triumph. On the surface, it’s a terrific yarn with strong, rounded characters, agonizing suspense and visceral thrills. Look closer and you’ll find rich historical themes, and a harrowing critique of violence as amusement. In the movie “When a Roman General is betrayed, and his family murdered by an emperor’s corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.” Russell Crowe as ‘Maximus’ has the charismatic glower of a true star.

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3. The Passion of the Christ (2004)

It is an American biblical drama film directed by Mel Gibson, depicting last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. The Passion was directed at a target audience, in this case Christians. The point of the movie was simply this: to make Christians understand, in a visceral way, what they knew intellectually from reading the bible: that Christ endured a horrible and brutal death in order to save us from our sins. It was completely successful in this, and was, perhaps, the most powerful movie.

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2. Julius Caesar (1953)

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This adaptation of Shakespeare is, like the play, more interested in the post Caesar world than the title character. It is a tense, melodramatic story, clearly presented, and excellently acted by one of the finest casts assembled for a film. Brando gives us the most realistic Antony speech. Mason and Gielgud are tremendous as the villains. The filming is straightforward, with a minimum of distractions, cuts were made to the script to keep things moving, the dialog is clearly spoken, and the performances are terrific all around.

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1. Ben Hur (1959)

Directed by William Wyler, this American epic historical drama is as long as it is amazing. Starring Charlton Heston as Judah Ben Hur, the man who fought against the holy roman emperor to avenge his family. The film which probably made Heston the great actor he is known as won a record eleven awards at the Oscars and three Golden Globes to boot. The plot follows the rise of Ben Hur and his exploits right up to the witnessing of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. An excellently made film, Heston brings to life this man in all the glory possible only on the Hollywood screen making it by far the finest film of his career.

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