Alexander the Great

Synopsis: An epic film that follows the life of Alexander the Great, the macedonian king that conquered all ancient greek tribes and led macedonian army against the vast Persian Empire. Alexander conquered most of the then known world and created a greek empire that spanned all the way from the Balkans to India.
Director(s): Robert Rossen
Production: United Artists
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
141 min

(man) It is men who endure toil and dare

dangers that achieve glorious deeds.

And it is a lovely thing

to live with courage,

and to die leaving behind

an everlasting renown.


This is what Demosthenes calls for, war!

(crowd protests)

- Aeschenes puts words in my mouth.

- If you mean truth, I put it there.

I know of no other way

for it to come from your mouth!

(crowd laughs)

Your audience performs well today.

Philip's money is well spent. The words

I used were "arms" and "money".

I quarrel with the words you did not use:

"Men" and "blood".

If these words must be used...

yes, men and blood.

Athenian men and Athenian blood?

To save Athens,

whose blood should be shed?

- (man) To save Athens, not Olynthus!

- And if Olynthus falls to the barbarian,

what stands between

Athens and destruction?

- Peace!

- Move for peace and I'll support you.

Men of Athens,

are there still madmen among you...?

Who wish to live?

I'm mad. I'm stark, raving mad.

Are there sane men among you

who still think that we have the power

to debate the question of war or peace?

Who will fight? You or us?

Why do you speak thus? For love

of country or love of Philip's gold?

No! No! No!

Philip has been at war with us ever since

he razed the first Greek city to the ground.

And as each Greek city fell,

Philip, too, kept proclaiming peace.

And, to our eternal shame,

we stood by and never once

cried out against his barbaric acts.

Are you blind that you cannot see

that this is the plan for Philip's conquest -

to extend his rule

city by city, state by state,

by bribery, treachery, force of arms?

- Yes?

- From Macedonia. Message for the king.


Philip, wake up.

There's a messenger from Macedonia.

Ah, such dreams I had.

Such strange and troubled

drunken dreams.

A messenger...?

- What news do you bring? Good or bad?

- You have a son.

- A son?

- Born to the queen three weeks ago.

- I have a son.

- Alexander.

- That's the name the queen gave him.

- Alexander. And the queen?

- She sends you greetings.

- Greetings?

"To Philip. Hail and rejoice."

"On this day to Olympias,

your queen and wife, a god was born."

- A god?

- Those were the queen's words.

What mother in Greece has not dreamed

that her first-born was a god?

Hail, Philip, conqueror.

Hail, Egyptian.

I want to see my son.

(man #1) Looks like you -

the hair, the eyes.

(man #2) Even his beard!

You named him well: Alexander.

Alexander of Macedonia.

Alexander of Greece.

Little lion.

Little god.

I say, uh...

I've heard that legend.

There were signs

of greatness at his birth.

Quakes and storms shook the earth,

and in the skies a star fell.

And two eagles perched upon

the roof of the queen's chamber.

And in far off Asia,

the Temple of Ephesus was struck

by lightning and burnt to the ground.

How did you read these signs,


The two eagles -

that he was born to rule two worlds.

The burning of the temple -

that a torch was kindled that day that

would one day consume all the world,

and this torch, your son.

And the falling of the star?

That a god was born to me... of a god.

(soothsayer) There were other signs

and portents of divinity.

Before his birth, the queen had a dream.

I had a dream, too, soothsayer.

One night on the battlefield

of Olynthus I had a dream.

I dreamed of death.

And when I awoke,

I didn't know whose death it was.

(crowd) We want Philip!

- Foretell it to me.

- Those shouts are for you.

The people have been waiting for hours

to see the king and his son.

- And if you kill him, what?

- Pleasure, bloody pleasure.

- And if you're wrong?

- An Egyptian soothsayer dies.

- And king Philip says to the world...?

- That he is also a man.

A madman! And if you are, play the role

and also kill her and the boy.

Kill her?

- And the boy?

- Why not?

Isn't it the ancient law

of the wild Macedonian chiefs?

You knew her when you married -

proud and jealous,

as wild as the mountains from which

she came and the gods she worshipped.

What she thinks I don't know, but this I do

She's a woman and she taunts you.

Taunts me?

Tears me.

And what do you believe, Parmenio?

Even the oracle at Delphi

proclaims his divinity.

- I've bought shrines and burned them.

- I accept the will of the gods.

And what do you believe?

I believe in the glory of Macedonia,

in the kingdom.

In the army,

forged with your will and your strength

and your belief that we were stronger and

more fit to rule than anyone in Greece,

even in Athens.

And you're right, Philip. We are.

We must proclaim to the world

that Macedonia will not fall apart,

that she will continue to rule

through you and through your son.

And then, Philip, we shall have truly lived.

Go to her.

You loved her once. At least

you can live in peace with her.

- Accept the boy. He's yours.

- (murmuring from crowd)

And give them what they want.



Achilles, too, was born of a god.

And at his birth it was foretold

that he would be greater than his father.

And he was.

And this destiny shall be yours,

too, Alexander.


They want to see the prince...

and the queen.

(crowd cheering)

- Greetings, Aristotle.

- Greetings, Alexander.

- Whose kill?

- His. Alone, on foot.

You should have seen it. It was like

a duel to decide which of them was king.

That duel need never have been fought.

Cleitus is back.


Cleitus. Black Cleitus!

- King.

- Companion.

Lucky Cleitus, to be the only one

amongst us chosen to go to war.

- For war you need men.

- Three years doesn't make a man.

What does, Philotas?

The news, friend. The news. My father?

He's well. He sends you greetings.

As do all your fathers.

- Were there many victories?

- Does the sun rise every morning?

- We even raided Persian soil.

- Persia!

Across the Bosphorus one night -

a quick, short, sharp raid.

Before they knew it,

we'd sacked three towns.

A Greek army on Persian soil -

the dream of Greece for 200 years,

and to Philip goes the glory.

Hail, Philip.

Hail, Philip!

Cleitus, why did my father send you here?

To train new troops and bring them back.

- And us?

- To train you, too, as always.

- And bring us back, too?

- I have no orders concerning that.

- Hail, Philip!

- Your father means you well.

I mean him well, and love him.

But he hoards his glory like a miser,

while we sit at the feet of Aristotle

and learn of great wonders of science,

of mathematics and of logic.

And maybe one of us will write a book

and be known as the pupil of Aristotle!

Aristotle... forgive me.

For what? You spoke like a king.

I, like a teacher.

- Your blood ran quick, too?

- At Cleitus' tale of the Persian raid? Yes.

For in that act I saw something

that might unite our torn and bloody land,

and put an end to Greeks killing Greeks,

and send them marching

under Philip on their holy mission -

to conquer Persia and destroy it.

Will Greece follow my father?

I do not know. Neither does he. Men

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Robert Rossen

Robert Rossen (March 16, 1908 – February 18, 1966) was an American screenwriter, film director, and producer whose film career spanned almost three decades. His 1949 film All the King's Men won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, while Rossen was nominated for an Oscar as Best Director. He won the Golden Globe for Best Director and the film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture. In 1961 he directed The Hustler, which was nominated for nine Oscars and won two. After directing and writing for the stage in New York, Rossen moved to Hollywood in 1937. There he worked as a screenwriter for Warner Bros. until 1941, and then interrupted his career to serve until 1944 as the chairman of the Hollywood Writers Mobilization, a body to organize writers for the effort in World War II. In 1945 he joined a picket line against Warner Bros. After making one film for Hal Wallis's newly formed production company, Rossen made one for Columbia Pictures, another for Wallis and most of his later films for his own companies, usually in collaboration with Columbia. Rossen was a member of the American Communist Party from 1937 to about 1947, and believed the Party was "dedicated to social causes of the sort that we as poor Jews from New York were interested in."He ended all relations with the Party in 1949. Rossen was twice called before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), in 1951 and in 1953. He exercised his Fifth Amendment rights at his first appearance, refusing to state whether he had ever been a Communist. As a result, he found himself blacklisted by Hollywood studios as well as unable to renew his passport. At his second appearance he named 57 people as current or former Communists and his blacklisting ended. In order to repair finances he produced his next film, Mambo, in Italy in 1954. While The Hustler in 1961 was a great success, conflicts on the set of Lilith so disillusioned him that it was his last film. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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