Quo Vadis

Synopsis: Returning to Rome after three years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her, though as a Christian she wants nothing 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 but finds himself succumbing gradually to her Christian faith.
Production: MGM Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
171 min

This is the Appian Way...

...the most famous road

that leads to Rome...

...as all roads lead to Rome.

On this road march

her conquering legions.

Imperial Rome is

the center of the empire...

...and undisputed master of the world.

But with this power

inevitably comes corruption.

No man is sure of his life.

The individual is at the mercy

of the state.

Murder replaces justice.

Rulers of conquered nations surrender

their helpless subjects to bondage.

High and low alike

become Roman slaves...

...Roman hostages.

There is no escape

from the whip and the sword.

That any force on earth

can shake the foundations...

...of this pyramid

of power and corruption...

...of human misery and slavery,

seems inconceivable.

But 30 years before this day,

a miracle occurred.

On a Roman cross in Judea,

a man died to make men free...

...to spread the gospel

of love and redemption.

Soon that humble cross is destined

to replace the proud eagles...

...that now top

the victorious Roman standards.

This is the story

of that immortal conflict.

In this, the early summer

in the year 64 A. D...

...in the reign of the Antichrist

known to history as the Emperor Nero...

...the victorious 14th legion

is on its way back to Rome...

...under the command

of one Marcus Vinicius.

We can see Rome

from the top of the hill.

Well, there it stands. Rome.

Three years is a long time, eh, Fabius?

Yes, Marcus, a long time.

Drusilla and the children.

Tonight I sleep at home.

Man of the family to the bitter end.

It's not sleep I'll be looking for.

It seems we've been given an escort.

The least they could do.

Hail, in the name of the divine Nero,

prince emperor and supreme pontiff.


Captain Flavius,

Praetorian Guard, salutes you.

The news of your brilliant victories

has preceded you to Rome.

We're rather anxious to be there.

Lead us in.

I'm sorry, commander. I have orders.

Imperial orders.

By the body of...

A fine welcome

after a three-year campaign.

We're ordered to pull up and camp here

until notified to enter.

What for? How many days' wait?

I know nothing but the orders.

Rome loves her brave warriors.

Give that man 10 lashes.

Fall out!

And double it for any more complaints.

Make camp here. Out of the way.

- Where to, Marcus?

- To the palace, where else?

Out of the way!

Commander Marcus Vinicius.

I request an audience with the emperor.

I will report immediately, commander.

Commander, sir,

if I might presume, sir...

...there's been much discussion

of your unsurpassed victories.

- Did you fight the Britons with a mass...?

- We fought with our bowels.

- Try it sometime.

- Yes, commander.

Yes, well, now you have it

as I composed it.

Now, from the beginning.

O lambent flames

O force divine

O omnivorous powers, hail




Omnipotent power, hail

Seneca, don't you think

omnipotent is better?

Far better, Divinity.

There's no conviction in your voice.

You disturb me.

Petronius, you're my arbiter of elegance.

Which is it?

I find omnipotent most feeble, Divinity.

In fact, puerile.

Puerile? Feeble?

Omnivorous has

your pure, inspired imagery in it.

It is vivid, comprehensive.

A genius, Divinity,

should hold to his first thoughts...

...on any subject.

Petronius. Dear Petronius.

What would I do

without your clear insight into...?

You clumsy toad!

Isn't the inner agony of my creating

enough without you carving me to bits?

Take her away.

Oh, where was I? What now?

Commander Marcus Vinicius.

He wishes an immediate audience.

Marcus, here?

Vinicius? Who is Marcus Vinicius?

My nephew. Just returned

with his legions from Britain.

Oh, yes. Bid him enter.

There seems to be

a disregard for orders here.

You sent word to Vinicius

to remain outside the city.

So I did. That's true, Tigellinus.

Does this nephew of yours consider...

...that his conquests give him

a right to override...?

I cannot believe that he entered with his

army, Divinity, knowing Marcus as I do.

Doubtless he has come

to make obeisance and pay homage...

...to his emperor and his god in private.

Oh, yes. Yes, of course.

I fear that a natural humility

often blinds me.


Hail Nero, emperor.

Commander, hail. Come forward.

Your proud uncle has been explaining

the impetuosity of your devotion to me.

It's a joy to be such an inspiration

to my commanders.

My loyalty and my life always, Caesar.

My men have been away a long time.

They have fought and died

for their emperor.

They have gladly accepted

weeks of forced marches to reach home.

They're anxious to see their families,

their women.

Just as you said, Petronius.

Such loyalty, such devotion.

You see, the delay

in my men reaching their homes...

...it's a question of morale.

Didn't you explain in...?

Maybe good Tigellinus

left the reason out of his orders.

- An oversight...

- Reasons are not given in imperial orders.

Oh, Tigellinus, how boorish.

How ungrateful.

We desire that you wait

until you are joined...

...by the legions from Africa and Asia,

which should be a matter of hours.

Tomorrow you will enter Rome

in triumph.

More and more the people

need diversion these...

Or rather, shall we say

that this too is a question of morale?

They demand a spectacle.

A look at heroes.

Bear with me in this, dear commander.

- It is now clear to me, emperor.

- Divinity, may I retire with my nephew?

Rate this script:0.0 / 0 votes

John Lee Mahin

John Lee Mahin (August 23, 1902, Evanston, Illinois – April 18, 1984, Los Angeles) was an American screenwriter and producer of films who was active in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1960s. He was known as the favorite writer of Clark Gable and Victor Fleming. In the words of one profile, he had "a flair for rousing adventure material, and at the same time he wrote some of the raciest and most sophisticated sexual comedies of that period." more…

All John Lee Mahin scripts | John Lee Mahin Scripts

1 fan

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "Quo Vadis" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 30 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/quo_vadis_16474>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    Quo Vadis

    Browse Scripts.com

    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.