The Fall of the Roman Empire

Synopsis: Action-packed look at the beginnings of the fall of the Roman Empire. Here is the glory, the greed and grandeur that was Rome. Here is the story of personal lust for power, and the shattering effects of that power's loss. Here is the tale of the plight of a people living on the brink of a political abyss.
Genre: Drama, History, War
Director(s): Anthony Mann
Production: Miramax
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
188 min

Two of the greatest problems in history

are how to account for the rise of Rome

and how to account for her fall.

We may come nearer to understanding

the truth,

if we remember that the fall of Rome,

like her rise,

had not one cause, but many.

And it was not an event,

but a process spread over 300 years.

Some nations have not lasted as long

as Rome fell.

In the year 180 A.D.,

the Emperor Marcus Aurelius,

was leading his Roman legions

against the Germanic tribes along

the Danube frontier.

My lord, Caesar. The omens are bad.

I could not find its heart.

When I was a child, Timonides,

I had a secret fear

that night would come

and would never end.

That we would live out our lives

in total darkness.

It was a small fear then.

Yet my lord, Caesar,

the sun always rises,

and will again.

So you say.

It is said more people die this moment

when night is about to give way to day

than at any other time.

It seems to me night whispers:

"Come away with me... "

"to the west, abd sleep forever."

What has another day to offer you?

What has another day to offer you,






My lord, Caesar,

The sun.

As you predicted.

I congratulate you, Timonides.

Timonides. Livius.


How is Caesar?

Well, in order to answer that question,

one must consider three aspects of

the situation.

One, our emperor has been

at the wars for 17 years

and lived under

very difficult conditions.

Two, no one could ever describe

Marcus Aurelius

as a robust man.

There's a joke among the soldiers here

about Timonides.

They say:
Ask Timonides what day is it,

and he will lecture you

on the history of the calendar.

You are well my lord, Caesar.

It seems that every governor, every king

in the whole empire

is waiting in the valley below.

I invited them here

for a particular purpose.

I've also asked my son, Commodus.

Your great friend, Commodus.

Tell me of your last campaign

in these barbarian forests.

Two or three times,

we thought we had Balimar, their leader,

but each time he was able to get away.

A few days longer, Caesar,

we'll bring you his head.

No, Livius.

please don't bring me his head.

I wouldn't know what to do with it.

Bring him to me alive.

But he is the heart of the barbarians.

Then bring me

the heart of the barbarians.

I wish to speak with him.

Speak with him?

Rome has existed for a thousand years,

it is time we find peaceful ways

to live with those

you call barbarians,

so bring me this Balimar

alive, and quickly.

There was a rumour that Lucilla was here.

Lucilla, Caesar's daughter.

Ah yes, Caesar's daughter.

As the dove fears the eagle,

as the lamb fears the wolf,

so is my heart heavy with fear.

Oh, mother Vesta,

eternal mother of Rome.

Help me.

Bring back the health of my father.

Protect us from the danger

which hangs over the empire.

Let there be peace over all Rome.




You are beautiful.

You are beautiful...

What does that mean?

It has been so long.

I had forgotten.

Why didn't you ever try to see me

when you were in Rome?

It seemed you did not

really want to see anyone.

I thought by living alone away

from the world,

I could find peace.

Then I found there is no real peace

in being alone.

There is only loneliness.

I too have been lonely, Lucilla.

I'm here now, Livius.

And if my father's health improves,

and if your duties

as a soldier do not prevent it,

we may see each other,

if you want to.

I want to.

Mithridates, king of Petra.

Welcome, Mithridates. Welcome Petra.

Costobacus, king of the Omnia.

Greetings, Costobacus, king of the Omnia.

Serverus, proconsul of Judea.



- Virgilianus, proconsul of Syria.

Marcellus, governor of Egypt, I think.

Marcellus, friend of Caesar.

And who would this be, Timonides?

Virgilianus, proconsul of Syria.

My greatful thanks, Timonides.

Virgilianus, friend of Caesar.


Pericles, proconsul of Athens.

Pericles of Athens.

Rome is honored, Sohamus,

that Armenia's king is with us.

My lord, Caesar.

Armenia hopes for

even closer ties to Rome.

Pertinax, Britannia.

Welcome, Pertinax.

Welcome, Britannia.

Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!

Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar! Hail Caesar!

Governors, consuls,


You have come from the deserts of Egypt,

from the mountains of Armenia,

from the forests of Gaul,

and the prairies of Spain.

You do not resemble each other,

nor do you wear the same clothes,

nor sing the same songs,

nor worship the same gods.

Yet, like a mighty tree

with green leaves and black roots,

you are the unity which is Rome.

Look about you and look at yourselves,

and see the greatness of Rome.

Two hundred years ago

the Gauls were our fiercest enemies.

Now we greet them as friends.

In the whole world,

only two small frontiers

are still hostile to us.

One here in the north which separates us

from those who are called barbarians.

The other in the east, Persia.

Only on these two borders will you find

Walls, palisades,

Forts, and hatred.

But these are not

the frontiers Rome wants.

Rome wants and needs human frontiers.

We've had to fight long wars.

Your burdens have been great.

But we come now to the

end of the road.


within our reach,

golden centuries of peace.

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Ben Barzman

Ben Barzman (October 12, 1910 – December 15, 1989) was a Canadian journalist, screenwriter, and novelist, blacklisted during the McCarthy Era and best known for his screenplays for the films Back to Bataan (1945), El Cid (1961), and The Blue Max (1966). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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