The Sign of the Cross

Synopsis: A Roman soldier becomes torn between his love for a Christian woman and his loyalty to Emperor Nero.
Genre: Drama, History
Director(s): Cecil B. DeMille
Production: Paramount Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
108 min

Burn, Rome! Burn!

"If in the melancholy

shades below

"The flames of friends and

lovers cease to glow

"Yet mine shall sacred last

"mine, undecay'd

"Burn on through death

"and animate my shade

"Lo, the blaze aspires!"


Go away, Tigellinus.

The fire is spreading.

Look at this.

I was in excellent voice, too.

The fire,

I dare remind you...

the fire is growing.

The fire?

I'd hoped it would.

Rome will be destroyed

when I die.

Why not while I live

and can see it...

And enjoy it?

But the palace is threatened.

It will fall.


I will build another.

A fabulous one...

so that Nero can be housed

like an emperor.

And like a god, immortal Caesar.

Yes, now go away.


there are angry rumors

that you set fire to the city.

Caesar might do well

to avoid the blame.


What are you jabbering about?

Who blames the master of the world?

Caesar, when thousands

are perishing...

Let us hope that most

of the dead are Christians.

They're increasing.

Did you know that?

We've hunted and killed

them like rats.

Yet the empire

swarms with them.

A dangerous superstition,


that teaches that the meek shall inherit

that which belongs to the mighty...

that accepts another god

in place of myself.

It shall not live, Caesar.


Yes, divine Caesar.

These rumors about my setting fire

to the city.

Couldn't we shift

the blame to...

The Christians?

If the populace could learn

to fear and hate them...

they might destroy them...

where my own minister

has failed.

Now go away.


"Lo, the blaze aspires!

"The glowing ocean reddens

with the fires

"Confessing Jove

"Then swift from

all sides pour

"The hissing brands

"The curling volumes rise

"And sheets of rolling smoke

"involve the skies"

Devil's luck.

How much now, Strabo?

A couple of pig's eyes.

All I got.

Well, trap a Christian.

They hide in their holes

like rats.

I got a nose for them.

Nero's reward.

Two hundred pieces.

Who are you?

Titus, a stranger in Rome.

How do you know me?

You were described to me.

Where do you come from?


I was sent by Paul,

apostle of...


Not here.

Since the great fire,

we have lived in terror.

If they killed out all the Christian lice,

me and you would have to go back to work.

Are you meeting tonight?

Yes, near the Cestian Bridge.

I'll tell them Paul's message

and how...

Devil take them! You put

a Christian curse on them!



Hey, those are mine.

Hey, look out where you're throwing

those sheep knuckles, will you?

Get your skinny shins

out of here.

Hey, Strabo!


The sign of the cross.

Flowers. Roses.

Flowers. Roses. Flowers.

You ought to close up shop

on a day like this, Tybul.

Why today?

Well, the rains are over and everybody's out.

You ought to give yourself a holiday.

If I played,

I'd bring the rains back.

You would.

Look, Christians!


Down there.

I know. There was a sign in the dust.

Come on, there are Christians!


Down there. Come on.

Down there. Look.

Come on.

Who are they?

Does anybody know?

Look, they caught

some Christians!

They got some Christians

down here. Come on.

Come on.

Hurry! Hurry!

What's that?

I don't know.

Sounds like a street fight.

Good. Let's go and see.

Come on.

Come on, Philodemus.

Come on! Come on! Look!

Nero's lions are going to eat.

Vile killers,

that's what they are!

The dirty Christian dogs!

They ought to kill all of them.

Come on, come on,

let's stone them.

Keep them back. If they kill them,

we won't get our money.

Hang on to them!

Christians! Stone them!

Look, it's Marcus.

You dirty Christians!

I'll kill you.

Marcus Superbus!

Stand away!

What have these old men done?

We found them.

There's a reward coming to us.

What did they do?

I tell you, there was no...

Me and Strabo saw what they did.

Quiet, you!

Well, go on.

Why did you stop?


I didn't know.


That it was

the Prefect of Rome.

Well, all the better.

You have the highest authority in Rome,

next to the Emperor, to judge this case.

Aren't you pleased?

Now watch justice go blind.

What's your name?


And you?

Favius Fontellus.

This man is Titus,

my friend.

Is this girl your daughter?


Then why... She was trying

to protect me.

Well, I... I envy you.

What is this old man to you?


She can talk.

He's my teacher.

Who are your father and mother?

They're dead.

You live with him?


May they go now?

What's your faith?

My friend and I

are philosophers.

He's lying.

They're Christians.



Viturius, clear the street!

There's a reward on them, Excellence.

They made the sign of the...

I said, clear the street.


Out of the way!

Clear the way! Begone!

Clear the way!

Get out! Get out!

Begone, there! Begone!

Out! Out!

Get out! Get out there!


Well, you...

You are free to go.

We thank you.

Is there anything more

I can do?

Nothing, Excellence.

We are grateful.

Come, Mercia.


Still, I...

I wish there were...

something more.

Follow them.

Find out where they live...

and find out which fountain

she goes to.

Yes, Excellence.


my illustrious friend...

will you leave your trance

for a moment?

Dacia! Glabrio!

She was a rare

specimen, I needn't tell you.

Your eyesight

gets better with age.

A tasty dish for

your banquet tomorrow evening.

Yes. Yes, I'll tell the cook.

Oh, Marcus?


Someone expects you

this afternoon.

Yes, yes.

Why, I never saw a man

so distracted.

I never saw a man

with better reason to be.

You mean that girl, of course.

And you said Rome was dull.

Did I?

Well, I know exactly how

to stir up some excitement.

Which perfume, Empress?

The jasmine and the acacia.

We must hurry, Zona.


No, not yet.

Another minute,

and then we'll hurry.

Empress, a visitor.

Marcus already?

No, lady.


My dear Poppaea.

Why, Dacia,

you're perspiring with news.

I was famished for a chat.

I have a great deal of news.

Well, I haven't time

for a chat.

Did you deliver the message?

Dear lady, of course I did.

Of course you would.

Such things are the breath of your

vicious little nostrils.

Did he say anything?


Nothing at all.

And what does "nothing" mean?

Perhaps all sorts of things, but...

But you haven't time for a chat.

I'll tell you when to go,

dear Dacia.

Zona, all of you, go away.

Will Marcus be here or not?

I told you, Majesty,

he said nothing.

Did he smile, or did he frown?

Well, he didn't smile.

It must be some other woman.

And I told him the Empress wished

to see him alone, and immediately.

Stop drooling, Dacia.

Is it serious?

I hope not...

but you know Marcus.

And there are so many

beautiful women in Rome.

Dacia, you're a butterfly

with the sting of a wasp.

Take off your clothes.

Get in here

and tell me all about it.

Can't you think of a single reason

why he let them go?

No, Excellence.

Very competent spies.

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Waldemar Young

Waldemar Young (July 1, 1878 – August 30, 1938) was an American screenwriter. He wrote for 81 films between 1917 and 1938. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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