89 Days of Oscar Nominees – #8 – Quo Vadis (1951)


In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 89 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 1 Dec 2016 and The 89th Annual Oscars on 26 Feb 2017.

Here is my Eighth review of the 89 chosen Films…


“It is not enough to live well. One must die well.” – Petronious

Number of Times Seen – 1 (7 Dec 2016)

Brief Synopsis – During the reign of Emperor Nero in Rome, a popular commander falls in love with a slave girl and decides to side with the newly formed religion of Christianity in its fight against the Republic.

My Take on it – Most of us have probably seen numerous films of this genre which has become known as Sword and Sandal films.

This was actually one of the very first blockbusters of the genre and so much is done right.

The production feels quite epic and some of the scenes (particularly in the arena) are filled with so many spectators, it’s really astounding how they managed to film it.

This was obviously made many decades before someone even thought up the idea of CGI and things look extremely authentic because of it.

The story itself is interesting, but in a few instances feels just a bit too preachy.

Thankfully, later films of the genre were able to learn from this and toned things down a bit when necessary and keep things more objective.

The cast is great and Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr have nice chemistry together.

The show is stolen tho by Peter Ustinov who plays Emperor Nero and does his best impression of a madman;  some of his diatribes are so interesting to watch him deliver.

Bottom Line – Great sword and sandal epic film that tells an interesting story which explains so much about how Christianity became a popular religion at the time. Cast is great and the amount of actors needed for some of these scenes are astounding.  The story itself feels a bit preachy tho and later films of this genre were much better at keeping things more objective. Recommended

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – In his memoirs, “Dear Me” (1981), Ustinov recalled that MGM had sought him for the role of Nero, but dithered for months, refusing to commit. During this time he received numerous telegrams from the studio, one of which stated that they were concerned that he might be too young to play the notorious Roman emperor. Ustinov replied that Nero died when he was 30 and that, if they waited much longer, he’d be too old. The studio cabled back: “Historical research has proved you correct. You have the part.” (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link

To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)

Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

5 thoughts on “89 Days of Oscar Nominees – #8 – Quo Vadis (1951)

  1. Good review. I like the trivia too. This sounds like an interesting film to look back on. The production scale you mention reminds me of something like CLEOPATRA (although, I’m sure this is toned down a bit). Compelling subject too. Do you want to see a new film about NERO? I think we’re due.

    I like this Oscar series of articles because it points out some ‘lesser known’ movies that are worth watching. Are you going to rank the top 10 from this awesome 89 day challenge?

    Liked by 1 person

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