Androcles and the Lion (film)

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Androcles and the Lion
Androcles lion.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Chester Erskine
Nicholas Ray (uncredited)
Produced by Gabriel Pascal
Written by George Bernard Shaw
Ken Englund
Chester Erskine
Starring Jean Simmons
Victor Mature
Alan Young
Music by Friedrich Hollaender
Cinematography Harry Stradling Sr.
Edited by Roland Gross
Distributed by RKO
Release dates
  • October 30, 1952 (1952-10-30) (Premiere-Los Angeles)[1]
  • January 9, 1953 (1953-01-09) (US)[1]
Running time
98 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Androcles and the Lion is a 1952 RKO film produced by Gabriel Pascal from the George Bernard Shaw play of the same name. It was Pascal's last film, made two years after the death of Shaw, his long-standing friend and mentor, and two years before Pascal's own death.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


The plot is a more or less careful rendition of George Bernard Shaw's script. Androcles, a fugitive Christian tailor, accompanied by his nagging wife, is on the run from his Roman persecutors. While hiding in the forest he comes upon a wild lion who approaches him with a wounded paw. Androcles sees that the cause is a large thorn embedded in its paw, which he draws out while talking baby language to the lion. His wife had fled, and Androcles is next seen in a procession of Christian prisoners on their way to the Colosseum in Rome. They are joined by the fierce convert Ferrovius who subsequently provides much of the comic entertainment in his struggle to keep his nature in check. Love interest is also introduced by the growing attraction of the Captain to the noble-born convert Lavinia. Eventually the party is sent into the arena to be slaughtered by gladiators, but Ferrovius kills all of them and accepts a commission offered him in the Praetorian Guards. To appease the crowd, one Christian is needed to be savaged by the lions and Androcles volunteers in order to uphold 'the honour of the tailors'. It turns out that the lion is the one that Androcles has helped, and the two waltz round the arena to the acclaim of the people. The Emperor dashes behind the scenes to get a closer look and has to be rescued from the lion by Androcles. He then orders an end to the persecution of Christians and allows Androcles and his new 'pet' to depart in peace.


Note that the opening sequence of the film places it during the time of Emperor Antoninus Pius, but the character is only addressed as "Caesar" during the film.


  1. ^ a b "Androcles and the Lion: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Androcles and the Lion(1952)". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Androcles and the Lion (1952)". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Movie Review - Androcles and the Lion". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Androcles and the Lion (1952) - Critics' Reviews". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Shaw Society Double Bill Screening: Androcles and the Lion (1952) ...". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Williams, Richard. "Androcles and the Lion". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 

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