Julius Caesar (TV miniseries)

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Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar (TV miniseries).jpg
Directed by Uli Edel
Produced by Jonas Bauer
Russell Kagan
Piria Paolo
Written by Peter Pruce
Craig Warner
Starring Jeremy Sisto
Richard Harris
Christopher Walken
Valeria Golino
Chris Noth
Pamela Bowen
Release dates 2002 (United States of America
Running time 200 minutes
Country  United States
Language English

Julius Caesar is a 2002 mini-series about the life of Julius Caesar. It was directed by Uli Edel, and written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner. It is a dramatization of the life of Julius Caesar through 82 BC to his death in 44 BC. It is of note that it is mostly historically accurate and being one of the last two films of the legendary Richard Harris being released in the year of his death. The series was originally broadcast on TNT, and involved location shooting in Malta and Bulgaria. Run time is 178 minutes and the DVD has a making of featurette. The slogan is His Time Has Come.[1] It was released on DVD, in 2004 in the United States and in 2005 in the United Kingdom. The film was nominated for 2 Emmys and currently has a 6.6 out of 10 stars with a little over a thousand votes on IMDB.

Plot summary[edit]

The series begins in 82 BC when Julius Caesar is an eighteen-year-old man. He is out in the town with his daughter Julia when news comes that Lucius Cornelius Sulla is just outside the city walls and intends to take the city with his army. The guards sent with the news post death lists on the senate door. When he sees that his father-in-law's name is there he rushes to his house to try and help him escape. However, Pompey arrests him and takes him to Sulla. Caesar's mother, Aurelia, asks Sulla to show him mercy; out of respect for her, he promises to let Caesar live if he divorces his wife, Cornelia, but Caesar refuses. Sulla lets him go but orders Pompey to kill him and bring his heart to him. Pompey follows Caesar and tells him to leave Rome, which he does. Pompey buys a swine's heart from the market and tells Sulla that the heart is Caesar's.

Meanwhile, Caesar is captured by pirates who intend to ransom him for money. When the Romans crew sent with the message of the ransom don't return, the pirates plan to kill him. Caesar bargains to fight one of them for an extra day and wins. However he has an epileptic attack and the pirates believe him worthless, deciding to throw him in the sea; but just before they do the Roman boat returns with the money and they let Caesar go. Back in Rome, Sulla dies of a heart-attack and Caesar is allowed to return home. While he was gone Cornelia became very ill and Julia befriended the young daughter of Caesar's rival Marcus Porcius Cato, Portia, her brother Marcus and their cousin Brutus.

When Cornelia dies from her illness, Caesar swears at her funeral that he will make Rome a better place to live in. Around this time the same pirates who held him captive are cutting off the grain supply. The senate send Pompey to deal with the problem after Caesar convinced them that he will not take the city with his army like Sulla did. Several years later Pompey returns to Rome and Caesar has achieved the consulship. On the day of Pompey's triumph Julia, Portia and Marcus decide to go, and Portia insists on dragging Brutus along with them. At the triumph, Caesar has one of his epileptic fits but is aided by Calpurnia Pisonis, daughter of a wealthy man in Rome. At Pompey's welcome home party, while Pompey gets on well with Julia, Caesar notices Calpurnia who he doesn't remember from their encounter before.

Caesar swears to his mother that he will make a name for himself. Julia realizes that her father needs an alliance and offers to marry Pompey in order to obtain his legions. Pompey agrees and he marries Julia. In marrying her, he agrees to allow Caesar to take his legions to Gaul, despite the fact that the senate wished to send Cassius. Calpurnia tells Caesar that she knows about his "falling sickness" and he confesses that it shames him. Before he goes to Gaul, Caesar marries Calpurnia and the two of them remain in contact through letters.

While sacking a town in Gaul, Caesar comes across a strong-willed warrior who refuses to give in to the Romans attacking his home. He tells Caesar his name is Vercingetorix. Caesar asks the warrior why it is he is willing to die for something that will be destroyed no matter what and the warrior replies because it "is his". Because of his strength of will, Caesar lets him go, giving him a horse. However later on, the same warrior chief gathers a huge army and battles Caesar's army at the Battle of Alesia. Outnumbered and surrounded, Caesar's army emerges victorious.

Back in Rome Julia dies in childbirth, and Pompey begins to turn against Caesar who he fears is becoming too powerful. He allies with Cato to politically attack Caesar back in Rome. Caesar sends Mark Antony to talk to the Senate, which makes the situation worse. Pompey plans to attack Caesar before he returns to Rome.

Caesar begins to make his way back to Rome and crosses the river Rubicon. Pompey, Cato and Brutus all decide to leave to regroup their own troops in Greece. Upon his return to Rome Caesar is made Dictator. He then catches up with and defeats Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus, who then flees to Egypt. After the battle Caesar pardons the captured soldiers of Pompey, including Brutus who he tells if anyone wants peace they shall have it. Pompey arrives in Alexandria and is killed by the regent for the boy king Ptolemy XIII in Egypt. Caesar is given his head as a gift and is disappointed by the killing of Pompey. Then Cleopatra VII seduces Caesar and before he leaves he installs her as rightful Queen of Egypt over her brother Ptolemy. Going on to Utica to find Cato and his son, Caesar wins the Battle of Thapsus. Upon hearing of his allies' loss; Cato who didn't fight in the battle, commits suicide by falling on his sword.

With the Civil War over, he returns to Rome with his new ally Cleopatra and their son Caesarion. This disturbs the senators, who plot against Caesar thinking he wants to be King. Cassius, the principle mover of the plot, convinces his brother in-law Brutus, who was spared by Caesar, to join them and end Caesar's reign as Dictator. Calpurnia has a dream about Caesar's death. On the Ides of March, the senators mob Caesar and stab him to death.

Cast[edit]

Historical inaccuracies[edit]

  • Sulla is shown as supporter of people and criticising aristocratic senate. However, in fact, Sulla was aristocrat, fierce opponent of populars and supporter of senate.
  • Cato the Younger addresses Sulla in the senate. At this time Cato would have been in his teens and thus ineligible for membership in the Senate.
  • Clive Merrison appears uncredited as a Senator called Catullus or Catulus, condemned to death by Sulla at the start of his dictatorship in 82 BC. This character resembles neither the consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus who was an ally of Sulla and died in 87 BC, nor the poet Catullus who entertained Julius Caesar and was born circa 84 BC.
  • Sulla is shown to have died as a tyrant in front of Pompey. In fact, Sulla relinquished power voluntarily, and died peacefully a full three years later.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]

External links[edit]