Hannibal (1959 film)

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Hannibal (1959 film).jpg
Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Starring Victor Mature
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Cinematography Raffaele Masciocchi
Distributed by Warner Bros
Release dates
Country Italy
Budget $4 million
Box office $1,550,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Hannibal (known as Annibale in its native Italy) is a 1959 historical film based on the life of Hannibal, starring Victor Mature in the title role.


The film begins with the Roman Senate hearing about Hannibal (Victor Mature) crossing the Alps with his men and many elephants. The crossing is difficult, with many men dying en route, but they manage to pass through, in part because Hannibal forms an allegiance with a local chieftain.

Hannibal's troops capture Sylvia, daughter of Roman senator Fabius Maximus, and she and Hannibal fall in love. Some of Hannibal's troops oppose the match and an unsuccessful attempt is made on Sylvia's life. Hannibal also loses an eye during battle.

Despite the warnings of Fabius who suggests avoiding battle and waging a campaign of exhaustion, the decision is made to fight Hannibal out in the open. The consequence is a massive Roman defeat. Battle of Cannae.

Fabius is recalled to lead the Roman Army and the momentum of Hannibal's campaign begins to wane. His wife and child arrive from Carthage. Sylvia returns to Rome and commits suicide. A postscript informs us that Hannibal fought on for many more years in other lands.



Despite being an Italian production the film was mainly financed by American studio Warner Brothers. The films budget was estimated at around $4–5 million.

The only English speaking actors in the film were Victor Mature and Rita Gam, all the other actors were Italian and had their lines dubbed into English. The film featured approximately 20,000 extras.

The film was originally intended to be a more personal account of Hannibal's life, but the studio instead pressured the film makers into developing a more standard historical film. The film was directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, although IMDB lists Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia as a co-director. The film was released theratrically in the USA on 18 June 1960.

The film existed in two versions, a 95 minute version released in non-English speaking European countries, and a 103 minute version released in the USA and other English speaking territories. The films tagline was "Jump on! Hang on! Here comes the avenging Hannibal and his crazed elephant army!"[1] The film's music was composed by Carlo Rustichelli.

DVD release[edit]

The film was released on DVD in the USA on October 19, 2004. The DVD includes 16:9 format, a 33 minute interview with Edgar G. Ulmer, a photo and poster gallery, the theratrical trailer, and cast and crew biographies. The DVD contains no subtitles.


  1. ^ "Rental Potentials of 1960", Variety, 4 January 1961 p 47. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.

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