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Quo Vadis
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  • Quo Vadis
    Loved it! It's been my favorite movie for years although alot of people still haven't even heard of it. I just had a movie party featuring this movie and the "audience" loved it too!...more info
  • A musical review.......
    Miklos Rozsa did a terrific job in composing the music for this movie. The great passion and emotion he can communicate is unsurpassed. In my opinion as a freelance composer it was very difficult to write the music for this tremendous film. It requiered a kind of kaleidoscopic character, each scene needed its own aura, its own color and unlike most filmscores it does not and it can not consist of short flimflams, each scene needed its own musical movement.

    The most I like the `Christ is King` theme for choir wich is also sung by the matyrs in the arena. A song wich is unstoppable and will not die or fade away, it is the centerstone of the Quo Vadis' musical climax....more info

    I love this movie but I will not buy this on VHS. Why isn't it available on DVD? This movie deserves to be released on DVD - there is no excuse. What's the problem? PLEASE RELEASE THIS MOVIE ON DVD!!!...more info
  • "...Yes Divinity...It's A Work Of Singular Genius." "Are you sure Petronius...?"

    After 3 tortuous years in the making and adapted from Henryk Sienkiwicz's huge book, "Quo Vadis" was unleashed on the public in early 1952 - just in time for maximum exposure at the Oscars in March. Costing a staggering $7 million dollars (a figure that even now seems extravagant), the sandals and sand epic did huge box office business in a post-war world hungry for pure escapism - and even managed to garnish eight Oscar nominations along the way. Unfortunately - 57 years later - time has not been kind to this bloated beast of a thing.

    But first to the picture quality - as the word "Overture" sits stubbornly on your screen for a few minutes, it's clear that major restoration work has been done here - and then when Robert Taylor (Marcus Vinicus) does turn up riding his chariot into the outskirts of Rome after two years of campaigns, the colour and clarity is BEAUTIFUL. It stays pretty much this way for the whole of the movie - and as you can imagine with this much money spent on it - the outdoor and indoor sets are sumptuous - the BLU RAY image revealing colour and detail everywhere you look.

    The problem for me is that the film itself - no matter how good it may look now - is a crushing bore - and if it weren't for Peter Ustinov's fabulously over-the-top turn as the loony and crass Nero, "Quo Vadis" would be unbearable. The normally lovely Deborah Kerr looks suitably bathed in Christian light and full of love for humanity as you can imagine, but I find her po-faced performance as Lygia to be tedious and strangely dead - and again as a lead, she is acted off the set by a supporting actor - the Oscar nominated Leo Genn. British born Genn plays the artful Petronius - a courtier to the harp-playing, poetry composing, grape-eating Divinity. Petronius uses intelligence and cunning to effortlessly dance around Nero's increasingly ludicrous claims and word games. He - of all the cast - feels the most real - Taylor and Kerr seem to be merely doing their jobs. "Quo Vadis" is three hours long - and for me - I felt too many instances where I wanted to reach for the fast-forward button...Ustinov and Genn kept me from doing so.

    However, for lovers of the film and period buffs, the Blu Ray purchase is a no-brainer. It looks great - and if you have a home cinema kit or better still a projector and large pull-down screen - then this will transport you back to the opulence of Fifties MGM overkill in a way that the DVD never could.

    Great to look at then - but for me - not really a great movie......more info
  • Good movie turned great due to decline of the hollywood epic
    A joy to watch, fairly accurate historically speaking (plenty of touches of artistic freedom to tie everything tightly together). Somewhere about 2.5 hours in runtime.

    "Quo Vadis" or "where are you going" titled that to reference the biblical scripture and thematic concept for a purposeful Christian living so to be rewarded in the afterlife. Although scripted with Christian piety the movie is highly secular.

    Synopsis: Weary Roman Commander and his Legion return after a campaign in Britain. His lustful eye catches a strawberry blonde "hostage" of the state. He arranges, to her displeasure, to have her granted as his custodian. The problem is she is a Christian and he being a pagan and heathen must change his ways if she were to love him (and she wants to in some bizarre way, but it's a move, eh?). Well he does eventually but through the course of their relationship's web is the Emperor Nero and his evil Empress, Petronius the wise council (the commander's uncle), Paul and Peter (yes, those Paul and Peter) and a few others. The premise is that one should be and do good, because what goes around comes around. At least that's the secular premise. The Christian one is that God has a plan and one should have faith in Jesus teachings (etc). If you like old school Hollywood spectacles (and this was the first of biblical proportions) or Ancient Rome (Deborah Kerr is a looker see:Black Narcissus), watch this. Great writing, great directing, and great acting (especially Nero, who may make me buy this film, to re-watch his most entertaining performance...poetry and has never been so vain...).
    ...more info
  • Quo Vadis is a stunning film of vision and spectacle
    Finally an excellent Blu-ray Disc DVD. I was in High School when Quo Vadis was
    originally released, and I remember that I liked it very much. It is certainly one of my favorite movies. The new
    Blu-ray Disc DVD is terrific with great sound and crisp images. Great job. ...more info
  • Yawn.
    Somewhere within this Hollywood spectacle is a story about a Roman soldier falling in love with a Christian slave girl. In my quest to review all of the important Biblical epics of the 50s and 60s, this was the ultimate low. I had to break this one up into 3 viewings. Too long, too boring, and much of the acting is weak. You have to be a serious Bible thumper prone to delusions of being persecuted by "secular humanists" to enjoy "Quo Vadis." Remember to ask your viewing partner to wake you up when they crucify Peter . . ....more info
  • Memorable & Brilliant
    I first watched this movie about 20yrs ago, and I can still remember lines and images in this movie, despite not having watched it again for years. This is one of the most brilliantly created 1950's epic films.

    Nero's cynicism and hypocisy is brought out amazingly; Marcus, the true knight in shining armour, and Lygia a beauty and not "too narrow in the hips". The costumes are magnificent, the recreation of the coliseum spectacular. ...more info
  • Still spectacular
    The previews for this movie on the VHS tape tout it as being 12 years in the making, with a cast of 30,000, and promises to be the movie spectacular of a lifetime. Well, 51 years later I'd say it's still pretty spectacular and has aged surprisingly well. I'd never seen it until now, except for bit and pieces here and there, and it's still a pretty impressive movie. The fine performances by Kerr, Ustinov, Genn, Currie, Taylor and many others still resonate, and some of the scenes, such as the burning of Rome, the Coloseum scene with the lions and Christians, still compare to anything that's been done since, and as a result, the movie has lost little of its drama, glitter, and glamour. Despite the almost 3 hours in length, the movie rarely, if ever, seems to drag or get boring. All in all, still a great movie. Big Steve says go see it and (or in this case, rent it or buy it) and don't Bogart the popcorn....more info
  • Quo Vadis Review
    This is a wonderful movie about early Christianity. A very good family movie choice during Lent and Easter time....more info
  • It doesn't get better than "Quo Vadis"!
    "Quo Vadis" is a superb film in every way. Dramatic theme, wonderful
    acting (especially Sir Peter Ustinov as Nero), glorious sets, epic scenes,
    quotable screenplay, and outstanding music by Miklos Rozsa. I loved this
    movie when I first saw it in l951, and this DVD format even enhances this classis film. It's a joy to be able to watch this great movie whenever the spirit moves me. It's a must addition to any film collection. All of those who were involved with bringing "Quo Vadis" to the DVD format are to be congratulated for doing an outstanding job. Viewers will also enjoy the included New Featurette. Quo vadis? To watch this extremely entertaining
    motion picure. Prof. Dr. H. James Birx, info
  • Remarkable film!
    The wide display of great stages and wonderful recreations of the Ancient Roman Empire are depicted in this overwhelming super production of the fifties .
    And since the film focuses on the love affair between a Roman Soldier Robert Taylor and a
    Male Christian Deborah Kerr , the jewel of the crown acting was shared for two supporting actors Leo Genn and Peter Ustinov . They made the difference and for that reason both were nominated for Best Supporting actor that year , though the Oscar went to Karl malden hands for A streetcar named Desire .
    Nominated also for Best film and Best Musical score , Photograph , Set up , Decoration and Dress Wardrobe . And despite the fact the film didn't win any Academy Award the time has preserved to this film a honorable place among the Best films about this painful period of the story .
    The destruction of Rome and the cynicism of Ustinov is simply a tour de force experience .

    ...more info
  • great acting wonderful story,
    great acting wonderful story,i have a copy on vhs,enjoyed it very much,would love to see it on dvd,when will it become available?...more info

    .....Probably the most under rated of the Christian/Rome/Nero dramas ...Robert Taylor is perfect as the Legion Commander ...A young Deborah Kerr is beautiful in her American debut but the star of the movie is Peter Ustinov in probably the best Nero ever filmed...the two disc set is remastered in brilliant color and should be a must in classic movie collection. ...more info
  • "And so dies the great artist in me!"
    ...these were the parting words of the notorious Roman emperor Nero as he comitted suicide at the age of 30 in 68 A.D. Mervyn LeRoy's 1951 adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz' famous book is one of the more memorable biblical epics of the 1950s and 1960s brought to life most of all by the brilliant performance of Peter Ustinov (Lentulus the lanista in Spartacus) as the Roman emperor, Nero. The film follows the trials and tribulations of Lygia (Deborah Kerr), a convert to the new faith of Christianity in Nero's pagan Rome. The Christians are now the targets of persecutions and a centurion named Marcus Vicinius (Taylor) is sent to spy on the sect by his emperor. Marcus Vicinius falls in love with Lygia, converts, and is soon marked for death. The film follows his ordeal and those of his Christian brethren.

    This is a good biblical film that's well paced and supported by good acting talent. Although a little too old for the part, Peter Ustinov steals the show in his role as the art-loving but tone-deaf emperor who, according to legend, set Rome afire and watched it burn so as to play his lyre while reciting the Iliad; the emperor who blamed the Christian cult for the fire and persecuted its followers by throwing them to the beasts or using them as human torches to light the streets of Rome. The film unfortunately propagates many of the common distortions about Nero as a person. Although Nero was certainly a despot who saw Christians as anarchists, most of the anecdotal stories about him being stupid, unpopular, and without talent have been shown to be false. Nero was quite intelligent and very energetic in his pursuit of the arts: there's good evidence that he was a talented lyre player and an average/above average singer. Nero was a master propagandist who was very well loved throughout the empire: particularly in Greece and Asia Minor where, after his death, several impostors acquired siginificant followings in their attempts to claim the throne. Actually, Nero remained a popular folk hero in antiquity (even among some Christians strangely enough) for over 400 years. Regardless of its propagation of the stereotypical image of a half-witted and artistically challenged Nero, this film is one of the best Roman-biblical films of that period and it isn't excessively dogmatic: it has something to offer for everyone. I strongly recommend it....more info
  • One of the First - And Best - of the Biblical Epics of the 1950's!
    The Biblical epic is a fascinating genre in cinematic history, fusing secular and sacred factors of diverse history and religious mythology into a panorama of lush spectacle and hard-hitting emotional impact, always delivering a poignant message about the purest ideals of the human condition triumphing over evil. Considering that World War II had come to a close and a new conflict - the Cold War - with new enemies - the communist USSR - began soon enough, it would be reasonable that American audiences in the 1950's desired to escape into the legends of ancient empires and Biblical times, therefore reclaiming not only a sense of wonder, but a higher degree of faith within themselves.

    Although the genre had been established in cinema during the silent era, and was resurrected by Cecil B. Demille with his film SAMSON & DELILAH in 1949, it was with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1951 adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz's novel QUO VADIS (produced by Sam Zimbalist) that the enormously successful trend of Hollywood-produced Biblical epics during the 1950's really took off. And even though it's not as faithful to the novel compared to the more recent 2001 Polish version (save for the bare-bones narrative and a number of duplicated scenarios involving Nero and the Imperial Court), and therefore not as historically accurate (Sienkiewicz made a meticulous effort of researching the Roman Empire at the time of the emperor Nero, while fusing it with the religious undertones of the New Testament within his narrative), it has, along with later films of a similar nature like THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and BEN-HUR (also produced by Zimbalist), stood the test of time as one of the most colossal (as billed in the trailers), earnest and emotionally-powerful productions ever forged. Truth be told, it even holds its own when put up against similar, but less-earnest, modern-day epics like GLADIATOR, TROY and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, films that rely on their visual styles to carry a somewhat emotionally hollow plot line. (The only epic in recent times to really pull off QUO VADIS' style perfectly is the LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy, although the more recent ALEXANDER and 300 DID make admirable attempts to enhance the level of the human condition within such spiritual/mythological/theological territory).

    As with the book, the film is set in Rome during the year 64 A.D., about 30 years after the Crucifixion of Christ. Enter Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor in a performance that he has failed to top since), commander of the 14th legion, who returns after three years service against the native tribes in Briton for a full period of relaxation in his estate in Sicily. Upon his return, he is introduced to the Lygian hostage Lygia Callina (talented British rose Deborah Kerr, pre-FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and THE KING & I), whom he desires with an erotic intensity - while being completely unaware of her position as the member of the ever-growing Christian sect within Rome. Through the machinations of his uncle Caius Petronius, Nero's arbiter-of-elegance (Leo Genn giving a dignified Oscar-nominated performance), Marcus intends to have Nero legally assign Lygia to him as his property, but through the aid of her sect she escapes. In tracking her down, Marcus eventually discovers the nature of her sect, and upon finally meeting her, in a fit of humility confesses his true love for her, as she does for him. However, he faces the hard decision of whether he should abandon her in order to uphold Nero's rule and the Roman way of life, or forsake his Roman background and join the sect so that he can remain with her. That decision is made for him when Nero (the scenery-chewing Peter Ustinov, who tied with Leo Genn for a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category, one he would eventually win in SPARTACUS), chooses to fulfill his dream as the "true artist" by having his Praetorian guard burn Rome so he can rebuild it as part of his "epic", then chooses to pin the blame on the Christians in order to escape being fatally punished by the Roman mob.

    QUO VADIS, while it may not be perfect, works on so many different levels that it's Herculean to find something that tops its style (in my book, it surpasses both GONE WITH THE WIND and TITANIC). While those looking for a romance will definitely be smitten by the chemistry between Taylor as Marcus and Kerr as Lygia, the real acting magic lies in the scenes between Genn as the humanly-cynical Petronius and Ustinov as the self-pitying (not to mention matricidal) Nero, particularly those scenes where Petronius is forced to tolerate Nero's ineptitude as a poet in terms of writing and vocal performance. They are aided immeasurably by a strong supporting cast of characters, including Finlay Currie (as Apostle Peter), Ralph Truman (as the corrupt Praetorian commander Tigellinus), Buddy Baer (as Lygia's body-built guardian Arsus), and Patricia Raffan (as the conniving harlot empress Poppoea).

    Mervyn LeRoy's direction makes excellent use of bright, saturated Technicolor cinematography within the Academy aspect ratio of 1.33:1 that, when combined with the superb sets, costumes and special effects (the latter factor co-created by Tom Howard of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY fame), result in some of the most overwhelming visuals ever generated on screen, especially during those scenes depicting the burning of Rome and the martyrdom of the Christians thrown to the lions and burned on crosses within the Colosseum. It's a truly breathtaking experience of heightened scale, and proves to be even more authentic given that was all accomplished long before CGI took hold of creating such sequences.

    Also notable is the vibrant score by Miklos Rozsa, at the time a former composer of music for film noir and standard dramas (including his Oscar-winning music for SPELLBOUND and A DOUBLE LIFE), which captures in full essence the love between Marcus and Lygia, the march of the legions, the thrilling action scenes and the relentless spiritual faith of the Christians. Rozsa's score was a first - it created the distinctive theme that many people usually associate with epic motion pictures, and one which he would put to further use in other Biblical epics during the decade, climaxing with a third Oscar win for his music in BEN-HUR. Those epics not scored by Rozsa (which curiously did NOT include THE TEN COMMANDMENTS or SPARTACUS), imitated his sound to perfection, and later composers such as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Basil Poledouris, Hans Zimmer, and Howard Shore have all paid respective homage to Rozsa ever since, in particular Williams within the STAR WARS & INDIANA JONES films, and Shore in the LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy.

    Don't miss it, especially if it's released on the big screen. Whether you like it or hate it in the end, QUO VADIS is still a must-see that will remain memorable long after most commercial successes today have faded from memory.

    ...more info
  • Rome, but not in her best hour
    Picking up not long after I, CLAUDIUS leaves off, this film puts us in the latter epoch of the rule of Nero. Peter Ustinov's memorable portrayal of the eccentric (and probably downright mad) emperor is how most of us picture him these days. In fact, Ustinov might be the #1 reason people should buy this epic.

    The story depicts the plight of the early Christians. It is true that they were persecuted and tormented after Nero blamed them for the great fire of Rome. The film tends to be pro-Christian and anti-Roman, but it does do a good job of presenting a few notable Romans as just and virtuous.

    Of course, in this day & age non-Christians are not so prone to feel sympathetic with these early practitioners of the religion. After all, by far & away more Pagans and Muslims were killed by Christians during the Crusades than Christians killed by Pagans / Romans (not to mention all of the Protestants burnt @ the stake by the Catholics). That is even including the genocide under the reign of Diocletion.

    That said, there is a broader message that lies in this movie, and that is the tendency towards cruelty and violence that has haunted man since the beginning, religion & politics or not. The film does an agreeable job of detailing this facet of human existence, and it's something that even the greatest cynics can't help but appreciate.

    The single best aspect of QUO VADIS? is that it takes us back to ancient Rome. The sets are lavish & spectacular. The representations of the Roman bathing rituals and victorious TRIUMPHS are exceptionally accurate. We also get to observe the likes of the orator Seneca, the apostle Paul, the Praetorian guard leader Tigellinus and the future emperors Nerva and Galba. Wonderfull stuff!

    Aside from Ustinov, most of the rest of the acting is stilted. As far as the all-important "screen-presence" goes, Robert Taylor scores a resounding zero. He over-acts his part & displays no dynamic at all. All of his lines come out in almost the exact same tenor, and he tends to talk too fast.

    Despite the less-than-stellar acting, I would highly recommend this film to all persons who are even remotely interested in Roman and / or Christian history. Here is a film that will take you on a journey thru the ages and will drop you off @ the Year of Four Emperors....more info

  • Quo Vadis
    An excellent film. Magnificent music. Wonderful historial detail in costumes,furtniture, props. Great fiction with history added. Note* Bible never mentions Peter in Rome...only Paul....more info
  • Great Movie - Big Disappointment
    This is one of the better biblical specticales and what did they do unletterbox it. Picture quality is blu-ray perfect as well as the sound.....I just don't get it. The industry (director's) boast how pan and scan ruins films...I guess they missed the boat...I'm a true fan of this film but I may not watch it in this format....more info
  • Peter Ustinov saved Quo Vadis
    Quo Vadis was shot in full aperture 1:33 and from that format, they go dow to the 1:33 Academy aperture. They shot full aperture 1:33 to have a bigger negative, but they had to go down to academy aperture 1:33 to have room to put the sound track.
    Resulting in better picture with sound.
    Of course, Quo Vadis without Peter Usinov would not be Quo Vadis (the only real stage actor full of emotion and interpretation. A genius) R.Taylor is good in Roman Commander. The production is very hollywood style. Beautiful costumes (Too beautiful to be true !) But I liked the movie. Of course I preffer Gladiator . Better movie and acting (Except for Ustinov in Quo Vadis).
    Quo Vadis is a good movie. Too bad that we can notice his age. Too hollywood for me!...more info
  • A classic
    The last time I saw "Quo Vadis" on TV (so long ago I can't remember exactly when it was), they edited out the one crucial scene from which the movie gets its name! Finally, here it is in all its glory. Beautifully done on DVD. The supplemental material is interesting and adds another dimension to this movie and how it fits into Biblical epics on films....more info
  • Very Good movie about Ancient Rome and early Christians
    I recently purchased the video Quo Vadis and watched it twice. I enjoyed it very much. It is a good movie from the 1950's and it protrayed the sufferings of early Christians under Nero. It is too bad that Hollywood doesn't make films like this anymore.It would be nice to have this film put on DVD....more info
  • Bulls Are Very Dangerous at the Circus!
    The '50 was the "Sword & Sandal Movies" decade. Uncountable films of the genre were released. The most notable: "The Ten Commandments" (1956) and "The Robe" (1953). Also in a very good supporting second line "The Egyptian" (1954), "Land of Pharaohs" (1955) and "Helen of Troy" (1956).
    "Quo Vadis?" (1951) was in the middle, not as good as the two first but better than the others.

    The story starts with the return to Rome of victorious General Marcus Vinicius, who is received by his uncle Petronius, a very important Counselor at Nero's court.
    Marcus is suddenly enamored of Lygia, a Christian slave at his uncle's service.
    Lygia due to her beliefs reject the attractive General who tries to forget her in Nero's orgiastic nights, but to no avail.
    Nero in his folly starts a sanguinary Christian persecution, after blaming them of burning Rome. Lygia and her faithful bodyguard Ursus are thrown into dungeon to await their martyrdom. Marcus Vinicius try to rescue them against all odds.
    A curious detail of the movie: it shows Christian personalities as St. Peter and St. Paul and life in the catacombs.

    Main characters were given to Robert Taylor as Marcus Vinicius and Deborah Kerr as Lygia whom performed in standard mode. Leo Genn as Petronius is a step above them, but the real outstanding performance was done by Peter Ustinov as the Emperor.
    This was Peter's specialty, similar good acting may be seen in "The Egyptian" and "Spartacus".
    Buddy Baer as a precursor of Stallone and Schwarzenegger was great in his fight against the bull at the Circus.
    Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren have uncredited cameos.

    This film was credited with seven Oscar Nominations and won no one. Significantly Ustiov and Genn were candidates for Best Actor in Supportive role.
    Musical score authored by Budapest born Miklos Rozsa was also nominated.

    It is a very entertaining "Sword and Sandal", if you like this kind of movies do not miss this one!
    Reviewed by Max Yofre. ...more info
  • A major problem...
    The acting and script are EXCELLENT. But there are some "minor" issues that some people may have problems with, such as baptism that is not immersion and hinting at the possibility of married people still being married in heaven (see Matt. 22:23-30). Furthermore, it is a little vague on exactly who is going to heaven and who is not. And there is a MAJOR PROBLEM: at one point in the movie Peter receives a message from Jesus that includes a statement along the lines of "or I will come back and be crucified again." This is a major theological problem, as the one crucifixion of Christ was sufficient (see Hebrews chapter 10). Such a shame for an otherwise excellent movie....more info
  • Disappointing, incomplete High-Def restoration of a classic
    After eagerly awaiting the blu-ray release of this classic, I found myself thoroughly disappointed by Warner's incomplete restoration.

    The first 1/3 of the film is covered in countless scratches, specks and nicks particularly in the first 20 minutes of the film. It is very distracting in high-def and on a large screen, and should have been cleaned up as part of the restoration. Surprisingly this film is clean in the second and third hour, as if the film went through a different process or standard. Also the sound is a simple mono track, unacceptable in the new era of Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio. Some multi-track sound should have been a minimum.

    Warner should have taken example of brilliant picture and sound restorations on other classics by other studios such as The Robe, Beckett and Sand Pebbles and even Warner's own Blade Runner.

    Nevertheless, the image is bright and exhibiting the luxuriant, vibrant hues of three-strip Technicolor. It also displays a film-like feel, thanks to a grain structure that lends the picture texture and depth. However the picture clarity is soft but this is most likely due to the way the picture was originally lensed.

    Unfortunately, Warner went only half way with this restoration. It could have been a great, as this wonderful picture deserves.

    ...more info
  • I don't understand.....
    I did not purchase this, so do not understand why I'm being asked to review it....more info
    ENTHRALLING! The film intertwined action, romance, politics, and spirituality to create a historical tale of the time and rule of Nero in Rome. Peter Ustinov's character of Nero was well done at depicting him as a spoiled, insane, blubbering, king. The relationship between Lygia, played by Deborah Kerr, and Marcus, played by Robert Taylor, was a little unbelievable for our current times. Special effects depicting the burning of Rome and martyrdom of Christians was very well done, and at times graphic. The name of the movie, Quo Vadis, means `Where are you going?" in Latin. This could be a deep spiritual question (quest). Today most people do not know Latin, and if they did this question may escape any deep meaning to our postmodern culture. If it weren't for it's unusual name I believe this film would be in league with The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston....more info