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Movies: “The Fall of the Roman Empire”

Mar. 26, 1964 - Opening today in the U.S. is “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” an epic historical drama film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Mel Ferrer, and Omar Sharif.

When filming of “El Cid” (1961) had finished, Mann saw a copy of Edward Gibbon’s 1776-89 six-volume series “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in a bookshop. He pitched a film adaptation of the book to Samuel Bronston, who then agreed to produce the project.

The film’s title refers not to the final fall of the Roman empire, which in fact survived for centuries after the period depicted in the film, but to the onset of corruption and decadence which led to Rome’s demise.

Filming finished in July 1963, after a 143-day shoot. Second unit directors spent an additional 63 days shooting action sequences.


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