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  • I've read the novel written by Bulwer Lytton, I visited Pompeii about 5 times and have read scores of books on the city and its dramatic destruction. This is the best screen adaptation of the book so far. It sticks quite well to Bulwer's novel and adds quite a few pleasant characters and events. Of course this mini-series is not perfect, even has countless flaws : the Temple of Isis, the houses of Glaucus and Diomedes come directly out of the set-designers' imagination, sending Christians to the lions is a bit too cliché, some aspects of the novel have been changed to make it all more dynamic (the novel is very slow-paced actually). But all in all, the plot is interesting, changes and additions good. Nead Beatty's portrayal of Diomedes is just brilliant!! Lesley-Ann Down is gorgeous as Chloe... The day this mini-series comes out on DVD, I'll buy it right away!
  • scrib5218 March 2006
    With a remarkable cast & spiffed up story based on the book, this made-for-TV movie was a joy to watch. All that being said, I must assert that Duncan Regehr totally sold this series - Yes, he was Damn Hot as the gladiator Lydon. Following the splendid job he did playing Erroll Flynn in "My Wicked, Wicked Ways", I was hoping Hollywood would snatch him up & turn out blazing action/adventure flicks with a film noir edge - but nothing happened, or possibly even a remake of "Captain Blood", but still - no. From 1985 on, insipid, look-alike pretty boys got all the leads, it seems. Aside from that, this version of the "Last Days of Pompeii" had a stellar cast with some stunning scenes, sets, & special effects, & um, oh - the gladiatorial fight sequences were every bit of okay, too!
  • 79 A.D. 52 years into Pax Romana and 46 years after the death of Christ, Decadent Pompeiians make life uncomfortable for Christians when they aren't outright killing them. Wealthy citizens struggle to relate to their slaves whilst social climbing. Slaves, as depicted here generally appear more concerned with self-esteem issues than how back-breaking their labour is and the volcano behind them is set to blow any minute.

    A decadent coast city with flaky rich people, wide-scale prostitution, and a dangerous cult all co-existing while the ground shakes? It is like modern Los Angeles only without the hard drugs or racial tensions.

    The easiest criticism to make about this mini-series is that it tries to tell too many stories at once and tells none of them properly with an ending alluded to not merely by history but the title. A grab bag of subplots on offer have a few intriguing elements amidst the mostly boring ones but added together they make for an incoherent muddled mess interlocking too neatly at the end.

    There are a lot of examples of clunky historical epic expositional dialogue beyond the narrator at the beginning which turns into heavy-handed metaphysical discussion the viewer might not be ready for.

    Whatever potential appeal this mini-series might have had appears to have heavily been placed upon a location shoot and legacy casting of actors who had triumphed in roles set in the ancient world.

    Olivia Hussey and Ernest Borgnine had both been in Jesus of Nazareth (1977) along with Lord Laurence Olivier who had of course also appeared in Spartacus (1960). Anthony Quayle had been in Masada (1981) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). Brian Blessed and David Robb had been in I,Claudius (1976). Brian Coburn was in Julius Caesar (1979) and The Day Christ Died (1980). Howard Goorney was in Antony & Cleopatra (1981) and Peter & Paul (1981). Stephen Grief was in The Cleopatras (1983). Nicholas Clay played the title role in The Search For Alexander the Great (1981). Howard Lang had been in Ben-Hur (1959). Marilu Tolo is credited as having been in several gladiator movies in the 1960s.

    As for the much celebrated homoerotic undertones, I cannot really say I know what those might be but my guess would be they has to do with Lydon - the gladiator played by Canadian actor Duncan Regehr. Different people look for different things I reckon and because of it they might see things which are not there.
  • I´ve first seen in 1985, and was the first time that a movie touch my heart, then I read the book and I think that the traslation to the movie is very difficult, but Peter Hunt give us a masterpiece. The adaptation is amazing, and the cast is excellent specially by the beauty from Argentinian actress Olivia Hussey as Ione and Franco Nero as the the cruel Arbaces the Obscure.

    I recommend as one of the best mini-series of all time.
  • I would like to see this movie released to video or DVD; why hasn't it? This is so unfair to those of us who would like to see a film we have not seen in a long time, and would like to see again, or have never seen at all. In the case of this film, I have not seen it again since it first aired on T.V originally 17 years ago. Or at least, somebody should air it on cable or network T.V. so that others may see it. Not even this has been done for this miniseries. Why or why not? I am simply fascinated with Pompeii and ancient Rome! Thank you.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Much better than the version with Steve Reeves in the late fifties.A made for TV miniseries was ideal because of the complexities and the length of Sir Bulwer-Lytton's mammoth novel.And the script writers have even added characters not included in the book:for instance Lesley-Ann Down's Chloe and her love Petrus were invented from start to finish.They also sweetened the end of the story:Nydia,the young blind girl,does not get drowned (she committed suicide cause Glaucus was in love with Ione).

    That was one of the best miniseries of the eighties ,when the sword and sandal style was trendy again:"Anno Domini"( "A.D") was made at about the same time and is good as well.
  • This is definitely more than an antique soap opera. It's without a doubt the most beautiful interpretation of the novel. May be that the story is geared to the 80's generation, but the pictures it shows are unforgettable!

    A magnificent set-decoration and the most authentic art-direction I've ever seen (look at the temple of Isis: even the number of stairs tallies with the original!), tasteful, opulent costumes and finally a few amazing visual-effects, phenomenal for a TV-mini.

    Trevor Jones' music is another wonder. As a great fan of soundtracks I always listen more to the scores than to the dialogues, when I watch a film. Mr. Jones is a man of genius; able to give the worst movies ("G.I. Jane", "The mighty"..) grace and poesy through his music.

    I never heard a more haunting, majestic music than his score for "The last days of Pompeii" and I get a goose-flesh whenever I hear the main-theme - still after twelve years.

    The cast is marvelous, as well. Sir Laurence Olivier, Franco Nero, Olivia Hussey and two outstanding No-names: Lesley-Anne Down and Linda Purl. Both of them are beautiful AND talented, although they rarely were able to show what they are made of.

    I traveled to Pompeii a few times, considering the magic of this forgotten masterpiece. What can I say... the most beautiful town of the earth! And this motion picture is its impressive monument. Thanks.
  • I would just like to say, that I agree with many fans, that Duncan made the series what it was, with his great performance as the Gladiator Lydon. It was a very haunting tale of love, violence and destruction, in ancient Pompeii. I also thought that Nicholas Clay did a great job as Glaucus in the series. I had just started college, at the time this series was shown on television in the UK, during Christmas 1984. Not long after this series was shown, I watched My Wicked, Wicked Ways, in 1985 with Duncan portraying Errol Flynn. I thought that he did a good job in this film, even though it was a poor production, and quite hammy!! But anything that Duncan Regehr is in, is worth watching, just to see him...
  • All of the things people posted about how silly the movie was may have been true, but it's all balanced out by how Duncan Regehr looked in his Gladiator outfit. Those eyes, those cheekbones, that damn! Now this is what we need more of in today's TV. Who cares about the script, other actors...just find guys as hot as this one was, and the ratings will soar. At least, I will be watching every day, that's for sure. But even today's hot actors just don't seem to be as hot as Duncan was....sigh! Orlando Bloom may be gorgeous, but he just can't hold a candle to the scorching good looks that seemed to pour out of the TV whenever Duncan had a scene. I can't figure out why more producers didn't get a clue and use this guy in movies here. I STILL think he ought to make a comeback. He should pull an Anthony Hopkins on us and come back as one of those devastatingly handsome older men.
  • I love this film! I have been looking for it for the past 5 years. I grew up watching this film over and over. In fact, for a brief history:

    my parents recorded this film off the T.V station it played on (I can't remember which, though I've looked for it at the three major ones) and when we moved to Nigeria, I watched it for the first time. This was years after they had recorded it of course. I watched it often, since it's long and it took three tapes for the entire film, it was my favorite chore (self-imposed of course) to watch it and make sure the tape was not ruined. You can imagine how many times I took it upon myself to ensure this.

    Basically, the last time I watched it was in 1998! And when I was coming back here that year, I did not have enough space in my suitcase to bring all the books and films I wanted to. So sadly, it got left behind.

    I am a film student today, and I want to see if the film still holds up to the ideals it did when I was 17. It is definitely a must watch! If you like epic movies like "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur" you will love this film. The history of the people, the effects of the explosion (which I must confess were a bit repetitious and made me think of foam buildings sometimes), the characters, the world the characters inhabited...WOW! I could go on...Films like this one (well, this film really) made me yearn to learn the Roman culture so much that I actually made it a goal (which I have met, and hopefully will again) to visit Rome and see the Colosseum. Gladiator, eat your heart out! This film showed the culture of the people and their lifestyles, not just blood and gore.Watch it if you can. I wish it were released in theaters--if they ran films that long.
  • I wish that Carmen Culver & Edward Bulwar Lyon lived in the same era & that Carmen Culver read over his writings at the time, & had rewritten it for him, so that her work would be the actual "The Last Days of Pompeii" novel.

    The truth is, the original was horrible. Edward Bulwar's writing of the book was very cheesy.

    I will never understand why the critics panned her work. Her miniseries was really wonderful. After seeing it again after so many years, I still absolutely loved it.

    A 100% romantic movie.
  • I would buy this version of Last Days of Pompeii if it were available. The acting and writing were uneven but some was quite good. But what really sold me was, as I remember, it had the most spectacular and most accurate sets of any historical movie or show of this period. Good special effects of the volcanic explosion too. Lavish sets and effects are not uncommon but accuracy is rare and that really makes the show much more interesting. This show beats many other shows of this genre such as "AD" and "Empire".

    I've seen obscure series and shows offered for sale on amazon, shows like "Quark" and "Get Smart Again" that few have heard of. Why not this show? There are some confusing comments on this site that seem to say it is available and others that seem to indicate not. Can someone tell me if indeed this series is available from anyone.
  • God bless the '80's. Only then could a mini-series be this long, have so many varied stars and near-stars and revel in the excess of squalor, silliness and Styrofoam. The little hamlet of Pompeii (where people pray before the Egyptian goddess Isis, Christians are tossed to the lions, gladiators fight to the death and female citizens wear makeshift tube tops in the steam bath!) is situated in front of a matte painting of Mt. Vesuvius. Over the course of the 245 hour mini-series (okay.......245 just seems like that many hours) a plethora of cliched, soapy situations take place. Hunky Gladiator Regehr longs to leave the game, hooker with a heart of gold Down is secretly a Christian (!), Greek Clay pines away over goddess-to-be Hussey and wealthy, but untitled Beatty strains for social credibility. Also on board are Nero as a villainous religious fanatic, Quayle as the stuffy governor, Borgnine as the keeper of the gladiators and Olivier as a reclusive man of means. Most preposterous of all is Purl as a blind slave who knows every nook and cranny of the city (this mere casting tidbit alone has caused some people to fall on the floor laughing.) Viewers will need an abacus (or some other ancient counting device) in order to keep track of who is who, who loves who and who wants to kill who. This is only a smattering of the large canvas of characters, a very uneasy mix of British and Americans and an even uneasier mix of talent and no-talent. Even the actors who are usually good are undone by the trite, pat script in which everything comes to a boiling head just at the moment when Vesuvius is doing the same. There is built-in camp in seeing flimsy, permed-haired men foppishly discussing all the "women" they are lusting after and it's nice to see ultra-hunky Clay in his teeny toga and sometimes even less. Also, Down gives a poor man's Joan Collins spin to her whore character which by the end has become a performance of such rich cheese that it lingers in the memory. Nero gives her a run for her money in a hammy, attention-grasping portrayal. Olivier swoops in, however, and mops the camp floor with them all in his big, important scene while McKenna looks on admiringly. (Someone forgot to tell him that Sam Goldwyn and Alfred Hitchcock are dead and he's wasting his talent in a by-the-numbers TV mini-series.) Predictible, ludicrous, but, to a point, watchable, this is the type of movie in which the city is falling apart yet characters can run around and find each other instantly, in some cases even falling inadvertently into the arms of the one they were screeching for! There's definite curiosity value in seeing 2 Lancelots, a Juliet, Heathcliff, and the Virgin Mary acting alongside Fonzie's girlfriend, Mr. Rogo from "The Poseidon Adventure" and the guy who got raped in "Deliverance", but it wears thin awfully fast.
  • cuculus748 September 2010
    This film - my favorite for almost 18 years, since as it showed on the first channel. The remarkable love stories of several couples - wealthy Athenian Glaucus and Iona (priestesses of Isis, celibate), a poor nobleman Clodius and daughter of a wealthy merchant of Julia, a blind slave girl Nydia and slave - Gladiator Lydon. The only downside of this movie, I think "a clearly defined line Christianity ", making some note of tediousness in a rather dynamic and vivid story, as too idealized image of Glaucus. Well not ancient Roman citizen could do what he could not! This behavior His friend, Clodius - are spelled out fully in accordance with worldview of the ordinary Roman - without unnecessary cruelty, but without much pity for the losers. But everything else - clothes, scenery, the game actors - all at the highest level! It remains only unfortunate that the film so more and did not show on the central television, and many - many viewers are not even aware of it!
  • I would like that film should be represented on television on Channel 12 CFCF or Global TV. So I can recorded it on VHS cassette video and keep it for remembrance of all the people that die during that explosion of the volcano and for my self. If you can do something about it I would very much appreciate it. Thank You. Jean-Marc Lord.
  • Few TV mini series out does movies. This is one of them.

    I've only recently noticed that this movie is based on Bulwer-Lytton's novel. Bulwer-Lytton is of course well known for his other novel "The Coming Race" which the Nazis believed is a true story, and went to South America to search for the entrance to the underground civilization.

    The cast of this series epic. This is not a crude quickly made for television drama. As one of the commentator mentioned, this I think is the best rendition of the story of Pompeii that's ever been produced.

    Both male and female casts are beautiful in this series, as well as the settings. Each plays their part to their fullest until the bombastic climax. It's really believable that last days of Pompeii was like this.

    One of the best mini-series to be produced, this is one TV series that can be compared to some of the movie greats.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A very good fictional story leading up to the destruction of Pompeii. A fine collection of Actors and Actrices portraying the class distinction in the city. The politics and of course the discrimination towards the Christians. What really impressed me was there were no computer effects. Real people were used as extras and the eruption itself is very good. I traveled myself to Pompeii and was surprised at how big it was. If you want to see a true non fiction account of Pompeii, buy the DVD 'The Last Day Of Pompeii, with Tim Piggot Smith. This documentary drama shows how people stood and watched the eruption and then went to their homes to save their valuables and also knelt to pray. Do not bother to watch this latest 3d film Pompeii, as it is just complete rubbish. Excellent entertainment.