Thursday Movie Picks: Ancient World

Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week has us looking into movies set in the ancient world, particularly between 3600 BC – 500 AD. My picks are movies that were either disappointing or terrible. Here are my picks this week.

Gladiator – It has an iconic line, and this won a lot of awards, but this was a disappointing film for me. I was disappointed with how this ended. There was build up after build up, and I expected the same fight sequence we were treated to when the gladiators were fighting in the arena. I was really excited to watch this, but expectations fall short.

Wrath of the Titans – This was completely forgettable and terrible, a complete mess.

Pompeii – The poster = how the movie ends. This was getting buzz because Game of Thrones was (and/or still is) at its height, and the Stark children were getting popular. Although seeing recent movies of this caliber fail one after the other makes me question how these projects get approved in the first place.


  1. I liked Gladiator, but I never bothered with the other two. They looked awful.

  2. I can agree with you on two of these, Wrath of the Titans and Pompeii, they stunk! The second was particularly disappointing since the story seems like it could have been made into something so rich. There was a version of the story made in the 30's called The Last Days of Pompeii which while not perfect was miles better than this thing.

    I liked Gladiator and didn't mind the ending since it seemed to be heading in that direction but you aren't the first person I've heard with that opinion.

    I LOVE these sort of films no matter when they were made but my particular favorites are the big 50's era pageants with huge casts and enormous budgets so that's where I went for my three this week.

    Quo Vadis? (1951)-Huge, impressive epic of Nero’s (Peter Ustinov) reign and his persecution of the Christians. Against the broader scale of the story (with amazing sets and a literal cast of thousands) is the tale of Roman general Marcus Vinicius (Robert Taylor) who falls in love with the Christian Lygia (Deborah Kerr) and slowly adopts her religion, a very dangerous decision for the time. Vast in scope with pageantry and a human feel that can’t be replicated by CGI that thanks to the direction and performances, Leo Genn is particularly fine as Marcus’s Uncle Petronius, remains more accessible than many similar films of the period.

    Land of the Pharaohs (1955)-Hooty nonsense about the building of the Great Pyramid in ancient Egypt. Packed with quality British actors, including Jack Hawkins, James Robertson Justice and Sydney Chaplin, extravagantly playing to the back row and best of all (well most campily of all anyway) a young and very beautiful Joan Collins vamping it up as the pharaoh’s wife Nellifer. To say she’s good would be a stretch but she sure is entertaining. The usually excellent Howard Hawks doesn’t seem to have a handle on the pace of the story so despite the florid ridiculousness of the picture it occasionally drags.

    Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)-Fictional sequel to The Robe picks up where that film ended. The movie follows two stories: faithful Demetrius (Victor Mature) the soldier converted to Christianity in the first picture is pressed into being a gladiator and catches the eye of the salacious Messalina (Susan Hayward) wife of Emperor Caligula’s uncle which causes a crisis of conscience. Meanwhile the mad Caligula pursues Jesus’s robe believing it to have magical powers. Star-studded if improbably cast (i.e. Ernest Borgnine as a Roman centurion) with future stars Anne Bancroft and Julie Newmar appearing briefly. Nicely produced if a bit overblown.

  3. I haven't seen Gladiator in ages but I remember really liking it.

  4. Wrath of the Titans is a bit sad especially all the big names in it. I haven't seen Pompeii and still want to. I love Gladiator and found the ending quite good although it would never have happened. Love the music, the acting and the fight scenes

  5. I didn't do it this week because I couldn't think of a single movie I had sen set that far back, but I did see Pompeii and Gladiator. GOod choices.

  6. Pompeii was terrible. I don't know what they were doing trying to make a Titanic love story type of thing and I think the cast was miscast. They seem to be trying to make Kit Harington into some sort of action star...which I don't think he is.