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Nero (2004 film)

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Directed by  Paul Marcus
Running time  197 min
Director  Paul Marcus
Film series  Imperium
5.4/10 MojTV

Original language(s)  English
Initial release  23 May 2004 (Italy)
Editor  Alessandro Lucidi
Initial DVD release  6 September 2005 (USA)
Nero (2004 film) Neron Imperium Nerone Imperium Nero 2004 Film
Starring  Hans Matheson Laura Morante John Simm Matthias Habich
Country of origin  United Kingdom Italy Spain
Cast  Hans Matheson, Laura Morante, Rike Schmid, Sonia Aquino, John Simm
Similar  Imperium: Augustus, Imperium: Saint Peter, Imperium: Pompei, Quo Vadis?, Nerone

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Imperium: Nero is an Italian-British-Spanish television film, part of the Imperium series; it was made film available on DVD as of November 2005 in the U.S. and Canada. Produced by EOS Entertainment and Lux Vide for RAI and Telecinco.



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As a young boy, future emperor Nero witnesses the mad Emperor Caligula kill his father and exile his mother. While in exile in the pontine islands, Agrippina, his mother, sees a vision telling her that her son can become emperor, but she will have to die first. She accepts the proposal. Back in Rome, Nero, now being raised by emperor Claudius after Caligula's death, Agrippina returns. She poisons Claudius' food and Nero becomes emperor. At first, Nero cuts taxes and introduces successful programs and invades Brittania. Soon he meets a beautiful slave named Claudia Acte, and marries her, throwing off his engagement with Claudius' daughter, Claudia Octavia, telling her she can marry someone she will be happy with. Heartbroken, she arrives at an island and kills herself. Nero enjoys being married to Claudia Acte, but soon he gradually goes mad with power and sets fire to Rome. He divorces Acte, and forces the citizens to watch hour long recitals, and at one of these, accidentally kills his new pregnant wife, Poppaea Sabina. He kills several members of the senate and orders his mother to be stabbed, where she says: "Strike the womb, for that is what bore him." Nero's madness soon causes a riot, causing himself to flee the city in disguise, and slit his wrists under the saddened embrace of Claudia Acte, his once passionate lover.

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The movie in many ways tries to show Nero as a good soul gone mad, beginning as a brilliant young prince enduring injustice, then hailed enthusiastically at the beginning of his reign, implementing much-needed reforms and enjoying immense popularity. Half the film concentrates on Nero's teenage years and his love life with Acte.

Historical Flaws

His relationship with Claudia Acte is altered, and its influence on his divorce of Claudia Octavia exaggerated. In fact after Nero's divorce to Octavia he married his pregnant mistress Poppaea Sabina who had married twice before marrying Nero (Rufrius Crispinus and the future Emperor Otho). Poppaea Sabina's death is portrayed differently than how it reportedly occurred. According to the historical sources, she was kicked to death by Nero in a vicious rage. The film also omits Nero's other reported attempts to kill his mother Agrippina the Younger, first by poisoning. In his second attempt he had his mother's mattress fixed so that when she lay down, a decoration on the ceiling would fall onto the bed. A third attempt involved sabotaging a ship Agrippina was traveling on, but she managed to swim to shore. The fourth attempt, in which a soldier killed her on the spot, is shown in the movie as Agrippina walks toward the soldier and tells him, "Strike the womb that bore him". In the film Nero is shown to have a fixation on playing the harp, which is only partly true. In a late part of the movie Nero is shown playing his harp in the center of a Roman Theatre as Emperor around 62 A.D. This is fiction, because Nero never played his harp in front of a large audience. He usually played it in isolation or within a small group of friends.

At the end, Nero escapes the city by himself and slits his wrists where he is embraced by Acte. In reality, Nero escaped the city in disguise to the house of one of his loyal freedmen, there he committed suicide by stabbing himself in the neck. However, he botched the job and had to have a slave finish the job off for him.

The film's budget was around €800,000. It was filmed on location in Sicily and Tunisia in late 2004 and early 2005.


  • Hans Matheson - Nero
  • Laura Morante - Agrippina the Younger
  • Rike Schmid - Claudia Acte
  • Simón Andreu - Porridus
  • Sonia Aquino - Messalina
  • Maria Gabriella Barbuti - Licia
  • James Bentley - Young Nero
  • Marco Bonini - Rufus
  • Robert Brazil - Silus
  • Philippe Caroit - Apollonius
  • Todd Carter - Senator # 1
  • Massimo Dapporto - Claudius
  • Maurizio Donadoni - Burrus
  • Emanuela Garuccio - Claudia
  • Matthias Habich - Seneca the Younger
  • Klaus Händl - Pallas
  • Jochen Horst - Etius
  • Ruby Kammer - Marzia
  • Ángela Molina - Domitia
  • Mario Opinato - Tigellinus
  • Vittoria Puccini - Claudia Octavia
  • Ian Richardson - Septimus
  • Paolo Scalabrino - Senator # 2
  • John Simm - Caligula
  • Liz Smith - Soothsayer
  • Elisa Tovati - Poppaea Sabina
  • Pierre Vaneck - Paul of Tarsus
  • Francesco Venditti - Britannicus
  • Crew

  • Directed by: Paul Marcus
  • Teleplay by: Paul Billing & Francesco Contaldo
  • Produced by: Luca Bernabei
  • Director of Photography: Giovanni Galasso
  • Production Designer: Paolo Biagetti
  • Edited by: Alessandro Lucidi
  • Costume Designer: Paolo Scalabrino
  • Music By: Marco Frisina
  • References

    Nero (2004 film) Wikipedia

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