A fierce Roman commander becomes infatuated with a beautiful Christian hostage and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.
Nicely produced epic film which plausibly recreates a sense of what ancient Rome may have been like; quite entertaining, but it's Peter Ustinov's sardonic portrayal of Nero that steals the show.
Halliwell**: "Spectacular but stagey and heavy-handed Hollywood version of a much-filmed colossus which shares much of its plot line with The Sign of the Cross. Three hours of solemn tedium with flashes of vigorous acting and a few set-pieces to take the eye; but the sermonizing does not take away the bad taste of the emphasis on physical brutality."
Maltin***: ""Gargantuan MGM adaptation...Meticulous production includes fine location shooting and Miklos Rozsa score based on music of the era."