Monday, October 7, 2019

Article of the week: Best year for PEPLUM movies?

The Golden Era of the PEPLUM genre lasted between 1949 and 1965. During those 16 years, hundreds upon hundreds of PEPLUM movies were made, certainly after the release of HERCULES (1958) which became a hit around the world even though the movie wasn't produced by a Hollywood studio. Italian and European producers capitalized on the success of the Steve Reeves modest muscle epic to create their own potential hit. The trend lasted a good 7 years, up until 1965. This doesn't mean no more PEPLUM style movies were made or release after 1965 but that the genre peaked and that year was the year productions, in Hollywood or Italy, focused on other genres, like Spaghetti Westerns.

There are different categories of 'best' here:

Best year for top quality PEPLUM movies.

Best year for the most influential PEPLUM movies.

Best year with the most PEPLUM movies released.

Best year for the most action packed PEPLUM movies.

So, for example, I'd vote for 1958 for the 'Best year for the most influential PEPLUM movies' since HERCULES was released that year, along with other titles, like THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS. The genre entered a more modernized view of such movies than those made just a few ago: amazing use of widescreen, more realistic action, more violence and often with more flesh on display. 1958 was a turning point. But that doesn't mean it was the 'Best year of top quality PEPLUM movies' just the year with the most influential genre movies.

For sheer quantity, 1961 or 1962 are almost tied. There were so many films made those years that they alone take a big chunk of percentage of the total number of PEPLUM productions.

Another example would be 1964. Almost every title listed for that year is an action packed PEPLUM classic. It's definitely the 'Best year for the most action packed PEPLUM movies'.

And to make it clear, I based the year of release according to their original release. So, HERCULES was released in 1958 in Italy and many parts of the world but was released in 1959 in the US. It doesn't count as a 1959 release but 1958. For some European productions, I added the US release next to the original release.

So, which year is the best?

In making the list, I listed the most important titles in large letters and the others in smaller letters or else this article would have been too long. And what I mean by important is not necessarily what the critics would view things but how I view them in regards to the genre itself, their impact, cult following, etc. Also, I didn't list all titles of every year so some titles might be missing.

So, here we go:

1949 -

1949 was busy year with two of the major titles which re-ignited the Golden Era of the PEPLUM genre: SAMSON & DELILAH and FABIOLA. But are those two big titles enough to make it the best year?

Samson & Delilah (1949) - Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature

Fabiola (1949) - Michele Morgan, Henri Vidal

Adamo ed Eva (49) - Isa Barzizza; The Iron Swordsman (49) - Directed by Riccardo Freda; Siren of Atlantis (49) - Maria Montez; Il Falco Rosso (49) - Jacques Sernas; Count Ugolino (49) - Gianna Maria Canale

1950 -

1950 was a quiet year with only the French movie SINS OF POMPEII, starring Georges Marchal, being the sole big title of that year.

1951 -

1951 was a pivotal year. With the Hollywood big budget releases of QUO VADIS and DAVID & BATHSHEBA, and MESSALINA in Europe, the PEPLUM genre was exploding!

The Affairs of Messalina (1951; 54 US) - Georges Marchal

Anthony of Padua (51) - Directed by Pietro Francisci ; Silvana Pammanini

David & Bathsheba (51) - Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward

The Golden Horde (1951) - Richard Egan, Marvin Miller

Quo Vadis (1951) - Peter Ustinov, Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn

The Magic Carpet (51) - Lucille Ball; O.K. Nero (1951; 53 US) - Gino Cervi; Zorro's Dream (51) - Vittorio Gassman; Captain Horatio Hornblower (51) - Gregory Peck; Savage Drums (51) - Sabu

1952 -

Only three notable titles in 1952. Not big titles but QUEEN OF SHEBA was an important precursor to HERCULES (1958), both films directed by Pietro Francisci.

Androcles and the Lion (1952) - Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Robert Newton

Queen of Sheba (1952; 53 US) - Directed by Pietro Franscici; Leonora Ruffo

Ivanhoe (52) - Elizabeth Taylor

Blackbeard The Pirate (52) Keith Andes; Wonderful Adventures of Guerrin Mescino (52) - directed by Pietro Francisci

1953 -

1953 was another pivotal year. Hollywood released the first CinemaScope movie and it was a PEPLUM, THE ROBE. A year with many titles, big and small.

The Robe (1953) - Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature

Julius Caesar (1953) - Marlon Brando, Deborah Kerr. etc

Spartaco: Sins of Rome (1953; 1954 US) - Massimo Girotti

Frine - Cortigiana D'Oriente (53) - Elena Kleus, Pierre Cressoy

Salome (1953) - Rita Hayworth

Slaves of Babylon (1953) - directed by William Castle

Two nights with Cleopatra (1953; 64 US) - Sophia Loren, Ettore Manni; Serpent of the Nile (1953) - Rhonda Fleming; Nero & the Burning of Rome (1953) - Gino Cervi; The Sins of Jezebel (1953) - Paulette Goddard; Prisoners of Casbah (1953) - Turhan Bey, Cesar Romero, Gloria Grahame; Captain Scarlett (53) - Richard Greene; The Golden Blade (53) - Rock Hudson, Piper Laurie; Aida (53) - Sophia Loren; The Barbarians (53) - Pierre Cressoy; City Beneath the Sea (53) - Robert Ryan, Anthony Quinn; The Veils of Bagdad (53) - Victor Mature; The Story of Little Mook (53) - Thomas Schmidt; Sadko (53; The Magic Voyage of Sinbad 1962) - Sergei Stolyarov; Raiders of the Seven Seas (53) - John Payne, Donna Reed

1954 -

Another big year for movies. The PEPLUM genre continues to expand.

Demetrius & the Gladiators (1954) - Victor Mature, Susan Hayward

The Egyptian (1954) - Victor Mature, Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov, Edmond Purdom

Theodora, Slave Empress (1954) Georges Marchal, Gianna Maria Canale

Ulysses (1954; 08/55 US) - Kirk Douglas

Sign of the Pagan (1954) - Jack Palance

The Silver Chalice (1954) - Paul Newman, Jack palance, Virginia Mayo

King Richard and the Crusaders (54) - Robert Taylor, Virginia Mayo

Attila (1954; 58 US) - Anthony Quinn, Sophia Loren

The Adventures of Hajji Baba (54) - John Derek

Athena (54) - Steve Reeves and Edmund Purdom. Not a PEPLUM but both actors would eventually work in Italy and it put the spotlight on bodybuilding/bodybuilders.

The Island Princess (54) Marcelo Mastroianni; Action sequence directed by Pietro Francisci;  Crossed Swords (54) - Errol Flynn, Gina Lollobrigida; The Count of Monte-Cristo (54) - Jean Marais; The King's Prisoner (54) - Pierre Cressoy; Loves of Three Queens (1954) - Hedy Lamarr; Princess of the Nile (1954) - Debra Paget, Jeffrey Hunter; The Saracen Blade (1954) Ricardo Montalban; Captain Kidd & the Slave Girl (54) - Anthony Dexter, Eva Gabor; Judas' Kiss (54) - Francisco Rabal; Yankee Pasha (54) - Rhonda Fleming, Jeff Chandler; Daughters of Destiny (54) - Raf Vallone

1955 -

Though not as busy as 1954, 1955 saw two major titles: LAND OF THE PHARAOHS and THE PRODIGAL.

Land of the Pharaohs (1955) - Joan Collins, Jack Hawkins

The Prodigal (1955) - Lana Turner, Edmund Purdom

Queen of Babylon (1955; 56 US) - Rhonda Fleming, Ricardo Montalban

Son of Sinbad (55) - Vincent Price; Quentin Durward (55) - Robert Taylor; The Red Cloak (55) - Bruce Cabot; Andrea Chenier (55) - Raf Vallore; The Golden Falcon (55) - Massimo Serato; Tower of Nesle (55) - Pierre Brasseur

1956 -

1956 wasn't as busy as other more productive years but with titles such as THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and HELEN OF TROY, it was a prominent year nonetheless.

The Ten Commandments (1956 US) - Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston

Helen of Troy (1956) - Jacques Sernas, Brigitte Bardot

The Conqueror (1956) - John Wayne, Susan Hayward

Roland the Mighty (56) - Rik Battaglia, Mimmo Palmara

Sword & the Cross (Slave Girls of Carthage) (1956; 60 US) - Gianna Maria Canale

Nero's Big Weekend (1956) - Gloria Swanson, Brigitte Bardot

The Mysterious Swordsman (56) - Gerard Landry; Zarak (1956) - Anita Ekberg; Adventures of Gil Blas (1956) - Georges Marchal, Fernando Ray

1957 -

A relatively quiet year with only 3 major titles from Europe.

Goddess of Love (57) - Belinda Lee, Jacques Sernas

Desert Warrior (57) - Ricardo Montalban

The Dragon's Blood (Sigfrido; 1957) - Sebastian Fischer

The Black Devil (57) - Gerard Landry; Sabu & the Magic Ring (57) - Sabu, William Marshall; Saga of the Viking Women (57) - Susan Cabot

1958 -

Considering that HERCULES was released in 1958 in Europe and became a hit all over the globe and was a game changer, 1958 is a serious contender of the best year. The release of 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD from Columbia pictures became an instant classic as well.

Hercules (1958; 59 US) - Directed by Pietro Francisci; Steve Reeves and all

The Mighty Crusaders (58) - Gianna Maria Cannale, Sylva Koscina, Rik Battaglia

7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) - Kerwin Matthews

The Buccaneer (58) - Charlton Heston

The Sword & The Cross (1958) - Yvonne De Carlo, Terence Hill

The Warrior and the Slave Girl (1958; 59 US) - Georges Marchal, Ettore Manni

Aphrodite Goddess of Love (1958; 60 US) - Irene Tunc, Isabelle Corey

Il Conte di Matera (58) - Virna Lisi; Captain Falcon (58) - Lex Barker; The Amorous Corporal (58) - Rossana Podestà; Pirate of the Black Hawk (58) - Ettore Manni, Gerard Landry; King on Horseback (58) - Jean Marais; The Violent Patriot (56) - Vittorio Gassman

1959 -

After the success of HERCULES, the PEPLUM explosion was in full swing.  A great year. The greatest? Five movies starring Steve Reeves.

Ben-Hur (1959) - Charlton heston, Stephen Boyd

Hercules Unchained (1959; 60 US) - Steve Reeves, Sylvia Lopez

The Last Days of Pompeii (1959; 60 US) - Steve Reeves, Mimmo Palmara and all

Goliath and the Barbarians (1959; 59 US) - Steve Reeves, Chelo Alonso

Giant of Marathon (1959; 60 US) - Steve Reeves, Mylène Demongeot

The White Warrior (1959; 61 US) - Steve Reeves, camera: Bava ***

Sign of the Gladiator (1959; 59 US) Georges Marchal, Mimmo Palmara

Solomon & Sheba (1959) - Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida

Hannibal (1959; 60 US) - Victor Mature, Terence Hill

Herod the Great (1959) - Edmund Purdom, Ettore Manni

Head of a Tyrant (1959; 60 US)

Legions of the Nile (1959; 60 US) - Georges Marchal, Linda Cristal

The Pirate and the Slave Girl (59) - Lex Barker, Chelo Alonso; The Black Archer (59) - Gérard Landry; Knight Without A Country (59) - Gérard Landry; Cavalier in Devil's Castle (59) - Massimo Serato; The Big Fisherman (59) - Howard Keel; Son of the Red Corsair (Son of the Red Pirate) (59) - Lex Barjer, Sylvia Lopez; The Sinner (Desert Desperados 1959) - Ruth Roman, Akim Tamiroff; Conspiracy of the Borgias (59) - Frank Latimore; The Pirate of Half Moon (59) - John Derek; The Devil's Cavaliers (59) - Gianna Maria Canale; Attack of the Moors (1959) Chelo Alonso

1960 -

The explosion was in full force. So many titles that I even needed to put some major titles in the paragraph.

The Giants of Thessaly (1960; 1963 US) - Directed by Riccardo Freda; Roland Carey

Spartacus (1960) - Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Peter Ustinov, etc

Goliath & the dragon (Vengeance of hercules, 1960; 60 US ) - Mark Forest

The Loves of Hercules (1960; 1966 TV US) - Jayne Mansfield

Son of Samson (1960; 62 US) - Mark Forest, Chelo Alonso

Cleopatra's Daughter (1960; 61 US) - Debra Paget; Ettore Manni

Colossus and the Amazon Queen (1960; 64 US TV) - Rod Taylor, Ed Fury

David and Goliath (1960; 60) - Orson Welles

Salammbo (1960; 62) - Jacques Sernas

The Minotaur (1960; 61) - Rik Battaglia, Rosanna Schiaffino

Carthage in Flames (1960; 61 US) - Terence Hill, Pierre Brasseur

Morgan the Pirate (1960; 07/61 US) - Steve Reeves

Conqueror of the Orient (1960) - Gianna Maria Canale, Rik Battaglia, Irene Tunc

The Queen of Tartars (60) - Chelo Alonso, Jacques Sernas

Revenge of the Barbarians (1960) - Daniela Rocca, Jose Greci

Revolt of the Slaves (1960; 61 US) - Rhonda Fleming, Ettore Manni

Esther & the King (1960 US; 61) - Joan Collins, Richard Egan

The Pharaoh's Woman (1960; 61 US) - John Drew Barrymore, Pierre Brice

The Story of Ruth (60) - Tom Tryon

Siege of Syracuse (1960; 62 US) - Tina Louise, Rossano Brazzi

Sappho the Venus of Lesbos (Warrior Empress 1960; US 61) - Tina Louise, Kerwin Mathews

Revak the Barbarians (Revak ; 60) - Jack Palance

Messalina (1960) - Belinda Lee, Giuliano Gemma

The Terror of Red Mask (60) - Lex Barker; 3 worlds of Gulliver (60) - Kerwin Mathews; King of the Vikings (60) - Antonio Vilar; Story of Joseph & his Brethren (1960; 62 US) - Terence Hill, Belinda Lee; Fury of the Pagans (1960; 63 US) - Edmund Purdom; Captain Blood (60) - Jean Marais; The Cossacks (60) - John Drew Barrymore; Knight of 100 Faces (60) - Lex Barker, Liana Orfei; Marie of the Isles (60) - Belinda Lee; Pirates of the Coast (60) - Lex Barker; Robin Hood & the Pirates (60) - Lex Barker; Sword of Sherwood Forest (60) - Richard Greene; Tiberius (60) - Ugo Tognazzi; Queen of the Pirates (60) - Gianna Maria Canale; A Story of David (60) - Jeff Chandler

1961 -

The explosion continues. Along with 1962, 1961 had more PEPLUM releases than ever. It's mind boggling how many films were made, certainly green-lighted after BEN-HUR and HERCULES were major box offices hits.

King of Kings (61) - Jeffrey Hunter

The Colossus of Rhodes (1961 US) - Georges Marchal, Mimmo Palmara

El Cid (61) - Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren

Triumph of Maciste (1961) - Kirk Morris

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961; 63 US) - Reg Park, Fay Spain

Giant of Metropolis (1961; 63 US) - Gordon Mitchell

Hercules in the Haunted World (1961; 64 US) - Reg Park, Christopher Lee

Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops (1961; 63 US) - Gordon Mitchell, Paul Wynter

Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World (1961; 62 US) - Gordon Scott

Goliath and the Vampires (1961; 64 US) - Gordon Scott, Leonora Ruffo

Maciste - Strongest Man in the World (Maciste vs the Mole Men) (1961) - Mark Forest, Paul Wynter

Samson (1961; 1963 US) - Brad Harris, Alan Steel

The Mongols (1961; 1966 TV US) - Jack Palance, Anita Ekberg

The Invincible Gladiator (1961) - Richard Harrison

Constantine and the Cross (1961) - Cornel Wilde, Belinda Lee

Barabbas (1961) Anthony Quinn and all

The Trojan Horse (1961; 62 US) - Steve Reeves, John Drew Barrymore

Duel of the Titans (Romulus & Remus) (1961; 63 US) - Steve Reeves, Gordon Scott

Ursus (Mighty Ursus) (1961; 62 US) - Ed Fury

The Thief of Baghdad (1961; 61 US) - Steve Reeves and all

Vengeance of Ursus (1961) - Samson Burke

Francis of Assisi (60) - Bradford Dillman

Goliath Against the Giants (1961; 63 US) - Brad Harris

Slave of Rome (1961) - Guy Madison, Rossana Podesta

Erik the Conqueror (1961; 63 US) - Cameron Mitchell dir by Mario Bava

The Last of the Vikings (1961; 62 US) - Cameron Mitchell

Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile (1961; 64 US) - Vincent Price

Revenge of the Conquered (1961) - Burt Nelson, Wandisa Guida

Ursus in the Valley of the Lions (1961; 1963 US) - Ed Fury

Romulus & the Sabines (1961) - Roger Moore, Mylene Demongeot, Jean Marais

Amazons of Rome (1961; 63) - Ettore Manni, Louis Jourdan

The Seven Revenges (1961; 67 US) - Ed Fury

The Bacchantes (1961; 1963 US) - Akim Tamiroff

Duel of the Champions (1961) - Alan ladd

Atlantis the Lost Continent (1961) - Sal Ponti

Ursus and the Tartar Princess (Tartar Invasion) (1962; 1963 US) - Joe Robinson

Suleiman the Conqueror (1961; 1963 US) - Edmund Purdom; Maciste vs Hercules in the Vale of Woe (1961) - Kirk Morris; Journey Beaneath the Desert (Antinea) (1961; 67 US) - Haya Harareet, Gabriele Tinti; Atlas (1961) - Michael Forest; Antigoni (1961) - Irene Papas; The Wonders of Aladdin (1961) Terence Hill, Donald O'Connor; Revolt of the Mercenaries (61) - Virginia Mayo; Rage of the Buccaneers (Gordon the Black Pirate) (61) - Ricardo Montalban, Vincent Price; The Fighting Musketeers (61) - Mylene Demongeot; Vengeance of the Three Musketeers (61) - Mylene Demongeot; Guns of the Black Witch (61) - Don Megowan; Queen of the Seas (61) - Lisa Gastoni, Jerome Courtland; The Prisoner in the Iron Mask (61) - Jany Clair; The Story of the Count of Monte Cristo (61) - Louis Jourdan; The Secret of the Black Falcon (61) - Lex Barker; Sword in the Shadows (61) - Germano Longo; White Slave Ship (61) - Edmund Purdom, Pier Angeli; Oh Islam (63) - Silvana Pampanini; Captain Fracasse (61) - Jean Marrais; Rampage of Evil (61, Capitani di Ventura) - Wandisa Guida; The Conqueror of Maracaibo (61) - Helga Liné, Hans von Borsody; Antar the Black Prince (61) - Kouka; Pirates of Tortuga (61) - Ken Scott; Sword Without A Country (1961) - Leonora Ruffo; The Mercenaries (61) - Debra Paget; Princess of Cleves (1961) - Jean Marais; Blood on his Sword (61) - Jean Marais; Antigoni (1961) - Irene Papas; The Corsican Brothers (61)  - Geoffrey Horne

1962 -

Another extremely busy year. They were churning out these movies nonstop.

Son of Spartacus (The Slave) (1962; 63 US) - Steve Reeves

Maciste in Hell  (The Witch's Curse) (1962; 63 US) - Directed by Freda; Kirk Morris

Pontius Pilate (1962; 1967 US) - John Drew Barrymore, Jean Marais

Sodom & Gomorrah (1962; 63 US) - Stewart Granger, Rik Battaglia, Gabriele Tinti

The 300 Spartans (O-R: 08 -1962 US) - Richard Egan, Diane Baker

Damon & Pythias (O-R: 06 -1962) - Guy Williams

Seven Seas To Calais (62) - Rod Taylor

The Golden Arrow (O-R: 09 -1962; 64 US) - Tab Hunter, Rossana Podesta

79 AD The Destruction of Herculaneum (1962) - Brad Harris

Colossus of the Arena (1962) - Mark Forest , Dan Vadis

Vulcan, Son of Jupiter (1962) - Gordon Mitchell, Richard Lloyd, Roger Browne

Conqueror of Corinth (the Centurion) (62 US) - Gordon Mitchell, John Drew Barrymore

A Queen for Caesar (1962) - Gordon Scott, Rik Battaglia

Sword of the Conqueror (1962; 62 US) - Jack Palance

Tharus, Son of Attila (Colossus & the Huns) (1962) - Jerome Courtland, Mimmo Palmara

War Gods of Babylon (1962) - Howard Duff

Kerim, Son of the Sheik (1962) - Gordon Scott, Gordon Mitchell

Caesar Against the Pirates (1962) - Gordon Mitchell, Abbe Lane

Fury of Hercules (1962; 1963 US) - Brad Harris, Alan Steel

Ursus the Rebel Gladiator (1962; 1963 US) - Dan Vadis, Alan Steel

Colossus of the Stone Age (Fire Monster vs Son of Hercules) (1962) - Reg Lewis

Gladiator of Rome (1962; 1963 US) - Gordon Scott

Gladiators 7 (1962) - Richard Harrison

The Avenger (War of the Trojans) (1962) - Steve Reeves, Gianni Garko

Fury of Achilles (1962) - Gordon Mitchell

Alone Against Rome (1962; 63 US) - Lang Jeffries, Gabriele Tinti

Caesar the conqueror (1962; 1963 US) - Cameron Mitchell, Rik Battaglia

The Old Testament (1962) - Brad Harris

My Son, the Hero (The Titans) (1962; 63 US) - Giuliano Gemma, Serge Nubret

Toto vs. Maciste (1962) - Samson Burke

Samson Against the Sheik (1962; 1963 US) - Ed Fury

Avenger of the Seven Seas (1962) - Richard Harrison

Ulysses vs Hercules (1962) - Georges Marchal, Mike Lane

Mars the God of War (Venus vs Son of Hercules) (1962) - Roger Browne

Ali Baba and the Sacred Crown (Seven Tasks of Ali Baba) (1962; 1963 US) - Rod Flash

The Normans (Attack of the NormansConquest of the Normans) (1962) - Ettore Manni, Genevieve Grad

The Defeat of the Barbarians (1962) - Ken Clark, Moira Orfei; Triumph of Robin Hood (1962) Samson Burke, Don Burnett; Fra Diavolo (62) - Ugo Tognazzi, Moira Orfei; Pirates of Blood River (62) - Kerwin Mathews, Christopher Lee; The Sword of El Cid (1962; 64 US) - Roland Carey; Revenge of the Mercenaries (Capitano di Ferro) (62) - Barbara Steele; Adventures of Sinbad (62) - Animated; Zorro and the court of Spain (62) - George Addison; The Magic Sword (62) - Basil Rathbone; The Black Invaders (62) - Amedeo Nazzari; Cartouche (Swords of Blood) (62) - Jean Paul Belmondo; Charge of the Black Lancers (62) - Mel Ferrer, Yvonne Furneaux; Rape of the Sabine Women (1962; 62 US) - Wolf Ruvinskis; Jack the Giant Killer (62) - Kerwin Mathews; Duel of Fire (62) - Fernando Lamas, Liana Orfei; The Last Charge (62) - Tony Russel; Blood and Defiance (62) - Jose Greci, Gerard Landry; The Seventh Sword (62) - Brett Halsey; With Fire & Sword (Daggers of Blood; Invasion 1700) (62) John Drew Barrymore; Marco Polo (62) - Rory Calhoun; Il Segno del Vendicatore (62) - Gabriele Antonini; Clash of Steel (62) - Kirk Morris; Musketeers of the Sea (62) - Pier Angeli, Channing Pollock; Imperial Venus (1962) - Gina Lollobrigida, Stephen Boyd

1963 -

1963 was the year CLEOPATRA was released and forever changed the PEPLUM genre/trend. Cinemas were oversaturated with a glut of PEPLUM movies. The fact that CLEOPATRA was considered a financial failure cast a dark cloud on the genre. The year still saw some amazing releases.

Cleopatra (1963) - Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, etc

Sandokan the Great (1963; 65 US) - Steve Reeves, Mimmo Palmara

Perseus the Invincible (Medusa vs. the Son of Hercules) (1963; TV US) - Richard Harrison

Jason & the Argonauts (1963 US) - Todd Armstrong

Thor and the Amazon Women (1963) - Joe Robinson, Harry Baird

Hercules against Moloch (Conquest of Mycene) (1963; 65 US) - Gordon Scott, Pietro Marascalchi (as Moloch below)

The Fall of Rome (1963; 1963 US) - Carl Mohner

Goliath & the Sins of Babylon (1963; 63 US) - Mark Forest, Mimmo Palmara

Slave Queen of Babylon (1963) - Yvonne Furneaux

Hercules Against the Mongols (1963; TV US) - Mark Forest, Howard Ross, Ken Clark

Ursus in the Land of Fire (1963) - Ed Fury

Hercules, Samson & Ulysses (1963; 65 US) -  Directed by Pietro Francisci; Kirk Morris

Colossus and the Headhunters (1963) - Kirk Morris

Hercules and the Masked Rider (1963) - Alan Steel, Mimmo Palmara

Slave Girls of Sheba (1963) - Mimmo Palmara, Linda Cristal

The Ten Gladiators (1963) - Dan Vadis, Jose Greci, Mimmo Palmara

Samson and the Slave Queen (Zorro against Maciste) (1963/ 63 US) - Alan Steel, Massimo Serato, Moira Orfei

Samson and the Sea Beast (1963) - Kirk Morris

Goliath and the Rebel Slave (Tyrant of Lydia Against the Son of Hercules) (1963) - Gordon Scott

Hero of Babylon (1963) - Gordon Scott, Moira Orfei

Brennus, Enemy of Rome (1963) - Gordon Mitchell

The Lion of St Mark (63) - Gordon Scott

Taur the Mighty (1963) - Joe Robinson, Harry Baird

Kings of the Sun (1963 US) - Yul Brynner

Catherine of Russia (63) - Hildegarde Kneff

Gold for the Caesars (1963) - Jeffrey Hunter, Mylène Demongeot

Devils of Spartivento (1963) - John Drew Barrymore

The Saracens (1963) - Richard Harrison

Invincible Masked Rider (1963) Pierre Brice; Kali Yug: Goddess of Vengeance (1963) Lex Barker; Jacob the man who fought with god (1963) - John Douglas; The Magnificent Adventurer (Burning of Rome) (1963) - Bernard Blier; Scheherazade (63) - Giuliano Gemma; Siege of the Saxons (63) - Janette Scott; Balboa (63) - Frank Latimore; Sign of Zorro (63) - Sean Flynn; The Three Swords of Zorro (63) - Guy Stockwell, Gloria Milland; Captain Sindbad (63) - Guy Williams; The Castilian (63) - Cesar Romero; Executioner of Venice (63) - Lex Barker, Guy Madison; The Lost World of Sinbad (63) - Toshiro Mifune; Jacob & Esau (63) - Ken Clark; Plains of Battle (63) - Erno Crisa; Revenge of the Musketeers (63) - Fernando Lamas, Gloria Milland; The Black Duke (63) - Cameron Mitchell; Knights of Terror (63) - Tony Russel, Scilla Gabel; The Red Sheik (1963; 63 US) - Rosalba Neri

1964 -

1964 might not have the greatest PEPLUM titles but in terms of pure PEPLUM entertainment, 1964 is hard to beat. Almost every title is tops in my book. It's an orgy of PEPLUM action!

The Last Gladiator (Messalina Against the Son of Hercules) (1964; TV US) - Richard Harrison, Lisa Gastoni

Triumph of the Ten Gladiators (1964) - Dan Vadis, Helga Line

Hercules the Invincible (Son of Hercules in the land of darkness) (1964) - Dan Vadis

The Fall of the Roman Empire (64) - Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Christopher Plummer, etc

Triumph  of Hercules (1964; 65 US) - Dan Vadis

Hercules against the Sons of the Sun (1964) - Mark Forest

Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964) - Peter Lupus, Helga Line

Ursus the terror of Kirghiz (Hercules Prisoner of Evil) (1964) - Reg Park, Ettore Manni

Hercules and the Black Pirate (1964) - Alan Steel

Hercules against the Moon Men (1964; 65 US) - Alan Steel

Two Gladiators (1964) Richard Harrison, Mimmo Palmara

Hercules against the Barbarians (1964) - Mark Forest, Howard Ross, Ken Clark

Spartacus & the Ten Gladiators (1964) - Dan Vadis, Helga Line

Ali Baba and the Seven Saracens (1964) - Gordon Mitchell

Giants of Rome (1964) - Richard Harrison, Ettori Manni

Hero of Rome (1964) - Gordon Scott

The Lion of Thebes (1964) - Mark Forest

Hercules against Rome (1964) - Alan Steel

Atlas against the Czar (Samson vs. the Giant King) (1964; 65 US) - Kirk Morris

Maciste - Gladiator of Sparta (Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules) (1964) - Mark Forest

Samson and the Mighty Challenge (1964) - Alan Steel, Howard Ross

Invincible Brothers Maciste (Invincible Gladiators) (1964) - Richard Lloyd

3 Avengers (Three Invincibles) (1964) - Alan Steel

Goliath at the Conquest of Damascus (1964) - Peter Lupus

Coriolanus: Hero Without a Country (1964) - Gordon Scott

Revolt of the Barbarians (1964) Roland Carey

Rome against Rome (War of the Zombies) (1964; 65 US) - John Drew Barrymore

Sandokan Pirate of Malaysia (1964) Steve Reeves, Mimmo Palmara

Sandokan Fights Back (1964) - Guy Madison

The Secret Seven (1964; 66) - Helga Line

Terror of the Steppes (1964) - Kirk Morris

Anthar the Invincible (1964) - Kirk Morris

Seven Slaves Against Rome (1964; 65 US) - Gordon Mitchell, Roger Browne

Revolt of the Praetorians (1964) - Richard Harrison, Moira Orfei

The Magnificent Gladiator (1964) - Mark Forest, Marilu Tolo

Maciste in King Solomon's Mines (1964) - Reg Park

Samson and the Treasures of the Incas (1964) - Alan Steel

Revenge of the Gladiators (1964) - Mickey Hargitay

Son of Cleopatra (1964) - Mark Damon

Seven from Thebes (1964) - Andre Lawrence

The Spartan Gladiators (1964) - Helga Line, Howard Ross

Maciste in the Valley of Thundering Echoes (Hercules of the Desert) (1964) - Kirk Morris, Hélène Chanel

Desert Raiders (1964) - Kirk Morris, Hélène Chanel, Rosalba Neri

Temple of White Elephant (Sandok Maciste of the Jungle) (1964) Sean Flynn

Sword of Damascus (1964) - Tony Russel

The Gospel According to St. Matthew (64) - Pasolini

Zorikan the Barbarian (1964) - Dan Vadis; 100 horsemen (Son of El Cid) (1964) - Mark Damon; The Fighting Cossacks (1964) - Jean-François Poron; The Black Tulip (64) - Alain Delon, Virna Lisi; Masked Man against the Pirates (64) - George Hilton; The Gallant Musketeers (64) - Gerard Barray; Sword of Rebellion (1964) - Gerard Landry; Samson (64) - Dara Singh; Mystery of Thug Island (64) - Guy Madison; Saul and David (64) - Gianni Garko

1965 -

By 1965, the number of PEPLUM productions diminished considerably. Compared this to 1961 or 1962. In the span of just a couple of years, the PEPLUM explosion petered out to almost nothing, with European studios making Eurospy flicks or Spaghetti Westerns.

Hercules & the Princess of Troy (1965 TV US) - Gordon Scott

Kindar the Invulnerable (1965) - Mark Forest, Mimmo Palmara

Hercules the Avenger (1965) - Reg Park, Giovanni Cianfriglia, Gia Sandri

The War Lord (65) - Charlton Heston

Revenge of the Gladiators (Vengeance of Spartacus) (1965 US) - Gordon Mitchell

Conqueror of Atlantis (1965) - Kirk Morris

Giant of the Evil Island (1965) - Peter Lupus

Seven Rebel Gladiators (1965) - Roger Browne

Challenge of the Gladiator (1965) - Peter Lupus

Sword of the Empire (1965) - Lang Jeffries, Howard Ross, Jose Greci

Il Vendicatore dei Mayas (Maciste - Avenger of the Mayans) (1965) - Kirk Morris

Fire over Rome (1965) - Lang Jeffries

Gideon & Samson (1965) - Rosalba Neri

Falcon of the Desert (1965) - Kirk Morris, Howard Ross

Temple of a Thousand Lights (1965) - Richard Harrison

The Adventurer of Tortuga (65) - Guy Madison

Treasure of the Petrified Forest (65) - Gordon Mitchell

The 10th Victim (65) - Marcello Mastroiani, Ursula Andress; The Sword of Ali Baba (1965) - Peter Mann, Gavin MacLeod; Marco the Magnificent (1965; 65 US) - Horst Buchholz, Anthony Quinn; Genghis Khan (65) - Omar Sharif

After reading this, what do you think is the best year of PEPLUM cinema?


ap said...

For me it was 1961, I was 13-14 years old and went to every peplum movie that was only shown in the cinema. (netherlands)

Scott Ochiltree said...

Thanks for this most impressively complete compilation

stonesmasher said...

1961,is the winner in terms of quality films,IMHO,edging out 1963,with third place going to 1960..The list for 61 includes many of my personal favorites,GOLIATH AND THE VAMPIRES,HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD,SAMSON AND THE SEVEN MIRACLES OF THE WORLD,HERCULES AND THE CAPTIVE WOMEN,THE SEVEN REVENGES,THE TROJAN HORSE,and several others.Great job,by the way, in compiling this list!

Richard Svensson said...

I'm exhausted by just reading this list..
Taking everything into account I'll have to settle on 1961, simply because whatever kinks there might've been in the early Italian Peplum efforts, they're gone by now, and the craftsmanship and storytelling are at peak levels this year. All movies seem fresh and are very entertaining. And I am considering true Peplums to be the Italian-produced movies during this era. The Hollywood productions tend to (often) be sluggish and overlong, and they shy away from the more fantastical elements of mythology. Not so in Italy. The best fantasy films of the early 60's were made by the Italians.

Shamelord said...

1961 includes a lot of personal favorites for me, especially the two Reg Park Hercules films.

lina esposito said...

For 1964

Anonymous said...

Your definition of a peplum film is so broad that it makes my head spin...Athena? 3 Worlds of Gulliver?
Thinking only of European peplum films I think some of the best quality ones came out in 1960.

PEPLUM TV said...

I'm not calling's ATHENA a PEPLUM but the fact that both Edmund Purdom and Steve Reeves are in it is important to the PEPLUM genre. That's all. It helped start their careers. ATHENA is important in regards to bodybuilding and how it helped with careers of bodybuilders, many who went on to work in PEPLUM movies.

Google: 'Athena: Box Office Bomb and Bodybuilding Breakthrough'

Anyway, if that's all you took from this article why do you even visit the blog? Go somewhere else ffs.

Tim said...

This is a great list. I have to go with '61 as well. Lots of amazing films. '62 was a great one as well, one of my favorites of the genre, as well as actors (Gordon Mitchell), Fury of Achilles came out that year.

I am curious why The Silver Chalice is left out of this list (as well as the great Heroes Never Die book). It seems to fit at least a loose definition of peplum. I realize Paul Newman disowned the movie, but I mean it has Jack Palance in a superhero costume towards the end! The sets are fantastic as well.

PEPLUM TV said...

Thanks Tim!

I've added it. I forgot it.

Лев Аллен said...

I think this area should be divided into American and Italian. Despite the fact that they often collaborated, Hollywood and Italians adhered to (mainly) different approaches - in the USA these were high-budget dramas in antique (or other ancient) scenery. In Italy, these are heroic-fantasy adventure pictures, sometimes on the verge of an exploitative movie. So I think that for a start you should decide on the peak of each of them. Regarding the American, I am leaning towards the year of the remake of Ben-Hur - 1958. 1961 already looks like the time of the maximum rise of European films. True, all these are a few preliminary estimates.