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What They Said About

Gore Vidal: The whole venture, I’m afraid, could give vulgarity a bad name.

San Francisco Chronicle: Movies like this could make people give up sex for Lent.

Bob Guccione: [It] is going to make history, like Citizen Kane.

New York Times: Mr Guccione may be on to something, though it’s not very profound.

Rex Reed: A trough of rotten swill.

Professor Frederick Logan: I definitely recommend people see this film.

Marilyn Michaels: We’re Jewish and don’t see such things.

Monthly Film Bulletin: By no means so awesomely bad as most critics have been pleased to report — but pretty bad all the same.

New York Magazine: I suppose Guccione will get a few Penthouse features out of the movie; I don’t know what else it’s good for.

Newsweek: A two-and-one-half-hour cavalcade of depravity that seems to have been photographed through a tub of Vaseline.

Bernice Gerard, United Citizens for Integrity: I just about upchucked three times.

Bob Hunter, Sunday Northshore News: First of all, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. And second, it was one of the most powerful, relentless motion pictures I have ever seen. It was a cinematic masterpiece…. It has to be understood that Caligula is the first truly great historical film to be made.

Washington Post: Such a mucky, distasteful melange of eroticism, brutality and pageantry that it’s difficult to believe any script... ever existed.

Martha Wright, vice chairman, Maryland Censor Board: The worst example of violence and obscenity ever exhibited in this country.

John Travolta: It was a very emotional experience.

Pat Prowd, Vancouver, BC: Chaplin would have done it much better.

Times Literary Supplement: Rancid is the word which best describes Bob Guccione’s film.

Los Ángeles Times: Grisly tedium, relieved only by some unintentionally funny dialogue.

Malcolm McDowell: The producers added twenty minutes of porn.... An outrageous betrayal.... I thought it was too long. I won’t be making any more pornographic movies.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: As erotica, Caligula has all the potency of industrial-strength saltpeter; as drama it is leadenly lugubrious; as historical reconstruction it lacks veracity; as a film it is an unqualified disaster — traits that the American public has managed to overlook in its vigilant quest for fresh thrills, as they have paid approximately $20 million to see it in the comparatively few cities in which it has played.

Judge Clarence G Yanosik: Grotesque... repulsive... would fatigue an overactive imagination.

Neil Gallagher, pastor, Church of Christ, East Providence, RI: The most outrageous and savage attempt to exploit the macabre nature of man in order to suck money from his pockets.

Doylestown Daily Intelligencer: The most perverted, despicable and offensive motion picture ever made.

Helen Mirren: It has a lot of bottoms in it.

Denver Post: Laughable if you still have the energy to react at all.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times: Sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash.

Peter O’Toole: As for being erotic, I’d say the film was about as erotic as bath night on a battleship.

The Tatler: Well-nigh continuous sadistic cruelty that had even a hardened New York audience gasping.

Sunday Times: It isn’t even exceptionally boring, judged by the exacting standards of contemporary tedium.

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