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Maciste (Mark Forest) is the greatest gladiator of the Roman Empire, & a
personal friend of Caesarr (Robert Hundar, & even has a mistress,
noblewoman Olympia (Marilu Tolo) at the emperor's court. His only enemy is
Sifatius, the commander of the Pretorian guard, , but he seems to be powerless
Then one day though, Maciste frees Sylvia (Elisabetta Fanti)
from the clutches of some Roman soldiers (& Christianity was a capital
crime in Rome back then), & of course the 2 fall in love ... but for having
saved her, Maciste is convicted to fight in the arena ... against a gorilla.
of course wins, & Caesar grants him a wish ... & wouldn't you know it,
Maciste wishes for the Christian girl to be free (even though she is free as he
speajks). Caesar & Sifatius are more than happy to grant this wish, as they
have Maciste followed, & wouldn't you know it, he leads them right to the
Christians' secret meetign place, so Sifatius' men are able to arrest them all
... only Sylvia they would let go, but she refuses to leave the others alone,
who all now blame Maciste for their capture ... & they are of course right
to a point.
Maciste though that same night stops by at the prison they are
held in, rips the bars of tehir window with his bare hands, & frees them.
When Sifatius hears about that, he of course at once suspects Maciste, but his
noblewoman Olympia, who is in love with him even though she knos he doesn't
love her back, gives him a waterproof alibi ... & continues to do so when
Maciste breaks free more & more Christians, until only the Christians'
bishop is in captivity ... in the dungeons under the arena.
still suspects Maciste of helping the Chritians despite his alibis is now
setting him a trap in the Arena, but somehow the trap proves to be a mighty
poor one, as Maciste is not only able to free the bishop but also a bunch of
rebel-gladiators he knows from his gladiators' school days. It's onlyx when one
of these gladiators turns traitor that Sifatius learns about the hiding place
of the Christians in the catacombs, but event hen Maciste can provide them with
a safe escape route, only he himself falls into te Roman soldiers clutches,
& is to be killed in the arena by being dragged behind some horses until
A prayer on his lips & his superhuman strength to help him,
Maciste survives even this & can make a getaway, with only Sifatiius hot on
his heels. In the end, Maciste can kill him in a fight, & immediately
afterwards, he & all the Christians are pardoned by Caesar, who is quite
impressed by the power of their god ...
A bit of a poor man's
Spartacus, this late entry into the Italian
muscleman-sword-&-sandals-cycle boasts little in respect of originality,
production values or historical accuracy, instead presents the audience with a
easy-to-follow, colourful if cheap heroic epic, a pulp-version of the
persecution of the Christians with a happy ending thrown in just for good
measure, that is at once rather childish & pretty endearing - in a trashy
sort of way.