Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
One of the few good movie versions of a Shakespeare play.
on September 5, 1999
Much better than the earlier Julius Caesar, which starred Marlon Brando as Mark Antony and James Mason as Brutus. In this version, Jason Robards as Brutus is admittedly an embarrassment, but the rest of the cast is quite strong. The delivery of Antony's funeral oration by Charlton Heston is brilliant, powerful, well-paced, the dramatic high point of the movie. Richard Johnson as Cassius, John Gielgud as Caesar, Robert Vaughn as Casca and Diana Rigg as Portia are fine actors, with full dramatic presence, at home in Shakespeare's language. Brief parts, like the soothsayer's and the cobbler's, are memorably played. The screenplay omits two short passages that are important to the plot: (1) Cassius' avowal in the first act, after his attempt to persuade Brutus to oppose Caesar, that if their positions were reversed and he, Cassius, stood as well with Caesar as Brutus does and Brutus made a comparable appeal to him, he would certainly not listen. (2) Immediately after the assassination, a promise by Brutus to Antony's servant of safe conduct for Antony, who thus knows when he comes to the Capitol and weeps over Caesar's body, challenging the conspirators to kill him also, that he is in no danger of their doing so.