genre of largely Italian-made historical or biblical epics
(Redirected from Peplum movie)

Sword and sandal movie is a movie genre. They have an ancient Greek, Roman, or Biblical setting. Sometimes called "peplum" movies from the garment worn by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Ancient sculpture showing the goddess Athena wearing a peplum

The central character in these movies is usually a muscular hero like Hercules or Samson. He wears a short peplum and battles monsters, evil despots, and kings or queens. This oil-slicked, nearly-nude hero is rewarded at the end of the movie with the cheers of his people, clan, or tribe — and the hand of a lovely princess.

These movies were mostly made in Italy and some in Spain. Italian moviemakers modelled peplum movies on the big budget Hollywood epics like Charlton Heston's Ben-Hur (1959) or Kirk Douglas' Spartacus (1960). The genre was very important in Italian moviemaking from 1957 to 1965, but was shoved aside in 1965 by the "Spaghetti Western".

Critics often thought peplum movies were poor stuff. They treated them with contempt. Italian director Vittorio Cottafavi called the genre "Neo-Mythology".[1] Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra (1963) and Sophia Loren's The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) are generally considered big-budget sword and sandal movies that mark the end of the genre.

References change

  1. Winkler, Martin. 2007. Troy: from Homer's Iliad to Hollywood Epic Wiley-Blackwell. p. 14.