Massacre in Rome


Rome, March 23, 1944: 33 German soldiers are killed by a bomb. Lt. Col. Herbert Kappler is ordered to execute ten times that many Italians.

ACTORS : Richard Burton, Marcello Mastroianni, Leo McKern 


Massacre in Rome


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Massacre in Rome, In the Nazi occupied city of Rome, an assault on an SS brigade draws retaliation from the military governship. “Massacre in Rome” is the true story of how this partisan attack led to the mass execution of Italian nationals under the orders of SS-Lieutenant Colonel Kappler.

A movie that reminds us of our humanity

Massacre in Rome, People watch war movies for action, but rarely to be reminded of their humanity, and this film touches more to the latter. There’s not much action, but there is a lot of character in this fact-based drama. Burton plays the same historical character that Christopher Plummer impersonated in the televison drama THE SCARLET AND THE BLACK, Col. Herbert Kapler, an art-loving, but genocidal, Nazi officer, who carried out the massacre. The real Kapler also authorized the execution of the priest that Rosselini’s OPEN CITY was based on. Both films are worthy companions to this one, and together all three convey what Rome was like during the days of Nazi occupation.

Excellent, but very dry, war drama


I like this movie because of its accuracy and the excellent acting of the main cast, and also of the supporting characters. The film is very dry though, and slow, and presumably not meant as pure entertainment. It is, in my view, a more or less accurate depiction of what happened, not a star vehicle for the brilliant actors Richard Burton (Lt. Col. Herbert Kappler) and Marcello Mastroianni (Father Pietro Antonelli). John Steiner is also superb as Col. Dollmann.

This is not a film for thrill-seekers. It is a film for those who enjoy good acting, direction and historical accuracy. The main actors were serious artists, and I am sure they were very happy to participate in this well-crafted, very structured and chilling account of the German occupation of Rome. I give it 8 out of 10 stars, and that’s me being conservative.

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