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Film / Brennus, Enemy of Rome

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Brenno il nemico di Roma, known in English as Brennus, Enemy of Rome, is a 1963 Italian Historical Fiction Sword and Sandal film directed by Giacomo Gentilomo, narrating (with several artistic licenses) the events that took place in the year 391 B.C., as the Roman Republic is attacked by the Celtic hordes coming from the north and led by the ferocious barbarian king Brennus (Gordon Mitchell).

Cutting a bloody swathe through the Italian peninsula, and overpowering every attempt at resistance the Romans try to come up with, the Celts are already only a few days away from the Eternal City. The Romans' most capable commander, Marcus Furius Camillus (Massimo Serato), is falsely accused of corruption by political rivals, and goes into voluntary exile in Ardea, choosing to live as a farmer. As the Roman Senate decides to send an embassy to Brennus, the invaders attack Clusium, a town close to Rome, and capture many citizens, among which Nissia (Ursula Davis), a priestess of Minerva and bethroted to the Roman commander Quintus Fabius (Tony Kendall). In an attempt to spare her citizen from the slaughter, Nissia accepts to marry Brennus, much to Quintus' dismay...

This movie contains the following tropes:

  • Achilles in His Tent: Camillus leaves Rome in disgust after being falsely accused of corruption.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: From what historical documentations we have, the real-life Brennus had a long mustache and long hair, like many Celtic warriors at the time. This movie makes him a short-haired, muscular hunk without a single hair on his face.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted. Bows and arrows are portrayed as just as dangerous and lethal as they are in real life.
  • Antagonist Title: Brennus is the Big Bad of the movie, which is clearly named after him.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Attempted Rape: Brennus tries to force himself on Nissia towards the end of the movie. She fights him off, so he settles for whipping her instead.
  • Badass Boast: As Brennus taunts the Romans for accepting his conditions for the ransom of Rome, Camillus shows up and fires back.
Camillus: "Brennus! Not with gold, but with iron, Rome will be recovered!"
  • Bad Boss: Brennus cares nothing for his men's lives, and abandons them to their deaths without a second thought when the Roman army gets the upper hand in the final battle.
  • Big Bad: Brennus, the ferocious, tyrannical and unpredictable leader of the Celtic hordes.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: The Roman armies find themselves unable to stop Brennus and his army in open field battle, but they do slow him down just enough to allow Rome to reorganize.
  • Damsel in Distress: Nissia, the daughter of the praefect of Clusium, who is Quintus' Love Interest and is lusted after by Brennus.
  • Death of a Child: The preteen Mauro is killed by a traitor.
  • Doomed Hometown: Clusium is taken over and sacked by the Celts just a little after the beginning of the movie.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Brennus has quite a lot of trouble with this trope. As a tyrannical warlord who cares about nothing but himself, he can't understand why anyone would think differently from him, and openly mocks Nissia for caring about others. Indeed, he thinks that the natural state of humanity is total self-interested chaos, and that trying to impose any sort of laws and rules on others is foolish and innatural.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: As the population of Rome is moved into their last stronghold in Capitolium, the oldest senators willingly stay behind, reasoning that they are too old and feeble to be of any help, and that they'd only slow down the last defenders.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The real-life Brennus wasn't this bad.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Sums up the relationship between Brennus and Nissia. He clearly only sees her as just another prize to be conquered.
  • I Lied: Brennus sees nothing wrong with breaking any promise he makes.
  • Karmic Death: Brennus is finally killed in battle by Quintus, the Love Interest of the woman he wanted to force himself upon, and the last remaining son of Marcus Fabius.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Decius Vatinius, a corrupt senator who is cooperating with Brennus in order to conserve his wealth and power.
  • Moving the Goalposts: Brennus imposes a ransom of a thousand libras of gold (about 330 kilos) in exchange for the safety of both Rome and its population. As the members of the senate struggle to gather the needed gold, Brennus' men keep adding weights to their side of the scales, continuously adding to the price. When Brennus is called out on this, he answers with the ever-famous line: "Woe to the conquered!" and adds his own sword to his side of the scales.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: As he cooperates with Brennus and the invaders, Decius Vatinius tries to justify himself by saying that he wants to spare Rome an even more costly defeat, but he's actually only interested in preserving his own riches.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Poor Marcus Fabius outlives two of his three sons. And Camillus outlives his adoptive son Mauro.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The fate of every city and village in the way of Brennus' horde.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Quintus' father Marcus, a senator who only has Rome's best interests in mind and tries his best to keep his people from getting a raw deal.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Turnus, the Etruscean assassin, is killed by his boss Vatinius after betraying him. Soon after, Vatinius gets on the receiving side of this trope and is killed by Brennus.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Brennus certainly doesn't care about the age of the civilians he's putting to the sword. And Turnus does not hesitate to murder the 12-year-old Mauro under Vatinius' orders.