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Series / Julius Caesar (2003)

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Julius Caesar is a 2003 miniseries based on the life of Julius Caesar, starring Jeremy Sisto as the title character. It was broadcast on TNT in two parts.

Not to be confused with the Shakespeare play (which it doesn't adapt), the 1953 film and the 1970 film (which both adapt the play).


  • Artistic License – History: Enough for its own page.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When a guard takes Caesar out of the prison to meet with Sulla, he at first escorts him to the execution chamber, then suddenly stops and directs him to the stairs leading out of the prison.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Cato the Younger is clean-shaven right until the end, when he and his forces have retreated to Africa and are besieged by Caesar's, he is suddenly shown with a full beard.
  • The Caligula: The Roman dictator Sulla is portrayed as this. His political ambitions to maintain the senatorial system is glossed over and he invades Rome and orders purges just to seize personal power. He massacres all his enemies, orders Caesar's heart cut out by Pompey, and sentences a coin minter to death because he felt like it. His tyranny ends when he drowns in his own bath due to a heart attack.
  • Create Your Own Villain: During the Gallic campaign, Caesar's soldiers ransack a village when he orders them to spare the life of a humble farmer. This man turns out to be Vercingetorix, who will unite the Gallic tribes against the Romans.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sulla establishes his tyranny by ordering the Roman Senate under surveillance so that any decisions would be in his liking. When a senator objects to this, Sulla orders him executed without hesitation.
    Tallis: I was only asking what everyone was thinking.
    Sulla: Well, I can't possibly kill everyone, so, I will kill only you.
  • Face Death with Despair: When Senator Tallis is going to be executed, he's frantically crying and begging that he wants to see Sulla (who ordered said execution) right until the moment his head leaves his body.
  • Fat Bastard: Pothinus, the eunuch vizier of Ptolemy, is noticeably overweight, which is used to make his status as an Evil Chancellor more obvious.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: While Sulla was always a ruthless dictator by all accounts, the film takes this a step further. The real-life Sulla was supportive of the Senate and not a populist by any stretch, nor is there any evidence he had senators killed for dissenting him. Additionally, while he regretted letting Caesar walk free, he never sent Pompey or anyone else to secretly kill him, nor did he attempt to have an innocent servant strangled for alleged thievery just for the hell of it.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Sulla has his prisoners executed this way, with one guard taking two several heads away, presumably for public display, and another forcing a prisoner into the execution chamber to meet that fate (off-screen; we only hear the sound of the sword silencing him).
    • Pompey meets this fate upon arriving in Egypt, but only after he's killed on Ptolemy XIII's orders.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: After marching on Rome with his army, Sulla barges into the Senate hall and has soldiers posted to ensure they will do his bidding. When one Senator asks if this is contrary to Roman law, Sulla replies that he "just changed Roman law". Sulla then orders his execution when the Senator continues annoying him.
  • Shoot the Dog: During the Siege of Alesia, the Gauls are near starvation while waiting for relief from the other tribes. In a last-ditch attempt to buy more time and weaken the Romans, they force their wives and children out of the city and onto the Romans. Caesar refuses to take them either, so they simply end up starving and freezing to death outside the walls.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: When the dictator Sulla comes face to face with the young Caesar (the son-in-law of one of his enemies), he wants Caesar to divorce his wife and go in exile on pain of execution. Caesar questions his sincerity and worries about his wife's well-being, but Sulla claims that he leaves women to their health. Indeed, we never see him harm a woman or order such action.
  • Worthy Opponent: Caesar considers Vercingetorix to be his; he even visits him before his execution to say farewell and states he feels more kinship with him than he does the mob howling for his enemy's blood.