Caesar Must Die

Caesar Must Die
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaolo Taviani
Vittorio Taviani
Screenplay byPaolo Taviani
Vittorio Taviani
Based onJulius Caesar
by William Shakespeare
Produced byGrazia Volpi
StarringSalvatore Striano
Cosimo Rega
Giovanni Arcuri
Antonio Frasca
CinematographySimone Zampagni
Edited byRoberto Perpignani
Music byGiuliano Taviani
Carmelo Travia
Rai Cinema
La Talee
Stemal Entertainment
Distributed bySacher Distribuzione
Release dates
  • 11 February 2012 (2012-02-11) (Berlin)
  • 2 March 2012 (2012-03-02) (Italy)
Running time
75 minutes

Caesar Must Die (Italian: Cesare deve morire) is a 2012 Italian drama film directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. The film competed at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival where it won the Golden Bear. The film is set in Rebibbia Prison (suburb of Rome), and follows convicts in their rehearsals ahead of a prison performance of Julius Caesar.


  • Salvatore Striano as Bruto (Brutus)
  • Cosimo Rega as Cassio (Cassius)
  • Giovanni Arcuri as Cesare (Caesar)
  • Antonio Frasca as Marcantonio (Mark Antony)
  • Juan Dario Bonetti as Decio (Decius Brutus)
  • Vincenzo Gallo as Lucio (Lucius)
  • Rosario Majorana as Metello (Metellus Cimber)
  • Francesco De Masi as Trebonio (Trebonius)
  • Gennaro Solito as Cinna (Cinna)
  • Vittorio Parrella as Casca (Casca)
  • Pasquale Crapetti as Legionär
  • Francesco Carusone as Wahrsager (Soothsayer)
  • Fabio Rizzuto as Stratone (Strato)
  • Maurilio Giaffreda as Ottavio (Octavius)
  • Fabio Cavalli as Theatre director


Critical response

Caesar Must Die has an approval rating of 92% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 50 reviews, and an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus states: "An ultra-immersive experience that captures the senses and boggles the mind, this leaves no room to question that Caesar Must Die". Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

Critics praised the use of actual prisoners in the film, saying it brought a higher intensity to the piece. Filmed largely in black-and-white, it has been described as a "deeply humanist film" that "blends gentle humour with an emotional punch". Paolo Taviani said that he hoped moviegoers would "say to themselves or even those around them... that even a prisoner with a dreadful sentence, even a life sentence, is and remains a human being". Vittorio Taviani read out the names of the cast. The Hollywood Reporter described the outcome as "a major upset". Der Spiegel said it was a "very conservative selection". Der Tagesspiegel criticised the outcome, saying that the "jury shunned almost all the contemporary films that were admired or hotly debated at an otherwise pretty remarkable festival".


Caesar Must Die won the Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012 where British director Mike Leigh led the judging panel. The film was also selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.

See also

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