Richard Burton had a blazing argument with Darryl F. Zanuck before the film's release. This was another reason why he decided to return to the West End rather than remain in Hollywood.
Richard Burton hated making the film so much that he turned down a studio contract from 20th Century Fox. He was amazed to receive an Oscar nomination after critics had almost universally described his performance as "wooden".
Richard Burton once said this was the least favorite of all his films.
Richard Burton was once threatened with a gun by Stewart Granger because of the affair he was having with Granger's wife Jean Simmons during filming.
Darryl F. Zanuck originally offered the role of Marcellus to Tyrone Power in a bid to get him to renew his contract with Fox. Power instead opted to star in the play "John Brown's Body" on Broadway, which closed after 65 performances.
Acclaimed by many film historians as a triumph in the art of motion-picture music, Alfred Newman's reverent, intense, prodigious background music failed to garner an Academy Award nomination for Dramatic Score. Nonetheless, Mr. Newman did take home an Oscar statuette that awards night - for his role as musical director of the Irving Berlin-Ethel Merman frolic, Call Me Madam. To register his unhappiness with the snub, the distinguished film composer Franz Waxman, an Oscar winner for Sunset Blvd. and A Place in the Sun, resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Compounding his appreciation for the Newman opus, Mr. Waxman required that his screen credit for Demetrius and the Gladiators, a "Robe" sequel, note that the Waxman score was based on the Newman score. Ironically, that year's winning Dramatic Score perhaps had been placed in the wrong category. Bronislau Kaper's charming scor
At one point the producers considered making Marcellus older and casting Laurence Olivier.
Director Henry Koster chose his Second Assistant Director Donald C. Klune to play the role of Jesus in the film. Klute would thus sign all the extras' vouchers and finish the paperwork while still in costume. He also had to eat lunch in his dressing room, as the studio thought it would be inappropriate for "Jesus" to eat in the commissary at Fox.
Famous as the first film released in CinemaScope. It was not planned that way. After a week of shooting in standard academy (1.33:1), the production was shut down. When production was resumed, they started from scratch and did each shot in CinemaScope, and them again in the standard academy format. The film was released in CinemaScope only theatrically at first. In the 1990's this version was released to television (when "letterboxing" began to be used for widescreen films shown there). The standard academy format version was released to theatres not yet equipped for CinemaScope, and to television in the 1960's.
It is the first motion picture (and Best Picture Academy Award nominee) in CinemaScope.
The film rights to this film had originally been bought by RKO Radio Pictures in the 1940s. The studio never filmed it, eventually selling the rights to Twentieth-Century Fox.
The movie was advertised as "the modern entertainment miracle you can see without the use of glasses" - a dig at the 3D movies that were en vogue at the time.
The opening shot after the title credits (and the background 'red robe' curtain parts) is actually a scene lifted from its sequel, Demetrius and the Gladiators. That's Jay Robinson as Caligula presiding over the ceremony preceding the gladiatorial games; William Marshall as Glycon in the front row of gladiators, far right; Victor Mature as Demetrius standing directly behind him, and Ernest Borgnine as Strabo who is leading the gladiatorial procession.
The second movie made in CinemaScope, but the first to be released (Sept. 16, 1953). The first film to be made in CinemaScope was How to Marry a Millionaire and was released Nov. 4, 1953.
The set of Cana, the village of Galilea where Marcellus Gallio meets Peter, will be used in Demetrius and the Gladiators, the sequel of this movie as the Christian neighborhood in Rome where Demetrius lives in the beginning of the movie. We can easily recognize the well with old broken columns.
This film contains approximately 517 transitions (edits, dissolves etc) in about 131 minutes of action. This equates to an average shot length of about 15 seconds.
This film was first telecast on USTV on Easter Weekend, 1968. Not only was the ABC-TV telecast aired at an early hour (7:00 PM EST) to facilitate family viewing, but it aired with only one commercial break, an unheard-of concession for the time.