I, Claudius


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An epic tale of ambition, debauchery, and intrigue, this Emmy®-winning BBC series is one of the most popular and acclaimed dramas in Masterpiece Theatre history. Based on the novels by Robert Graves, spanning the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus to Nero, it stars Derek Jacobi in a career-defining role, with Siân Phillips as the lethal Livia, John Hurt as the vile Caligula, and Patrick Stewart as the ambitious Sejanus. "Fiendishly sophisticated"-New York Times. 12 episodes, 11 hrs, 5 DVDs, SDH. Mature audiences.
Disc 1
Episode 1: A Touch of Murder
Rome, 24-9 BCE. Nearing the end of his life and surrounded by spies, Claudius, emperor of Rome, writes his family history. His tale begins during the reign of Augustus, with his treacherous grandmother, Livia, scheming to advance the career of her son, Tiberius. Her machinations prove deadly for many family members, but Tiberius's brother, Drusus, threatens her plans.

Disc 2
Episode 2: Waiting in the Wings
Rome, 3-5 CE. With Tiberius in exile, it seems that Livia has lost-but everyone Augustus chooses to succeed him dies inexplicably. Livia forces the emperor to face the truth about his wanton daughter. An omen hints that Claudius-a dull, awkward child with a stutter and a limp—might be more than he appears to be.

Episode 3: What Shall We Do about Claudius?
Rome, 9 CE. When Livia hears that Tiberius has a new rival, Julia's son Postumus, she quickly moves against him. Before he is banished, Postumus tells Claudius all he knows about Livia. Claudius is advised to keep playing the fool to ensure his safety; he weds in a marriage arranged by Livia.

Episode 4: Poison Is Queen
Rome, 13-14 CE. After decades of deception, Augustus learns of Livia's plots and writes a new will naming Postumus his heir. Soon after Livia visits the temple of the Vestal Virgins, keepers of the emperor's will, Augustus suffers severe stomach pains. With Livia's hopes finally realized, she sends Sejanus to tie up loose ends.

Episode 5: Some Justice
Rome, 19-20 CE. Tiberius rules Rome with help from Sejanus. When Claudius's popular brother, Germanicus, dies under mysterious circumstances, the Roman people protest. A trial in the Senate is rigged to clear the emperor's name. Witnesses disappear, and Caligula, son of Germanicus, sets fire to the family villa.

Disc 3
Episode 6: Queen of Heaven
Rome, 23-29 CE. Tiberius lives only for his perverted pleasures, encouraged by the monstrous young Caligula. Sejanus forces Claudius to marry his sister, solidifying his alliance with the imperial family. Livia, knowing that death is near, confesses her crimes to Claudius and reveals a prophecy claiming that he will be emperor one day.

Episode 7: Reign of Terror
Rome, 30-31 CE. The ambitious Sejanus, commander of the guard, has destroyed nearly all of his enemies. Even Tiberius, now living on Capri, is in danger. When he receives a smuggled warning letter, he wonders how to stop Sejanus, who has the guard's loyalty. Caligula makes a suggestion, and the streets of Rome run red with blood.

Episode 8: Zeus, by Jove!
Rome, 37-38 CE. On his deathbed, Tiberius names Caligula heir to the Roman throne. Caligula promises the people bread and circuses, and a new age of prosperity seems about to begin. Then Caligula falls into a coma, awakens, and proclaims himself a god. He fears just one thing: his unborn son by his own sister.

Episode 9: Hail Who?
Rome, 40-41 CE. Now totally mad, Caligula has turned the palace into a brothel, complete with gambling and orgies. His lame old uncle Claudius serves as doorkeeper. With the empire in financial ruin, conspirators plot an assassination. Later, as soldiers loot the palace, Claudius hides behind a curtain.

Disc 4
Episode 10: Fool's Luck
Rome, 41-43 CE. Under Claudius's rule, the empire's finances are improving. His beautiful wife, Messalina-a marriage arranged by Caligula-bears him two children and urges him to make an alliance with Silanus, governor of Spain. A valued old friend warns Claudius to trust no one.

Episode 11: A God in Colchester
Rome, 47-48 CE. While Claudius is away invading Britain, Messalina challenges a leading prostitute to a tournament of sex. She wins, scandalizing Rome, but Claudius remains in the dark. He is compelled to act when a final humiliation endangers his life. Soon after, Claudius learns that the British have made him a god.

Episode 12: Old King Log
Rome, 54 CE. Claudius marries Agrippinilla, mother of Nero and the deadliest woman in Rome. A prophecy has told him that Nero will be Rome's next ruler. Claudius knowingly seals his fate and that of his own son by naming Nero his heir. He finishes his book and buries a copy to be found centuries later.
  • Extended original versions of episodes 1 and 2
  • I, Claudius: A Television Epic - a behind-the-scenes look at the series
  • The Epic That Never Was, a documentary recounting the failed 1937 film adaptation
  • Derek Jacobi interview
  • Favorite scenes of the cast and director
  • 8-page booklet with an article about the series' historical accuracy and a Julio-Claudian family tree

Packaging: Boxed set

Run Time: 668 minutes plus bonus programming

Format: Full screen (some bonus material Widescreen)

Number of discs: 5

Language: English

Subtitles: No

Color or B&W: Color (some bonus material B&W)

CC: No

SDH: Yes

Region Code: 1

Aspect Ratio: 4:3 (some bonus material 16:9)

Rating: NR; contains violence, nudity, and sexual content

"A true masterpiece" - San Francisco Chronicle

"Fiendishly sophisticated" - The New York Times

"Handsomely produced, grandly acted, and thoroughly involving" - The Washington Post

"Irresistible, witty" - Los Angeles Times

"100 Best TV Shows of All Time" -by Time Magazine

"Exquisitely wicked" - Los Angeles Times

"Decadence personified" - USA Today
BAFTA TV Award Winner for Best Actor (Derek Jacobi, 1977)

BAFTA TV Award Winner for Best Actress (Si â n Phillips, 1977)

BAFTA TV Award Winner for Best Design (1977)

BAFTA TV Award Nomination for Best Drama Series/Serial (1977)

Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Art Direction for a Drama Series (1978)

Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series (1978)

Emmy Award Nomination for Outstanding Limited Series (1978)

Royal Television Society Award Winner for Best Performance (Siân Phillips, 1977)

TP de Oro (Spain) Award Winner for Best Foreign Series (Mejor Serie Extranjera) (1979)

Product Reviews

Avg. Customer Rating:
(based on 29 reviews)
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5 stars
By Owen from MD on 3/6/2014

Saw this when it first came out, just simply the best thing I've ever seen on TV - superb acting, great story, all the ingredients from life that make up good drama - tragedy, comedy, sex, violence, good and evil.

A Classic
By Rose from PA on 11/21/2012

Superior story, wonderful actors. We haven't seen I Claudius in a long time, and it's great to see how well it has held up.

Absolutely mesmerizing
By Marietta from FL on 4/24/2013

I saw it many years ago ,and I was looking for it for my daughter who is in 8th grade and is studying the very precise subject .So I bought It and we are watching it together , she still read her books from school, but the series made it easier and fun .And great Bonding time !! Thanks

Arrived quickly and safely.
By Ceri from CO on 12/2/2014

This is a present for a dear friend. He is going to die when he gets it!!

Awh Rome
By Christine from CA on 1/6/2014

A brilliant work , bought it for my spouse as a gift. He is a history buff .

Claudius Still a Winner
By Helen from CA on 5/20/2013

Missed part of the series 'I, Claudius' when it first appeared on TV, so when I saw it was a available on Acorn, I ordered it. When it didn't show up in the 10 days or so it was promised, I contacted Acorn about it. They said it was shipped and delivered by promised date. I then called the post office, they said 'oops,' and sure enough, it showed up the next day on my porch. Acorn was very cooperative and useful in getting the problem resolved, so I'll definitely buy products from them again. The series is very good, with a lot of scandal and a lot of scheming among relatives. Love it!

Derek Jacobi Rules!
By Sandra from TX on 12/6/2013

I, Claudius has been a great favorite since I viewed it when it was first shown on PBS. I bought the DVD for my husband who has never seen it. Looking forward to sharing the experience of a visit to Roman times!

Great for the 70's.
By Susan from OR on 2/28/2014

Great story and well done. Wonderful cast. It does show how far technology has brought out TV viewing. Nothing wrong with that, just an observation.

By MYRON from MS on 11/19/2014


Great Service
By Claudia from FL on 1/6/2014

This order was purchased as a gift for someone. It was delivered in a timely manner and I was pleased with your service. The person receiving the gift was very pleased with I, Claudius/

I Caudius
By Pauline from NS on 8/1/2013

I remember this when it was originally aired In the UK and, after many years of classical education, still think it is the best overview of this period in Roman history. The acting is truly magnificent and exceptionally memorable.

I Claudius
By Boris from PA on 3/19/2013

Great Book, great series.Always wanted a copy.

I Claudius
By Veronica from CA on 11/21/2014

watched it years ago, I know it is great, I bought it for my Husband for Christmas, he hasn't viewed it yet.

I, Claudius
By Shopper from FL on 2/17/2014

Magnificent, first rate.

I, Claudius
By Kathy from CA on 10/1/2012

I had seen this series on PBS years ago and when I saw it in the ACORN catalog I had to have it. It arrived packaged very well and I'm completely satisfied with my purchase.

I, Claudius 35 years later
By Long-time from CA on 12/8/2014

First watched this program when it was broadcast on PBS in the late 1970s -- it was amazing. Hadn't seen it since, though I think it was rebroadcast some years later. Very happy to have the chance to buy the series plus the terrific additional features. Given the limited technology of the time, the picture and audio have been well preserved and enhanced. It's as good as I remembered it! Really enjoyed watching the interviews with many of the actors and others involved with the production. I'm glad to be able to now watch this wonderful series again and again, whenever I wish.

I, Claudius Box Set
By Daniel from PA on 1/4/2013

The series was very good when I first saw it, and still holds up well after many years.

I, Claudius DVD
By Kevin from CA on 7/13/2012

I have been a fan of both Robert Graves' I'Claudius books and the BBC series for many years, but I'd only ever been able to see bits and pieces of the series on TV and You Tube. The DVD's are packaged very nicely and come with lots of additional background video. The video quality is understandably not as good as you'd expect from more recent programming content, but far better than what you find on YouTube.

I, Claudius still one of the all time best tv series
By Beches from AZ on 4/4/2013

I saw the original Masterpiece showing in the US and eagerly waited decades for the rerun-- I finally bought it. Perhaps it now pales a little beside HBO's 'Rome,' but it is still great.

I, Claudius, is a classic insight
By Don from UT on 8/14/2012

As a student of history I watched 'I, Claudius' when it first came to PBS and thought then how well it told the story of Rome's move to empire.

By John from AZ on 11/22/2012

Fascinating to watch.

By Supporter from IL on 12/9/2014

This was a television triumph for one of Great Britain's great actors, Derek Jacoby. I'm looking forward to re-viewing it with friends during this coming winter. It is definitely for mature audiences.

Love It!
By Kathy from CA on 6/26/2012

I will be ordering another copy soon. Thanks!

Margaret Calderone
By Margaret from IL on 12/11/2012

Still as good as the first tine I watched it, 35 years ago.

Not yet arrived
By Ken from BC on 2/2/2013

This is a replacement for a VHS copy that I no longer have. I am buying it because I like the show and have done ever since it was on TV. I am now impatiently awaiting its arrival. Please hurry.

Quick response to my using incorrect credit card number
By Shopper from NM on 7/6/2012

I was buying a copy of I, Claudius on DVD to replace my husband's favorite VCR tape. And I used the wrong card number, but a polite email notifying me that it was not approved and where to call solved the problem.

Readers only, NOT Fast moving or Action Packed
By Cynthia from MB on 10/16/2013

I loved I Claudius from it's first Television Airing. I am an avid reader and UNDERSTAND Shakespeare! My husband is a car guy and magazine reader. He hates Shakespeare and fell asleep 20 minutes into I Claudius! This is not for the average TV viewer, but for people who enjoy theatre.

By Edward from TX on 7/31/2012

Classic Story I saw years ago that is a timeless classic that needs to be seen often!

By Judy from IL on 7/30/2012

Although I haven't as yet had time to watch the DVD, I was enthralled by it when it ran on the local PBS station here in Chicago a number of years ago. Derek Jacobi is a superb actor, and the rest of the cast is excellent. I'm looking forward to watching the DVD very soon.