---------------------------------------------------- Caligula, the young heir to the throne of the syphilis (Syphilis )-ridden, half-mad Emperor Tiberius (Tiberius ) (Peter O'Toole ( Peter_O%27Toole )), thinks he has received a bad omen after a blackbird flies into his room early one morning. Shortly afterward, Macro ( /wiki/Naevius_Sutorius_Macro ) (Guido Mannari), the head of the Praetorian Guards ( /wiki/Praetorian_Guards ), appears to tell the young man that his great uncle ( /wiki/Great_uncle ) (Tiberius) demands that he report at once to the Island of Capri ( /wiki/Capri ), where he has been residing for a number of years with close friend Nerva ( /wiki/Marcus_Cocceius_Nerva ) (John Gielgud ( /wiki/John_Gielgud )), Claudius ( /wiki/Claudius )(Giancaro Badessi), a dim-witted relative, and Caligula's younger stepbrother ( /wiki/Stepbrother ), Gemellus ( /wiki/Tiberius_Gemellus ) (Bruno Brive), Tiberius' favorite. Fearing assassination ( /wiki/Assassination ), Caligula is afraid to leave, but his beloved sister Drusilla ( /wiki/Drusilla_%28sister_of_Caligula%29 ) (Teresa Ann Savoy ( /wiki/Teresa_Ann_Savoy )) convinces him to go.
At Capri, Caligula finds his uncle has become depraved ( /wiki/Depravity ), showing signs of advanced venereal diseases ( /wiki/Sexually_transmitted_disease ), and embittered with Rome ( /wiki/Ancient_Rome ) and politics ( /wiki/Politics ). Tiberius enjoys watching degrading sexual shows, often including children ( /wiki/Pedophilia ) and various freaks of nature. Caligula observes with a mixture of fascination and horror. Tensions rise when Tiberius jokingly tries to poison Caligula in front of Gemellus. After Nerva commits suicide on the prospect of Caligula's rule, Tiberius collapses from a stroke, leaving Macro and Caligula planning a way to hasten the latter's ascent to the throne. Late one night, Macro escorts all the spectators out of Tiberius' bedchamber to allow Caligula the opportunity to murder his uncle, but when he fails, Macro finishes the deed himself by strangling ( /wiki/Strangulation ) Tiberius with a scarf. Caligula triumphantly removes the imperial signet from Tiberius' finger and suddenly realizes that Gemellus has witnessed the murder. Tiberius is buried with honours and Caligula is proclaimed the new Emperor, who in turn proclaims Drusilla his equal, to the apparent disgust of the senate ( /wiki/Roman_senate ). Afterwards, Drusilla, fearful of Macro's influence, convinces Caligula to get rid of him. Caligula obliges by setting up a mock trial ( /wiki/Kangaroo_court ), in which Gemellus is intimidated into testifying that Macro alone murdered Tiberius. With the powerful Macro gone, Caligula appoints Tiberius's former adviser Longinus (John Steiner ( /wiki/John_Steiner )) as his right-hand man, and pronounces the docile Senator Chaerea ( /wiki/Cassius_Chaerea ) (Paolo Bonacelli ( /wiki/Paolo_Bonacelli )) as the new head of the Praetorian Guard. Drusilla endeavours to find Caligula a wife amongst the priestesses of the goddess Isis ( /wiki/Isis ), the mystery cult they secretly practice. Caligula only wants to marry Drusilla, but when she refuses because she is actually his sister, he spitefully marries Caesonia ( /wiki/Caesonia ) (Helen Mirren ( /wiki/Helen_Mirren )), a known courtesan ( /wiki/Courtesan ), but only after she bears him an heir ( /wiki/Heir ). Caligula proves to be a popular, yet eccentric ruler, cutting taxes and overturning all the oppressive laws that Tiberius enacted. The senate begins to dislike the young emperor for his eccentricities and various insults directed towards them. Darker aspects of his personality begin to emerge as well; he rapes a bride and groom on their wedding day because of a minor fit of jealousy and orders the execution of Gemellus merely to provoke a reaction from Drusilla. After he discovers Caesonia is pregnant ( /wiki/Pregnancy ), Caligula suffers severe fever ( /wiki/Fever ), but Drusilla nurses him back to health. Right after he fully recovers, Caesonia bears Caligula a daughter, Julia Drusilla ( /wiki/Julia_Drusilla_%28daughter_of_Caligula%29 ), and Caligula marries her on the spot. During the celebration, Drusilla collapses in Caligula's arms from the same fever he'd suffered. Soon afterwards, Caligula receives another ill omen in the guise of a black bird. He rushes to Drusilla's side and watches her die. Caligula experiences a nervous breakdown, he smashes a statue of Isis and drags Drusilla's body around the palace while screaming hysterically. Now in a deep depression, Caligula walks the Roman streets, disguised as a beggar. After a brief stay in a city jail, Caligula becomes determined to destroy the senatorial class, which he has come to loathe. His reign becomes a series of humiliations against the foundations of Rome; senators' wives are forced to work in the service of the state as prostitutes ( /wiki/Prostitute ), estates are confiscated, the old religion is desecrated, and he initiates an absurd war on Britain to humiliate the army. It is obvious to the senators and the military that Caligula must be assassinated, and Longinus conspires with Chaerea to carry out the deed. Caligula wanders into his bedroom where a nervous Caesonia awaits him. The blackbird makes a final appearance, but only Caesonia is frightened of it. The next morning, after rehearsing an Egyptian play, Caligula and his family are attacked as they leave the stadium in a coup headed by Chaerea. His wife and daughter are brutally murdered and Chaerea himself stabs Caligula in the stomach, to which he defiantly whimpers "I live!" As Caligula and his family's bodies are thrown down the marble steps and their blood is washed off the marble floor, Claudius is proclaimed the new Emperor.
Caligula (Malcolm McDowell), the young heir to the throne of the syphilis-ridden, half-mad Emperor Tiberius (Peter O'Toole), thinks he has received a bad omen after a blackbird flies into his room early one morning. Shortly afterward, Macro (Guido Mannari), the head of the Praetorian Guards, appears to tell the young man that his great uncle (Tiberius) demands that he report at once to the Island of Capri, where he has been residing for a number of years with close friend Nerva (John Gielgud), Claudius (Giancaro Badessi), a dim-witted relative, and Caligula's younger stepbrother, Gemellus (Bruno Brive), Tiberius' favorite. Fearing assassination, Caligula is afraid to leave, but his beloved sister Drusilla (Teresa Ann Savoy) convinces him to go.