Rome

Common Sense Media says

History at its most raw, vulgar -- and exciting.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Life in Rome is full of secrets, gossip, intrigue, murder, betrayal, love, passion, duty, and plenty of plotting and scheming.

Violence

Extreme -- throat slashing, beheading, violent battles, tons of blood.

Sex

Full frontal nudity -- men and women. Explicit sex scenes between men and women, men and men, and men and teen boys. Lots of discussion about sex, whores, prostitution, trading sexual favors, etc.

Language

Everything you can think of: "f--k," "c--t," "c--k," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Plenty of alcohol consumption and occasional drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this masterful historical drama enjoys the freedoms of its pay-cable home: It's full of extreme violence, graphic sexual scenes, and crude language. In one scene, a main character walks up to a soldier and draws his sword blade across the man's throat, watching as blood begins to pour out of the soldier's mouth. In another scene, a death blow is dealt off screen, but the killer parades through the city with the victim's bloody, decapitated head in his hand. Sex scenes are explicit (and sometimes acrobatic), but not drawn out. All kinds of pairings are featured -- men and women, men and men, men and boys, etc. In other words? Not for kids.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

This HBO drama focuses on the period in Rome during which the republic was crumbling and the empire was forming, with Julius Caesar's assassination right in the middle. The narrative follows the lives of two friends, soldiers Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson) and Lucius Vorenus (Kevin McKidd) -- both real historical figures, but their lives are fictionalized here -- as they work for Caesar (Ciaran Hinds) and later Marc Antony (James Purefoy). Along with the soldiers' everyday dramas involving wives, children, friends, and enemies, Rome richly details the exploits of great historical figures like Cleopatra, Brutus, Cicero, Augustus, and others. History comes alive -- and it's more brutal, sexy, vulgar, and weird than a 10th-grade textbook could ever express.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Like most of HBO's serial dramas (The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood), Rome is riveting, gorgeous, well written and acted, and for adults only. Set against the vivid backdrop of the city of Rome -- with its teeming masses, sewage-strewn streets, and ragamuffin children -- the politics of a great nation unfold. Decisions affecting thousands hinge on the caprices of a few rich men and women, who play at politics largely for personal gain and rarely concern themselves with the common man. In this respect, Rome links history to modern day life: While today's leaders may not wear togas, it's easy to imagine them brokering deals, gossiping, and forming powerful allegiances just like the Roman senators.

Produced and written by Bruno Heller, the show is fast-paced and sometimes difficult to follow. Much happens off screen, and viewers must stay alert to catch the nuanced plot developments. Most characters speak with British accents, which are usually easy to understand, but some viewers may have difficulty catching every word. In addition to the show's graphic sexual content, violence is common and often extreme. Some parents might feel that the benefits of showing teens that history is a living, breathing, raw, exciting thing will outweigh concerns about exposure to sex, violence, and vulgar language. But most will want to save this gruesome history lesson for adulthood.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how history is depicted by the media. Do dramatic interpretations like this make history more interesting and exciting? How accurate do you think this show is? Does watching the show make you think about other periods of history differently? What are the benefits and drawbacks about learning history through TV shows and movies? What are the roadblocks to learning about or enjoying history in general?

TV details

Cast:Kevin McKidd, Polly Walker, Ray Stevenson
Network:HBO
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD

This review of Rome was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byExalya October 18, 2009
AGE
16
QUALITY
 
I LOVED Rome, and wanted to watch it when I was 16. My mother did not allow me to, however, 16-year-olds can be more... advanced-thinking than one might believe. I was writing about this kind of violence/sexuality when I was 13, and I was NEVER allowed to watch stuff like this. As an adult I have thoroughly enjoyed Rome. It's an amazing series, great acting. Lots of blood and tawdry humor... but if you like that kind of stuff, then you'll loooove this.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byskenney13 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Great show

But kids shouldn't be watching, and the history is inaccurate
Teen, 16 years old Written bydark rose April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

buy the edited version

the edited version takes out bad sex scenes and language. if you've read all the episode guides like me than it's really easy to understand. 2nd season is better. atia rocks. this show is genius

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass