The Avenger --The Legend of Aeneas (1962)


A film that deal with elements of the Aeneid of Virgil, concentrating on the exiled Trojans confrontation with the Etruscans.

La leggenda di Enea (The Legend of Aeneas), aka The Avenger, is a 1962 Italian / French / Yugoslavian film directed by Giorgio Venturini.
The film is also known as Conquérants héroiques in France, The Avenger (American theatrical title), The Last Glory of Troy (American TV title) and War of the Trojans in the United Kingdom.

Plot summary

Aeneas leads escaped survivors of the Trojan war to new land in Italy. Based on Virgil's The Aeneid.

Differences from poem

In general, the Avenger is a demythologized and condensed retelling of the second half of the Aeneid. It is also insular in its storytelling, making none of the erences to Hannibal or Caesar found in The Aeneid. The movie differs from Virgil's poem in many ways, but retains the same essential structure of books VII - XII. In Virgil's Aeneid, the story begins with Juno provoking a storm that drives Aeneas' ships to the Carthage shores. The Avenger begins after Aeneas has arrived in Italy, skipping the well-known substories of Aeneas' affair with Dido and his journey through the underworld. Both stories recount the Trojan war. In the Aeneid, it is told by Aeneas in Dido's court; in The Avenger it is told through a flashback while viewing a fresco in King Latino's court.
In The Aeneid, gods and goddesses play a critical role in developing the plot, whereas in the Avenger, there is little to no mention of the gods. Throughout the Aeneid, Aeneas's mother Venus actively protects him and advances his cause, while Jupiter's wife Juno actively opposes him and raises difficulties for him. Jupiter, Neptune, Apollo, Mercury and a host mythical creatures all make appearances as well.
The movie borrows scenes from the poem, but often places them in a different context or reinterprets them with details altered. For example, in book V of the Aeneid, the crew lands in the Sicilian port Eryx and is greeted by King Acestes where they engage in a series of ceremonial games. One such game involves an archery contest where the target is a dove tied to a pole. In the Aeneid, Aeneas presides over the games (since they were in honor of his father, Anchises), but in The Avenger, King Latino presides over the games while Aeneas competes in them. In the Aeneid, the first arrow strikes the pole, the second cuts the cord to the dove, while the third, delivered quickly after the second, catches the freed dove and brings it to the ground, winning the contest. Although the contest has now been won, Acestes shoots his bow anyway, and his arrow catches fire in the sky followed by a thunderbolt, which is interpreted as a great omen. In the Avenger, the contest called for archery on horseback, there were multiple doves tied, and only two contestants: Turno and Camilla. Camilla takes the first shot and misses, then is knocked off track by Turno, who takes the second shot and hits the dove. He is awarded a prize, but the allegation that he played unfair causes him to challenge the audience, whereupon Aeneas accepts the challenge and frees two doves with consecutive arrow shots.
Throughout the Aeneid, not only the actions of the gods, but fate itself determines the outcome of events. This difference is highlighted by the titles: The Aeneid, as the genitive case, translates as Aeneas', erencing Aeneas' destiny to settle Italy, giving rise to a new race that will found Rome and rule the world. It is unclear from the story why the film is called The Avenger, as Aeneas could be avenging aggression against the Trojans by Turno, or avenging the death of Trojans in the war with the Greeks.


  • Steve Reeves as Enea (Aeneas)
  • Carla Marlier as Lavinia, Latino's Daughter
  • Liana Orfei as Camilla, Queen of the Vulga
  • Giacomo Rossi-Stuart as Eurialo
  • Gianni Garko as Turno, King of the Rusalie
  • Mario Ferrari as King Latino
  • Lulla Selli as Queen Amata, Latino's Wife
  • Maurice Poli as Mezensio, Turno's Henchman
  • Luciano Benetti as Phalandre
  • Pietro Capanna as Bisia
  • Enzo Fiermonte as Acate
  • Charles Band as Ascanio
  • Benito Stefanelli as Niso
  • Nerio Bernardi as Drance
  • Adriano Vitale as Dancer
  • Walter Zappolini as Dancer
  • Robert Bettoni as Pallante


See also

  • List of historical drama films
  • List of films based on military books (pre-1775)

Category:1962 films
Category:Italian films
Category:French films
Category:Yugoslav films
Category:Italian-language films
Category:Films based on poems
Category:Fantasy adventure films
Category:Films based on Greco-Roman mythology
Category:Works based on the Aeneid
Category:Peplum films
Albert Band, Piero Ghione, and Giorgio Venturini

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