Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans Review

Starring: Sebastian Croft, Emilia Jones, Nick Frost, Craig Roberts, Kate Nash, Kim Cattrall, Derek Jacobi, Dan Skinner, Tony Gardner, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Dustin Demri-Burns

Director: Dominic Brigstocke

Release date: 26th July 2019


The year is 54AD and in Rome, Emperor Claudius (Derek Jacobi) is the leader of a great Empire. Unfortunately for him, his wife and son, Nero are plotting his death.. The deed soon done, Nero becomes Emperor but unfortunately for him, he’s not old enough to take charge and his mother says she will look after things til he’s older…

5 years pass and we meet a young Roman teenager named Atti (Sebastian Croft). After a scheme backfires, he gets sent to Britain as a punishment and is forced to join the Legion. Meanwhile there, a young girl named Boudica (Kate Nash) becomes queen of the Iceni tribe, and she decides to take on the Romans. She begins to put together an army. One day, while out on patrol, Atti gets kidnapped by a young Celt girl named Orla (Emilia Jones) and taken back to her village. Her dad’s not too happy about it. After spending time together, Atti and Orla realise that they have a lot more in common than they thought. The Roman Army marches on, threatening to wipe out all traces of the Celts…

The Horrible Histories story began back in 1993 when an author named Terry Deary released the first books in what would go on to become a cultural and worldwide phenomenon. Most people started their love of the series with the books, but some discovered it through the fantastic 2009 British CBBC tv series. It ran from 2009-2013 and was made up of five series of 13 half hour episodes. It explained history for kids in new and entertaining ways, including through songs and funny stories.


Fans of the TV series, expecting to see the cast members you know and love; Simon Farnaby, Matthew Baynton, Jim Howick and Martha Howe-Douglas, to name but a few, will be a bit disappointed in that they are nowhere to be seen. Instead, we have a stellar cast of British comedy acting talent, with the likes of Dan Skinner, Lee Mack, Tony Gardner, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Nick Frost.

If you loved the tv series then you will more than likely love this too. As with a lot of kids tv series, it also garnered a more grown up audience too and so entertained older brothers and sisters, plus their parents too. There’s a few singing numbers thrown in for good measure and also the familiar Rattus puppet who tells us more about what’s happening and historical facts.

It might look like a movie for kids but don’t let that put you off watching it. It’s funny, entertaining, and there’s plenty of various toilet gags to keep the grown ups laughing.

Overall: 8.5/10

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