The evil Balthazar (Piero Lulli) killed the king of Babylon and has taken over the throne. With his high-priestess, Ura (Moira Orfei), by his side, the false king has suppressed the people and offers virgins to their god as sacrifice.
Returning to Babylon, after being in exile, and under the protection of Cyrus (Mario Petri), the King of Persia, is Nippur (Gordon Scott). Nippur is the son of the king of Babylon and the true heir to the throne. Nippur is apprised of the situation in Babylon by his friend Namar (Andrea Scotti). On the way they save a slave girl named Tamira (Genevieve Grad), who was destined to be a sacrifice, from the Babylonian troops.
When Nippur gets to Babylon, he interrupts the sacrifice of the latest batch of virgins. When he asks for his father, Balthazar tells him he is on a mission and will be back in a month. Nippur doesn’t believe this and accuses Balthazar of having his father in prison. A tour of the prison shows that he is not there, but Nippur believes that he is either hidden somewhere or has been murdered.
Nippur is recognized by the head of the guards as the man who saved Tamira. He tells Ura, who thinks she may be able to use this information to her advantage. With all the treachery and torture going on, Nippur decides to align himself with the slaves and the oppressed people of Babylon. He is attacked and wounded by Balthazar’s guards. He is found by Cyrus’ men and nursed back to health. With Cyrus on his side, Nippur vows to return to Babylon and free his people. Instead, he ends up chained in the dungeon while the sacrifices continue.
“The Beast of Babylon Against the Son of Hercules” AKA “L'eroe di Babilonia” AKA “Hero of Babylon” was released in 1963 and was directed by Siro Marcellini. It is an Italian French sword and sandal film. It is also one of the movies that were sold to America and compiled into the “Sons of Hercules” syndication package. The copy of the film I have, which may be the British version, is one of the original films that was dubbed, not as a “Sons of Hercules” film but as “Hero of Babylon”.
This is your standard Peplum style movie with Gordon Scott doing a reasonable job as the hero of the story. Piero Lulli as the sadistic Balthazar is quite convincing. When you complain that the screams of the people you are torturing is interrupting the pleasure of your meal, then you are one sick dude. The other actors are standard sword and sandal movie types, and the plot too is typical of sword and sandal films, but Balthazar, and his cold stare, adds a queasy touch to the movie.
The movie is noted as being one of the few to show Gordon Scott with chest hair. An interesting tidbit, but the fact that Reeves did his own stunts is more impressive. Some of the sets used were from “The Fury of Achilles” (1961).
Reportedly, the movie is a fictionalized depiction of the Fall of Babylon. In 539 BCE, Cyrus the Great invaded Babylonia. I’m not sure I want to give the plot all that much credit. But… Even the various historical records, and I use the term “historical records” loosely, don’t agree as to what happened, therefore, much artistic freedom is to be expected. The record of the event comes from The Book of Isaiah and The Book of Daniel, from the Bible, as well as the Cyrus Cylinder and the Chronicle of Nabonidus, which were both written after the event. All in all, it is propaganda from the seventh century BCE.