In Ancient Rome, a young man (Martin Potter) encounters everyone from slaves all the way up to tyrants on his adventures.
Federico Fellini "freely adapted" Petronius' story for his depiction of Ancient times. Faced with its capricious plotting, you have two options: one, furrow your brow and try to follow the rambling story, or two, sit back and, as they say, enjoy the ride.
The Rome depicted is a society that revolves around sex and death; it is a land without strong morals which revels in its own decadence. Although visually striking, this is not a glamorous film, and features the largest collection of weird-looking people you ever did see. The society is also steeped in superstition: the citizens are always looking for spiritual guidance for their problems, whether it's from the hermaphrodite Oracle or simply courtesy of a belch-reader (makes a change from crystal balls, I suppose).
It's certainly a more interesting realisation of the Roman Empire than, say, Gladiator, but its alien quality means it's hard to be moved by the events on display, however accurate it may be in its atmosphere for the present or the past. Also with: a Minotaur, an earthquake, some disgusting-looking food, and a novel way to cure impotence.