This compelling war drama is based on the controversial book Death in Rome
, which suggests that Pope Pius XII was aware of Hitler's plan to kill 10 Italians for every German lost in a partisan attack, then either feigned ignorance or could do nothing about it. Col. Kappler (Richard Burton)
is a devoted Nazi who is caught between his duty and his love for Rome when he is ordered to execute 330 Italians in retaliation for the death of 33 Germans. His alcoholic superior, Gen. Kurt Maelzer (Leo McKern), is determined to see it through. Standing defiant is Don Antonelli (Marcello
Mastroianni), a Vatican priest who chooses to die with the partisans rather than con...