The first screen adaptation of Quo Vadis? was made in 1901; the film was merely five minutes long.
Quo Vadis? by Enrico Guazzoni (1913) was the first epic production in the history of cinema and an instantaneous worldwide success. Cinema-goers appreciated also a 1924 Italian and German co-production of Quo Vadis? directed by George Jacoby and Gabriellino D’Annunzio, starring Emil Jannings as Nero.
Starring Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr, Mervyn LeRoy’s Quo Vadis? of 1951, Hollywood’s first post-war blockbuster, has remained popular till the present day.
In 1985, the Rai Uno produced a 6-episode TV series based on the novel (for more information on screen adaptations of Quo Vadis? and their reception, see R. Scodel and A. Betterworth, Whither “Quo vadis?” Sienkiewicz’s Novel in Film and Television, Malden–Oxford: Blackwell, 2009).
In Poland, Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s screening of Quo Vadis? is the latest and, at the same time, the best known of the novel’s film adaptations.
In Italy, film adaptations have served as sources of popular fotoromanzi, that is photo comics featuring stills from films furnished with commentaries and/or bits of dialogue. The earliest wave of such publications, dating to the 1920s, drew on the 1924 film, with another upsurge triggered by LeRoy’s 1951 production (for more details on fotoromanzi, including those based on Quo Vadis? films, cf. R. De Berti, Dallo schermo alla carta. Romanzi. Fotoromanzi, rotocalchi cinematografici: il film e i suoi paratesti. Milano: Vita e Pensiero, 2000). Fotoromanzi, just like the literature on the films, including formal reviews and other critical and popular reactions, call for in-depth inquiry and analysis.