Introduction Edit

Beauty makeup throughout sword and sandal films has played a large role in overall production. Beauty makeup is used to show case the natural beauty within the characters. Although beauty makeup is used in sword and sandal films it is often not used to portray the "realness" of Rome. In Ancient Rome, face makeup was usually used to make the women's face pale and white, depicting fair skin, therefore showing that those individuals did not work out in the sun often and were often the wealthier of the civilians. Ancient Roman women often had eye makeup done to showcase their large eyes, and eyebrows that almost touched. Romans also believed that rosy cheeks were a sign of good health, and therefore would spread many substances on their cheeks to make them more pink. Although many times sword and sandal films showcased modern makeup rather than Ancient Roman makeup, the makeup industry took some of its largest strides while working on sword and sandal films. For example, in Ben Hur, airbrushing was used for the first tine. Another ground breaking moment was within Cleopatra's extraordinary eye makeup; Elizabeth'sTaylor's strategically done makeup brought on a cover girl movement of dramatic "cat-like" eyes. Unlike special effects makeup, beauty makeup is used throughout sword and sandal films as an "everyday" look for the characters within the films.

Ben Hur Edit

Makeup Artist: Charles E. Parker Edit

Airbrushing Edit


Here we can see the hidden imperfections and the almost perfect look of her face. This is what the airbrush technique seeks to accomplish.

This was the first time that the airbrushing technique had ever been used. The airbrush technique refers to the use of a small device which operates with air to spray different types of makeup, including water and alcohol based makeup through the process of nebulization. This type of makeup is used for thin consistency with full coverage.

Cleopatra Edit

Makeup Artist: Alberto De Rossi & Robert J. Schiffer (uncredited) Edit

Fun Fact: Edit

Rossi had come up with an entire outline of how he wanted Elizabeth Taylor's makeup to look. Elizabeth Taylor also had an idea of how she wanted her makeup to look, and production went with her makeup idea.

The shadowing around Cleopatra's (Elizabeth Taylor's) eyes are meant to be more intense than in past sword and sandal films.

Eye Makeup Edit


This picture from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" shows Domina with a pale face, which almost looks completely white.

Within the Cleopatra film of 1963, Elizabeth Taylor dramatically influenced the eye-makeup ideal throughout the fashion industry. Heavy liner, dark filled-in brows, and deep eyeshadow contouring was a major trend after the hit movie appeared on the big screen. They may have made her makeup much more intense than in other films, in order to make a reference to her prestige, and ability to afford and recreate such a dominant look. This lead to an outbreak of dramatic eye makeup throughout the makeup industry. This was the beginning of heavy eye makeup not just within sword and sandal films but throughout the general public.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Edit

Makeup Artist: Trevor Crole-Rees & José María Sánchez Edit

Historical Roman Makeup Edit

Compared to the previosui films, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum depicts a more realistic makeup for the Romans. As seen in the picture, women often times had a pale face, with bright red rosy cheeks. If a woman had a pale face, and red cheeks, often it meant that she was of higher class. This is because those women were often inside somewhere, not outside having to work.

Citations Edit