Asterix Versus Caesar (also known in France as Astérix et la surprise de César) is a 1985 animated film that was written by René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo and Pierre Tchernia, and directed by Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi, and is the fourth film adaptation of the Asterix Comic book series. The story, an adaptation that combines the plots of Asterix the Legionary and Asterix the Gladiator, sees Asterix and his friend Obelix set off to rescue two lovers from their village that had been kidnapped by the Romans. The film's theme song, Astérix est là, was composed and performed by Plastic Bertrand.
A book of the film was released containing the story and stills from the film. It was later re-printed when Orion Publishing re-released the entire series.
To honour Julius Caesar's successful campaigns of conquest, gifts are brought to Rome from across the Roman Empire. Seeking to cement the celebrations, Caesar orders Caius Fatuous, head of a prominent gladiator school, to provide him with a grand show, promising to make him the main attraction if he fails. In the small village in Gaul that opposes the Romans, Asterix notices his friend Obelix act strangely. Druid Getafix soon reveals that he is in love with Panacea, Chief Vitalstatistix's niece, who had recently returned. Attempting to win her affections, Obelix becomes distraught when she is reunited with Tragicomix, a much younger and handsome man who intends to marry her. Seeking to spend time together, the two lovers venture out into nearby woods, only to be ambushed by a group of Romans, led a fresh recruit hoping to make a good impression of himself with his Centurion at a nearby garrison.
When Asterix and Obelix discover what happened, they inform the village, who proceed to attack the garrison. In the aftermath, the Centurion is questioned. He reveals that angrily ordered the recruit to take his prisoners away, knowing the consequences his actions would bring. Asterix and Obelix, joined by Dogmatix, proceed to the nearest Legion HQ for information on where the recruit went. Upon learning he was dispatched to a distant outpost in the Sahara with his prisoners, they join the army in order to follow after them. Arriving at the desert frontier, the pair learn that Panacea and Tragicomix escaped from the Romans and into the desert. Learning of this, Asterix and Obelix proceed in the direction they took. Eventually, they come across a band of slave traders, who reveal that they had sold the pair as slaves and sent them to Rome.
Securing passage to the Roman capital, Asterix and Obelix learn that Panacea and Tragicomix were bought by Caius. The pair attempt to meet with him at a bathhouse, causing Caius to witness them beating up his bodyguards easily. Impressed, he orders his men to capture them for his show. Following a small argument with his friend that causes him misplace his magic potion, Asterix is kidnapped by Caius' men. When Obelix discovers he is missing, he proceeds to seek him out, rescuing him from a flooded cell. However Dogmatix goes missing, after running off into the city's sewers to recover the magic potion. Without both, the pair continue to seek out Panacea and Tragicomix and quickly learn that, under Caesar's orders, Caius arranged for them to become the grand finale of the emperor's show at the Colosseum.
Seeking to gain entry, the pair go to Caius' school and secure places as gladiators the following day. The Gauls soon quickly make a mess of the show, winning a chariot race and easily beating down a number of gladiators. As lions are unleashed to attack them, alongside Tragicomix and Panacea, Dogmatix arrives with the magic potion. The group defeat the lions with the potion, while Obelix, distracted by Panacea, accidentally shatters a third of the Colosseum. Somewhat impressed with the show, Caesar grants the Gauls their freedom. Returning home, the group arrive to their village's trademark victory feast being held in their honour. As the villagers celebrate, Asterix sits alone in a tree, after having somewhat fallen for Panacea on his return.
|Astérix||Roger Carel||Jack Beaber|
|Obélix||Pierre Tornade||Billy Kearns|
|Caius||Pierre Mondy||Allan Wenger|
|Caesar||Serge Sauvion||Gordon Heath|
|Getafix||Henri Labussière||Robert Barr|
|Dubious Status||Roger Lumont||Patrick Floersheim|
|The Centurion Vapetimus||Michel Barbet||Unknown|
|The Cook||Pierre Mirat||Arch Taylor|
|Panacea||Séverine Morisot (speaking) and Danielle Licari (singing)||Patricia Kessler (speaking) and Danielle Licari (singing)|
|The Leader of the Roman Camp||Henri Poirier||Unknown|
|Vitalstatistix||Jean-Pierre Darras||Bertie Cortez|
|The Presenter of Gifts||Nicolas Silberg|
|Farfelus, the Slave Trader||Philippe Dumat|
|Terminus||Pierre Tchernia||Sean O'Neil|
|The Desert Bandit||Michel Gatineau||Unknown|
- Original: José Luccioni, Paul Mercey, Edmond Bernard, Paul Bisciglia, Gérard Croce, Alain Doutey, Peter Wollasch, Roger Barbet, Alain Coutey, Martin Lamotte
- English: Bill Dunn, James Shuman, Steve Gadler (Fulliautomatix), Stuart Seide, Jerry Di Giacomo (Garrulus Rumpus), Mike Marshall, Thomas M. Pollard, Bill Doherty, Christian Erickson, Paul Barrett, Norman Stockle, Derry Hall, Peter Semmler, Robert Ground, Raphael Rodriguez, Mostefa Stiti, Herbert Baskind, Ken Starcevic, Ed Marcus (Nefarius Purpus)
VHS and DVD release
In 1990, the film was released on VHS by Celebrity Home Entertainment. In 2006, the film was released on Region 2 DVD, as a part of a box set of animated Asterix films.